Every single hour, the sun pours 430 quintillion Joules of energy onto the earth. That’s enough energy to power our blenders, cars, airplanes, air conditioning, and every other human energy need for an entire year! It seems like we should be able to find a way to harness all that sunlight, right? Well, that’s exactly what solar panels are designed to do.
If you’ve considered installing a solar power system on your home, you probably want to know how thin panels on a roof can charge your electric car or keep your home nice and cool during a particularly hot California summer.
Below, we’ll dive into the science of solar energy.
Don’t worry, you won’t need a chemistry degree to keep up. We’ll break down the process step-by-step and make it easy to understand how solar power for your home is possible.
How Solar Panels Turn Sunlight into Solar Energy
The central challenge in using the sun to power homes and cities is figuring out how to turn sunlight into a power source we can actually use.
In a nutshell, solar panels work by turning photons from the sun into electrical energy. Unfortunately though, you can’t use photons to power your cell phone or keep the lights on at night until it is turned into electricity.
And the conversion process starts with a special substance called silicon, a crystalline element with strong semi-conductive properties.
While other semiconductor materials can be used, the vast majority of solar panels are made of silicon, because it is one of the most common elements on the planet and is therefore easier to access (and less expensive) than other options.
For each panel of photovoltaic cells, there is silicon sandwiched between the conductive layers. Here’s where the process gets a little sciencey, because each layer is slightly modified.
The top layer is changed so that it holds a negative charge, while the bottom layer is turned into a positive charge. The attraction of these two layers (negative and positive charges are drawn to each other) creates a powerful electric field, which is a key ingredient in the solar panel recipe.
Next, it’s time for a quick chemistry lesson and then lots of sunshine.
It’s All About the Electrons
Like every element on earth, silicon is made up of numerous tiny atoms. An atom contains a stable nucleus of neutrons and protons surrounded by zipping electrons. For our purposes, we’ll just focus on those electrons.
Electrons have a negative charge and are drawn to the positive charge of protons. This bond isn’t unbreakable, though. In fact, electrons can be stolen by other elements or knocked out of their atoms by an intruder.
This is exactly what happens when photons come pouring down on a rooftop solar system during a sunny day. Those little photons knock electrons out of their orbits, and the electric field kicks them out of the silicon field junction altogether.
Don’t worry, these little guys aren’t lost, though. They just need to take the long way round.
After electrons are booted from the silicon field, they’re captured by an external circuit. The electrons flow down the circuit, and this is what creates electricity. Eventually, the electrons return to the solar cell where they align back into the orbit of a silicon atom that needs an electron.
In this way, nothing is lost or used up - like when fossil fuels are burned to create electricity.
In fact, a solar panel system is completely self-contained and helps many people create self-sustaining homes in California.
Converting Solar Power into Usable Energy
The power created by that journeying electron we just mentioned isn’t quite ready to go right down into your electric socket and power on your stove in the morning.
One more conversion has to happen.
Solar panels turn photons into a special type of current called a direct current (DC), but here in the United States, our electrical grid runs on an alternating current (AC).
This means that no solar power system is complete without a special device called a inverter. Despite its name, an inverter doesn’t turn DC into AC. Rather, the direct current powers the creation of the alternating current, which can then be used to power a home.
The final destination for your alternating current will depend on the setup of your solar power system.
Most homeowners in San Diego and other parts of California are part of the net metering system, which means that the excess electricity produced by their solar panels goes into the public utility grid. If you have this system, your electricity meter will actually tick backwards when your system produces more electricity than you can use.
At night or on cloudy days when you need to use more electricity than the solar panels on your home can produce, the system will automatically pull electricity from the grid and your meter will go forward. A well-designed solar power system should balance out each month, producing the amount of electricity you need so that your electric bill is low, non-existent, or even shows a net gain.
The other option is to install a solar battery in your home that can collect the excess electricity your system produces. At night or on cloudy days, you can power your house from the battery. Battery technology continues to improve, and it might be the right option for those who live off the grid or who want to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Now You’re Solar Smart
Now that you have a basic understanding of how solar panels work, remember that a single photovoltaic cell can only produce a little bit of energy. It might create enough to charge your cell phone, but not nearly the amount you need to keep your home humming - which is why each solar panel is made up of many photovoltaic cells, and panels are combined to create a complete solar power system.
Several factors go into determining exactly how many solar panels you will need for your home, such as the size of your roof, your electricity needs and the amount of sunlight your home receives throughout the year.
That’s why we always recommend getting a complete energy analysis and onsite evaluation.
At Semper Solaris, we believe it’s important to make sure you have a solar power solution that fits your needs, which is why our evaluation is free.
We want you to understand exactly what you’re paying for and how your new investment works, so don’t hesitate to call or email us with your questions!
As people of all ages learn more about humans’ impact on the planet, it’s more important than ever to teach future generations how to decrease their carbon footprint and care for the earth. After all, kids are the leaders of tomorrow. Renewable energy sources continue to gain steam across the country, and it’s essential to teach our youth about the myriad of options — including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and even biomass energy. Find out how to introduce future generations to solar panels and energy conservation, and browse additional resources on all types of renewable energy.
Renewable Solar Energy
Solar energy is radiant light and heat that can be harnessed from the sun using a range of ever-evolving technology such as solar panels. Solar energy is a dominant source of power and can be used in a variety of ways. Solar energy can be used as an energy source as well as a heat source. Many utility companies are starting to use photovoltaic systems, a process in which solar energy is directly converted to electricity using photo-voltaic devices on solar panels. Solar energy has a lot of promise, however, some drawbacks include the manner in which solar energy arrives at the surface of the Earth and the large area that is needed to efficiently collect the energy.
Wind is basically air in motion and scientists have begun harvesting wind to create power. Today’s windmills are much more efficient than those of the past and are able to collect kinetic energy from the wind, creating power.
Hydro-power is a reliable, renewable, and clean source of energy that converts the kinetic energy produced by falling water into electricity. Hydro power does not consume any more water than is produced by nature, making it a promising form of renewable energy. It is also one of the oldest methods used by the human race for creating electricity. To generate electricity, water must be moving at a sufficient volume and speed to cause a generator to turn. Often, dams are used to increase the force of moving water.
Geothermal energy is an efficient way to produce heat in small applications given that consumers need to be located near the source of the heat. Geothermal energy is basically heat from the Earth, and is an important source of energy that has many advantages over nuclear and fossil sources of energy. The heat created by the Earth can be used as a source of energy in many ways from small pumping stations to large power stations. Geothermal energy can be found nearly anywhere and tapping into it has proven to be a sustainable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. Geothermal energy can be captured with binary, flash, and dry steam power plants.
Biomass is organic material that has sunlight stored in the form of chemical energy. Biomass fuels include straw, wood waste, wood, sugar cane, manure, and other byproducts produced from different agricultural processes. Biomass is considered a renewable form of energy because the energy contained within it is produced in part by photosynthesis. Biomass is sort of considered a battery that can store solar energy indefinitely. There are many types of biomass and many ways that it can be used to provide energy.
While it is important to understand the different forms of renewable energy, it is also important to know about nonrenewable energy, which is still mainly used today. When informed of the consequences of using nonrenewable energy, future generations can do their part to help with conservation. Kids can be engaged through hands on activities, so teach them about different things they can do at home and within their communities to contribute to conservation.
Learning about different types of energy can be fun for all ages. Check out how homes can be powered by renewable energy and how solar panels work.
More Information on Renewable Energy for Kids
nergy Smart Inventions and Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable Energy Basics for Kids
Energy and the Environment
Environment for Kids – Renewable Energy
A Lesson on Renewable Energy
Exploring Alternative Energy Sources
Renewable Energy Education for Teachers and Students
Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Sources Lesson Plan
Solar Panel Replacement Cost
Best Solar Company San Diego
Solar Panel Installation Cost
Apple Valley Solar Installers
Local Installation & Repair
Solar San Diego
Bay Area Solar
Rancho Cucamonga Solar Panel Installation
Los Angeles Residential Solar Power
Solar Panel Rebate
With abundant sunshine and the Pacific Ocean in its back yard, San Diego has always been an eco-friendly, forward-thinking place. That’s why it leads the U.S. in solar energy installments. In fact, going solar in San Diego is a common theme for America’s Finest City and its residents. The county increased its solar capacity 60 percent in the past year to 303 megawatts.
If you’re looking to live in sunny San Diego (or even if you already call it home), here are the top neighborhoods to go solar based on key factors that add to the overall quality of living.
1. Del Mar
The coastal city of Del Mar (Spanish for “by the sea”), takes the number one spot for the top neighborhood in San Diego County. It’s ritzy, yet laid back beach-town vibe makes it a pleasant place to live for many residents.
Just about 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego, the area is home to many families and its public school system receives an A+ rating, ranking the #4 suburb with the best schools in the state of California. When it comes to fun activities, Del Mar is famously known for being home to the historic Del Mar Racetrack, where horse races take place all summer long and the town is also one of the only places where Torrey Pines, the rarest pine tree in the United States, grow.
Hike, surf, bet on the ponies or just enjoy a stroll in the sunshine - Del Mar boasts breathtaking views around every turn and excellent beach-front weather, making it a go to place to install solar panels in San Diego.
2. Solana Beach
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Solana beach, the neighboring town of Del Mar, ranks second as a top neighborhood for solar in San Diego.
Solana Beach has a population of 13,000 and is known for its beach, eclectic shops, dining, nightlife, golf courses and hiking scene. It averages a comfortable 62 degrees during the winter season and 77 degrees during the summer time, with a near two-mile stretch of coastline to enjoy. Locals frequent Fletcher Cove Park, a favorite spot to catch beautiful sunsets.
Commuter-friendly Solana Beach houses a major train station stop (one of only three in San Diego County) that serves both Amtrak and the Coaster and residents have easy access to San Diego’s major freeways, including the 5 and the 101 interstate highways. With its outdoor-friendly sentiment, this town upholds environmental consciousness, making it a chief contributor to a more solar San Diego.
Moving further up the cost, the town of Encinitas is another top pick for places to go solar in San Diego.
Encinitas was named among the 20 best surf towns in the world by National Geographic and sits along the historic coastal Highway 101. It’s home to 62,000 residents and is segmented into five different areas: Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Olivenhain, Leucadia and Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Each of these communities has its own personality offering a range between an oceanfront beach life to more rural, family-oriented suburbia.
Old Encinitas sits along the coast and is known for its famous surf break, Swamis. In Olivenhain, you can find private equestrian facilities and mainly single family homes. New Encinitas boasts numerous golf courses and shopping centers, while Leucadia is a place of tree-lined streets, art galleries and eclectic stores. Cardiff-by-the-Sea is an oceanfront community and home to the San Elijo Campus of Mira Costa College.
Encinitas has something for everyone, which makes it extra appealing to live and reap the benefits of solar year round!
Just south of downtown San Diego, across the signature Coronado bridge is an island called Coronado.
The island community is a top tourist attraction because of its famous Hotel Del Coronado, where Marilyn Monroe used to frequent. But aside from being a major San Diego destination for visitors, it’s also a very family-friendly place to live. Coronado has a small-town charm to it, with shops, art galleries, restaurants and theatres for its residents to enjoy.
And don’t think the beach is just any old beach. Its signature gold sand makes it extra beautiful and mesmerizing as the year round sun reflects off the golden flecks floating in the ocean. The town is also home to a U.S. Naval Base, which instills an all-American pride in Coronado locals. Those who reside here get to enjoy views across the water of San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline as they bask in their private escape that is Coronado.
Living in Coronado, however, comes at a price. The median home value is $1,332,500 while average rent is $2,268 per month. These higher end costs make solar power even more appealing as it saves residents money in their electricity bills, making Coronado a big proponent of solar San Diego.
Carlsbad is a large suburb in North County San Diego. Its population of 112,000 includes many families and the city is one of the most affluent in the state of California. It’s filled with seven miles of beaches, nature trails and endless family attractions, including Legoland.
Carlsbad divides into four different quadrants, each with its own distinct attractions. The northwest quadrant encompasses the “Village” (downtown) and Old Carlsbad— the first part of Carlsbad to be settled. Houses here include everything from cottages and bungalows to mansions overlooking the ocean. The northeast quadrant of Carlsbad consists of mainly single-family homes while the southeast quadrant has a handful of master-planned communities along the hillsides, golf courses and parks. The southwest quadrant stretches along the Pacific Ocean, where constant sunshine makes it solar energy friendly.
The top neighborhoods for solar in San Diego all have a common thread—the residents appreciate the environment they live in and take advantage of their ideal setting in the sun.
With the ocean and beaches in close vicinity, there’s an extra amount of respect to keep the place they live in clean—and solar energy is a part of that. As the sun keeps shining, these communities will continue to keep San Diego #1 in solar installation.
If you live in one of the communities (or anywhere in San Diego) and don’t already have solar panels on your home, we’d be happy to give you a free energy analysis so that you can see how to start taking advantage of the year-round sunshine we have in Southern California!
San Diego gets an average of 261 days of sunlight a year, so it’s not surprising so many Southern California homeowners and businesses are embracing solar installation as a way to save serious money on their electricity bills and lower their energy footprint. Making the investment in solar panels is a big decision. In this article, we’ll walk you through some important ways you can prepare for your solar panel installation at three major milestones: before your consultation, after your consultation, and before the installation.
Before Your Solar Consultation
Before you set up your initial consultation with a solar contractor, there are a few things you can do to make sure the first meeting goes smoothly and that the solar contractor has the information needed to make the best recommendations possible.
Determine If You Have the Right Roof
Unfortunately, certain roofs are just not a good match for solar panels. Roofs need to be at least 200 square feet to offer enough space for solar panels, and ideally your roof will be at least 400 square feet. At least one side of the roof should face south or southwest to have access to the most sunlight possible. Certain roofs with a very extreme pitch may also make it difficult to install solar panels.
If you suspect your roof might not be ideal for solar panels, not to worry! Installing solar panels on the ground may also be an option.
Figure Out Your Energy Usage
A solar installation specialist will need to know how much energy your home uses on average throughout the year in order to recommend the ideal solar panel array size for your home. You can help the specialist by presenting a year’s worth of electricity bills, which will include monthly usage. Most electric companies have online customer websites. Create an account or log in to access your previous bills.
Estimate Future Electric Usage
If you know that your electric usage will change in the coming years, then it’s a good idea to invest in a solar array that will give you all the juice you’ll need tomorrow rather than just what you’re using today. For example, do you want to purchase an electric vehicle in the next year or so, or do you have plans to install a hot tub? These items will require a lot of electricity, so make sure you let your installation specialist know about potential future electricity needs during your consultation!
Choose the Right Solar Contractor
The most important decision you’ll make when it comes to installing solar panels is the contractor you hire. Your contractor can make the process stress-free or leave you feeling completely frustrated. The ultimate success of the installation will depend upon the training and expertise of your solar contractor as well as their understanding of your budget and your solar needs. Don’t skimp on doing your research to make sure you find an experienced, highly regarded, and honest contractor. There are many great solar contractors in San Diego, including Semper Solaris.
After Your Solar Consultation
During a solar consultation, the solar specialist will assess your roof, make a recommendation on the solar panel array that is right for your needs, give you financing options, and answer your questions. Many homeowners and business owners come out of the consultation excited and ready to schedule the installation. However, there are important steps you’ll need to take first to prepare for the installation.
Decide If You Want to Lease or Buy
Your solar installation specialist will lay out your financial options during the consultation. The two most popular options are to buy the solar panels or to lease them.
Leasing solar panels often requires little to no upfront payments, which might be the right option if you are working on a limited budget. However, you’ll be paying a fixed rate for your electricity, and the solar company can take back the panels when the leasing period is up. Buying your solar panels will require a significant upfront payment, but then you own the panels. Ideally, the array will pay for itself and more over its lifetime.
You’ll need to look at your finances and your personal preference to determine what is the best option for your situation.
Address Roof Problems
It’d be a shame if you went through the entire process of installing solar panels only to have to replace your roof two years later! Before installing solar panels, ensure that your roof is structurally sound enough to hold the extra weight. If your roof is old, leaks, or has damaged shingles, you’ll need to repair all of these things before your solar installation.
Consider that solar panels last roughly 20 to 25 years. If your roof is aging, even if it’s not falling on top of your head yet, it may be a good idea go ahead and replace it. It’ll be a big investment, but a new roof will increase the value of your home and allow you to get the most out of your solar panels.
Get Permissions and Permits
If you have a home owner’s association, you’d better bet that they will want to know if you are making major changes to your roof. Additionally, the city and public utility company will need to know that you intend to change the way you power your home, especially if you want to give excess electricity back to the grid.
Your solar contractor should handle all these requirements, from receiving permission from your HOA to pulling an electrical permit, filing the right documents with the city utility, and getting the necessary electrical inspection completed.
You’ve decided how to pay for your solar panels, your roof is ready to go, and your installer has permits and HOA permission in hand. Now can you start? You’re almost ready. Here are the last two things to prepare for before the work gets started.
Make a Decision on Metering or Battery
California’s utility companies have done a good job of embracing the solar panel revolution and allowing homeowners and businesses to send excess energy back into the grid in exchange for credits. In order for this to happen, the utility company will need to install a production meter to measure the amount of electricity your new panels produce and feedback into the grid. Your installation company should take care of this process.
Alternatively, you may decide that you want to keep all of the electricity your solar panels produce, thank you very much! If this is the case, then you’ll need a way to store the excess power, like Tesla Powerwall, during the day so that you can use it at night or on overcast days. Your solar contractor can recommend the right battery option and even build a utility nook to house the battery, along with the other extras that you’ll need, including electrical inverters and integration equipment.
Develop a Family Plan for Installation Day
Solar panel installation day is exciting… and also loud. People will be walking on your roof all day long, as well as drilling and hammering. If you have skittish pets or young children at home, you’ll need a plan to either keep them calm during this time or to remove them from the home during the installation. You’ll also need to be on call during the day in case the installers have questions or run into unforeseen challenges. It also doesn’t hurt to alert your neighbors of the coming commotion as a curtsey. With a little planning, you can make sure your installation goes quickly and smoothly for every member of your family!
Hopefully this article gives you an idea of what to expect as you begin your solar panel planning.
A huge component to a successful solar array installation is choosing the right contractor. We know you have the choice of many solar contractors in San Diego, and we hope you will consider allowing us to compete for your business. At Semper Solaris, we are dedicated to providing you with the best customer service, the highest quality solar panels, and the best installation possible. Please schedule a free onsite energy analysis when you are ready to get this process started.
If you’re ready to buy solar panels for your home, there are a few questions you should ask. While you are indeed making the smart decision to go solar, you still need to do your due diligence in order to make this transition to renewable energy a successful one.
From questions that can help reinforce your choice to switch to solar and understanding exactly what solar energy can be used for, to finalizing the details of costs, installation and which solar panels you should buy—there’s a lot to know about installing a solar power system.
Here are five crucial questions you should be asking before installing a home solar power system - with answers to match - so you can go solar with full confidence.
1. Why go solar?
There’s a long list of benefits to going solar that should make you feel comfortable in changing your home energy source.
For starters, using solar energy reduces your carbon footprint. Unlike fossil fuels and gas, solar is considered a clean source of energy, meaning it doesn’t pollute the air with harmful emissions. So, while you’re doing good for the environment, what’s in it for you?
The bottom line is, going solar will save you money in the long run. Based on the average household electricity usage, solar energy has been shown to save $10k - $30k over a course of 20 years, when compared to what’d you pay for a traditional electric bill. Furthermore, you will never have to deal with unpredictable electricity bills again. Once you have a system installed, the cost of solar energy is fixed and free, since you are essentially getting power from a free energy source (the sun, that is).
2. What can solar energy be used for?
Solar panels for home energy can be utilized in a multitude of ways. The primary use most people think of is using the energy collected from your panels to power everything in your house, from the electricity to the heating and cooling.
Here’s how it works: The solar panels installed on your roof capture particles of sunlight (aka, photons). These photons are then converted into electrons of direct current electricity. This current then flows through a solar power system that converts it to alternating current power, which is the type of electricity that comes from the wall outlet that connects to your TV, computer, lamps and kitchen appliances.
On top of solar panels providing your home with electricity, you can also opt to heat your water through a solar collector that heats water directly or via a “working fluid” that is used to heat water.
3. How much are solar panels going to cost?
It’s easy to ask the question, how much do solar panels cost? But when it comes to solar systems, they are not one-size fits all, and an easy answer isn’t always easy to find with a quick Google search.
That’s because there are many factors that come into play when determining how much solar panels will cost to install. The size of your home and the amount of electricity needed to power it are the major factors in determining many of the initial costs.
To give you a rough idea, this 2018 year, homeowners will pay between $2.71 to $3.57 per watt to install solar, with the average U.S. system calling for 5000 watts. What it boils down to is around $9,485 to $12,495 (after tax credits) for a total system.
Don’t be alarmed by these numbers because we’ve seen solar systems pay for themselves relatively quickly.
If you’re looking at it from a big-picture perspective, the tax credits you get for going solar and the overall amount of utility savings make the actual value of the panels great. They will pay for themselves and even help you save money over time.
For an exact idea of how much solar panels will cost for your home, we’ll give you a free energy analysis that can determine exactly how much energy your home needs and how many panels should be installed.
4. What are the best solar panels for my home?
When it comes to installing solar panels on your home, you want to make sure they are the most efficient on the market. The top-rated solar panels, according to SolarReviews, is Enphase Energy. These ratings are based on homeowner reviews, but keep in mind that you should also consider your specific energy-saving goals and how much you're willing to invest upfront.
Getting the most trusted name in solar panels is key to ensuring satisfaction in your switch to home solar energy and that’s exactly what our team at Semper Solaris looks for in solar panel manufacturers.
5. Who are the best solar providers near me?
While using the best panels the solar industry has to offer is a must, choosing the right solar energy system provider to install them is just as important. You want to look for a company that has had proven experience and expertise in the solar roofing field. Word-of-mouth can be one of the best ways to find out who does solar in your area. You can also opt to do a quick internet search. From the list of providers that pop up, be sure to do your research.
We recommend looking for testimonials from homeowners that have used that company’s services.
You also want to make sure that you receive personal attention from the solar company you choose to hire. Open communication between contractor and customer builds trust. Knowing that your solar needs are the top priority for the company you are working with will help to keep your mind at ease while you are installing your new system.
If you reside in California, Semper Solaris provides solar power services up and down the state, installing only the best solar panels for homes.
Making the decision to go solar is a big one that can lead to endless benefits in home energy usage.
Understanding what exactly solar energy can power in your home along with the kind of financial investment it will take, can inform your decision on what solar panels to buy and have installed on your home roof.
You may have heard some buzz about how solar panels cuts costs on energy bills or that they’re eco-friendly. But chances are, this is pretty much all you know about them - and that’s 100% okay. But it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting into when it comes to making the switch to solar energy.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the world of solar that’ll get you in the loop and ready to invest in solar power for your home energy needs.
1. The first solar panel cell was invented in 1941
In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect—that is, the ability to create an electric current from the sun’s rays. Shortly after, Russell Ohl invented the first solar panel cell in 1941 and the first commercial panel was put out by Bell Laboratories in 1954.
Today, solar panel history is still being paved, as Semper Solaris continues to install industry-leading solar panels every day.
2. One hour of sunlight equals one year’s worth of energy for the entire earth
Solar power starts with solar energy, which is energy produced by the sun. When the sunbeams, its energy can be stored in solar panels. These solar panels transform energy into power in two different ways – photovoltaic, which is power used for electricity, and solar thermal, which is power used for heating.
The energy from the sun is the most abundant energy source available on Earth. With just one hour of direct sunlight, you could collect enough energy to generate a year’s worth of power for the entire Earth. There’s a lot of electrical juice from the sun!
All you need is a cord (aka, solar panels) that’ll transform the energy from point A (the sun) to point B (electricity that can be used by your home) to power up all your home energy requirements.
Everything that you need to know about solar: Solar for Beginners!
3. California is the biggest proponent of solar energy in the United States
As of 2022, California’s solar power usage topped all other states, clocking in 39,729 megawatts of solar energy use. The state has enough solar energy systems installed to power 10.7 million homes.
Other states that follow just behind California in solar energy production and usage include North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada and New Jersey. But, as the popularity of solar power grows with increasingly affordable access, you can expect to see more states jump on board, expanding the overall market.
4. Solar panels can produce power without direct sunlight
You read that right!
The sun is the most abundant source of energy for solar panels to absorb and convert into power, but it doesn’t need to be direct sunlight. Solar panels can capture different parts of the sun’s light spectrum. So, if the sun’s not directly beaming on the panels - or it happens to be a cloudy day - it doesn’t mean the hues reflected from the sky aren’t being captured and utilized by the solar panel cells to produce power.
5. A solar-powered home can reduce CO2 emissions by 100 tons within 30 years
Solar power translates to clean energy production and you can reduce your carbon footprint significantly by installing a home solar power system.
In other words, it’s not emitting the same pollution other energy sources typically do. The average U.S. household using a solar power system would reduce emissions by approximately eight pounds of sulfur dioxide, five pounds of nitrogen oxide and more than 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide each month.
6. Investing in solar energy can pay for itself
When you switch to a solar energy system, try not to take the initial price of installation at face value, because the overall amount you save in investing in solar power is actually where the value lies.
After you’ve had your solar panels installed, you will no longer have to pay a heating or electric bill and, after time, the amount you save on the electricity bill (which averages $1,300 per household annually), will pay off your initial investment of installing a solar energy system.
Additionally, those who buy solar panels could be eligible for a 30% tax break and some states even allow solar power owners to sell their excess solar energy – putting more money back into your pockets. They are even relatively low maintenance and getting a check-up is affordable.
7. Solar power can fuel airplanes
Solar energy goes beyond simply using solar power for home electricity purposes. It can also be utilized in vehicles. From cars to trains, and now even airplanes, more and more people are traveling using solely solar energy.
This application of solar power outside homes and office buildings is just a start to the unlimited potential solar technology has in changing our everyday lives for the better.
8. Installing solar can be a community effort
Solar energy is expanding from just individual systems for each home to community solar systems.
The concept of shared solar fits well in the ever-growing sharing economy that has risen in popularity over the past decade. Instead of homeowners installing their own solar panels, solar systems are being installed for entire communities to use to power their homes. So, why not talk to your neighbors and see who else wants to go solar on your block?
9. Solar panels produce approximately 10 kilowatts of energy per square foot
Kilowatts hours (kWh) are used to measure solar-powered electricity and most solar panels have approximately 225-watt capacities, with the ability to generate 20-watts per square foot.
To put that in perspective (and human speak for those, not in the energy industry), the average home needs about 30 solar panels to meet its own energy usage requirements.
10. The number of U.S. solar power installations is 23 times higher than eight years ago
Solar power continues to grow in popularity in the United States, which is currently the third-largest solar market in the world. With the price of solar energy systems getting lower, it is becoming a really appealing energy choice for Americans.
There is a lot more to those solar panels than you may have known.
After finding out about history about them, a bit of science behind the technology, solar energy’s current position in the market and its ability to grow, why not get on board with solar panels for your own home?
The chances of using solar energy as a major power source are still growing and Semper Solaris can help you become a part of the solar movement.
The results are in. Growing 12 times faster than the rest of the country’s economy, solar and other clean-energy jobs are among the fastest growing in the market. Energy jobs are putting more Americans to work as efforts turn toward sustainability issues, a trend that’s happening with solar power companies in San Diego.
In fact, according to an Energy and Employment Report for 2017, the solar industry now employs more workers than the oil, gas, and coal industries combined. Analysts see this growth in employment as a clear sign that renewable energy will soon replace fossil fuels.
The renewable energy sector is producing more employment opportunities per dollar invested, giving additional evidence the smarter investment is moving away from fossil fuels. Jobs in the sustainable energy market are spread across the country, well paying, and reach both manufacturing and executive levels. Because these opportunities are diverse, solar continues to be extremely attractive for all types of professionals looking to switch careers into this lucrative market.
How Solar Power Companies in San Diego Are Helping Create Jobs
Semper Solaris is proud to be leading the charge in the growing renewable energy sector. We have seen incredible growth over the last few years as one of the leading solar power companies in San Diego. Coupled with this boom has been an increase in the number of troops returning from deployment in the past two decades.
This is something that is near and dear to our hearts here at Semper Solaris. Why? We are a veteran-owned company that is founded on the Marine Corps motto of Semper Fidelis, or “always faithful.” That means we are faithful to our customers and employees, many of whom are veterans themselves.
Why do we focus so much on creating jobs for veterans? Quite simply, we believe in providing opportunities for those who have served our country and rewarding their sacrifice. They are uniquely qualified and deserve as much opportunity as their civilian colleagues. We take pride in paving the way for employing veterans in our industry and hope that other companies step up in a similar way.
We are confident that veterans make some of the most dedicated, disciplined, and faithful employees, bringing their military values to the forefront on every job. As solar power companies in San Diego continue to expand, we are determined to provide further job opportunities for troops returning home from serving our great country.
Interested in joining the Semper Solaris team? Want to find out what people say about us? Connect with Semper Solaris, your leading solar power company in San Diego and California solar provider.
You’ve probably heard that going solar could save you a lot of money by cutting back on your energy cost. With California reaching solar parity in 2015, locking in solar savings now only continues to expand your potential savings. Financing programs allow for a fixed cost while the electric companies continue to charge more for energy year after year. Additionally, the initial switch to solar energy is not the only benefit of investing in solar can provide you. If you are looking for the latest life hack to make some extra money on top of your energy savings, going solar may just be the golden solution.
With solar panels installed, you may be able to produce a profit from any excess energy your solar panels produce after a designated time. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
Can I Really Make a Profit from Going Solar?
If you are installing solar panels, not only will you reduce your long-term electricity costs, you may be able to sell your generated electricity back to your utility company for a profit. It’s simple: if your solar array produces more energy in a month than the amount used by your household, the excess amount is sold back to your utility company.
While there are restrictions in most states regarding this practice, California homeowners can take advantage of it by having the value of that electricity go towards other costs. Under the system known as Net Metering (currently used in California), net electricity costs can be reduced to zero, but cannot go any further. Once your solar panels have produced excess energy, your account will get a credit at full retail rates.
When you generate a net surplus of energy after a 12-month period, you can receive payment under special utility tariffs that have been put in place. So there you have it. Save money by switching to solar, continue earning money by selling your excess back to the power company, and you can be environmentally responsible at the same time. That’s a win-win-win!
Updates in Net Metering
Recently, California’s Net Metering system has undergone a few changes. Our state’s net metering policy is a crucial part of what made going solar so attractive for countless homeowners across California.
While the core has stayed the same, the major changes include the following:
Time-of-use (TOU) rates - Now, every homeowner with solar panels will have TOU rates for electric expenses. This means the amount they pay per kWh will be dependent on their utility.
Interconnection fees - Homeowners will also be required to pay a one-time “interconnection fee” when first getting their panels hooked up to the electric grid.
Non-bypassable charges (NBC) - Homeowners will now be required to pay these NBCs only for the kWh of electricity provided by the utility when energy usage exceeds what is produced by their solar panels.
According to the California Solar Energy Industries Association, these changes are estimated to only impact expenses by around $10 a month in comparison to the original policy.
Have more questions about going solar today? We have the answers - and great savings. Call Semper Solaris now to set up your free energy analysis!
As California continues to see the expansion of solar energy and more homeowners recognize the benefits, the industry continues its rapid growth. Semper Solaris has led the charge in the emerging market by establishing themselves as a top solar company in California. Our efforts were recently acknowledged with a positon on the prestigious Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list for 2017.
This list is reserved for companies across the country who have seen substantial financial growth. Among the companies awarded include leading mobile-gaminging companies, technology support providers, innovative production organizations, and our very own California-based solar company. It is an honor to be included on the inspiring list of “America’s greatest entrepreneurs” of the year.
Semper Solaris is incredibly proud to have ranked 712th for the 2017 Inc. 5000 and 17th among San Diego companies. Semper Solaris was founded in 2012 and we’re proud to have a 642% growth rate over the last three years. As the fastest growing licensed solar and roofing company in the state, we’ve been in the fortunate position to hire more veterans and help more customers save money on their electric bills!
Co-founder Kelly Shawhan attributes a growing recognition to the most recent success. “Semper Solaris has seen a tremendous amount of growth in the last couple years and it’s because the secret is out on solar energy.” He continued, “customers are seeing their electric bills drop to almost zero and know that they are working with a company they can trust.”
That secret is definitely out; the energy industry is currently ranked in the top three fastest growing industries in the U.S., posting a 174% increase.
Standing Out in a Competitive Energy Industry
Our veteran-owned company was founded with the mission to make harnessing solar energy more accessible to homeowners. More than that, we want to make sure our customer always comes first. As the leading solar panel dealer in California, Semper Solaris continues to make waves; both among the top companies in the U.S. and throughout our local community.
When it comes to being selected to the Inc. 5000, we know that operating with integrity, military values, treating our clients with great care, and bringing on a team of hardworking men and women (including many former military veterans) is pivotal to our success.
We are grateful for all our clients who have trusted us to provide solar installations over the years and are looking forward to continuing our growth even further for years to come!
Unplug electronics that still use electricity when plugged in. Even when your television is off, it could still use over 6 watts of electricity. Plug electronics into a surge protector and switch off the protector when they aren’t in use. Who knows how much energy your appliances are using up even when you think they’re off!
Wash clothes in cold water. According to EnergyStar, heating water is 90% of your washer’s energy usage. Wash all clothes in cold water whenever possible. Usually, this doesn’t affect the cleaning power. Plus, it stops clothes from fading as quickly.
Use a programmable thermostat. You could save 10% per year on your heating bills by turning down your thermostat eight hours per day. Set your thermostat to 78°F when you’re not home. Don’t want to come home to a warm house? Consider new “smart thermostats” that can be programmed from your phone. That way, you can set it on your way back from the office and your home will be cool when you get there.
Don’t leave the lights on. Sometimes the simplest changes can really help! Turn off lights when you leave the house—or even when you leave the room.
Replace baths with showers. The average bath uses up to fifty gallons of water. That’s twice as much as a low-flow shower. You could spend half as much energy heating up your water by replacing a few baths with showers instead.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs. Replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs can save lots of energy. LED light bulbs only use ¼ of the energy that traditional light bulbs use. Plus, they can last 25 times longer!
Use Energy Star appliances. Did you know that the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) started a program to help you save energy? It’s called EnergyStar. And it’s saved consumers over $362 billion dollars on utility bills since it began! Replace your appliances with their recommended energy-saving appliances to start saving.
Take some time outside the house. Small habits can make a big difference. Need to unwind? Consider taking a walk instead of watching TV a couple days a week. You’ll save energy while getting healthier.
Check with your electricity company to see if they offer financial aid. If you meet certain income guidelines, or are part of eligible public programs, you could qualify for help. Check with your electricity provider to see if they offer programs that can lower or subsidy your bills.
And the best way to lower your bill? Install solar panels! While all of these options can lower your bills, they can’t lower it as much as installing solar power. Solar energy is renewable energy that replaces the electricity you buy from the utility company. In fact, some customers even have the electric company paying them for their extra photovoltaic energy! Solar panel prices are lower than ever, while electric bills keep going up. Looking for a solar company? Get a free energy analysis from local and veteran owned Semper Solaris.