Many homeowners in California are interested in going solar, but solar panel system costs stop them in their tracks. It’s true that solar panels carry a big price tag, but is solar an investment that will eventually pay dividends? We believe that the answer is yes. Solar panels can provide financial savings in the long run, and their value extends much farther than nickels and dimes. Solar panels can also help you support great careers in your community and fight the devastating effects of climate change. Let’s look at all the ways solar panels can add value to your bank account, your community, and to the planet. But first, here’s a quick review of the costs associated with solar panels.
Leasing options do exist, but if you want to own your solar panels, you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket, take out a loan, or find another financing option.
While today’s solar panel system costs may seem high, you are actually getting an incredible deal! Solar power system costs have plummeted 60% over the last decade, while efficiency rates have climbed dramatically. That means today’s solar panels systems work better than ever and cost less money!
Of course, that might not make you feel better if you’re looking at a hefty price quote from a solar installer. Where are all these costs coming from?
The solar panels themselves are a major component of the cost of a solar system. The amount of your price quote will depend upon the energy needs of your home. Households that use more energy will require more solar panels. Additionally, the cost of solar panels will vary by brand. Just as with most consumer products, you’ll pay a premium for the top models.
A solar system consists of more than just solar panels. You’ll also need racking to keep the solar panels on your roof as well as an inverter that converts the energy the solar panels produce to the energy your appliances and electronics needs.
Your solar installation team will need to pull permits in order to satisfy the local building codes in your state and city.
It takes knowledge and expertise to assess your roof, design a solar panel system, and then to correctly install that system. An experienced installation company will ensure that the panels are placed on the roof to produce the maximum amount of energy and that the racking is installed correctly so as not to damage your roof.
If your roof is old or damaged, it is possible that it may need to be repaired or replaced before solar panels can be installed. Replacing a roof is a significant cost, but it will certainly be necessary anyway, whether or not you ultimately decide to move forward with solar panels.
Learn More: Do You Need a New Roof?
Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of where solar panel system costs come from, let’s look at the five reasons why solar panels can be a smart investment despite their daunting price tag.
The beauty of solar panels is that they effortlessly produce energy using an abundant and free resource – sunlight. Though you will have to pay the upfront costs for your solar panel system, as soon as the system is in place, you’ll begin saving each month.
Ideally, your solar panel system should produce the majority of the energy your home needs, meaning your energy bills will be extremely low or even non-existent. California makes it even easier to save big because it offers net metering.
In a nutshell, when your solar panels produce more energy than your household needs (usually in the middle of the day when the sun is out but fewer people are at home), that excess energy goes back into the grid, and you receive a credit from the utility company. During cloudy days or at night when your solar panels can’t produce the energy you need, you can pull energy from the grid. If you have the right size system, by the end of the year, your energy credits should mostly cancel out the debts.
All told, your solar panel system should eventually pay for itself through energy savings and then offer you a net value. Consider also that utility prices always go up. That means that the savings your solar system offers will only increase over time as energy prices increase.
Learn More – How to Reduce Your Electric Bill This Summer
One great way to think about solar panel system costs is not to imagine that money disappearing forever. Instead, you are banking a big chunk of that money in your home. That’s because initial research from the Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that homes with solar panels were worth up to $17,000 more than similar homes without solar panels.
Solar panels can increase the value of your home. That’s money you’ll get back if you decide to sell or even money you may be able to utilize if you refinance in the future. Keep in mind that this added home value comes on top of the energy savings you’ll enjoy each month!
One other thing to note is that replacing your roof also provides a spectacular return on investment for the cost. According to the well-regarded 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange roof replacement in the Pacific region of the United States offers a return of 79.3%.
Learn More – Homes Are Worth More with Solar Panels
Don’t believe everything you’ve heard. Rumors of the demise of government incentives for solar projects have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, the biggest incentive offered by the federal government has been extended by a year until 2020. This program allows you to deduct 30% of the full cost of installing your solar panel system from your tax bill. That means if your solar panel system costs $15,000, you can cut $4,500 from your tax bill. If your taxes are lower than the full amount of your deduction, you can even roll it over to the next year.
Learn More – Federal Renewable Tax Credit Extended Until 2020
Many local programs are also still up and running, including a program offered to all customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) that offers a one-time rebate of $0.25 per watt. Your solar panel installation team should be able to tell you about which incentives you qualify for. They should also handle all the steps to ensuring you qualify for the incentive.
Don’t let these opportunities pass you by. There’s a reason you may have heard that solar incentives don’t exist anymore. Many programs have wound down as their funds have been used. The federal program has only been extended for two more years, and it’s unclear when the LADWP program will be complete.
Let the government help pay for your solar panel system. Incentives help take some of the stings out of the initial setup cost of solar and allow your solar panel investment to pay off much sooner.
Learn More – What to Know About LADWP’s Solar Incentive Program
Let’s take a step back and consider the value of solar panels outside of the financial realm. Yes, it’s great to have a nearly non-existent energy bill each month, but solar panels can offer value in much more powerful ways. Like, helping you save the planet… at least a little.
Californians are already dealing with the effects of climate change. Our summers are growing hotter, and wildfire season has turned into a year-round event. We’re still recovering from the devastating 2017-2018 wildfire season even as flames rage across the state this summer, forcing Californians from their homes and stealing lives far too soon.
Solar panels use the clean, abundant energy of the sun to produce power, and by investing in solar panels, you can dramatically lower the carbon footprint of your home. In essence, investing in solar panels is an investment in a clean, stable future for yourself, your family, and all the generations to come.
Learn More – Growing Solar Energy Means Less Oil Dependency
When it comes time to purchase a solar panel system, consider hiring a local solar panel installation company. Investing in a local company means that you can support great, high-paying jobs in your community. The solar panel industry offers a variety of stable, well-paying careers and has a low bar to entry. Many solar jobs don’t require a college degree. The solar industry is also a popular career option for military veterans looking to transition back into civilian life. A thriving community provides endless value and makes your city a better place to live overall.
At Semper Solaris, we are proud to be a veteran-owned company that makes a special effort to hire veterans at our locations throughout California.
Learn More – Seven Inspiring Facts About Clean Energy Jobs
When you ask a solar installation company to assess your home for solar panels, prepare yourself for the price quote. That’s a lot of money, but don’t forget all the value that solar panels can offer you. The energy savings alone will eventually pay for the solar panel system costs, especially as the utility companies continue to hike prices. Also, keep in mind that some of that investment will go right back into your home in the form of increased value. Government incentives can also help take some of the stings off the initial purchase price, but only if you start the purchase process before they run out!
Your investment in solar panels is about more than dollar bills. Solar panels will help you lower your carbon footprint, making you a climate change warrior. Even small acts add up and can help preserve our future! Finally, your investment in solar panels is also an investment in your community if you choose a local installation company. The solar industry offers great jobs and can provide stable career opportunities for your neighbors and friends and help your community thrive.
Convinced that solar panels are well worth the cost? Then start the process of getting solar panels with a free, no-pressure energy consultation from Semper Solaris. We have opened locations throughout California to provide local solar and roofing expertise. Schedule your energy consultation today!
Semper Solaris is proud to be one of the top solar installers in Southern California. The demand for solar panel systems has never been greater; however, that also means the demand for information and insight on solar energy is also in high demand. We understand that homeowners have lots of questions before diving into the solar energy world – ranging from how much panels cost to how they actually work – which is why we strive to provide all the info they need to make informed decisions.
Coming from the powerful rays of the sun, solar energy is a free resource available across the globe. The only costs come from actually harvesting the power of the sun, such as manufacturing, installing, and maintaining a solar panel system. Even still, the fact that the sun is readily available to produce solar energy throughout the day is a reassuring fact in light of the depleting nature of fossil fuels.
Solar energy has many advantages and long-term benefits for the planet as a whole. Due to its minimal impact, solar is considered one of the most popular renewable energy sources. Because of this, solar has grown to be a leading renewable energy source, with states like California pushing to be completely renewable energy dependent in less than 30 years.
Not only is solar energy considered one of the top sources of renewable energy, but it also counteracts the Greenhouse effect on the earth’s climate. The recent global warming issue is thought to be caused greatly by human’s significant use of fossil fuels. In fact, solar energy doesn’t produce any pollution, which means it doesn’t harm the environment like other energy sources do. While there are other renewable energy sources on the market, solar energy is one of the most broadly accepted and used as technology continues to be developed for converting solar energy into electricity.
Unlike other home applications, solar panels require little to no maintenance, making them a hassle-free energy source. Solar panels convert power and send it to batteries that don’t need any service or tune-ups, allowing them to last for years with minimal work. Further, once a homeowner has had their solar panels installed and paid for, there are basically no recurring expenses.
When solar energy was first introduced, it was used by limited groups. Now, countless homeowners across the country have solar panels installed on top of their homes, allowing them to harvest the power of the sun on a daily basis. As the technology continues to improve and advancements are made in the conversion and storage of renewable energy, the cost of having solar panels installed will continue to become more attainable for homeowners and business owners alike. Solar also helps cut down expenses for homeowners, reducing electricity bills and giving them more control.
Povas Miknaitis served in the Marine Corps fro 6 years as a scout sniper. He served two combat tours, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
After his service, he became involved in the Warrior Foundation and also finished his education. He moved to Freedom Station after being released from the hospital.
The team at Semper Solaris was excited to hear that The Semper Cares initiative will be helping a fellow marine by installing a new solar panel system for his home.
On Independence Day, Povas received a new solar panel system, free of charge, by our Semper Cares Initiative, along with the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. We are extremely proud of the men and women who have served our country, and Povas is among many who deserve the goodwill of others for their patriotism and their sacrifice. Though we may not be able to reach out to all veterans, our efforts along with our partners are offering all that we can to our veterans and our communities.
Our Semper Cares Initiative was a huge success!
On July 3rd, we completed two goodwill projects and unveiled them to the public. Welcomed guests and the local press assembled to join the families and crew to celebrate these veterans and watch as the final solar panels were installed. The two unveiling celebrations radiated honor, pride, and patriotism for this country and for those who fought to defend it.
In partnership with Habitat for Humanity San Diego, we helped two veteran celebrate their Independence Day by unveiling a new roof and solar power system.
Veteran Carl Schaffrina’s roof was in serious need of replacement. Water leaks were proving physically and mentally demanding for the family. Semper Solaris teamed up with the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project to provide a complete new roof installation expected to last for more than 25 years.
In addition, Semper Solaris partnered with Panasonic of North America and SolarEdge to design a state-of-the-art solar system. Panasonic donated all the solar panels provided to Carl and his wife, Jodi. SolarEdge generously donated the DV-AC inverter hardware to complete the system. The project brought our San Diego community together by coordinating with San Diego Habitat For Humanity’s Veteran Project.
Former Marine sniper Povas Miknaitis, was given the opportunity to declare his independence from electric companies. Semper Solaris, in cooperation with SolarWorld, and SolarEdge, installed a complete solar panel system to his home in San Diego. This new system will help reduce electricity costs and improve his home’s value. Lowering Mr. Miknaitis’ electricity bills and helping him become more energy independent is especially valuable, since most veterans are on fixed incomes – one fewer bill means greater financial freedom. The Miknaitis project was coordinated with San Diego’s Warrior Foundation Freedom Station where Miknaitis was a beneficiary and is now a volunteer working with other wounded veterans.
We are proud of the men and women of our Semper Solaris team, our partners, and the veterans of this great nation. Stay tuned for future Semper Cares initiatives as we continue to help veterans in any way we can. At Semper Solaris, we take pride in our veterans, our veteran origins, and our veteran employees and their stories. As always, thank you for your service.
Have you noticed solar panels dotting a lot of the roofs in your neighborhood? If you want in on solar energy, you likely have some questions before you take out your checkbook.
As you research solar panels in California, you’ll notice that you have dozens of brands to choose from. And each solar panel brand comes with a different price tag. You want to get the best solar panels for your money, so how do you compare the cost of solar panels in California?
It can be confusing to accurately compare pricing on solar panels and to figure out what you’re really getting for your money. This is especially true if you receive wildly different quotes from different solar panel installation companies. Here’s everything you need to know to compare the cost of solar panels in California.
Before you can even start comparing solar panel pricing, you need to make sure everyone’s playing on the same field. First, make sure each quote you receive from a solar installation company gives you the same payment option. If one company quotes you a price to purchase the solar panels outright while another quotes you for leasing the panels, the price tag is going to be very different!
Next, double check that each installation company quotes you on the same solar power system size. The size of your solar system is a measure of how much energy the system will produce, and how many solar panels you need.
If solar Company A quotes you for a 5kW system (kilowatts per hour) while Company B quotes you for a 7kW system, then Company B’s quote is going to be a lot higher.
(Not sure what size solar power system you need? No problem! This article will help you figure out how many solar panels you need for your home.)
As you start looking at the price tag of individual solar panel brands, you’ll notice they can vary by quite a bit. As with most industries, within the solar world you have your top-tier brands of solar panels as well as workhorse models that will save you on costs upfront but may not offer the same level of efficiency or lifespan as the premium models.
The best way to directly compare costs between different brands of panels is to find the average cost per watt of each panel. This will give you a direct head-to-head comparison of what you’ll be paying for each watt of electricity your system produces.
For example, two of our best-selling solar panel brands at Semper Solaris are SolarWorld and LG Solar. With SolarWorld, you can expect an average cost of $5.62 per watt before tax credits are calculated into the equation. LG Solar offers you a slightly better deal at $4.09 per watt before tax credits.
Does this mean that LG Solar is a better deal than SolarWorld? Not necessarily. A savvy consumer knows that an item’s price tag is only part of the story.
If you were in the market for a new car, you probably wouldn’t just pick the cheapest option on the lot. Instead, you’d look for a car with all the features you want. The same logic holds true for solar panels. Cost is part of the equation, but there are other factors to consider; one of the most important is the type of warranty offered.
Most solar panel manufacturers provide some form of warranty on their panels, which guarantees that the panels will meet certain levels of efficiency for a certain amount of time. The length of the warranty varies from brand to brand.
Panasonic, for example, offers a 25-year warranty on all of its panels, the longest warranty currently available in the industry. Compare that to other lower-cost brands that offer warranties as little as five years. If you plan on living in your current home for more than five years, you’ll probably want a longer warranty so your panels don’t just become roof art if they should break or degrade over time.
A warranty gives you peace of mind in your solar panel investment and also demonstrates the quality and pride a manufacturer has in their product. Panels with longer warranties tend to be more expensive, but you’re also getting a premium product.
A low-quality solar panel that will quickly lose efficiency or break down isn’t worth your investment, but how do you know which solar panels are the Cadillacs and which are the lemons? A great starting place is your solar panel installation specialist. As you search or solar installation companies, ask the representatives which solar panels they recommend. Each solar panel installation specialist will have their own favorite brands, but they can also give you inside information on many different brands on the market.
Another great resource are homeowners who have already purchased the solar panels you are considering. Check out SolarReviews for feedback from real-life homeowners. These reviews and the advice of your solar installation specialist can help you understand the true value of different solar panel brands.
The cost of your solar panels is only part of the price that come with installing panels on your California home. You’ll also need to pay for the installation and accessory parts. Don’t overlook these costs during your price comparison!
It’s also wise to do your homework on the installation company. As with the solar panels, when it comes to solar installation companies, cheaper usually isn’t better! Semper Solaris, for example, is the only company to ever win the National Dealer of the Year Award two years in a row.
Finally, make sure to ask each installation company about the rebates and incentives they offer. Here at Semper Solaris, we are excited to extend to our customers $500 off our installation services. We also provide additional discounts to veterans and first responders, and provide a variety of zero-down financing options. We even offer additional discounts if you discover that you need a new roof and use us to install it.
Solar panels are a big investment, so do your homework before you make your purchase. As a savvy solar panel customer, make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to financing and the size of your solar panel system. Look at the average cost per watt to get a true price comparison between different solar panel brands, but don’t decide on price alone! If you wouldn’t buy the cheapest car in the lot, don’t automatically buy the cheapest solar panel. Instead, look at additional factors to get a true sense of each brand’s value, including its warranty and its reputation.
Still not sure which solar panels are the right pick for your energy needs and budget? If you live in California, sign up for a free energy analysis. We’d love to tell you about which solar panel brands we recommend to our clients and use on our own homes!
California is no stranger to solar panels. Los Angeles, the largest city in the Golden State, is helping to lead the way in solar power system adoption.
The rising popularity of solar panel installation in Los Angeles is fitting, given various factors including government incentives, favorable climate and the global effort to reduce carbon emissions, and the city’s influence in growing the solar industry in general also holds significant value.
The Los Angeles area has played a historic role in solar power commercialization. Dating all the way back to 1979, the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility was constructed in Camarillo, California, just north of L.A. in Ventura County.
Additionally, the city played a further role popularizing solar in California when the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worked with the Department of Energy, Southern California Edison, and the California Energy Commission to design the Solar One program that was the first to test a large-scale thermal solar tower, power plant in 1981. Supplementing the overall spread of solar energy in California, the state’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company created the first-ever, grid-supported photovoltaic system, considered the first “distributed power” PV installation.
With all these foundations for solar energy technology in place, it was just a matter of time before the city’s residents could really start to benefit from this alternative form of electricity.
Even though its setting would imply otherwise, solar panel installation in Los Angeles wasn’t necessarily the most popular in most recent decades.
In 2012, L.A. didn’t make the U.S. Department of Energy’s top 25 “Solar America Cities,” while both San Diego and San Francisco did. The reasons behind this could be attributed to high-cost solar power previously held and the city’s larger use of the cheapest form of energy produced from coal.
With more recent and significant dips in the cost of solar energy – along with the rising electricity rates – a positive shift toward installing solar energy has taken up momentum. The need for cleaner air in the well-known pollution-filled city of L.A. has further helped to drive the switch to solar energy.
In September 2010, an executive order signed by the city’s Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and approved by the California Air Resources Board, required the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to produce at least one-third of its energy by 2020. To do this, the city partnered with UCLA to study the feasibility of an incentive program for promoting distributed solar energy usage.
Pro-solar, statewide initiatives were also a major supplement to these city-driven mandates—the main one being the California Solar Initiative (CSI) as well as the overall Go Solar California campaign. The CSI program works to benefit customers of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
Outside California and the U.S., an overall shift toward adopting sustainable energy is happening around the world.
In 2015, nearly every country in the world participated in the first global pact, the Paris Climate Agreement, that was aimed toward reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. With this accord, each country would make a conscious effort to set goals toward decreasing their carbon footprint in order to slow down the possible negative impact on the earth’s atmosphere.
Organizations and businesses around the world have also caught on to this trend of innovating their operations and products to be environmentally friendly.
Tesla, for example, is a company that prides itself on creating technologies that work to accelerate the universal transition to sustainable energy. It has invented multiple products like electric cars that run on clean energy and is currently in the process of producing a stationary battery for powering the home.
SpaceX’s Hyperloop One reinvention of transportation using alternative electricity sources and technology is currently being tested and the concept could come to fruition in the very-near future.
Another trend toward sustainability lies in waste-to-energy conversion. To address a growing crisis in waste management around the world, cities and governments are finding ways to turn trash to “gas”—to reduce waste and emit less emissions.
These alternative solutions for energy are addressing the world’s issues and are helping to keep momentum toward making sustainable energy sources the norm. Meanwhile, the increasing need to stay connected and share information is helping to fuel the trend to “go green” and helps consumers to understand the negative impacts certain types of energy sources could have on the earth.
With Los Angeles being one of the major cities within the United States, it can be looked at as a leader in sustainable practices, starting with a greater adoption of solar panels in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles upholds a reputation of holding forward-thinking ideals, with its people being on the pulse of the latest trends, technologies and news.
With increased energy costs, government-mandated initiatives and incentives to go solar in place there is a general shift toward sustainable energy throughout the country. And this perfect storm has created this rising popularity of solar panels in Los Angeles.
If you are looking to contribute to the positive momentum and be a hero in your own right, give us a call for solar panel installation in Los Angeles.
Semper Solaris is the most trusted solar power company in Los Angeles County, with unmatched expertise in solar power. We’ll get you on your way to saving not only money via lower electricity bills but also to drastically reducing your negative environmental impact via the switch to solar.
The abundant sun and ideal climate makes California a fairly easy place to decide to switch from traditional to solar energy. The harder part, though, is choosing which of the solar power companies in California is the best for your solar installation.
Competition is fierce and the vetting process can get overwhelming when you sift through all the options. To ensure you make the right choice, here are the top four qualities a legitimate, reliable and high-quality solar power company should have.
Googling “solar power companies in California” is likely the first step you take in your search for solar energy services. When the search results come up, and you click individual businesses that can fulfill solar panel needs, do your due diligence and see if the company has a good reputation.
There are various angles you can look at that reflect the reputation of a business. Look at reviews and testimonials not only on the company’s website, but also from outside sources like Yelp. Also, check if there have been any mentions in the news for the solar businesses you find.
For example, a solar company may be featured or talked about in a niche solar power publication. If the article is favorable to that company, it’s a good sign that they are likely reliable and respected in the solar community. How long an installer has been in the industry can also be indicative of the quality of work they will prov
In addition to internet research, keep your ears open for word-of-mouth buzz about solar power companies. California is an obvious place for solar installation and those neighbors of yours may have used a reliable and trustworthy installer in the past.
Don’t discount first-hand accounts of the work a specific solar company can do—a lot of times, it’s a more powerful source than anything you can find online
As you do your research on solar installation providers, find out what type of solar panels and products each one is using. Remember that the quality of the products being installed is just as important as the quality of labor being provided.
When assessing different solar power companies in California, check if prospective companies will provide a free evaluation.
This is a good sign that a business doesn’t just provide the installation, but that it also offers expertise on the matter. The solar panel company should be able to provide an evaluation and options for the type of solar panels that are best fit for your house. The amount of space where solar panels can be installed is a huge factor and will inform which category of solar panels to be used.
Additionally, when a company uses solar panels that use the latest technology—it’s a good indication that they care that you get only the best product. Many top-rated solar panel manufacturers guarantee that the latest technology is used when it comes to solar energy.
Finally, aside from the actual solar panels, look to see if a company uses roofing and installation products that promote durability. This factor is crucial to building a solid foundation for your solar panels to be placed on.
What sets a good solar power company apart from a great one is the personal attention a company provides you.
The relationship between you and your solar company should be a strong one, built on trust. Look for solar power companies in California that are known to constantly keep communication open with their customers and make their customer’s happiness a priority.
Semper Solaris’ motto focuses on core values like trust, loyalty and a hard work ethic. We believe in making solar a personal matter, engaging with customers face-to-face on a regular basis in order to establish a relationship that transcends beyond just solar installation. By doing this, we have the ability to address any issues immediately and provide greater quality service to each and every customer we work with.
Be sure to weed out legitimate solar panel installers from other ones by checking certifications.
In California, for example, some installers may be certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) to install photovoltaic (PV) and solar-thermal systems. This certification guarantees that they have at least one year of experience installing systems, have passed an exam and continue their education in solar panel installation for recertification every three years.
A solar company should also hold general contracting, electrician and home improvement licenses as well as general liability insurance. Holding the proper certifications for such large home upgrade is crucial to ensuring that your solar panels are installed with the best quality labor that can be provided.
As you go about your search for solar power companies, California’s saturated market can be an intimidating place to look. The installer you choose should have specific qualities, one of which includes a focus on providing personal attention and high-quality work with top-of-the-line solar panels.
Additionally, a solar company’s employees should be qualified in the special trade work that’s about to be done on your home. It’s easy to assume that the labor you hire already holds those certifications, but double check on your end to avoid any problems with installation.
Not all solar power companies are the same. Trusted work and reputation among the industry will help guide you in picking the right one to upgrade to the new way to save on home energy needs.
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