There is nothing like a beautiful, sunny day in Santa Monica. While there may be a lot of them, we still never grow tired of the consistent sunshine! One of the main reasons? It means we can help our customers continue to harvest the power of the sun for their benefit! With how expensive the electricity bills can be in this community, there is no doubt going solar is a serious attraction.

As the fastest-growing solar contractor in Santa Monica, Semper Solaris is ready to help you make your community greener and take maximum advantage of solar savings. While going solar may feel like a big, complicated decision, we like to take the confusion out of the equation. Our goal is to make the solar process and investment as simple as possible for our customers to understand and determine whether it’s right for their circumstances. We’ll walk you through each and every step to ensure you are comfortable with it!

Learn about our current offers or find out how you can go solar by calling our experts today!

Perks of Installing Solar Panels

Having solar panels installed on your home can be extremely beneficial. There are countless benefits you’ll reap from this investment — that includes everything from creating a more eco-friendly home to extra cash back in your pocket every month. Take a look at the wide range of solar benefits below!

Real Savings on Long Term Expenses

Looking for a way to reduce your energy bills? Having solar panels installed will greatly cut down on your monthly electricity costs. Electric company rates are predicted to have a steady increase throughout the next years, and being dependent on volatile rates and unable to dimish your electric use can be extremely damaging to your personal finances. Renewable energy allows you to break that cycle — to take charge of your energy source, to monitor your energy production, to understand how much you’re using and producing and to adjust your habits accordingly. On top of that, you’re no longer paying for that electricity: what you produce is yours, and whatever is leftover, you sell back to the electric company.

No Waiting Period for Savings

If you are on the fence about the upfront investment, solar purchase power agreements and leasing options allow you to get more affordable green energy through solar panels right away. You can enjoy all the benefits of solar with a simple “pay-as-you-go” model to take the financial burden off your shoulders and enjoy more immediate savings. A third-party company will actually own the system, but you’ll be able to buy the more affordable solar energy, saving you money month to month.

Reasonable Payback Timeline & Cost

For those who do want to buy their own solar panel system, the option can be very affordable and reasonable. With all the incentives, rebates, and savings, the payback period is often much quicker than homeowners even realize. This means all their savings on electricity goes right back into their pockets!

Boost to Home Value

As a prospective homebuyer, seeing that a house has a solar panel system in place can be very appealing. They can step into a smart home that will offer lower electricity bills, ultimately making it a much more attractive purchase. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes with solar panels were able to sell not only 17% faster, but for 20% more than comparable homes without panels installed.

Numerous Incentives Available

The most attractive incentive is no doubt the Federal Solar Tax Credit, which allows you to deduct a percentage of the total cost of your solar panel system (including equipment and solar installation expenses). That automatically takes out a huge chunk of the solar panel system cost! This credit is set to expire soon, however, so make sure you take advantage of it while still available. California is also determined to expand its reputation as a “green” and energy-conscious state, offerings rebates and incentives alongside the Federal Solar Tax Credit and local rebates for Santa Monica residents.

Proven Performance & Savings

Though they are constantly exposed to the elements, solar panels are designed to be sturdy and long-lasting. Typical solar panel manufacturers stand by their products with extensive warranties, often around 20 to 25 years. These performance guarantees give homeowners peace of mind that their panels are designed to perform exceptionally well for decades to come. And that’s just guaranteed performance, as solar panels are able to last much longer!

Protects Environment & Keeps Local Community Green

Santa Monica is a beautiful area to live in. Protecting that natural beauty is important, and going solar is one of the ways you can help promote a more sustainable future. It may seem small, but every house and every neighborhood can make a big difference for Southern California in the long run. Renewable energy options like solar panels cut back on air and water pollution that traditional fossil fuels emit. Not only is renewable energy good for the environment, but it’s also great for public health, reducing air pollution and protecting precious water supplies.

Provides More Energy Independence

Electricity costs are currently volatile, with some uncertainty about future expenses to homeowners. That means going solar is more valuable than ever before. Having solar panels allows you to take control back over your electricity costs from utility companies. Even with net metering and time-of-use rates, having solar energy gives you much more peace of mind with your primary electricity use coming from your solar panels or solar credit from your panels. With the always-improving solar battery storage technology, you can further increase your energy independence and decrease reliance on the grid!

Why Wait When You Can Start Saving Right Away?

Helping the local Santa Monica community doesn’t have to be time-consuming or costly. Going solar can be a great way to help support the environment and your wallet at the same time! The incentives and tax credits still available for homeowners in California make it an ideal time to invest in solar panels. If you are interested in learning more about how installing solar panels in Santa Monica can help you save, add value to your home, and benefit your community, reach out to our team. We can walk you through each and every step of the process and help you select the right panels and system size for your home needs and budget.

Semper Solaris is always just a quick call away. Get expert solar guidance today!

So you’ve already figured out the solar panel advantages of more affordable and renewable energy, but how do you put that cleaner energy to good use? Some people have found extremely creative and innovative solar uses. From charging cell phone batteries on the go to powering outdoor street lights to moving buses, trains, and airplanes along, solar power can go the distance.

Residential solar panel systems also offer many advantages, from reducing monthly electricity costs to providing a cleaner way to power additional appliances such as swimming pools. Homeowners can greatly benefit from all the solar uses available to them.

Top Innovative Home Uses of Solar Power

Solar energy importance cannot be denied — our environment is in danger of serious negative side effects if fossil fuel use isn’t curbed. Further, our health could greatly depend on cleaner, renewable energy sources like solar. That’s why it is important to put your solar panel produced power to thorough and good use!

Some innovative solar energy uses include:

While you could opt to have any of these self-contained solar appliances, you could also go fully solar and power your entire home with solar energy in place of traditional grid electricity. Using a converter, the energy will be turned into regular electricity, with any excess sent to your local grid. With this approach, you could even earn credits for any solar panel produced electricity you don’t use. This means all your appliances, from your home water heater to your stovetop could be run off of clean, renewable solar energy.

Put Solar Energy to Work for You

While having one or two appliances run by solar power can sound like a great cost-saving opportunity, why stop there? With growing solar technology and extended federal tax credits, it has never been more affordable to switch to solar power. We can help you assess your electricity usage and solar panel needs to determine how going solar could save you money. By switching your entire household to solar dependency, you help reduce your footprint and maximize your electricity savings.


If you would like more solar energy information, feel free to reach out to our experts at Semper Solaris today.

Can You Make Money From Your Solar Panels?

Going solar is a major step towards a more sustainable energy source and monthly utility savings. For many homeowners, adding solar panels to their property provides major savings and improves the value of their home. With net metering, you are also able to get credits per kWh of electricity your solar panels produce. These credits go directly towards your energy bill, cutting back on your costs.

So what happens when your solar panels go above and beyond, producing and sending even more electricity to the grid than your entire household uses any given month? While it would be ideal if selling energy to your own utility company was possible, that currently isn’t an option available here in California.

However, the average household solar panel system doesn’t typically generate enough unused electricity to actually create a profit from selling that extra energy to their companies. While energy-consciousness or smaller households may be able to cover all utility expenses with their solar panel systems, most consumers are aiming more realistically to majorly cut down their monthly costs rather than eliminate them (you would need a very large system for this).

Capitalizing on Your Solar Investment

According to statistics, the average American family has to fork out more than $1,430 a year for their electricity expenses alone. On top of that, the cost of electricity has risen by 2.2% per year across the nation. With the threat of continual spikes in energy prices and the burden of more harmful energy resources on our planet, investing in solar probably seems like a very attractive option.

Even though you won’t necessarily be able to earn extra money from your solar panels, you can make your investment worthwhile by capitalizing on all the savings and solar rebates available to you.

Some of the ways you can save on solar:

The Investment Tax Credit is obviously the most appealing solar credit to homeowners. You are able to claim 30% of the home solar panel system price through a tax credit. Even if you don’t have enough tax credit to claim the whole credit for one year, you can roll it over into the next year.

Find Out How You Can Save With Solar

With the cost of electricity continuing to rise, now is the time to start thinking seriously about how creating a solar profit. For an average household and solar panel system size in California (6-kilowatt system), homeowners meeting above 90% of their energy needs can expect to save around $13,000 over the first 6 years and around $29,420 by the 20-year mark.

Though savings can vary based on energy demands, electricity rate fluctuation, and various other factors, the savings available through going solar are very real. Interested in learning more? Our Los Angeles solar installers would love to give you more information.

 

What Is Net Metering?

Solar panel systems are designed to provide cleaner and more affordable energy to homeowners. So what are ways homeowners can save even more? Net metering is one of the most appealing aspects of going solar in California. Why? Because net metering allows homeowners to receive bill credits back on any additional electricity produced by their solar panels. Essentially, any energy their panels produce that isn’t used up by their household demands is able to be funneled back to them as a credit for low production times or surplus.

There have been some slight changes to the original net metering policy for California. The original net metering allowed a bill credit for one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity for every kWh your solar panels produced and fed to your local grid. Any excess amount would be applied to the times when you had to draw upon the grid instead of the solar power grid.

With net metering 2.0, the core of the original policy remains the same – essentially credits are still equivalent. The new policy also helps prevent grid access charges, capacity fees, and other charges that don’t favor homeowners. However, the three new features – time-of-use rates, interconnection fees, and non-bypassable charges – do add some expense for homeowners. California Solar Energy Industries Association estimates expenses will increase by around $10 a month for the average homeowner.

How Net Metering Can Still Save You Money

Over the lifetime of a solar system, a homeowner could save thousands of dollars in electricity expenses through net metering. If your solar panels are able to produce a significant enough amount, you could end up having the majority of your bill covered, if not entirely covered.

For example, say you have to draw 800 kWh of electricity from the grid throughout the month of November during the times when your solar panels aren’t producing electricity (on those cloudier days). If you are able to export 600 kWh of energy throughout the course of the same month, you could cover a majority of your bill, only being charged for the net difference of 200 kWh. Again, some months your solar panels may be able to produce an equal amount to completely cover your usage needs, especially during those sunnier months.

Understanding Time-of-Use Rates

So what are time-of-use rates and how will they impact you? Under net metering 2.0, time-of-use billing is used to charge customers more for peak hour usage and less for off times. Under the solar billing cycle, you could greatly benefit because your solar system will typically generate more power during peak hours (or more expensive windows) depending on your area. That means you can avoid the higher charges and have more credits stored up for when you need to use them during low production hours (ideally off-peak times so they go further).

Unfortunately, this could also mean that if you use a lot of energy in the early evening and your panels don’t produce much energy during this time of day, you could be paying more than you previously did. The best bet? Review your net metering time-of-use rates and adjust to the peak and off-peak hours to ensure you maximize your savings.

More questions about net metering? Let the Semper Solaris experts provide insight. Call us today to speak to a solar professional in San Diego.

EMERGING SOLAR TECHNOLOGY

The future of Solar energy is promising as solar becomes more efficient, bringing with it innovation and the latest trends in solar technology. New chip technology, micro-inverters, and improvements to solar tech products are promising better and more efficient solar ideas. And looking to the future, groundbreaking technologies for building materials are on the horizon.

Fresh new designs make rooftop solar more attractive.

 

Bifacial solar panels

Also called double-sided panels, bifacial solar panels capture sunlight through both sides.  They produce more energy than standard panels offering more savings on the cost of energy.

 

All glass solar panels

Glass panels have a  sleek design that is more attractive and durable than regular silicon cell panels.  These can are used in creative ways such being built into skylights. They also are less prone to degradation and offer fire resistance as well.

 

Frameless solar panels

If you don’t like the unattractive solar frames in rooftop panels, frameless solar sections use a unique mounting that looks more lustrous and matches the system for a modernized appearance.

 

Clear solar panels

Clear solar panels are frameless and visually appealing. They are enclosed in glass.  They use the same technology as standard panels, but the cells are inserted between to glass casings instead of opaque backing.

 

Solar skin

New technology brings designs for a custom look to match your roof to your solar panel system with smart grids that are smaller than traditional panels.  A few companies are pioneering this

 

Solar Shingles

These designer solar roof panels are set apart from other panel innovations. You can go solar without even noticing it on the roof.  Tesla’s tiles are more durable than roof materials and will blend in with the style of your home. They are made with many styles of glass including textured and smooth glass and are one of the next great trends in solar.

 

Solar windows

Look for this amazing technology that makes sense. Solar windows generate electricity as the sun comes shining through the special hi-tech coating embedded in the glass.

 

There is a vision beyond the solar products you can acquire for your home or business or gadgets and inventions that we use in our lives.  Pioneering research is paving the way for newer and better ways to reduce and eliminate the carbon footprint and offer a quality of life that is environmentally safe and maintainable.

 

Hornets And Grasshoppers

 

As we move forward in meeting the world’s energy needs and addressing sustainability and climate control, scientists are looking to nature for answers. It is apparent that we will need more and more electricity.  We are accustomed to relying on electricity for the things we use each day—like turning on the air conditioner. And as the temperatures rise in the cities—that is not about to change.

 

Architect and Biologist Doris Kim Sung has looked to human anatomy for answers in the functioning of human skin and creating materials that work the same way.   She has designed what is called a “Thermal Bimetal Skin” which can be used in architecture to regulate temperatures much in the way our skin functions to control the temperature in the body. It uses no electricity at all and can help control the temperatures in buildings to cut down on power used for heating and cooling systems. She is also looking to the respiratory system of grasshoppers for ideas on ventilation in buildings.

 

Scientists have found that some hornets use sunlight to produce electricity inside its exoskeleton.  In an experiment, a solution was extracted then placed n a solar cell conductor, when exposed to light, the pigment in the solution generated electricity. Extracting energy from plants, animals and insects and biogenic solar cells made from living bacteria are in the sphere of scientific discovery.

 

Electrical capability from solar and other renewable sources is outdoing those from fossil fuels. Solar energy is one of the least expensive energy choices. Saving money and advances in solar technology leading to more options for the homeowner,  make it an attractive option for homeowners in Escondido where sunshine  is abundant.

 

From wearables to solar-powered cars.  Solar tech is on the move. And Semper Solaris is a leader in providing the best solar products and installation.  Call us today to begin taking advantage of the future of renewable energy—and go solar.

HOW TO GET MORE FROM YOUR SOLAR POWER

If you have a rooftop solar installation or are considering a solar system in your Temecula home, you are already are aware of the money you will save on utility bills.  The more the sun shines on your solar panels, the more electricity they generate, and you can improve the effectiveness of your system and using the best practices for optimum solar energy efficiency. Your solar installer will help you choose the best location for your panels for the best value.

Here Are Some Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Solar Power System

ENERGY USAGE

Find out when your solar panels are the most productive. There are smart apps that will monitor your solar energy panels by showing how much power the panels generate, how much power you use, and how much goes back to the grid.  Then you will know when your system is the most productive.

Adjust your power usage. Find out which devices or appliances in your home use the most power and use them when your solar system is generating the most.  You can also program appliances to run during those times with smart apps.

Coordinate your Time of Use rates with your Solar System’s optimum output to run your most expensive appliances like washer and dryer during the times of lowest rates.

Stagger your consumption. Using many appliances and devices at the same time could lead to using more power than your system is generating causing you to use more expensive energy from your utility provider.

Use smart plugs or power strips for standby electrical devices so they can be off instead of pulling electricity when not in use.  TV’s, DVD players, and other devices on standby can add to your monthly consumption unnecessarily. With a smart plug, you can keep your DVR plugged in while the other devices are off until you intend to use them.

Use timers on your appliances and run during your optimum solar generation.

Led lights only use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last a lot longer.

Motion sensor lights in hallways and on your porch will cut down on unnecessary lighting.

Energy Star appliances use nearly 40 percent less energy.

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT                                  

Weatherize your home.  Don’t lose what your panels generate through leaky windows or doors.

Keep your panels clean by clearing debris, such as leaves or branches or dirt to avoid a reduction in energy yield.  You can schedule a cleaning with your solar panel provider or consider installing a cleaning system

Keep trees and foliage trimmed, so they aren’t blocking or shading your panels from the sun and ensure falling branches do not damage your panels.

Store power for your home to make up for when your panels are not generating enough energy. Semper Solaris can install an LG Chem or Tesla Powerwall backup battery for surplus power. The combination of solar panels with a backup battery can meet nearly 90 percent of your energy needs when you need more.

Get a 25-year warranty with Semper Solaris solar power installations.

Temecula homeowners are joining the solar revolution.  If you have not installed solar in your home, prices are lower than they ever have been with rebates and tax incentives.  Call Semper Solaris for an evaluation of your home and take advantage of lower energy costs and reduced carbon footprint. We can help join your neighbors and go solar.

Having solar panels installed on your home may sound like a good idea, but will it really save you money in the long run? The upfront investment for an average solar energy system in the Bay Area is around $18,000. That home size typically sees a monthly electric bill of about $150. So how do the savings pan out? True, $18,000 is no small chunk of change; however, that price tag doesn’t take the whole picture into consideration.

 

To really understand how much you could save with solar, you have to look at several factors, from NEM 2.0 to federal tax credits. Let’s take a closer look at the long-term investment and payback of a solar panel system below.

Incentives & Rebates Available to Bay Area Homeowners

One of the biggest draws of a solar panel system is that you get to see your utility bill cut down. Net metering allows you to take advantage of any additional energy you produce that isn’t used up by your household. You’ll be given credits from your electric company to cover any electricity demands you have outside of your solar production (i.e. at night or cloudier days).

 

Another reason going solar is more affordable than you think? The rebates and incentives. The Solar Investment Tax Credit — which is a 30% tax credit for solar systems — is a serious perk. Keep in mind that this tax credit will start to be scaled back after 2019, dropping to 26% in 2020 and further from there. That means the time is now to take advantage of this big tax break.

 

Live in San Francisco? Great news — you could receive another major rebate. GoSolarSF is an initiative that encourages homeowners to install solar panels, offering $300 per kilowatt for average homeowners and an extra $2,000 per kilowatt for any residences who are considered low-income. Additional rebates are available for various factors of the project With these rebates and the federal tax credit, those upfront costs could be majorly rolled back.

Don’t Forget the Added Home Value

In addition to rebates and cash savings, you also have to consider the perk of increased home value. Down the road, if you want to sell your home, you could be looking at a serious boost in how many potential buyers are willing to put down for your home. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy did a study that showed homes with solar panel energy systems can increase in value by around $4 per watt. The average system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts, which could mean up to $20,000 in added home value that buyers are ready and willing to pay. That’s a value increase in addition to the energy savings you’ve already taken advantage of over the years!

Find Out How Much You Could Save Today

The amount of money you could save by having a solar panel system install can vary based on a number of factors. For example, the average savings from the lifespan of a home’s 5.7-kilowatt system in the Bay Area lands you around an estimated $72,000. This number can fluctuate based on the size of the solar panel system you install, how much energy your household uses, and even unforeseen changes like spikes in inflation on utility power rates from PG&E.

The point is, the savings are real. Exactly how much will you save? Semper Solaris can help you get a better idea when you reach out to our team about your solar options.

There is no denying that electrical costs in San Diego and nearly all of Southern California are on the rise. As the state continues to move towards renewable energy resources like solar, the cost for grid-tied, traditional electricity continues to rise.

San Diego residents are going to see clear spikes in their electric bills over the next few years. In fact, you’ve probably already noticed some serious increases with San Diego Gas & Electric. SDGE has even requested another round of major rate increases that would go into place in 2019. The increases would total up to 28% by 2022, which means major cost increases for San Diego residents.

 

It is pretty clear that having solar panels installed is now more crucial than ever for residents who don’t want to see such major spikes in their energy bills. Our 

 

San Diego solar company is happy to help local homeowners understand their options when it comes to going solar.

Take Advantage of Cost-Saving Opportunities

While solar providing savings by cutting back on electrical expenses, there are also other cost-saving opportunities that can make going solar even more affordable and attractive to homeowners. Semper Solaris is extremely familiar with installer solar panel systems in San Diego. We’ve helped countless customers take advantage of lowering their SDGE bills and know the process inside and out.

Solar is Worth it in San Diego!

 

Making solar worthwhile can include capitalizing on rebates and tax credits offered to residents. These include the 30% federal solar tax credit and the NEM 2 net metering law passed that helps homeowners to sell their excess electricity produced by their panels. You can also see if you qualify for the numerous other programs for San Diego residents.

So how can you tell if it will be worth the investment for your home? The biggest factor is ensuring the cost of installation is covered and exceeded by the production of your solar panels. That means some factors like panel type and size, roof size and adjustments needed, weather, functionality over a 25-year period, and financing choices all come into play. If you payback your solar panels in an average of 5 to 6 years, you could be looking at significant savings over the lifespan of solar panels.

Find Out How Much You Can Save with Solar

At Semper Solaris, we make it our mission to help our customers truly maximize their savings on solar. That means we will go over your options when it comes to selecting the right solar panel type, battery storage options, and potential rebates and offers that may apply to you. We want to make sure that going solar is worthwhile for you. Interested in finding out just how much you could save on your electric bills by having solar panels installed? We are here to provide the answers. Connect with Semper Solaris today to learn more.

As one of the leaders of solar power usage, San Diego has added another piece of renewable energy infrastructure to the city. The San Diego Padres’ Petco Park began installation of a new 336,520-watt solar power system in January of this year and wrapped up the project by March, ahead of Opening Day for the team. This is just another example of the Padres commitment to leading the league in energy sustainability. The new solar polar system is now considered the biggest system in the Major League Baseball.

 

Exactly how big was the project? To put it in perspective, more than 715 high-efficiency solar modules were used, each generating up to 470-watts of energy. It is projected to generate 330 kilowatts of solar power, which is sufficient to cover the energy needs of the whole front office for the Padres. In the next 25 years, the system is estimated to produce more than 12 million kilowatt hours, resulting in millions of dollars in savings throughout its years of usage.

 

For San Diego, this is a great achievement in promoting energy sustainability. Petco Park is considered one of the top sporting venues in the city, making a serious statement about their dedication to promoting cleaner energy and capitalizing on the real savings offered by solar power.  

San Diego Leads the Way in Solar Power

As the eighth largest city in the U.S., San Diego is poised to make a serious impact when it comes to renewable energy. The current population sits just around 1.4 million, with nearly 490,220 households – many of which are considering adding solar panels to their properties. The goal of the city to become more sustainable should come as no surprise after Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s words: “San Diego continues to lead the way on climate action as we march toward our ultimate goal of 100 percent renewable energy.”

He hopes that Petco Park’s commitment to this vision will help spur other major business and homeowners to take similar action. The Mayor and all of San Diego are looking towards a future goal of cutting greenhouse gases in half by the year 2035. He also aims to have the city run on 100 percent renewable energy by this time. Though his goals are ambitious, it’s a vision that is resonating with more and more San Diego residents, especially considering the rising cost and impact of traditional electricity production.

Join the Clean Energy Movement

The great news about the solar movement? It doesn’t just benefit the environment and make San Diego’s energy consumption more sustainable — it also makes it more affordable and can even put money back in the pocket of homeowners thanks to Net Metering laws. What more incentive do you need to join the clean energy movement? Going solar in San Diego can help you protect your beautiful city and your long-term savings all in one.


Ready to join the movement? Start by learning how much going solar can save you. Give Semper Solaris a call today.

Los Angeles residents are all too familiar with the looming threat of wildfires. As of this writing, 16 large fires burned through the state of California, scorching 410,000 acres and displacing over 40,000 California residents. That includes the Valley Fire, burning just outside of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Unfortunately, this may be the new normal for our state, as climate change makes wildfires a year-round threat. What does this “new normal” mean for your solar installation in Los Angeles? Can your solar panels survive a fire, and if not, who will pay for the damage?

A Year-Round Fire Season

It wasn’t so long ago when Angelenos could breathe easy for most of the year. Wildfires threatened only in the late fall as vegetation dried out and offered easily kindling. Large fires were thankfully few and far between. We don’t live in that world anymore. Continuing and extended droughts mean that wildfires can sprout up any day and quickly burn through dried vegetation. It also means that Angelenos need to be prepared for bigger, more destructive wildfires.

Nothing hit this point home like the devastating Thomas Fire that started at the beginning of December in 2017 and tore through the city of Ventura. By the time it was finally 100 percent contained in mid-January, the Thomas Fire had destroyed over 1,000 structures, including many homes. No Los Angeles resident will soon forget the hazy sky, the tinge of smoke in the air, and the vivid images of homes in flames over that un-merry holiday season.

Even as wildfires get stronger and more frequent, solar installations in Los Angeles have proliferated. The City of Angels is at the forefront of solar adoption, meaning that solar panels and wildfires are likely to meet more frequently in the future. If you are considering a solar installation in Los Angeles, here’s what you need to know about how fire may affect your panels.

Can Solar Panels Survive a Fire?

Solar panels are built to endure the elements, and they can survive some pretty brutal weather, including snow (a rarity in Los Angeles), heavy winds, and even hail storms (up to a point). The truth is that data about how solar panels perform in a fire just isn’t available. However, it’s safe to say that they certainly aren’t fireproof! If you lose your home to fire and you have solar panels on your roof, it is highly likely that you will lose your solar panels as well.

What’s more important is to ensure that solar panels do not cause or exacerbate fires. Manufacturers are continually improving their panels, which includes making sure that their solar panels meet building and fire codes and do not contribute to wildfires.

How Hot Can a Solar Panel Get?

Los-Angeles-Solar-Installations-For-Home

Is it possible for solar panels to survive even if flames are nearby? This is a tricky question to answer. A lot of work has been done to test how much heat a solar panel can handle, but this typically refers to normal environmental heat, not the heat of flames.

Solar panels are designed to withstand a lot of heat. After all, many of the largest commercial solar arrays are in some of the hottest, driest parts of the country. Even residential solar installations in Los Angeles can endure high temperatures since roofs tend to be hotter than the ambient temperature on hot days.

We do know that solar panel performance begins to drop when temperatures climb above 77 degrees Fahrenheit and that they can continue generating energy even up to temperatures as high as 149 degrees Fahrenheit. Does this still hold true when flames are licking the edge of a roof? We don’t know, but if flames are close enough to affect the temperature of a solar panel, focus on evacuating your family (including pets!) as quickly and safely as possible. You can worry about your Los Angeles solar installation later.

Solar panels can be replaced. Lives can’t.

Who Pays When Solar Panels Are Damaged by Fire?

What if the nightmare comes true and a wildfire destroys your home, including your solar panel installation? Your first focus should always be on ensuring your safety and your family’s safety, but when all the flames are out and the ash has settled, will your solar panels be covered by insurance, or will you have to replace them out of pocket?

While it is hard to find the positives in such a bleak scenario, one silver lining is that most home insurance policies do cover rooftop solar installations. When you install solar panels on your roof, most insurance policies consider it a part of your home. Therefore, your system should be covered without any premium hikes.

You’ll definitely want to double check and make sure that your policy covers your solar panels. If not, you may need to request a specific rider to cover them, which will increase your premium. It’s also important to recognize that your homeowner’s policy is less likely to cover solar panels on a carport or a ground solar installation.

Don’t forget that in the event that your solar panels are damaged or destroyed in a fire, you’ll still need to pay your insurance premium before you can receive payment and that it may take weeks or even months for your claim to be processed and approved.

Solar Pro Tip: As you begin the process of purchasing solar panels, double check your homeowner’s insurance to make sure it will cover your Los Angeles solar installation. Next, review your coverage limits. Even a modest solar system can cost over ten thousand dollars. If your solar system pushes the value of your home above your insurance coverage limit, consider adjusting your policy. Otherwise, you could be paying out of pocket to replace your panels if your entire home is destroyed in a wildfire.

Leased Solar Systems and Power Purchase Agreements

If you currently (or plan to) lease your solar installation or have entered into a power purchase agreement with your solar provider, then the solar provider owns the system. If the system is damaged or destroyed in a wildfire, they – not you – are responsible for repairing or replacing the system. We suggest contacting your solar installer as soon as possible after a fire to report damage. They will likely have to deal with a big jump in repair and replacement requests, and homeowners who are slow to make a claim will find themselves at the back of the line.

Solar Panels and Smoke

You don’t have to be directly in the path of a wildfire to be affected by it. When a big wildfire hits, even far off communities may have to deal with smoky air and ash.

Smoke in the air isn’t good for your lungs, and it can even hurt the performance of your solar panels. When fire burns vegetation and other things, it releases soot and aerosol particles, like carbon, into the air. These particles actually absorb sunlight, which means less light hitting your solar panels and generating energy.

The biggest wildfires can take days or weeks to wrestle under control. If you live in a neighboring community, you may notice that your solar panels are less efficient. The level of the drop off in efficiency will depend on how close you are to the fire, the direction of the smoke, and the direction of the wind. It may be interesting to check out your solar installation’s performance before and during a fire to see how its performance changes as a result of the smoke in the air.

Solar Panels and Ash

Fire creates ash, and high winds can blanket neighboring communities in a fine layer of the stuff during a wildfire. Chances are that if you go outside and find a layer of ash on your car, there’s also probably a layer of ash on your solar panels as well.

Anything that covers your solar panels will prevent sunlight from hitting the solar cells, which will lower the output of your Los Angeles solar installation. Even if your community wasn’t directly affected by a wildfire, it’s useful to check on your solar panels to make sure they aren’t caked in ash.

If you do notice ash on your solar panels, you can easily fix the problem. In many cases, it’s as simple as spraying down your panels with a hose. If you notice that the hose bath doesn’t entirely clear the ash from the panels you may need to use a spray bottle and soft sponge to get off that last layer of crust. Use an anti-water-spotting solution if you notice water spots on your panels.

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Please, please, please be careful when climbing ladders and doing any type of work on your roof. If you don’t feel entirely comfortable cleaning your solar panels on your own, contact a service to assist you.

Solar Pro Tip: Make sure to use a soft mop or microfiber cloth to scrub your solar panels. Do not use hard brushes, or you could scratch and damage your solar cells!

The Future of Los Angeles Solar Installations in the Age of Fire

The increasing severity of wildfires across California is a direct result of the ongoing drought conditions our state faces. Climate change is here, and wildfires are just one of the negative effects it brings to Los Angeles. One of the primary drivers of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels to create the energy that powers our city, our vehicles, and our homes.

If you want to help fight climate change, one way to do that is by investing in solar panels for your home. Solar panels produce energy using the clean, renewable energy of the sun instead of burning dirty fossil fuels. We Angelenos may need to accept that wildfires will be a persistent threat, but that doesn’t mean we have to also accept that climate change will continue to get worse. We can make a difference and lower our carbon footprint with every decision we make.

If you want to make the decision to switch to solar energy, contact Semper Solaris and schedule a free energy analysis for your Los Angeles home!

 

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