How Solar Panels Can Be Utilized in Your Community

Fossil fuels have long been discovered to be not only harmful for the environment and public health, but also finite. This makes them much less sustainable, more unpredictable, and more expensive than renewable energy sources like wind, water, and solar. For the average homeowner, the most accessible way to be a part of the sustainable energy movement is the investment in a solar energy system.

Having solar panels in Encinitas can be very beneficial for homeowners, especially considering the extensive amount of the sun the area receives coupled with high electricity costs (37.63% higher than the national average). If you are wondering how you can make solar panels work for your home.

What Makes Going Solar So Appealing?

As a renewable energy source, there are many benefits that fossil fuels simply can’t offer. While there are also some disadvantages to consider, we believe the long-term benefits of renewable energy far outweigh more traditional energy sources. At the end of the day, we need to move towards what is more sustainable for the future of our planets — and, of course, our wallets!

Protects the Environment & Public Health

With the dominant use of fossil fuels over the years, there is no doubt that water and air pollution and other damages have plagued the globe. While renewable energy sources do generate some greenhouse gases and pollutants in the process of converting the energy, it is very miniscule in comparison to the damage fossil fuels can do. Solar and other renewable sources can greatly reduce our carbon footprint as well as health issues such as respiratory and cardiac problems that stem from fossil fuel pollutants.

More Savings Over Time

Renewable energy sources offer great savings, providing more accessible resources that can significantly reduce expenses with long term use. Depending on the size of the system you invest in, the amount of electricity you use, and the amount of sunshine your area gets, you could be looking at even more savings. On top of the savings to your electricity bills, as a homeowner you get the benefit of added value to your property. Studies have shown that homes with solar panels not only sell for a higher price, but also sell quicker than comparable homes without solar panels.

Renewable Energy Requires Minimal Maintenance

Compared to generators designed to use fossil fuel sources, renewable energy systems will typically require much less maintenance. Why? Renewable energy systems are designed simply to thrive in the elements and experience much less wear and tear. Solar panels, for example, have fewer parts and are not dependent on a flammable or dangerous fuel source that could cause damage to the system trying to utilize it. Further, solar panels are designed to last decades. While warranties typically extend up to 25 to 30 years, some solar panels could perform efficiently for as long as 80+ years depending on the rate of degradation.

Cuts Back on Foreign Energy Reliance

Your solar panels allow you to produce energy directly in Encinitas, making it a local energy producer compared to many fossil fuel systems that rely on foreign energy resources. Other renewable energy resources also produce from their local area, cutting back dependence on imported energy sources. The less dependent the U.S. is on foreign energy providers, the more protected our economy remains, especially if we are producing the energy ourselves through sustainable methods.

Things to Consider Before Embracing Sustainable Energy

So what are some disadvantages homeowners interested in getting behind solar need to think through? There are more upfront costs associated with getting your system up and running compared to simply plugging into the grid. Also, if you don’t live in a very sunny area, there can be intermittency (and you also have to consider that your panels can’t obtain energy from the sun during the nighttime).

While solar storage is becoming more available, not every homeowner wants to be completely independent from the grid — you will, however, gain much more control of your electricity bills in the face of rising electricity costs and often get credits for any energy produced during the daytime that you didn’t use, which can be credited towards electricity you use from the grid after the sun goes down. So all that said, yes, there are some drawbacks that traditional energy sources don’t have, but solar technology only continues to improve and become more affordable, shrinking the drawbacks even more.

Join the Renewable Energy Movement Today

With numerous state incentives, rebates, and tax credits available to homeowners looking to invest in renewable energy, solar installation in Encinitas is easier and more affordable than ever before. Transitioning to solar energy can not only help you save money in the long run, but also helps protect our environment, public health, and add value to your home. All of these factors make switching to sustainable solar energy extremely beneficial.

Whether you are looking to be completely independent from the grid and rising electricity costs or just want to help supplement your current electricity bills by using the maximum solar power when possible, our solar contractors are ready to find the right option for you. We have years of collective experience, believe in hiring vets to provide exceptional service and support, and offer a range of solar panels for our customers’ specific needs. We’ll walk you through the process to ensure you understand all the benefits of solar panels’ sustainable energy and help you determine if this is the right time for you to install a system on your home.

Still have questions? Semper Solaris can provide the answers. Reach out today!

Take a stroll around any neighborhood in San Diego, and you’ll see that plenty of rooftops are sporting a slick array of solar panels. We San Diegans love to take advantage of all that beautiful sunshine pouring down on us. Keep your eyes open, though, and you might see solar installations in San Diego in places you wouldn’t imagine. That’s because solar panels can be used in all sorts of different ways to provide clean, renewable energy for lots of different purposes.

Can solar panels help you explore Southern California’s hidden beauty, keep your boating trip more serene, help you grow gorgeous blooms, and even power the Padres to the playoffs? Well, solar panels can’t perform miracles, but they sure can provide power in a lot of useful and creative ways. So, let your brain take a step outside the box and let’s explore six creative places you may have never thought to look for solar panels in San Diego.

Solar-installation-in-San Diego-RV

Your RV

Recreational vehicle ownership is on the rise as more Americans answer the call to explore the far corners of our country. According to a study commissioned by the RV Industry Association, around 10 million households owned RVs as of 2011. These owners include retirees who set out to explore the country as well as families who appreciate camping in style.

Many RV owners are drawn to San Diego’s gorgeous weather and the many areas of natural beauty that Southern California has to offer, including Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. RV parks and campgrounds provide electric hookups, but what about RV owners who hanker to “dry camp” or “boondock” in places without an electric hookup?  

Relying on your battery can be risky, especially for long periods of camping, and generators are noisy and dirty. More and more RV owners are turning to solar panels to help them get to San Diego’s secret treasures and keep their phones charged and fridges running while they enjoy the splendor of nature.

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Your Boat

Enjoying the ocean isn’t just a perk of living in San Diego, it’s practically part of our DNA. Just stroll around our beach communities, and you’ll find plenty of harbors hosting every variety of boat you can imagine.

Recently, we published a fascinating article that looked at the growing trend of installing solar panels on boats. Many boat owners appreciate that solar panels allow them to charge their gadgets and keep their important appliances running – no one wants to sip warm beer while watching the sunset over the Pacific – without having to power up their boat’s engine. This allows them to enjoy their floating palace without a noisy engine interrupting all that sunbathing Zen every few hours.

Our article also highlighted the story of a few ambitious captains that are using solar panels to actually power their boats. Jim Greer was able to complete the 7,200-mile Great Loop in his 48-foot Tri Hull called Ra using only a solar installation on his ship.

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The Parking Lot

Parking lots take up a lot of space. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, pavement can make up as much as 50% of a city’s total surface area, and parking lots represent about 40% of that amount. Considering that the city of San Diego is 372.4 square miles, parking lots could represent over 70 square miles of space in the city by the calculation of the Lawrence Berkeley study. That’s a lot of space just absorbing sunshine!

Fortunately, a solar installation in San Diego can put all of that sunshine to good use through solar canopies over parking lots.

Solar canopies are special structures that provide shade to cars while also hosting large solar installations. These panels can be used to power a nearby building or even to provide power ports for electric vehicles.   

Solar canopies have already proven to be a success in San Diego. In 2010, the San Dieguito Union High School District (SHUHSD) installed solar canopies at La Costa Canyon High School and Canyon Crest Academy. Together, the structures produced 2,000 kilowatts of power. At the six-year mark, the project is estimated to have already saved the school district over $4.4 million dollars, with an estimated total savings of $10.5 million over 15 years. As if those savings weren’t enough, the school district is earning even more by selling Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated by the systems.

Solar canopies take advantage of space that was already allocated as parking lots and offer a double bonus of solar energy generation plus wonderful shade. Not only do solar canopies save drivers from the pain of getting into oven-like cars after a day in the sun, but cooler cars means less fuel used for air conditioning.

The Green House

Living in San Diego means learning to find the beauty in our desert landscape, including in the drought-tolerant plants that do best in our water-restricted environment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in growing tasty vegetables and blooming flowers in our greenhouses. The problem is that greenhouses are very good at absorbing lots of heat. Most are made of clear glass or plastic, which allows in lots of heat during our long, warm days. Many greenhouse plants can’t tolerate the high heat during San Diego’s long, summer days, which means greenhouse owners may need to crank up energy-hogging air conditioning units and even feed their plants lots of extra water to keep them healthy.

This can add a lot of expenses in a state where both water and electricity are expensive resources. Solar panels in San Diego offer residents a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to power their greenhouses. Solar panels can provide the energy for lighting and cooling the greenhouse.

Solar-installation-in-San Diego-wine-beer

Wine and Beer

In San Diego, we are serious about our wine and our craft beer. Our sunny city routinely ranks in the top ten craft brewery destinations in the country, and no weekend would be complete without trying a flight at the new brewery that just opened up down the road. The only forgivable excuse for not giving that new IPA a try is if you’ve decided to head to Temecula to do some wine tasting instead. Let Napa and Sonoma brag all they want, but we San Diegans love trying all the charming wineries in Temecula and even checking out the burgeoning wine scene in Ramona.

Given how solar stoked we are, it shouldn’t be a surprise that our wineries and breweries are getting into the sun action. In 2014, the Robert Renzoni Winery in Temecula became one of the first wineries in Southern California to add solar panels to its facility. Many wineries in Northern California are leading the way, using solar power to lower their carbon footprint, but we’re sure more wineries in the fast-growing SoCal region will be embracing solar soon.

When it comes to craft breweries, San Diego can boast about being a solar leader. One of the first breweries in the country to adopt solar was Stone Brewing. All the way back in 2008, Stone added a 312-kilowatt system to its Escondido facility. At the time, this single solar installation in San Diego accounted for 12% of the solar energy systems in the entire state of California. The system continues to offset roughly 30% of Stone’s on-site usage and has already paid for itself.

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The San Diego Padres

The Chargers may have packed their bags and left for Los Angeles, but we still have one professional sports team left. In San Diego, we love cheering for our Padres even if they end up breaking our hearts every season. Hope springs eternal!

So does sunshine. The Padres may not be the best team in Major League Baseball… or even in the National League West Division, but they are first place in our hearts and in one other respect as well. Just in time for the start of this year’s season, the Padres unveiled a brand new 336,520-watt solar system mounted on the park’s roof and overhanging its canopy. This system comprises 716 solar modules, each with the capacity to produce 470 watts.

Altogether, this system will provide enough energy to power the entire Padres front office. It also makes Petco Park the number one solar baseball stadium in the world. Take that, Dodgers!

San Diego’s mayor, Kevin Faulconer attended the press conference to announce the solar installation and said, “Petco Park will serve as a model for the rest of Major League Baseball and as an example for other San Diego businesses to follow.” Faulconer also explained how this project will help our city reach its ambitious goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

(Petco Park isn’t the only sports stadium powered by solar panels. Check out how solar energy is lighting up the sports world.)

Solar Installation Is Everywhere in San Diego

Rooftops, carports, greenhouses, wineries, breweries, boats, RVs, stadiums… you’ll find solar panels everywhere in San Diego! If you want to get in on all this solar action and help our city meet its goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2035, then contact Semper Solaris. We are a veteran-owned company headquartered in San Diego. We’d love to help you save big on your energy bills and lower your carbon footprint.

Contact us today to schedule a no-pressure energy analysis to see if you would be a good candidate for solar power.

 

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.

So you want to take advantage of all the gorgeous sunshine San Diego receives throughout the year to lower your energy bills and shrink your environmental footprint. Awesome! It’s time to start thinking about solar panels for your home, but what exactly does solar installation entail? You definitely don’t want to feel like you’re fumbling in the dark as you start this solar journey, so we’ve created this handy checklist to light your way. Our solar checklist lays out each step in the process, so you know exactly what to expect from start to finish.

Step 1 – Make Sure Your Roof Will Hold Up

Before you can put solar panels on your roof, you need to make sure your roof can handle the extra load.

Materials

Some roof materials are not conducive to solar panels, including slate and wooden roofs. Fortunately, here in San Diego, a majority of roofs are made with clay and Spanish tile, which are great for solar installation.

Ownership

If you live in a condo or townhome, your roof is probably owned by your homeowners’ association (HOA), and your CC&Rs likely do not allow you to make any modifications. In this situation, you can always lobby your HOA to invest in solar panels on behalf of all homeowners.

Roof Size

A small roof offers less area for solar panel placement. This may require you to invest in more efficient solar panels, which are smaller but also more expensive.

Location

Ideally, solar panels should face true south to receive the most direct sunlight. However, solar panels can still operate well (though less efficiently) on east- and west-facing roofs.

Age

Most solar panel systems can last an estimated 25 – 40 years. If your roof is on its last legs, it’s probably smarter to deal with that issue first! (Did you know we also repair and replace roofs in San Diego?)

Shade

The amount of shade your roof receives during the day can affect the efficiency of solar panels. If a big tree looms over your house or a taller neighboring house casts shade, your panels won’t work as well.

Even if your roof isn’t ideal for solar panels, all is not lost. Old roofs can be replaced, or you can consider a ground mounted solar panel system. 

Step 2 – Determine How Much Energy You Use

If order for a San Diego solar installation company to provide you with an estimate on your solar system, you need to determine the size of the system you want. To do this, you’ll need to work backwards and figure out the average amount of energy you need the system to generate each month.

This may seem tricky, but it’s actually simple. You should be able to log onto the website of your electrical provider and download your statements for the last year. Each statement will list how much energy you used that month in kilowatt hours (kWh). Add up your energy usage from the last 12 months and divide by 12. This will give you your average monthly usage. You’ll want your solar system to generate this amount of energy for you each month so your solar panels can cover all your energy needs.

Note: If you plan on increasing your energy usage in the future, such as by purchasing an electric car, make sure to take this into consideration when determining the size of your solar system.

Step 3 – Select Your Financing

Shattered pink piggy bank with money spilled out

Do you want to own solar panels for your home, or does ownership not matter as long as you don’t have to write a big check? You have a variety of financing options. You can purchase your panels outright, either with cash or through a loan. Most solar companies also offer solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

With solar leases and PPAs, the solar company owns the panels and charges you a set fee for your energy usage that is usually less than what you would pay the utility company. The upside of this arrangement is that you don’t have to pay a dime for your panels!

Step 4 – Choose Your Solar Installation Vendor

San Diegans have a lot of choice when it comes to solar installation companies. That’s a good thing! The best place to start your search is to ask your family, neighbors, and friends who have already invested in solar panels about the company they used.

Another smart move is to check a company’s reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and Yelp, so you can read what past clients experienced with them.

Finally, we encourage you to work with a local company. Hiring local keeps your money in the community and supports local jobs and local families. Plus, local companies are invested in the community. They live and work here, so it’s in their best interest to do a great job for their neighbors.

You should always get at least a few different quotes so you can compare and make the best decision for your project goals and budget. Price will, of course, be a factor in your decision, but don’t just choose the lowest-priced vendor. Make sure the company you pick has great reviews and a history of service in your community.

Step 5 – Choose Your Solar Panels

Your chosen solar vendor will probably have a few preferred solar panel brands that they recommend to you. Listen carefully to their recommendations, but know that you can choose a different brand. Premium brand solar panels tend to offer higher efficiency, better design, and a longer warranty, but you’ll also pay a premium price. Solar Reviews is a great resource for learning more about the dozens of available solar panel brands. They also host reviews from homeowners.

Step 6 – Sit Back and Relax

Solar installation on rooftop

Once you’ve chosen your San Diego solar panel installation company, your financing plan, and your solar panel brand, it’s time for you to step back and let the solar company take the baton. Now it’s their job to:

A good solar company will walk you through each of these steps so that you understand exactly what’s happening and when. After the installation is complete and your solar panels are online, you’ll be able to check your meter to follow your energy usage. Most solar companies also offer monitoring software that lets you see how much energy your panels produced each day, so you can watch them work!

We hope this solar installation checklist was helpful. If you live in California and have additional questions about solar panels for your home, let us know! We’d be happy to perform an onsite evaluation to determine if your home would be a good candidate for solar panels. We are proud to live and work here in San Diego and to employ veterans and San Diego residents.

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