Frequently Asked Solar Questions Answered

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Semper Solaris Frequently Asked Questions

Solar panels, roofing, solar battery storage, air conditioning and heating questions that we get asked regularly. If you have any questions you can contact us. No more questions? Ready to make an appointment? Fill out our book an appointment form.

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Semper Solaris FAQ

  • Going solar American Style means deciding to take a step forward and help the environment through Solar Power. Also, save some money and do it through a company that embraces American values and American tradition as well as having deep ties into first-responders and the American military.

  • Yes, we do. We are genuinely veteran-owned here, and we do want to be able to help everyone and the environment. We are always looking to hire more veterans or hard working people. Check out our Careers page to see our job opportunities.

  • We install in almost the entire state of California. You can give us a call, and we’ll tell you exactly when we can have a consultant meet with you at one of our locations or your home.

    We have offices in the following cities. 

  • Short answer is Yes! Our panels are made in New York State and we only use the best “made in America” products.

  • When our consultants come to your home, they look at all the factors that are going to play into the overall cost of the installation. This includes roof conditions and orientation.
    They’re also going to look at the service panel to see whether or not it needs to be upgraded. So the in-home visit allows us to give you an accurate proposal right out of the gate. Getting things done right the first time is the Semper way.

  • Semper Solaris has a department called Semper Cares Initiative. The Semper Cares Initiative is program for providing relief for veterans that are struggling with high energy costs by furnishing their home with solar panels, a new roof, solar battery storage solutions, heating or an air conditioning system.

  • Semper Solaris – (619) 715-4054
    San Diego EXT – 701
    Los Angeles & Orange County EXT – 702
    Bay Area EXT – 703
    Inland Empire EXT – 704
    Bakersfield EXT – 705
    Service & Monitoring EXT – 3
    Accounting EXT – 6

Solar Questions

  • The short answer is YES they do. Although, given the cloud cover and weather exposure and the time of the year, the annual yield might be slightly less than what you would see in the summertime. However, solar panels can be more efficient in colder temperatures depending on location. No matter the weather conditions, Semper Solaris has experience designing solar panel systems to endure cold weather conditions.

  • The number of solar panels that you need will vary depending on the amount of your electric bill. The average home in Southern California typically needs anywhere from 18-20 panels and will usually offset an electric bill of about $200 a month.

  • If, by any chance, there are issues with your panels, we try to troubleshoot with you through the phone remotely. If that does not work, we try to get one of our technicians out there by the next day, or sometimes the same day. If the problem still persists, please fill out our schedule service form.

  • After your installation is complete, we then need to coordinate with the local jurisdiction to have your system inspected. We will meet with the city or county representatives on-site the day of the inspection and get it signed off so we can have all of our permits balanced.

     

  • Well, solar panels work very simply:

    • you put them on a roof
    • you expose them to the sun
    • the sun hits the solar panels and it creates DC power

    From there, it will go into an inverter which converts the DC power into AC power, which is then connected directly to the home. All that AC power will power the home and cover the home’s loads.

  • Many people ask: How long is the warranty for the panels we sell? And regardless of the kind of panel, the warranty is going to be 25 years. Read more on the different warranties we offer here.

  • No. Once the system is installed, if it was done right with the utmost quality, panels are maintenance-free and should require pretty much no maintenance. This includes check-up, or upkeep for at least ten years, except for maybe minimal washing, if you don’t live in an area that gets a lot of rain.

  • To clean solar panels on your roof, you would either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, take a hose with a spray nozzle and shoot water up onto the roof. Rinse off any dirt, or dust, or other debris that has built-up.

  • Both panels are the same, in the sense that they’re both a crystalline product. However, polycrystalline has a speckled look to it, whereas monocrystalline has a very solid look. Monocrystalline is also slightly more efficient because of how it’s made.

  • No. For your solar system to power your home in a grid outage, you would require battery storage for your home. We do offer those here at Semper so, if you are interested, please ask your sales rep.

  • We’ve seen bills as low as $60. We’re still able to save money monthly. What we need to think about is locking in your gas rates. 20 years ago at a buck-a-gallon, if you could’ve done that, then would you have done it? It’s the same thing with solar having the ability to lock in your rates now will save you money for years to come.

  • You can include panels to your existing system, as long as they are compatible with the current system.

  • You can’t necessarily make money off your solar panels. However, you can earn credit with your utility. Many of our sales reps and engineers size your system to cover your utility and make a little extra. So that way, you do have a credit with your utility and make money in a sense.

  • We can work with systems installed by other companies, except when they are a leased system.

  • When a customer moves, they have a few options. You can opt into uninstalling your system and moving it to your new home. We can give you a quote for that, or you can potentially increase the value of your home based on leaving the panels there for the next homeowner.

  • If a solar panel ends up breaking on your house as the results of our monitoring technology that’ll be instantly picked up.

    These solar panels are by default under warranty for 25 years, so if a solar panel breaks on the house it will be known by us very quickly and it will be replaced as course of the warranty.

  • Traditional electricity is derived from fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. Solar panel systems help the environment by generating clean electricity without producing carbon dioxide and other pollutants that negatively affect the atmosphere.

  • Your roof-mounted solar system is rated and certified by independent labs. They have been verified through rigorous structural calculations and structural reviews. The solar system will not do any additional damage to your home that would not have already been done by an earthquake, especially in California.

    All structures are built to earthquake standards. The solar that is put on the roof is upheld to those standards. There are no dangers associated basically with putting PV on your roof, that wouldn’t already be there if you were just under a standard roof.

  • Unfortunately, your solar system does also turn off during the power outage unless you have battery storage. These are all grid-tied systems. They do need power recognized to be able to convert the energy from the Sun into usable power to the grid.

  • When you’re considering solar, one of the things that comes to mind is aesthetic and design, or, simply put, “what will my solar panels look like?”

    In order to ensure you enjoy what your panels look like on your roof, our design team creates what we call an overlay. The overlay shows you the layout of the solar panels and where Semper Solaris is planning on installing them, and you can either approve or reject the design to your liking! Our goal is for you to love your panels!

  • You can call the mainline, 619-715-4054. Press option 2 and then 3 to reach the Service Department.

  • Technically, you can, but you will be facing issues.

    Older roofs tend not to be able to be as waterproofed. Also, if you are going to put solar panels on an old roof, your roof is not going to last twenty years if it’s not in great shape.

    When you go to replace your roof, you’re going to have to remove all the solar panels and then reinstall them. At the time that you buy your solar, it’s always a great idea to make sure that you’re installing them on a new roof.

  • So you have an existing solar system but you’re thinking about adding a pool. What you would want to do is determine the size of the pool motor and determine how many hours per day you plan on filtering your pool.

    Based on that we can run calculations to determine how many additional panels you need to cover the additional electrical load of that pump. Typically a pool pump will require about 0.75 kilowatts for every horsepower of the motor that you want to run.

  • When installing a solar system, shading is always a concern that should be taken into consideration. A lot of times people will ask, “I have a tree over there what happens when the tree shades my panels?” or “I have a chimney” or “I have a roof obstruction like a vent or a satellite dish, how will it affect the output of my system?”

    All systems are currently designed with optimizers or microinverters and what’s great about this system design is that if you do get spot shading or shading from a tree or other obstacle during certain parts of the day, it won’t negatively affect the overall output of the system as every panel’s individual from the one next to it.

  • When you go solar you’ll enter into a net energy metering agreement with the local utility company. What’s going to happen is rather than being billed once a month like you are now, you’re going to be put on a yearly billing cycle.

    From month to month within that billing cycle, you will get a statement but no money is due. You only have to pay at the end of the year which is called your true-up. When you get your true-up bill if you’ve produced more solar than you need and you have no fixed charges, then you would owe no money. However, if you have not produced enough solar power and there are fixed charges as part of your true bill you would have to make that payment to the utility.

  • What happens if the power goes out? Under normal circumstances, if the power goes out at your home, unfortunately, your Solar will turn off. However, a way to combat this would be to add a battery storage unit.

  • Unfortunately, if the power goes out your system will turn off. However, there’s nothing you need to do to reset your system because when the power comes back on the system will automatically reboot and turn itself back on. An easy way to confirm that this has happened is you can go online and check your monitoring portal to confirm that your system is producing.

  • So you have an existing solar system and you’re thinking of adding an electric car. What you’d want to do is you would want to add more solar panels to produce more electricity to cover the usage from that electric car. In addition to adding more electrical panels to your system, you’d want to install an electric car charger with a plug that’s compatible with the electric car of your choice.

  • YES! If you have an existing solar panel system and you’re interested in adding battery storage in the future, it’s very easy to do. One of the examples of batteries out there is made by a company called Tesla. Tesla Powerwall 2 is an AC coupled battery, which means that that battery can be easily retrofitted into any existing system that already has solar.

Solar Installation Questions

  • Design and engineering are one of our central departments here at Semper Solaris, and they work with the city’s jurisdiction to ensure that your panels are going to meet your city code. While some people may like their panels on a specific portion of their roof or aligned a certain way.

    1. It might not meet the best production
    2. It might not be in-line with your city’s jurisdiction

    Our design & engineering team takes pride in what they do, and they go the extra mile to make sure that your system is going to be as productive as possible and meet all the city codes for permitting.

  • It usually takes about two weeks with SDG&E and inspection approval.

  • We are capable of doing ground solutions for solar installations, and we do them frequently.

  • When getting solar panels, one of the things you need to consider is your location and your roof’s sun exposure. Semper Solaris is here to help you understand which option is better for you!

    Ground Mounted Panels require a lot of flat land and may be ideal for large-land properties with a significant amount of space, while Roof Mounted panels are the best for smaller to medium size properties!

  • Our contractors have installed on many different types of roofs, and there are very few limitations with our team. The main thing is that the mounting hardware will vary depending on material and panels used.

  • The local branch will reach out to the customers about every couple of weeks to give you an update as to where the project stands.

  • Once you sign a solar contract with us, you can expect your panels to be installed within 6-10 weeks.

  • Our installers will get there at approximately 7:00 AM and we usually wrap up at 5:00 PM which is the end of our day.

  • A typical installation with Semper Solaris takes 1-2 days. Some of the more significant projects will go on a little bit longer. Larger projects will expand that timeline, and that will be identified before the project start date.

  • We work with over 500 cities in California. So, that permit approval can range from 1 day to over a month. Each jurisdiction has its own set of rules and regulations.

Solar Monitoring Questions

  • Net metering (also called net energy metering) is a solar energy incentive that permits you to store energy in the electric network or grid. At the point when your solar panels produce more power than you need, that energy is shipped off to the grid in return for credits. 

    During specific times or occasions when your solar panels are under production, you will be able to pull energy from the grid and utilize these credits to balance the expenses of that energy.

  • Once your system is set up, you’re going to receive a notification, via email, that your monitoring is ready to go. Then you log in to the system, create your username and password, and voila! You have your monitoring set up. It’s that easy! Customers should also be careful to monitor their equipment on-site as online monitoring is not always reliable.

  • Each system does have its monitoring app available, whether it be Enphase or SolarEdge. All of them have their personal qualities to monitor your system. We can walk you through how to read every one.
    Upon the completion of the installation of your system, we provide you access to monitoring your solar panels through either a mobile app or online on your home computer. Depending upon the type of system you have installed, that particular app may vary.

  • Upon the completion of the installation of your system, we in the monitoring department provide you access to monitoring your solar panels through either a mobile app mobile device or online on your home computer Depending upon the type of system you have installed that particular app may vary.

  • All of our solar systems do come with monitoring. Depending on the type of panels and inverters you have, there are various apps available for them. They are set up in-house and released to the homeowner with instructions on how to view your production and consumption. Customers should also be careful to monitor their equipment on-site as online monitoring is not always reliable.

Battery Storage Questions

  • Battery storage consists of a device that reserves energy for later consumption that is charged by a connected solar system.

  • Having a solar battery storage system can help control the amount of energy you use during peak-hours. It can store the extra energy generated from your solar panels during the day for you to use at more expensive rate times.

  • At Semper Solaris, we carry both Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem. Both solar batteries are designed to store energy and to use that energy whenever you may need it. Each solar battery does have its own unique qualities for storage. Ask your sales rep which solar battery storage is right for your home.

  • The electricity that is stored in your battery is consumed after sundown, during energy demand peaks, or during a power outage. The battery will continue to power your home despite the lack of energy from the electric company.

  • If you have an existing solar panel system and you don’t currently have a battery, one of the great things you can do with the Tesla Powerwall is you can install two or more power walls and do what’s called whole-home backup.

    When you do a whole home back up what we do is we take all the circuits in your existing main service panel and we move it to a dedicated sub-panel. We then install your gateway and what will happen is that if the power goes out all the circuits in your home will be backed up, which means that you can run anything in your home on the powerwalls for as long as the powerwalls have power.

    If you only have one Tesla Powerwall we can do what’s called a partial home backup. We would take certain circuits out of your main service panel and put it into a dedicated load center. Whenever the power would go out that power wall would then power those dedicated circuits.

    Typical circuits that people backup would be refrigerators, deep freezes, maybe basic lights in the bathroom or the kitchen, alarm systems, internet, computer or entertainment systems.

  • If the power goes out and you have a Tesla Battery that is set up as partial backup all of your backup loads will immediately be powered and you won’t even notice. If you have whole home backup which means you have 2 Powerwalls or more, again you will not notice that the powers gone out.

    If you’re sitting in your living room and you’re playing video games you won’t even notice. If your air-conditioning is on you won’t even notice. If your fish tank is on you won’t even notice, the lights won’t dim, it’s instantaneous and you would never know what the power’s out unless you went outside to see that all their neighbors are in the dark.

  • One of the other cool functions of Tesla Powerwall is that, in the case of emergency, Tesla will send a notification to your Powerwall if there’s going to be a prolonged blackout and emergency to change the setting on your Powerwall for the time of use arbitrage into a 100% full backup.

    Now if you know this is going to happen, you can manually change your Powerwall to go into 100% backup mode but because Tesla is so smart it can do it for you.

  • YES! If you have an existing solar panel system and you’re interested in adding battery storage in the future, it’s very easy to do. One of the examples of batteries out there is made by a company called Tesla. Tesla Powerwall 2 is an AC coupled battery, which means that that battery can be easily retrofitted into any existing system that already has solar.

Roofing Questions

  • Owens Corning

    It means we’re in a very select group of contractors. We’re 1-in-500 in the nation. We offer some of the best warranties in roofing including a 50-year workmanship warranty on all Owens-Corning projects that we install and a lifetime warranty on their materials.

  • The great thing about working with Semper is we’re a solar contractor, and we’re a roofing contractor. A majority of systems we can remove and reinstall for you without getting anyone else involved.

  • We are a roofing company. So you can have the safety and guarantee of knowing that when we are on your roof, we know how to handle installing the solar. Also, if you’re looking for a dual project, we can handle both your solar and roofing needs.

  • It varies, but for most houses, we’ll be in and out within 3-4 days. If you have a big house, it’s going to take longer. 3-4 days is a pretty good average time for a roofing project.

  • It’s pretty noisy and it can get a little messy, so even though we clean up at the end of every single day, no need to be home, we’ll look after it.

  • Just ask us. We have a very knowledgeable staff on hand and we’re aware of a wide variety of roofs.

    Even if it’s something that’s not quite so common, we’re very capable of adapting our installation tactics in order to make it fit your given roof surface.

  • A durable roof is made of more than just shingles. Protecting your home requires a complete roofing system that creates a waterproof barrier, defends against nature’s elements, and provides proper ventilation. In California, homeowners need to think about the extra heat and sun exposure, too.

    Your total roof system needs to consist of barriers, underlayment, starter shingles, hip and ridge shingles, ventilation products, and insulation. In order to prevent leaks, you need to start with the right underlayment.

    Water barrier products, such as the Owens Corning Weather Lock, protect your new roof from wind, rain, and other elements, while barriers and underlayment stop moisture and mold from seeping through your roof. For added quality, synthetic material like Owens Corning ProArmour with Fusion Back Coating Technology is stronger than traditional felt underlayment, reducing the chance of tears and leaks.

  • JP McEvenue, executive director of roofing operation at Semper Solaris, discusses how tile roof systems are installed. In the video, you’ll learn about both standard roof installation and energy-efficient roof installation. From how to remove an existing roof, to cleaning the bare wood deck, to installing the underlayment, to allowing airflow under the roofing tiles in order to keep temperatures cooler. Semper Solaris is proud to offer a wide selection of roofing contractors including Owens Corning, Eagle Roofing, Boral, Genflex, IB Roof and Polyglass.

Heating & Air Conditioning Questions

  • Our technicians are skilled in finding the correct size heating and air conditioning unit for your home. Each building is different and we will be able to analyze the amount of BTUs you will need for your residential or commercial building. For example, a 1,000 square foot house will most likely need 25,000 BTUs

  • Solar and Heating and Air conditioning are the perfect pair. By pairing the two systems together, the Semper team will put fewer panels on your home. Your home will still be powered by solar and your unit will also be powered by solar energy.

  • Typically a heating and air conditioning unit will last 15-20 years with proper maintenance, tune-ups, and check-ups.

  • If you are noticing the following signs, it is time to replace your heating and air conditioning unit:

    • Your home is uncomfortable
    • Your unit is not turning on
    • Your unit is not blowing cold air
    • Your experiencing lack of airflow
    • You notice your thermostat is having issues
  • Of course! Our units are made in the state of Texas and we only use the best “made in America” products.

  • Hiring a professional to repair your heating and air conditioning unit will save you money in the end. Our technicians have the tools and knowledge needed to properly repair your unit.

  • The tune-up is a check-up of the complete heating cycle, the refrigeration, and the filters. We clean the condensated drains, check the coils, make sure that the ductwork is secure and check your thermostat to make sure it’s working correctly.

Financing Questions

  • Yes, we have multiple different kinds of financing options. I would recommend talking to your sales rep to find out more.

  • A PACE Program is an equity-based loan that is tied to your property taxes. You pay your monthly payments into a reserve account, and then it’s paid at the end of the year for your property taxes.

  • Different people in the home may have different questions. Also, numerous decisions need to be made, such as panel type and inverter type, or where the mount is going to take place. So, when we have everyone in the household present, it makes answering those questions much easier. Also, we don’t have to come back and have to answer questions multiple times.

  • PPA stands for a Power Purchase Agreement. It is an agreement between you and a third party financier where we put solar on your roof, and you pay for the actual output of what the solar produces.

  • We suggest that you submit all required documentation to the credit union as soon as possible to get your loan ready to fund. Once we are within 1 to 2 weeks of installation, we will request that you fund the loan at that time so we can avoid delays. It is best if you contact your loan processor as soon as possible to finalize the loan and make sure there are no outstanding items.

  • With a Solar Lease, you agree to pay a fixed monthly rent, which is calculated using the estimated amount of electricity the system will produce. With a Solar PPA, instead of paying to rent the solar system, you agree to purchase the power generated by the system at a per-kilowatt price in exchange for the right to use the solar system.

  • A solar lease is an agreement between you as the homeowner and a third party financer where you make monthly payments for the solar. It usually comes with no money upfront.

  • When going solar there are multiple financial options that you can consider. One of the most common ways out there to go solar is to either pay cash or do some sort of financing.

    Another option would be to do a PPA or a lease agreement. A PPA is a power purchase agreement where you sign up with a third-party entity and you basically pay for the power as it’s produced on a monthly basis.

    A lease, on the other hand, would be an agreement that you would sign with a third party owner and you would pay a fixed payment every month regardless of the output of the system.

Other Questions

  • We want to make sure everyone gets all the information in the same sitting. Being able to answer all questions at the same time is important, and it helps you get through the process much faster.

  • Depending on your jurisdiction, it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

  • Many variables play into the production of a system and what makes a sound solar system. Our solar design team has upwards of 10 years of experience between them.we’ve been designing jobs; we’ve probably done over 10,000 jobs all together. What that experience gives us is knowledge of what makes a sound solar system, which makes a solar system produce best, and what benefits the customers. If you listen to the designers, it’s more likely that the system is going to produce and be as beneficial to you as it can be.

  • If you are going to be doing a roofing project with us, that can take anywhere from 3 to 4 days, depending on the size of your roof. A solar project can take anywhere from 2 to 3 days. This is depending on how many panels being installed. Then on each project following that will be your inspections.

  • Beyond one company carrying both warranties, if you’ve ever done a construction project before with multiple trades, it’s messy when they’re stepping on each other’s toes. So having one point of contact to really manage that project makes it a much, much smoother process.

  • It’s a fantastic time to do that. The warranty periods are about the same. We have a 50-year warranty on most of our roof systems 25-year warranty on the solar. It’s great to start them at the same time.

  • If you refer someone to Semper Solaris and they put you on their application as their referral, our accounting department sends you a check for $550 once their project is installed, completed, and paid in full.

  • If you refer someone you can get $550 if it is a solar job and $200 if it’s a roofing job.