Solar Power San Diego
Imagine this scenario: A few decades in the future, your granddaughter (or great-granddaughter) wakes up in a home completely powered by solar power in San Diego. By that time, solar panel efficiency has far surpassed the 20% efficiency panels we have today. Even though the day is overcast, the panels on her roof still generate more than enough energy to keep all the electronics functioning in her home. During breakfast, your granddaughter glances at the news headlines and sees that, for the third year in a row, seasonal temperatures have dropped. This is good news after years of record-breaking heatwaves and big storms. It seems as if the significant worldwide drop in CO2 production is having a positive effect on the environment. Your granddaughter is driven to school in an electric car that was charged at home. It emits no CO2 into the atmosphere. During the trip, your granddaughter gazes out the window and doesn’t see anything strange in the fact that solar panels dot almost every roof. In fact, the roofs without solar panels seem out of place. At school, your granddaughter is asked to present a report on her family. She proudly explains that her father works in the solar industry as a warehouse manager. This job is what allows her to live in a beautiful home and enjoy the pleasures of life, like gymnastic lessons and a trip to Disneyland in the summer. Several of the other children in her classroom also have parents who work with solar in some way. That night, as the sun goes down, she flicks on the lights. Your granddaughter doesn’t think twice about firing up the computer to do her homework or turning on the television. Solar batteries like Tesla Powerwall are so good these days that they can power most homes using energy generated by the solar panels during the day. This is the solar future we are working for in San Diego. It may seem idealistic, but solar has come an incredibly long way in just the past decade. Most indicators point to the fact that the sector will continue to grow, advance, and mature. How far can solar in San Diego go? To answer that question, we need to understand what’s happening in the solar world today and what these trends portend for the future. San Diego’s Solar Push Transitioning from old to new technology doesn’t happen in a void. Whether or not a country, a state, or even a local city is willing to step up and support the transition can make a huge difference in its successful adoption. Fortunately, San Diegans live in the leading solar state and in a city that has put itself on an aggressive path toward adopting renewable energy. But before we can understand where we’re going with solar energy in San Diego, we must first appreciate how state and local legislation affects these efforts. The Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act In 2015, California put the rest of the country on notice when Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 350. The Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act requires the state to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This is a highly aggressive goal, and yet California is currently on track to meet it 10 years early according to an annual report submitted by California regulators! It’s worth mentioning that in 2017, a bill that would require California to produce all of its energy from “100 percent greenhouse-gas-free” sources by 2045 was only narrowly blocked. Many of the bill’s supporters vowed to present it to legislators again in the near future. Solar Panels on All New Homes Just because California isn’t quite ready to go 100% into renewable energy doesn’t mean the state has lost its appetite for bold initiatives. The Golden State proved this earlier this year when the California Energy Commission unanimously voted to require that all new housing built in the state after January 1, 2020 include solar panels. Not only will California residents start seeing a whole bunch of additional solar panels on roofs in new housing complexes, but a CEC press release explained that the new standard will also “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.” San Diego Vows to Go 100% Clean Energy California prides itself on being a renewable energy leader, but the Golden State may need to take a backseat to its second-largest city. That’s because San Diego is going all-in on its renewable energy bet. In 2015, America’s Finest City became the first municipality in the United States to commit to transitioning to 100% renewable energy as part of a larger Climate Action Plan. And so far, the city is walking the walk. In 2016, the city’s public utility, San Diego Gas & Electric, reported that renewable sources accounted for an impressive 43.2% of its electricity production. Where Solar Power in San Diego Is at Right Now San Diego has set itself a challenging goal of generating all of its energy from renewable resources in the future. Solar energy will certainly play a central role in helping the city hit that goal. If you’ve lived in San Diego for the past decade, there’s no doubt that you’ve noticed solar panels popping up on more and more houses. What is the current state of solar in our city, and what can these trends tell us about the future of solar energy in San Diego? Solar Continues to Grow Across the Country but Dips in California It looks like the rest of the country is beginning to catch up to San Diego and California in adopting solar. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in 2016, solar energy capacity grew more than any other energy source for the first time. SEIA estimates that in the next five years, the U.S. solar market will triple in size. A big portion of this growth will happen outside of California as other states dramatically increase their solar capacity. While San Diego may not see the red-hot growth in the solar market that it did in previous years, at least some of the national growth can be attributed to California’s example. Our state and our city has been a willing role model in how to embrace and incorporate solar energy into our current energy infrastructure. Solar Prices Keep Dropping One major driver in the growth of solar panels has been the speedy drop in price. As solar panels have increased in popularity, more solar companies have jumped into the fray to meet consumer needs. This has encouraged economies of scale as manufacturers become better at making solar panels, as solar technology improves, and as competition rises among solar installation companies. As the price of solar panels comes down, more homeowners and utilities will be enticed to invest, which will drive even greater competition, technological improvement, and economies of scale. In other words, solar will just keep getting better and cheaper! Solar Puts San Diegans to Work It takes a lot of talented people to run a successful solar company. Trust us, we know! Solar energy doesn’t just benefit a community by cutting down on pollution. It also puts local people to work. According to the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employed over 250,000 people in 2017, an astounding 168% increase from 2010. The Solar Foundation also notes that, “Solar makes up just under 2% of overall U.S. energy generation, yet it employs twice as many workers as the coal industry, almost five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers as the natural gas industry.” Here in San Diego, 7,934 of our friends, neighbors, and family members made their living in the solar industry in 2017. Solar jobs are uniquely valuable because they offer a living wage and most don’t require a bachelor’s degree. Solar companies are also a great option for veterans. Roughly one-in-ten solar worker is also a veteran, according to the Solar Foundation. Here at Semper Solaris, we are a veteran-owned company that makes a special effort to hire veterans in the San Diego community. As solar installation continues to grow across the country, solar jobs will grow with it. The solar industry will continue to offer new generations of Americans a fair wage and a middle-class lifestyle no matter their background! What’s on the Line Whenever we discuss the future of solar power in San Diego, we must take a step back and appreciate why our city and our state has gone through so much trouble and pushed so hard to free itself of fossil fuels. According to the EPA, the electric power sector accounted for 32% of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. Those numbers have increased by over 10% in the last ten years. The scientific consensus tells us that fossil fuels contribute to climate change, which in results searing heat waves, choking smog, more intense storms, degradation of wildlife habitats, and the increase of insect-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Here in San Diego, we are already feeling the effects of climate change as our state suffers from more severe droughts and increasingly catastrophic fires. Solar energy is one potent option to fight climate change. In a massive 2015 study called, “The Future of Solar Energy,” the MIT Energy Initiative explained that, “Massive expansion of solar generation worldwide by mid-century is likely a necessary component of any serious strategy to mitigate climate change.” Every solar panel that goes up on a rooftop creates energy that doesn’t have to be produced by burning natural gas or by coal. If we want to preserve our beautiful planet for future generations, solar energy in San Diego can be a part of that solution. The Future of Solar in San Diego Remember at the beginning of this article when we described your future granddaughter’s solar-powered day? When you read that scenario, it may have seemed far-fetched or naively optimistic. However, the political decisions that California and San Diego are making today will help pave the path to that future. So will the manufacturing and technological trends that are quickly upping the efficiency of solar panels while dramatically cutting their costs. Finally, renewable energies offer one of the most effective ways to combat climate change. The decisions each of us makes can bring your grandchild’s future to fruition. If you want to combat climate change and protect the environment for future generations, it’s time to consider investing in your own solar-powered future today. At Semper Solaris, we want to help you decide if solar is the right choice for your home and budget. Contact us today to schedule a solar consultation.
Are you ready to embrace the solar revolution and get solar panels for your home? Solar power in San Diego is a big investment that will affect your monthly energy costs and impact the value of your home. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right solar installation company. You have many solar installation companies to choose from in San Diego, but how do you find the right one? Every solar panel company will be more than happy to point you to their testimonial page, which (surprise, surprise) is usually filled with ecstatic praise. How can you find honest, unbiased customer reviews to help you determine if a solar company in San Diego is a diamond or a dud? Why Reviews Matter Solar energy in San Diego is big business, and a lot of companies are jumping on the solar installation bandwagon. One of the best ways to determine if a solar installation company will do a good job for you in the future is to find out how they’ve performed in the past. If a company has done shoddy work for previous customers, chances are they won’t miraculously change their behavior and provide you with an excellent result. This is why reviews are one of the most useful tools for evaluating and ultimately choosing a solar power company in San Diego. What to Look for in Reviews When you begin searching for solar company reviews, you may be surprised by how many you find. Top solar companies may have hundreds of reviews. How do you evaluate each of these reviews and effectively compare them with the reviews of a different company? Keep in mind that reviews are a tool that you can use to better understand the characteristics, strengths, and benefits of each company. When reading reviews, here are some important factors to look for: Location Is the company national, or is it local? If the company has multiple offices, make sure to read reviews for the nearest location to you. It’s important to ensure that a solar installation company has worked in your area, understands the popular roofing styles in your region, and is well-versed in the local permitting rules and regulations. Communication Good communication is at the heart of every successful solar installation. While you read a company’s reviews, look for indications that the company thoroughly explained the installation process to the homeowner and guided them in choosing the solar system size and the best financing option. Look for notes on if the company answered all the consumer’s questions and responded quickly to their concerns. Timing This one is simple. Was the company able to send a team out to perform the installation in a timely manner, and did the company meet its deadline? Budget Did the reviewer feel that the company listened to and abided by their budget requirements when recommending a solar system size and the brand of solar panels? Did the company stay within the budget? Problems Even if a solar company does everything right, problems and other surprises are still bound to happen. Maybe there’s an issue pulling a permit, the solar panels don’t arrive on time, or the project manager discovers a roofing issue that needs to be repaired. The true test of a company is how they handle the unexpected. When problems arise, did the company communicate with the homeowner? Did they provide solutions? Was the homeowner ultimately happy with how the problem was resolved? Overall Satisfaction When reading the reviews, note how many customers were happy versus unhappy. The best endorsement a homeowner can give is to say that they would recommend a company to their family and friends. Company Response Even the best solar companies can’t satisfy everyone, and not every homeowner has reasonable expectations. Just because a company has a few bad reviews doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be taken out of consideration. Most review sites allow companies to respond to reviews. If a company has one or two particularly bad reviews, take the time to read their response (a good company should respond to all negative reviews). This will give you a chance to understand their side of the story. Where to Find Solar Company Reviews Now that you know why reviews are important and what to look for in reviews, there’s just one more thing you should know – how to actually find reviews of solar installation companies! Fortunately, you have plenty of options. Here are the top four review sources that can give you great insights into your local solar power companies in San Diego. Better Business Bureau The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been around since 1912 and is one of the most trusted and well-respected consumer protection institutions in the world. It allows consumers to write reviews of companies and file complaints against companies, which the BBB will then attempt to resolve. It currently includes more than four million consumer reviews. Businesses can seek special accreditation from the BBB, which signifies that they agree to abide by the BBB’s strict ethical standards and agree to be monitored for compliance. We strongly encourage consumers to only work with BBB-accredited businesses when possible. Accreditation shows that a business is serious about providing the very best customer service. Where We Stand: Semper Solaris has been accredited by the BBB since 2013 and currently has an A+ rating with the organization. See our BBB reviews. Angie’s List Angie’s List is a customer review site that specializes in gathering reviews for home service companies, including plumbers, remodeling contractors, and solar installers. Angie’s List has a strong reputation for quality, honest reviews and takes a lot of precautions to remove fake reviews. For example, all reviews are vetted by the company’s staff, and members can only submit one review every six months. The company receives roughly 60,000 reviews every month for over 720 different services. Reviewers on Angie’s List can rate service providers on a number of factors, giving you a better sense of how the company performs in areas like Response Time, Professionalism, and Quality of Work. Where We Stand: Semper Solaris currently holds an “A” rating on Angie’s List for Price, Quality, Responsiveness, Punctuality, and Professionalism. We earned a Super Service Award in 2016. See our Angie’s List reviews. Yelp Founded in 2004, Yelp is the biggest crowdsourced review site in the U.S. The site has collected over 155 million reviews on just about everything you can imagine, from your favorite brewery to the doggy daycare down the street. Yelp can usually provide the highest quantity of reviews, but the site has also struggled at times to effectively filter out fake reviews. It also does not require reviewers to provide their names, which can lead to anonymous reviews that might not be entirely trustworthy. How We Do: With more than 200 reviews on Yelp, Semper Solaris has a 4.5 star rating (out of 5 possible stars). See our Yelp Reviews. SolarReviews As its name implies, SolarReviews is a company that specializes in the solar industry. While the company’s main business is providing solar installation company referrals to consumers, it also includes robust crowdsourced reviews of installation companies, solar panels, and solar batteries. SolarReviews also offers a “Solar Pro” accreditation program to help consumers pre-screen solar installation companies. The accreditation requires, among other things, that a company have at least three years of experience installing solar panels, possess the correct licensing, and achieve a satisfaction score of at least 4.5 out of 5 stars. How We Do: With more than 200 reviews, Semper Solaris holds a 4.9-star score with SolarReviews. We are also proud to be an accredited Solar Pro and to be ranked as one of the company’s top 10 solar installers for 2018! See our reviews on SolarReviews. Do Your Solar Homework Don’t trust your solar panels and your roof to an unknown company. Check out their reviews. Any solar energy company in San Diego can slap a couple of positive (and possibly edited) customer testimonials on their site. The true test of a good installer is whether they invite you to check out their reviews on crowdsourced sites, like the BBB, Angie’s List, Yelp, and SolarReviews where they can’t pick or edit the reviews. The best companies, in the end, will earn the best reviews. At Semper Solaris, we work extremely hard to make sure every customer is thrilled when they choose us to install their solar power system in San Diego. Our great customer service has resulted in hundreds of positive reviews and high rankings on every major review site. We invite you to read all of our reviews and then to schedule a no-pressure, no-cost energy analysis. We hope that you’ll be writing a great review of our service someday soon!
If you’re thinking about adding solar power to your San Diego home, you have a lot of choices when it comes to hiring local solar panel installation companies. So, what makes Semper Solaris different from the rest? First and foremost, we’re committed to offering our customers unparalleled service and the highest quality solar panels on the market. However, what really gets to the heart of our company is our passion for the San Diego community, our support of local veterans, and our commitment to help San Diego County and California retain its role as a renewable energy and environmental leader in our country. Veterans Hiring Veterans San Diego is a military town, and it isn’t just because we are home to top military bases, including Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, and the naval bases in Coronado, Point Loma, and San Diego (homeport of the Pacific Fleet). Even after completing their service, many veterans make San Diego their long-term home. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 230,000 veterans live, play and raise their families in San Diego County. That’s the third-highest number of veterans by county in the entire country! Of course, you don’t need to rely on these numbers. You’ll see veterans everywhere: at the grocery store, jogging down the street, and moving in next door. These men and women have a special bearing, a sense of duty, and a fierce patriotism that never fades, even after they leave the service. At Semper Solaris, we love that so many veterans live in our city. We are a veteran-owned business and are committed to hiring veterans. Our co-founder Kelly Shawhan proudly served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, and knows that it can be challenging for veterans to transition into civilian life. That’s why we make a special effort hire veterans. We are proud of our workforce, which includes veterans from nearly every branch of the service. (Check out this video introducing some of the veterans on our team.) Military veterans are the backbone of San Diego, a city we love. That’s why we are especially proud to make our city a little cleaner and a little more energy-independent by offering solar power in San Diego. We’d like to think our efforts help San Diego pursue its renewable energy and environmental goals. San Diego Stays Classy and Clean California gets a lot of attention for its progressive (in fact, some might call it controversial) environmental initiatives, but we’re a big state, and each local city and county has a lot of control over their own environmental policies. San Diego may not make the headlines as often as our state, but our leaders are committed to lowering our environmental footprint and keeping our diverse county clean and beautiful for its residents. Solar energy in San Diego is a big part of these efforts. Here are just a few environmental initiatives, programs, and benefits that San Diego residents should know about. The Climate Action Plan (CAP) Perhaps the most ambitious local initiative in San Diego is the city’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which calls for cutting all greenhouse gas emissions in the city in half by 2035. There’s one more little thing that makes the plan stand out: the city also wants to generate all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035. This is a big goal, but as more and more businesses and homes adopt solar power in San Diego, it seems possible that we can achieve it. The CAP program is made of up of many different initiatives to try to achieve this goal, including: Expanding its Green Business Program Supporting residential and commercial environmental upgrades Assisting low-income households with weatherization and energy-efficient upgrades Retrofitting 13,000 to 15,000 streetlights with adaptive “smart” lights Public Transportation The city of San Diego isn’t the only one getting into the lower-carbon-footprint game. Throughout San Diego County, you can see efforts to encourage people to drive less. You can’t miss the iconic blue and green Sprinter Trains getting students to college and residents to work. You’ll also notice Breeze buses picking up and dropping off residents all across the county. As you get closer to the city, you’ll pass city dwellers cruising by on Discover, Lime and Byrd rideshare bikes and hear the Trolley arriving into town. Want to see where these options can take you? Here’s a convenient list of San Diego’s primary public transportation options. HOV and Bike Lanes Even if you have to jump into a car to get to your destination, San Diego County rewards you for carpooling when you can. Most of our major highways include High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes that let you zip past traffic if you’re carrying passengers. Have an electric vehicle? You may be able to get a special pass to use the HOV lanes to your heart’s content. When you can, San Diego makes it safe and easy to switch from four wheels to two. You’ll find dedicated bike lanes throughout the city and the county on most major roadways. No wonder our city is considered a cycling destination! Solar Energy in San Diego Solar power in San Diego will play a big role in meeting CAP’s goal of producing 100% of electricity through renewable resources by 2035. Though this goal may seem “pie-in-the-sky,” it may be closer to reality than you think. A report by the Solar Energy Industries Association found that in 2016, solar “added more generating capacity than any other source of energy for the first time ever.” To us, that sounds like we’re moving in the right direction! In many ways, San Diego is following California’s lead in pushing for big changes to lower our state’s carbon footprint and combat climate change. California Leads the Way California gets a lot of attention for its environmental policies, which are often some of the most progressive and ambitious in the nation. The state is also credited with leading the way for other states to adopt similar policies. But this wasn’t always the case. In the 1940s, California was famous for something else – the thick blankets of smog that choked its cities. In response, California got to work. It became the only state to receive a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set its own emission standards. Our state hasn’t looked back since. Here’s a short timeline of our biggest environmental achievements: 2002 – California becomes the first state to approve new standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars, including the requirement for most cars to use catalytic converters. 2006 – California passes AB 32, The California Global Warming Solutions Act, which is hailed as a watershed moment in the state’s history. The bill requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. 2013 – California institutes a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon levels. After early stumbles and legal challenges, the program auctioned off 64 million carbon credits in 2017 in partnership with Quebec, which raised billions of dollars for energy programs and the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. 2015 – Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 350 into law, which requires that California receive half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. 2017 – In response to the United States pulling out of the Paris climate accord, California, signs onto the United States Climate Alliance, along with over a dozen other states. The Alliance commits to reducing carbon dioxide to fulfill the U.S.’s original pledge. At Semper Solaris, we are proud to put veterans to work and to stand with San Diego to support policies that will ensure a cleaner city and a cleaner state. Interested in lowering your electricity bill and helping San Diego meet its Climate Action Plan goals? If you are ready to join the movement, learn how to get solar energy in San Diego by scheduling a free energy audit with Semper Solaris.