Top 10 Questions About Solar Panels
Before you make the decision to go solar power for your home,
there are a number of things to know.
Solar Power Facts: Everything You Need to Know Before Going Solar
Thinking about adding solar panels to your home? Before you take the next step, check out the key facts below to make sure you are informed.
How Solar Panels Work: A Quick Breakdown
So how does it all work? Solar panels can be quickly understood when broken down to the main technologies used by homeowners for utilities, which is photovoltaics (known as PV). PV panels are used to create electricity from any sunlight that is absorbed. These panels must have an inverter to convert any direct current power produced to actual power that can be used, which is referred to as alternating current power.
What If It Is Rainy or Cloudy Outside?
Most people assume that solar energy can only be produced in direct sunlight. While it is true that a sunny, bright day is best, photovoltaic panels can still produce power through indirect sunlight. That means even if it is cloudy, your solar panels would still work. Even though it seems like rain would be a negative for solar panel systems, it can actually help improve efficiency by clearing any dust, dirt, or debris that may hamper the regular production of your panels. For homeowners living in areas with great net metering policies, any energy used at night time or during stormy days should be balanced out by excess energy produced during the sunnier times.
The Average Cost of a Solar Panel System
In 2017, the average estimated cost of solar panels for San Diego homes was $3.91 per watt. This number can, of course, fluctuate greatly based on the size of the system (3 kW, 5 kW and 10 kW), as well as any additional expenses such as roof replacements or updates, panel brands, etc. Tax credits, rebates, and other incentives offered by local companies also have to be considered when trying to find the real cost of a solar panel system. You can get the most accurate picture by requesting quotes from local contractors.
Understanding Solar Leases / Solar Power Purchase Agreements
When it comes to covering the cost of installing a solar panel system, you have a few options. Most commonly, leases are used to allow customers to pay for the solar system over a designated period of time. Many customers can secure solar for a very small investment, even no money down in some cases. Additionally, quick energy savings helps cut down the actual cost of solar panel systems. Another option is a power-purchase agreement, in which the customer will purchase all the energy produced from their solar system over the agreed upon amount of time. From financing to PPAs to upfront cash payments, there is a lot to consider before going solar.
You may have heard the term SREC thrown around when talking about solar. SREC stands for solar renewable energy credits. These credits are used to show the amount of electricity produced by your solar panels. Typically, they go hand-in-hand with state renewable energy standards to determine if solar energy goals are being met.
Currently Available Rebates & Incentives
Before you decide to go solar, you should take a look at the rebates, incentives, and other discounts available. These can all help you when it comes to deciding which brand and solar company to use on your project.
The most widely known incentive is the 30% federal investment tax credit (also known as the ITC) provided to homeowners for solar energy systems. Previously only in place until 2016, the credit has been extended. It is available to commercial customers as well. The credit can be used towards photovoltaic, solar heating / cooling, and concentrating solar technology.
Additionally, states and counties may offer their own rebates to encourage homeowners to switch to solar energy. Even certain utility companies offer incentives for customers to invest in solar energy technologies for their properties.
You can check out the policies and incentives available in California here. You can also learn more by talking to specific installers. A good company will help you take advantage of every possible rebate and money-saving option available.
Semper Solaris also offers additional incentives like a $500 coupon for opting into our mailing list, $500 discounts for military and first responders, and up to $2,000 in savings on roof replacements.