Switching to solar can keep your home bright all year long without having to deal with enormous electricity bills. Learn about the ways solar energy can benefit your home and family.
Getting solar for your home means reaping an abundance of benefits. Learn how easy it is to make your home a safe and comfortable place to live with these amazing perks:
- Help you save money A new solar system will reduce or eliminate your electric bill. You may be conflicted given the amount of money you have to invest initially, but in the long run, solar will help cut energy costs and increase property value.
- Protect against rising energy costs The cost of energy continues to increase and it shows no signs of slowing. Residential electricity has risen at a rate of about 3% annually.
- Time-sensitive savings The cost of solar energy has lessened over the past few years, but time is running out on valuable federal government-issued solar incentives. The current solar tax credits are set to expire within the next four years. The solar tax credit currently allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system, but this percentage rate will decrease each year.
- Create jobs and help your local economy If helping your community is important to you, you’ll be glad to know the solar industry is booming. Contributing to this industry means creating jobs for your fellow citizen, in both your neighborhood and across the country.
- Protect the environment Are you looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint? The average residential solar panel system can eliminate up to 4 tons of carbon emissions annually—the equivalent of planting over 100 trees each year.
Solar Installation Process
- Step 1. Getting Started – One of our solar energy consultants will meet with you to discuss your home energy needs, solar installation costs and financing options. System cost will depend on the size of your home, average energy usage and whether you plan on any future additional energy costs.
- Step 2. Site Survey – A site surveyor will check for overall dimension of your roof, angles, slope, thickness of roof and location of chimney and vents to ensure the design of your system is the ideal solution for your home.
- Step 3. Design Engineering – Our experienced CAD designer will draft layout plans for your new solar electric system to submit for permitting.
- Step 4. Permitting – Once you have approved your solar installation plans, our trained staff will submit them to the city for approval. Every city has different requirements including structural engineering, HOA approval, etc. This process can take 2-4 weeks depending on where you live.
- Step 5. Day of Installation – Our average solar panel installation takes 1-3 days. More complicated jobs (large kW size, ground mount, off-grid, re-roof included) may take 1-2 weeks to install. The first step is to prep the roof to ensure a sturdy, professional installation. The crew installs double-flashed mounting to ensure solar installation if leak-proof. The next step is the installation of the solar panels. After they are securely attached to the mounting, wiring is completed and a monitoring device is installed to track system performance.
- Step 6. City Inspections – Our staff will assist with completing the net-metering application and schedule an inspection with the city. This can take 1-2 weeks. Once the city inspection is complete, it is submitted to SDGE for review.
- Step 7. Utility Approval – After city inspection and upon utility approval, you will be granted Permission To Operate (PTO) your new solar system. Like the city inspection, this process may take 1-2 weeks.
Costs and Savings
Solar energy systems are more affordable than ever. You may be able to take advantage of current incentives to get an even better deal. After you’ve invested in solar panels, potential electricity bill savings await you. How much you save on your electric bill depends on several factors— the cost of electricity in your area, your family’s energy use, and the size of the system you choose.
Once your solar panels are installed and your home is connected to the grid, it’s time to enjoy the energy rewards. With a solar panel system, you’ll generate free power for your system’s entire 25+ year lifecycle. Even if you don’t produce 100 percent of the energy you consume, solar will reduce your utility bills and you’ll still save a lot of money.
Solar panels are a big investment, so be sure to perform annual maintenance checks.
Hire a professional to ensure the panels are free of dirt and debris, and look for any cracks that need repairing. They can also teach you how to shut off solar in an emergency or answer any new questions that you may have. Use your contractor as a resource.
With some basic solar industry terms, you’ll be ready to talk like a pro with your contractor.
Alternating Current (AC): A type of electrical current, the direction of which is reversed at regular intervals or cycles. In the U.S., the standard is 120 reversals or 60 cycles per second.
Direct Current (DC): A type of electricity transmission and distribution by which electricity flows in one direction through the conductor, usually relatively low voltage and high current. To be used for typical 120 volt or 220 volt household appliances, DC must be converted to AC, its opposite.
Electrical grid: This is the system that delivers electricity from utility companies to consumers. Electrical grids are composed of generating locations, transmission lines, and distribution lines.
Energy payback: This is the amount of time a solar panel needs to generate the same amount of energy it took to actually manufacture it. According to recent solar power information, modern photovoltaic (PV) panels have an energy payback period of 1-4 years.
Inverter: The inverter electronically converts Direct Current (DC) power into Alternating Current (AC) power and is required for grid-connected solar power systems.
kWh: The abbreviation for kilowatt-hours, a unit of energy. One kWh represents a 1,000 watt load operated over a period of one hour. Electricity rates are most commonly expressed in cents per kilowatt hour.
Module: Commonly called a “solar panel,” a PV module is composed of multiple solar cells that are electrically connected to increase the total power output and are encapsulated in tempered glass for weather protection and ease of handling.
Net-metering: Net-metering is a billing system that lets homeowners with solar arrays send their unused solar energy back to the utility grid.
Storage battery: A storage battery can store electricity generated by solar panels and draw electricity from the utility grid when rates are low to store for later use. They also provide homeowners with backup power in the event of an outage.
Time of Use (TOU) – Time-of-use is a rate plan in which rates vary according to the time of day, season, and day type. Higher rates are charged during the peak demand hours and lower rates during off-peak (low) demand hours. Rates are also typically higher in summer months than in winter months. This rate structure provides price signals to energy users to shift energy use from peak hours to off-peak hours.