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The Ultimate Guide to Residential Solar

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Residential Solar Roofing

Solar power has been in existence for a considerable amount of time; however, it was not until recently that it became embraced by people globally. This was after the realization of the need to turn to green energy in efforts of realization of the Millennium development Goals. Due to this reason, people are still very green in this industry and this, in turn, poses a great challenge. If you would like to buy a car today, you will have several people to consult and guide you on the car market. Should you make a mistake, you will probably say next time you will make a better decision.

When it comes to solar panels, things don’t run this way. Installing solar systems is considered to be more expensive than acquiring your first car. Most people who have solar systems installed have only been using it for several years. Among these people, only a handful have used solar panels to their full life cycles. Unlike buying a car, buying solar panel is a crucial affair and this means that there are no rooms for mistakes. It’s for this reason that we felt the need to come up with a complete guide, we call it “ The Ultimate Guide to Residential Solar.” We want to guide you and ensure you know what to look for before buying your residential solar system.

Enjoy reading.

Roofing

To begin with, you need to ask yourself. Do you have a good roof that can support solar panels? This step can be easily overlooked, but it’s critical. Is your house always covered by shades for the better part of the day or throughout the year? Does it have a favorable solar window that can justify the cost of solar panels? If your roof passes this, you need to ensure it’s in good shape structurally. If your roof looks like it needs some repair in the next few years to come, it’s better to repair it first before starting the installation process. That way you would save on costs that would have incurred if you would have sought for a technician to disconnect the solar systems for you in order to start the renovation. It’s thus important to visualize the future of your residential home. If it’s unobstructed at the moment but you have planted some trees nearby, then your solar systems might end up being short lived. You also need to factor in your neighbor as well. If they plan to build a skyscraper in the next few years, then solar panels might simply not work for you.

Improve Efficiency

Before installing residential solar panels, you first need to ensure you have done everything that can improve efficiency. The amount of solar energy you will need to produce will largely depend on how much energy you use. For this reason, it will make more sense if you trim down your energy use before paying for the solar panels. An energy audit ensures you improve efficiency as much as consumption is concerned, and this is what you need to do before drawing the blue prints.

Type of Solar System You Need

Two prominent solar systems are primarily the photovoltaic cells which turn sunlight into electricity and the thermal one which uses sunlight to heat air or water. If your residential home consumes a lot of power for heating or if you live in locations where heating fuel is expensive when compared to electricity, then, your solar investment can break sooner, advises Timothy Wilhelm. Timothy coordinates electrical technology, and he teaches about solar installation in Kankakee Community College, Illinois.

Connecting to the Grid

Although details vary depending on location, it’s, however, paramount that you need first to seek out logistics before connecting with a utility. Are there fees to pay? How long does it take for you to get hooked up to the utility? How will you be credited for the electricity you generate once you are connected? These are some of the considerations you have to ponder on.

Credibility of Your Installer

Once you hire someone to install solar panels in your residential home, you need to realize that as much as it’s about home improvements, there are logistics that come into play. The connection touches on the already installed electrical works. Kelly Larson, an electrical contractor in California with over 20 years experience says “You need not hire someone who has never done any electrical work to come and make changes in your house.” Credentials and references play a significant role. You are looking for a company that will be with you all the way. They will stick around and come to help you when things fail. Though solar systems don’t have major problems as they are not moved up and down, you still need a company that sticks with you for the lifetime of your installation.

To Lease or to Buy

After you have decided you are ready to go the solar way, you need to do a cost-benefit analysis by trade off. While buying your solar systems is cost intensive, it still tables bigger dividends. On the other hand, leasing will grant you access to cheaper electricity though the benefits here are limited. You will have to pay the company the agreed on the amount and when the lease is up, they may as well decide to take away their systems and your residential home will be in jeopardy. Owning the system will pay the cost of purchase in the long run. You thus need to do a good comparison on the total life cycle cost of the lease and weigh it against ownership benefits. Wilhelm advises that you need to keep in mind that while the solar system can last for decades, some appliances like the power inverter have a shorter lifespan. While budgeting, it’s thus good to factor in the cost of system replacements.

Financial Incentives

With the federal government recent efforts of giving incentives to people ready to go green, it’s good to inquire and learn if there are incentives or government subsidies that you can capitalize on while doing solar panel installation. Some solar rebates can, in fact, pay off. The federal government provides tax credits for solar panels, and this can cut costs by up to 30%. Some states, however, might lack such rebates but before you make a conclusion, consult first. Your solar installation team should be in a position to give you a good guide on how to get the maximum rebate.

If you are in the San Diego area and would like us to find out the best solar rebate options for you, contact us.

Building Permits

Before installing solar systems in your residential home, it’s good to ensure that you have the required or proper building permits. This step is crucial because if you simply overrule it, you might have to bring down and redo the entire project once more. Regulations differ from city to city. In some, you are required to have at last a three-foot clearance around your roof. Some will, however, allow you to install the systems up to the very edge. In the USA, building permits are issued at local levels; this explains why there are differences in requirements as you move from one city to another. Besides building, you further need to ensure that your solar panel system meets the requirements of electrical codes.

Electricity Output

Another factor you have to consider before getting solar panels installed in your residential home is electricity output. Ideally, one panel produces around 250 watts of electricity; this means that for you to have at least 2.5 kW a day, you need ten panels. Settling for a smaller number of panels will thus mean that you will have limited the amount of electricity you can produce and it will also reduce the money you receive from feed-in tariff. A normal household requires 3.5kW of electricity a day, and that equates to 4,800 kW a year. Such statistics imply you have to dig deep in your pocket if you want to power your residential home fully on solar panels. If it’s difficult, you might consider getting some bit of electricity from the national grid system as well.

Amount of Money You Want to Spend

Another factor you have to consider before installing residential solar systems is the amount of money you want to spend versus the amount of money required. Money defines everything. Money is the determining factor from the type of solar panel to buy all the way up to who will install for you. You might be wishing to have one of the largest solar systems installed in your residential home, but you may only have a buck or two in the bank. The cost of installation is largely determined by the brand of the panel, type of the panel and the size of the panel. Other factors are labor and number of batteries that you may need to store power that is generated by the solar panel.

Use of the Solar Panel

The main reason you might want to set up a solar system is maybe you want to have a mere backup at times when there is a blackout in your area. Another reason may be to run your kitchen or to power one or two appliances that you recently acquired. Another person may want to fully utilize solar energy in everything he or she does. Some solar systems might be connected to the grid systems using a grid inverter. In this scenario, if there is a major blackout or if there some maintenance being done on the national grid, they don’t want electricity to feed into their grid and for this reason, you may also be in a blackout. For this reason, you have to clearly define the need and use of your solar panel before you calculate the cost of installation.

Types of Residential Power Installation

When it comes to residential solar power installation, you need to understand that there are two types of them. The first type connects your solar panel system to the main electricity grid. This is by far the most common type of solar installation. The grid connection system allows you to feed energy back to the grid system via your meter. With this option, you are rewarded by the power company for the amount of energy you have added to their system. The second type of residential power system is referred to like the stand alone solar power system. With this system, the cost of connecting solar panels to the main grid system is prohibitive. In this system, the solar panels charge a battery which in turn gives power to the house. Usually, a generator is kept on the stand by to back up power to the systems.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Residential Solar System?

Most solar companies will give you a free quote or estimate, including us! If your residential house is not so big, solar installation will take less than a day. It’s very rare to find incidences where solar installation in a residential has taken more than two days.

If you are in the San Diego area and would like a free quote please click here.

Solar Power Installation on Residential Homes

In most cases, solar installation is done on the roof, however, should you prefer your residential solar systems to be installed somewhere else; it can always be done but a cost. They will only need to erect free-standing solar panels in your preferable area. To get maximum solar energy, companies’ advice that you tilt your solar panels at a certain angle that is uniquely dependent on your geographic location. For most people, an angle of 30 degrees does well.

Solar Inverter

Depending on the type of installation, you might need to purchase some solar inverters. Inverters convert current from DC, direct current, to 240V AC electricity which is suitable for your home. Most inverters tend to be smaller than standard suitcases and are placed near the main electric switch boards.

Residential Solar Power Maintenance

To maintain your solar panels, you need to at least clean them every year. Since most solar panels are immovable, they should be able to last you up to twenty years or more.

Residential Solar Power Benefits

Solar energy is green energy. It thus has lots of advantages. To begin with, it’s a renewable source of energy. It’s also readily available and in abundant quantities. Solar energy is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Solar power reduces electricity costs, and this means that your home will end up saving more as far as costs of energy is concerned. In addition to that, solar panels are silent unlike generators and can be redistributed or shared. It also receives government support or aid.

Disadvantages of Residential Solar Energy

One of the major drawbacks of this type of energy is that it is expensive to setup and install. It’s also intermittent in that at times, access to solar energy is interrupted. Interruptions are mostly weather or climate oriented. Lastly, it requires a considerable amount of space.

The Bottom Line

Solar panels provide clean energy that is pollution free. It has more advantages both economically and environmentally. We hope that this article will go a long way in helping you make the right decision as far as installing residential solar energy is concerned.

Net Metering 2.0 is Here!

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Today we reached the cap on the initial Net Energy Metering rules (NEM 1.0) in SDG&E service territory. All solar systems installed as of today will be under the second generation of Net Energy Metering rules (NEM 2.0).

What does this mean for people looking to go solar now or in the future?

  • There will be a NEM 2.0 enrollment fee of $132 in SDG&E territory. But don’t worry, if you go solar with Solare Energy, we will take care of this for you!
  • Non-Bypassable Charges (NBCs) can no longer be offset by solar systems. However, NBCs are only a small fraction of electricity rates (about $0.02/kWh out of average rates of about $0.30/kWh) and would only apply to electricity used from the utility when your solar system is not generating enough power, usually on evenings or cloudy days. For most NEM 2.0 customers, this means their bills will be the same or $5/month higher than under the original rules.
  • Customers going solar after June 2017 will be put on a mandatory Time of Use (TOU) Rate Plan. However, here at Solare Energy, we put most customers on a TOU rate plan that increases their savings

You can find more details regarding NEM 2.0 rules here.

For a free, no obligation quote that includes a detailed estimate of Non-Bypassable Charges, click here.

10 Solar Powered Gift Ideas For Father’s Day

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With the first major heat wave scheduled to hit us here in San Diego on this Father’s Day weekend, we thought we’d bring to light some brilliant solar powered gifts for dad! As solar technology advances so do the awesome gadgets we have access too. We picked out ten of the best solar gift ideas in no particular order, check them out! Click the images to be linked to the product website.

SkyLock

The future of bike locks is here. No more shall you worry about a stolen bike. If Back To The Future used hover bikes instead of hover boards, this is the lock they’d be using! From it’s sleek impressive design too its plethora of features ( yes this bike lock has features! ) this is the best lock out there and it’s solar powered to boot! Connect to your Apple or Android phone and make your bike’s life as safe as it can be.
SkyLock.Edit

Daymak Beast Bike

The toy you don’t want to share with your kids, this solar powered literal beast of a scooter is the perfect gift for that extreme sport loving father. Leave the gas behind and fuel up with the power of the sun. For US customers contact Dave@Daymak.com to ride away on one of these bad boys!
beast-ultimate2016

Birksun Solar Backpacks

Out for a hike? Day at the beach? Just walking around town? Keep yourself powered up at all times with a Birksun Solar Backpack. Every father needs something this convent and stylish. In sunny San Diego this is a great everyday gift for the father on the go.
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GoSun Sport Solar Cooker

Have a summer trip planned? Weekend at the river? Camping in the mountains? Now you can harness the power of the sun to do your cooking for you. For that outdoors-man dad that loves to cook under the big blue sky the portable solar oven is the perfect gift!

Clinch Tent

Do you have a dad that loves to camp? How about when your phone dies and you can’t take anymore pictures of the beautiful scenery? Worry no more! Clinch Tent’s harness the power of the sun to keep your devices charged up while you enjoy the outdoors!
Clinch

Eton Rukus Solar Bluetooth Speaker

With the summer weather on the way, who doesn’t love listening to music while they’re relaxing on the sand. While the kids play at the beach or the river, you can sit back and jam out to your tunes without the worry about the day the music died.

Husqvarna Solar Hybrid Auto Lawn Mower

The solar powered silent grass cutting ninja. That pretty much sums up this awesome gift for the father sick and tired of mowing the lawn. Like something straight out of the Jetsons, make you dad’s life a little easier  with this robotic gift.
Automower

XD Modo Solar Charger

Does your dad stay soaring in the skies all the time on business trips? The XD Modo Solar Charger is the solution to his traveling energy needs. Stick it on the plane window and suck up that sun to keep your phone or tablet charged from tarmac to tarmac!
PortableCharger

Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard

Got space in your life for another gift? Delete your boring normal keyboard and replace it with a solar powered logitech wiresless one. Capitalize on the suns energy to power you through every keystroke!
k750-gallery

Solare Energy, Inc. Solar System

The gift that keeps on giving. Hook your father up today with a Solare Energy Solar System and keep the house cool all summer without the worries of a high energy bill! Proudly serving San Diego for over 25 years. Call us today at 858.547.4300
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Go Ahead – Be A Griswold!

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San Diego Solar Holidays

How Much Do LED Holiday Lights Save?

Energy Cost Comparison - Incandescent vs LED Displays

Everyone wants to show their Holiday Spirit – some more than others. Whether you prefer a “tasteful” display or the “All-Out” display, LED bulbs will save you money on energy costs.

The questions is… How Much Do LEDs Actually Save?

The costs-per-season below are calculated using SDGE’s average price of $0.24/kWh and a SOLAR price of $0.10/kWh for 6 hours a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

Tasteful San Diego Holiday Lights Display

How Much Does A Tasteful Holiday Light Display Cost?

Items
1 wreath
1 Garland
10 Strings of Lights
2 Outdoor Decorations
Total Wattage

Incandescent Watts
21
42
408
164
635

LED Watts
4
4
48
38
96

Incandescent Bulbs
SDGE’s Average Price
@ $0.24/kWh
Cost:
$31.09/season
LED Bulbs
SDGE’s Average Price
@ $0.24/kWh
Cost:
$4.70/season
Incandescent Bulbs
w/ SOLAR
@ $0.10/kWh
Cost:
$12.95/season
LED Bulbs
w/ SOLAR
@ $0.10/kWh
Cost:
$1.94/season
Enthusiastic San Diego Holiday Lights Display

How Much Does An Enthusiastic Holiday Light Display Cost?

Items
500ft C9 String on Roof
200ft C9 String in Yard
15 Strings for Walkway
30 Strings for Trees
1 Wreath
Total Wattage

Incandescent Watts
3,500
1,400
612
1,224
63
6,799

LED Watts
480
192
72
144
14
903

Incandescent Bulbs
SDGE’s Average Price
@ $0.24/kWh
Cost:
$332.88/season
LED Bulbs
SDGE’s Average Price
@ $0.24/kWh
Cost:
$44.21/season
Incandescent Bulbs
w/ SOLAR
@ $0.10/kWh
Cost:
$138.70/season
LED Bulbs
w/ SOLAR
@ $0.10/kWh
Cost:
$18.42/season
All-Out San Diego Holiday Lights Display

How Much Does An All-Out Holiday Light Display Cost?

Items
95 Icicle Lights
800ft C9 String on Roof
500ft C9 String in Yard
15 Strings for Walkway
10 Strings for Light Tree
30 Strings for Trees
150′ Spool of Rope Light
5 Motifs
Total Wattage

Incandescent Watts
6,056
5,600
3,500
612
408
1,224
378
554
18,332

LED Watts
458
768
480
72
48
144
120
277
2,369

Incandescent Bulbs
SDGE’s Average Price
@ $0.24/kWh
Cost:
$897.53/season
LED Bulbs
SDGE’s Average Price
@ $0.24/kWh
Cost:
$115.98/season
Incandescent Bulbs
w/ SOLAR
@ $0.10/kWh
Cost:
$373.97/season
LED Bulbs
w/ SOLAR
@ $0.10/kWh
Cost:
$48.33/season

Go Ahead – Be A Griswold!

No matter how much Holiday Spirit you want to display, LED decorations may cost more to purchase, but they will save significantly on your energy costs for years to come. LED products have a lifespan about 30 times longer than incandescent products, so you’ll probably never have to replace your decorations once you’ve made the initial purchase.

SOLAR SAVES EVEN MORE! Click here for a FREE QUOTE.

Everyday Energy Efficiency

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Scared of your utility bill?

What Are Your Best Energy Efficiency Measures?

Share Your Favorite Ways To Save Energy!

2014 Kill-A-Watt Contest

Share your favorite energy efficiency measures for a chance to win a Kill-A-Watt Energy Monitor! These awesome devices plug into your outlet to help you see just how much energy your favorite devices are consuming. Solare Energy will be selecting 3 winners monthly for the best energy efficiency recommendations.

Submit your best watt-saving upgrades or energy-efficient habits by commenting below.

Did you know that household devices and appliances such as your television and cable box continue to draw electricity even when they are “off” ?!? Have you ever wondered just how much energy your refrigerator is consuming? Enter to win a Kill-A-Watt Energy Monitor and get the answer.

Kill-A-Watt Energy Monitor

(3 monitors will be awarded monthly for the best energy-saving advice. Any San Diego County homeowner can enter to win!)

How Much Energy Do Your Appliances & Electronics Consume?

(Based on average utility rate of $0.24/kWh)

3.5 Ton AC Unit

Yearly Average Usage:  10,530 kWh

Cost: $2,527/yr

Pool Pump

Yearly Average Usage:  4,608 kWh

Cost: $1,106/yr

Water Heater

Yearly Average Usage:  4,219 kWh

Cost: $1,013/yr

Fridge/Freezer

Yearly Average Usage:  2,700 kWh

Cost: $648/yr

Computers

Yearly Average Usage:  1,248 kWh

Cost: $300/yr

Lighting

Yearly Average Usage:  1,200 kWh

Cost: $288/yr

Clothes Dryer

Yearly Average Usage:  900 kWh

Cost: $216/yr

Stove/Oven

Yearly Average Usage:  775 kWh

Cost: $186/yr

Lock-in Lower Energy Rates With Solar

With utility companies averaging a 6-7% annual increase, you can expect your bill to double every 12 years. Going solar now allows you to lock-in lower energy rates (as low as $0.06/kWh) and, in many cases, requires $0 down. That means you can start saving on your energy costs and immediately see an increase in monthly cash flow. With about 10 different financing options such as 1.99% financing, and PACE programs such as HERO and YGRENE, we’ll be able to help you find the solution that’s best for your personal situation. Don’t delay – get started now to ensure your eligibility to take the 30% Federal Tax Credit for 2014!

2014 SDGE Rate Hike

As Seen On The TODAY SHOW

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