Saturday, April 20, 2024

How Does Solar Work In California

How Long Do Solar Panels Last

How Net Energy Metering in California Works with Solar

The first solar cells were manufactured by Bell Laboratories in the late 1950s and are still functional today. Likewise, panels installed on homes in the 1970s and 80s continue to generate power. Most solar modules today have a 25-year power output warranty and may continue to produce power well beyond that point. Homeowners interested in additional protection and savings can enroll in Palmetto Protect and earn quick access to energy monitoring, dedicated customer support, exclusive discounts, and best-in-class maintenance services.

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit

The federal solar investment tax credit will have the biggest impact on the cost you will face to go solar inCalifornia

This perk is commonly known as the ITC, short for Investment Tax Credit. If you install your photovoltaic system in 2020, the federal tax credit is 26% of the cost of your solar panel system. This is 26% off the entire cost of the system including equipment, labor and permitting.

Example: If your solar energy system costs $20,000, your federal solar tax credit would be $20,000 x 26% = $5,200.

The federal tax credit falls to 22% at the end of 2022.

Going Solar : Understanding The Basics

Having your very own power source on top of your roof feels like you’re living in a fantastic, futuristic world. You’re running your appliances and maybe even charging your electric vehicle in your garage without polluting the environment with excess greenhouse gases or polluting our land and water with practices such as hydraulic fracturing.

This information is great enough to simply smile and go on with your day however, the inquisitive types are asking themselves, “How does this solar thing work?”

Well, here’s a brief overview of a rooftop solar electric system…

Grid Connection Example


What are the solar panels doing?

Solar panels are made up of smaller sections known as , or solar cells. These cells are made with materials referred to as semiconductors. When sunlight hits these solar cells, some of the light is absorbed and converted into energy within the semiconductor material. This energy then knocks electrons out of their loose chemical bonds within the material.

The semiconductor material is sandwiched between two metal nodes that create an electric field within the solar cell. This electric field causes the electrons to flow in one direction, creating an electric current.

Recommended Reading: How To Make Your Own Solar Cells

What Happens If I Produce More Solar Power Than I Need

Your home will still be connected to the electric grid so you have power when your system is not producing. Excess energy produced beyond what your home is using at any moment can flow back into the grid, and will earn you credit on your electricity bill. If you choose to integrate energy storage with your solar power system, any excess energy that is produced and not immediately used by your household will function to charge your battery. This, in turn, allows you to access stored solar power for your home when energy usage exceeds production, and provide valuable backup power during an outage.

California Solar Rights Act What Is It

Will solar panels work on my house?

The state of California passed their Solar Rights Act in 1978, at the height of the energy crisis and when roof-top thermal solar collectors were all the rage. The law provides two key protections for solar homeowners:

Key Protection #1: HOAs and other covenants

First, it limits the power of HOAs and any other organizations to restrict solar installations. Heres a quote from the California Civil Code :

Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable.

The law does leave some room for HOAs to place restrictions on solar installations, as long as it:

doesnot significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance

When the law was created, the word significantly was not defined, leading to uncertainty as to its exact meaning. The state fixed this issue in 2014, when they amended the law, clarifying that significant costs meant anything over an additional $1,000 to the total installation cost and significant decrease in performance equaled a 10% drop.

Key Protection #2: Creation of solar easements

This gives homeowners peace of mind, knowing that for the foreseeable future, they are guaranteed access to sunlight.

Also Check: Can I Open A Solo 401k

Break Free From Californias High Electricity Costs

As a society, we have become more and more reliant upon electricity. Whether it is to turn on your lights, charge your electric vehicle, access your internet, wash your clothes, electricity has become a necessity for your familys well-being. Every flip of the switch, EV charge, running your wifi costs money. Every month you typically pay for that electricity cost to your local utility company like San Diego Gas & Electric , Southern California Edison , or Los Angeles Department of Water & Power . The cost of electricity isnt cheap in California, a study conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration rank California as the 7th most expensive state for electricity costs. On top of that, SCE is proposing a 14.4% increase to their electricity rates in 2021. We pay more than 60% of the average American for our electrical charges, and the cost of electricity is only projected to increase in the future. If youve compared your electricity costs today versus 10 years ago, it has more than doubled in price. Regardless of your utility provider, you would have noticed a sizeable increase in prices over the last few years. On average, SDG& E, SCE, PG& E, and LADWP have had roughly a 5% rate increase annually. How does solar fix this? By going solar, you lock in your current electricity prices and break free from the utility companys rate hikes.

At The Forefront Of New Technology

In September 2020, we completed a major technology upgrade at our Flat Ridge 1 wind farm in south-central Kansas, replacing 19 existing turbine units with new Vestas turbines that are expected to deliver a 20â25% gain in energy production across the site.

This project is a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to optimize and grow bp wind energy. bp has been in renewables for more than 20 years, and we believe itâs important to remain at the forefront of wind energy technology. This project supports that goal, as well as our broader ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner.

Additionally, the bp Wind Energy team continues to increase their partnership and projects with ONYX Insights â an industry leading predictive analytics provider and a wholly owned subsidiary of bp. By leveraging this technology, we can better understand the life span of turbine components at our wind farms, improve maintenance schedules, reduce costs and avoid breakdowns.

Read Also: Should Solar Panels Be Connected In Series Or Parallel

Solar Pool Heater Advantages

  • Solar pool heaters are low maintenance
  • Since there aren’t a lot of parts, solar pool heating systems are easier to maintain. You either replace the panels or the pump
  • With constant sunlight, solar pool heaters can heat your pool by up to 7 degrees
  • For those with plenty of sunlight and warm weather, solar heaters offer an affordable and eco-friendly pool heating alternative.
  • Can be controlled with automatic diverter valves
  • While every solar pool heating system includes a manual diverter valve for managing water flow, automatic valves are an upgrade. Automatic diverter valves use sensors to detect temperature and automatically direct water to, or away from your solar panels
  • Can slightly cool water at night
  • If the pool gets too hot during the day, running the solar heater at night can help cool the water. At night, as water travels through the panels, it slightly cools down before flowing back into the pool
  • On This Page You Can:

    California Solar Electric – A Worker Owned Co-Op – Promo
  • Learn what solar incentives are available to California homeowners

  • See what California solar incentives you qualify for based on your utility company and city

  • Find out how much these incentives and/or California solar tax credits will reduce your cost to go solar and add batteries

  • Recommended Reading: Are Solar Panels A Good Investment

    How Home Solar Batteries Work

    A SunPower Equinox solar energy system generates electricity whenever the sun is shining, often making more than a home needs during peak seasons. That excess energy is sent to the grid, and the homeowner usually receives a credit from their utility that can offset the electricity used at night.

    While the grid still plays a supporting role, more homeowners are requesting solar-plus-storage so they can have more control over their electricity use.

    Solar storage batteries work by taking that excess electricity and storing it. The stored solar energy can be used to complement power from the grid at night or to power essential appliances1 during a power outage.

    Solar Leases How Do They Work

    Solar leasing is a lot like a lease on a car:

    • You lease the solar panels and receive all the energy they produce, but do not own the panels.
    • You make monthly payments for the panels and are entitled to all the electricity they produce.
    • Most lease providers provide the option to buy the panels at the end of the lease term at a discounted price.

    Solar leases differ from auto leases in three important ways:

    • Unlike a car lease, which doesnt give you any savings, solar leases allow you to save on your monthly electric bills from day one.
    • The monthly lease amount goes up once per year by something called the solar lease escalator which is a percent of the solar lease cost.
    • The lease contracts are usually for 20 years.

    With a lease, the contract lays out how much your panels will cost for the duration of the lease, including any escalators. Many people prefer this versus having to constantly wonder how much the next rate increase will be from your utility, and prefer the convenience of not having to deal with any maintenance or be liable for any work that needs to be done to their solar system.

    As with a power purchase agreement, most lease providers offer the option to buy the panels at the end of the lease term at a discounted price.

    Also Check: How Do I Get An Ein Number For Sole Proprietorship

    Alameda County Solar Financing

    Using a 20-year property assessment known as PACE financing, the city of Berkeley had a successful pilot program from 2008 to 2009 as the first city in the country to allow residents to obtain solar power without any initial payment. In the plan, property owners paid as much in increased property taxes as they save in energy costs, allowing them to install the panels for free at no cost to the city. Thirty eight projects are being installed for the pilot stage of the program. PACE financing has spread to 28 states, but is on hold in many due to objections by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, including in Berkeley . Legislation has been introduced to require acceptance of PACE financing.

    How Many Solar Panels Do I Need Then

    Solar Panel Installation San Clemente CA

    Related:How many solar panels do I need?

    Typically, a modern solar panel produces between 250 to 270 watts of peak power in controlled conditions. This is called the nameplate rating, and solar panel wattage varies based on the size and efficiency of your panel. There are plenty of solar calculators, and the brand of solar system you choose probably offers one. That said, there is a simple equation to calculate the amount of kilowatt-hours your solar panel system will produce.

    So now that we know you need to produce about 6kW of AC output, we can work backwards to figure out how many solar panels you need. Solar panels produce direct current , and your home runs on alternating current .

    Yep, like the band, AC/DC.

    Because of physics, there are losses in converting the energy from the sun into DC power, and turning the DC power into AC power. This ratio of AC to DC is called the derate factor, and is typically about .8. This means you convert about 80% of the DC power into AC power.

    This continues to improve ever so slightly, but the losses are unavoidable because of physics! So you take the AC amount you need: 6kW and divide by .8 . This means that youll need 30 250Wp solar panels or 27-28 270Wp panels.

    Read Also: Where Is Pine Sol Made

    Mandatory Solar Power In New Homes

    In March 2008, Culver City established the first in the nation mandatory solar photovoltaic requirement, which requires an installation of 1 KW of solar photovoltaic power per 10,000 square feet of new or major remodeled commercial building area.

    In March 2013, Lancaster, California became the first U.S. city to mandate the inclusion of solar panels on new homes, requiring that “every new housing development must average 1 kilowatt per house.”In May 2013, Sebastopol followed suit, requiring new buildings include either 2 W/sq ft of insulated building space of photovoltaics, or enough to provide 75% of the expected annual electricity use.

    Since January 1, 2014 California law requires all new buildings less than ten stories tall be “solar ready”.

    In April 2016, San Francisco mandated that all new buildings less than ten stories tall include solar panels or solar water heating covering at least 15% of the roof, beginning January 1, 2017.

    In 2018, the State of California Building Standards Commission approved solar installation requirements for all new residential buildings with three stories or fewer. This requirement took effect in 2020.

    Do Solar Panels Work When It Rains

    Much like Pacific Northwest winter climates, some places like Georgia, Texas, and Southern California experience a cooler rainy season.

    The sun still delivers daylight to solar panels through the rain and clouds.5 Although solar panels are most productive in direct sunlight, they can still use diffuse or indirect sunlight to generate energy.

    Rainy days and clouds cause diffuse light. But whats the difference? Direct light is solar radiation traveling in a straight line from the sun down to the earths surface. Diffuse light is sunlight that has been scattered by particles in the atmosphere yet still reaches the earth.6 Thus, the amount of electricity generated is dependent on the density of cloud cover.7

    Though energy production decreases with increasingly dense cloud cover, panels continue working to a greater capacity than one may expect. Rain also helps wash away dust on panels to keep them operating efficiently.8

    Read Also: Do Houses With Solar Sell For More

    Higher Fees Could Be Coming For California Solar Customers

    SAN DIEGO Solar customers in California may soon have a significantly higher bill if the state approves the Utilities Commission’s new Net Energy Metering rules for rooftop solar power.

    Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission shared its proposal of new rules for the state’s 1.3 million rooftop solar customers.

    “This is a complete disaster,” Matthew Vasilakis with San Diego non-profit watchdog organization, Climate Action Campaign, said.

    Vasilakis believes the proposal discourages people from switching to solar.

    Under the current Net Energy Metering rules, when solar panels generate more energy than the homeowner needs, they can sell the extra power back to the utility for retail price. The updated new proposal says when customers sell back that extra power, they will be paid a smaller percentage.

    The proposal states that solar customers will also be hit with a new monthly $40-$50 grid participation charge, something non-solar customers currently pay $100 a month.

    ” really crushing one of our only ways to achieving 100% clean electric future,” Vasilakis said.

    City Heights resident Ricardo Daniel Castillo made the switch to solar four years ago. After installation, his San Diego Gas & Electric bill went from $280 to about $10 a month. In addition, he pays Tesla a $100 monthly rental fee for the equipment.

    “That’s like $270 savings right off the bat. It’s been that way ever since,” Castillo said.

    Tuesday, SDG& E told ABC 10News:

    New Submission Forms For Gosolarsf

    How Grid-Tie Solar Systems Work | Sacramento, CA Solar Panel Installation

    The PowerClerk application management system for GoSolarSF ended on December 31, 2021.

    Effective Jan 1, 2022, all submissions of Completion Packages/ Incentive Claims and new DAC-SASH applications are to use the attached new manual submission forms.

    Email submissions to , following the instructions in the new submission form. If you rather not email any data due to web security concerns, contact the GoSolarSF team and we will provide you with a secure link for uploading that data.

    Don’t Miss: How To Charge Ev With Solar Panels

    Growing Our Onshore Business

    We currently operate nine onshore wind assets across six states â Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania and South Dakota â and hold an ownership interest in a tenth onshore asset, in Hawaii. Together, our US wind farms generate enough renewable electricity to power up to 450,000 homes a year.

    In Indiana, bp already operates all three Fowler Ridge wind farms, which collectively have 355 turbines powering roughly 160,000 homes annually. In July 2020, we agreed to purchase the remaining 50% interest in our Fowler Ridge 1 wind farm from Dominion Fowler Ridge Wind, LLC, boosting our net US wind generating capacity by more than 15%, to 1,076 MW.

    bp recycled the existing fiberglass blades and related equipment at Flat Ridge 1 to keep some 1.5 million pounds of fiberglass out of landfills.

    California Net Metering Retained

    The most important feature of NEM 2.0 to be preserved from NEM 1.0 was the concept of net metering, which allows solar customers to sell excess energy back to the grid at the retail rate. This amount is then offset against their power bills, leaving the customer to pay the net amount of power bills.

    Also Check: How To Select Solar Panel For Home

    Popular Articles
    Related news