Solar panels are a big investment, but they provide several benefits to any homeowner who uses them. They can provide huge savings on electricity bills, improve the value of a home, and are great for the environment. At Pacific Green Homes, we have experts in roofing and electrical systems who will provide expert solar panel installation that is guaranteed to last for years. Let’s take a closer look at all the costs, benefits, and details involved in solar installation in Los Angeles.
How do Solar Panels Work?
Each panel consists of several smaller components called photovoltaic (PV) cells, photovoltaic means that it converts light into electricity. Each PV cell works by allowing a photon—which is a particle of light—to knock electrons free from atoms, this action creates a flow of electricity. The higher the number of cells in each panel, and the higher the number of panels, the more electricity is produced.
The Cost and Benefits of Solar Installation Los Angeles
Cost of Solar Installation in Los Angeles
The initial price of solar installation in Los Angeles can be high, but the state of California and the Federal government offer several rebates and incentives to offset the cost of the PV system. Applying for the Los Angeles rebate can save you about $4000 and the federal solar tax credit shaves 30% off the cost. In total, the combination of both those features can reduce the cost of the PV system to nearly half the original price. This does depend on the scale of the system and the location of the property.
Benefits of Solar Installation Los Angeles
California is one of the states with the highest energy bills in America, a solar panel can reduce those costs to zero, or nearly zero, depending on the size and energy usage of the home. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power also offers a net metering program. When your solar system generates more power than you use, your electric meter will run backwards—meaning that you are giving power to the grid, rather than taking it—and you will receive a credit on your electric bill.
This can end up saving you thousands of dollars in just a few years, it can also make money for your because the power company pays you for the excess energy that you feed back into the power grid. All this can help to increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars. Homes with solar panels also get sold faster, so they are a good investment even if you plan to move eventually.
Installation and Maintenance of Solar Panels
First, we must evaluate your home to see if solar panels are a viable option. Our installers visit your home and determine whether your roof has the structural integrity to accept solar panels and whether it receives enough sunlight to make solar panels a good choice for your home.
If solar installation is possible, then the installer will perform the necessary measurements for your roof and begin the installation process, which usually takes a few days. Since it takes place on your rooftop, there will not be much disruption to your daily life. The PV system will be up and running once it has been connected to the power grid.
Cleaning and Maintenance of Solar Panels
Solar panels are very easy to maintain because they don’t have any moving parts and rarely—if ever—need cleaning, and since they are made from tempered glass, you don’t have to worry about them cracking or breaking. You will know that your panels need cleaning if the energy they produce begins to wane without any significant weather changes or electrical problems.
This can happen in areas where there is a lot of dust, debris, pollen, or smog in the air. Some of it can get deposited on the panels, which reduces the amount of sunlight they can absorb. Normally, rain will wash off most deposits, but if there has not been any rain in a while, or you are dealing with deposits that don’t wash off easily—like bird droppings—then cleaning can sometimes be necessary.
A standard garden hose is all that’s needed in most cases, but a sponge or squeegee may be necessary with tougher deposits. You should not use high pressure hoses, stiff bristled brushes, or anything that might abrade the surface of the panels. It is best to clean the panels on a cloudy day since they can get very hot on sunny days. If you cannot safely reach the panels on the roof, then you should call a professional cleaning company, but this is an expensive, and often unnecessary, last resort. With minimal maintenance, solar panels can last for over 20 years, and the rain will provide most of the cleaning solar panels will ever need.
Solar Panel FAQs
Q. Do solar panels work at night?
A. Solar panels need light to function, but if you have a battery backup, then it can store the excess energy generated during the day. If you don’t have a battery backup then power is drawn from the electricity grid at night.
Q. Do solar panels work on cloudy days or when it’s raining?
A. Yes to both. They will generate less energy because there is less light, but they will still work.
Q. Will tree cover canopies affect the efficiency of my solar panels?
A.Trees can affect the function of solar panels if they block the sunlight at certain times of the day. If your panels receive partial shade in the morning but direct sunlight in the afternoon, then they will generate enough electricity and the trees can be left alone. If the opposite is true, then it might be necessary to trim the upper branches of any obscuring tree if they get in the way of the sunlight. In more extreme cases, the tree(s) may have to be removed entirely.
Q. If trees are good for the environment, isn’t sacrificing them for solar panels counterintuitive
A. Trees are good for the environment because they store carbon dioxide and release oxygen. In the short term, removing a tree is bad for the environment. However, if doing so allows the solar panels to operate at peak efficiency, then in the long term they will prevent tons of CO2 from being created by the burning of fossil fuels. If the solar panel is active for its full lifespan, then the amount of CO2 it saves is the equivalent of planting hundreds of trees.
Q. Will installing solar panels allow me to go off the electricity grid?
A. Yes, but it is very expensive because it involves a lot of battery storage, and is impractical, and unnecessary, for most homeowners.
Q. Will solar panels work in a blackout?
A. If the solar system is connected to the electric grid, then it will be shut off by the power company during a blackout. This is to prevent utility workers from getting injured by solar panels sending power back to the grid. If the system is not connected to the grid, then it will be unaffected by any power outages.