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 Benefits of Solar Installation in 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. Solar power is also beneficial to the environment as it does not use fossil fuels that release pollutants into the atmosphere.
The Cost and Installation of Solar Panels in Los Angeles
Cost and Warranty of Solar Panels
The initial price of solar installation in solar companies 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.
There are two types of warranties, the performance warranty and the product warranty.
- Performance warranty – the amount of electricity the panels produce declines slightly each year. This happens with all solar panels: the performance warranty guarantees that they will not lose more than 10 to 20 percent of their power output for at least 25 years.
- Product warranty – this covers any manufacturing defects. If any of the panels are defective then the warranty covers a replacement. However, solar panels rarely experience defects over a long period of time; any manufacturing defects should be noticeable in the first few weeks or months of operation.
Solar Installation in Los Angeles
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.
Choosing a Solar Panel Inverter
Solar panels convert sunlight into DC (direct current) power; an inverter converts that into AC (alternating current) power, which is what is used in the home. The main types are string inverters and microinverters.
These are the least expensive types and are a good choice if all your panels receive a lot of sunlight, or if they all face the same direction. Each row of panels is called a string, and that string is attached to an inverter. If a panel on the string does not receive enough light, then it will drag the performance of all the others down to its level.
Power optimizers are a solution to any performance defects caused by a poorly performing solar panel. One is installed on each panel and conditions the DC current before it reaches the inverter. They are a good compromise between standard string inverters and more expensive microinverters.
These are installed on each panel and they convert the DC power into AC power right at the panel. They are more efficient than string inverters because a single panel will not affect the performance of any other panels. They are a good solution for homes where one or more of the panels are in the shade. They are expensive, so they should only be purchased if necessary.
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.