Solar Frequently Asked Questions
Answers from Our Skilled San Diego Solar Experts
We realize that this very well might be the first solar electric system installed at your home, which is why our San Diego solar experts wish to answer any and all questions or concerns you might have. We strongly believe that the more you are educated about the process, installation, products, benefits, and guarantee of going solar, the more peace of mind you will have about your decision to go solar in Southern California.
We have provided a list of frequently asked questions, but welcome you to contact us with any additional questions or concerns you might have.
What makes California Premier Solar Construction different from other solar contractors?
California Premier Solar Construction is a local family owned and operated business. Its ownership has been a part of the Escondido community for 3 generations. We are not here in San Diego to capture a hot solar market but to assist our community in saving money while also helping the environment. Also, most solar contractors are only electricians. California Premier Solar Construction carries a general building license in the state of California, and also has a partnership with its “sister” company, California Premier Roofscapes.
On any rooftop installation, we always replace any roofing material necessary that will be located in the area of the solar array so that your roof is up to code and will last as long as your solar system. This typically consists of 2 layers of new underlayment, flashings, and many times, new tile or shingles. We firmly believe that anything that is installed on your roof should have a roofer involved on a significant level. Because of this, we offer a full roofing warranty in the area of the solar array on any rooftop solar installation. Most importantly, we have a team at California Premier Solar Construction that genuinely cares about you and your home. Residential solar is all we do, so your project will never take a backseat to a much larger commercial endeavor. Over half of our work is on referral, so it’s paramount that you have an exceptional experience with our company, from start to finish.
Will I get to approve the final designs before you start?
You will definitely get to approve the final designs before we start! We will explain the design to you as well as provide you with a copy of the plans. We will only move forward when we have your approval. You can use the plan set we give you to receive approval from your HOA as well.
What do I have to do to get ready for installation?
Our installation is well-planned and streamlined for your peace of mind. We will be in touch with you every step of the way. If you have any questions about your upcoming installation date, please reach out to our San Diego solar company at (760) 786-4292. We will need access to the inside of your home at the beginning of the installation as well as when the time comes for the final inspection. When the installation process begins, we will be in and out quickly, usually within one week depending on the size of the project.
What is a kilowatt-hour?
A kWh, or kilowatt-hour, is a measure of electrical energy. It describes the amount of electric power (kilowatts) used over a period of time (hours). Running a 100-watt light bulb for one hour uses 100 watt-hours of electricity. This is equivalent to 0.10 kilowatt-hours. If the same light bulb is illuminated for two hours, the bulb will consume 0.20 kWh of electricity, or twice as much. Depending on location and size, a house’s electrical energy consumption may vary between 20-40 kWh per day or 600-1200 kWh per month. Depending on size, orientation, time of year, and weather, solar systems can produce a surprising amount of kWh per day.
What does photovoltaic mean?
There are several options when it comes to solar technology and they differ in how they convert sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic is the process where sunlight is broken down into packets called "photons," and turn it into energy volts.
What kind of maintenance will I have to perform on my solar panels?
We recommend cleaning them at the beginning and end of the summer season. Basically, all you have to do to keep your panels clean is to hose them off once or twice per year. Please be careful not to hose them off in the middle of a hot day with cold water to avoid any cracking of the glass. Solar panels have no gears or moving parts, so there’s nothing to lubricate or replace. When the time comes to cleaning the panels, one option is to call a window cleaning company to wash them off for you if you do not want to get up on your roof. We will be releasing a service agreement cleaning option for you in the near future.
I've heard that the production of solar panels makes them more wasteful than efficient—is that true?
It was true when photovoltaic technology was young and the cost of solar panels was astronomical, figuratively speaking, and were used only on spacecraft. Now, however, solar panels are extremely efficient. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has done an impartial study on payback time for solar electric systems and concludes that rooftop systems installed under average U.S. conditions save enough resources to offset their production in three to four years. Considering most of them last at least 25 years, that’s hardly wasteful!
Will it really decrease my energy costs?
Guaranteed! Once your system is installed, we will give you access to your own personal monitoring service to track the production of your system's energy. You will also receive a statement each month from SDG&E that will show each month’s electricity cost. The savings will be obvious when you compare that with what you paid the year prior.
How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels are very durable and have the capability to resist damage from snow, hail, wind, and other weather. While routine maintenance and replacement of certain components may be needed sooner, most solar systems have a useful life expectancy of anywhere between 25 to 35 years.
Is the installation affordable?
Yes. California Premier Solar Construction offers both financing and upfront payment options. If you decide to purchase a system, you will see the break-even point in your investment in about 5 years. If you decide to finance or lease a solar system, you can start creating savings right away. Whatever payment plan you choose, you will be paying less for power than you are right now.
Does it make sense to wait for the cost of solar panels to fall further before installing them?
Considering that state rebates are diminishing, no. The current technology in solar panels is not expected to take another leap for many years but rebates, however, can fluctuate much more rapidly. Capitalizing on solar power means acting now and not waiting. We have yet to come across a situation where it has paid to wait on solar when we consider the lost incentives with the opportunity costs.
What will it cost me to go solar in San Diego?
The cost depends largely on how you’d like to go solar—with a system purchase or lease. Systems can range from $0 up to many thousands of dollars. Regardless of the program you choose, solar will save you money. You will also have flexibility within your financing options. You can think of it as buying electricity upfront – the more you buy now, the more you’ll save later as utility rates continue to rise. The other factors that affect how much going solar costs are the amount of energy you use, your roof’s orientation and shading, and the solar rebate and tax credits available in your area.
Can government rebates reduce the cost of going solar?
Yes! The federal tax credit will held you save money. The federal tax credit is a credit, not a deduction of income, and it is 26% of the cost of the system for systems installed in 2022, or 22% of the cost of the system for systems installed in 2023.
Why is solar "green" or eco-friendly?
Nearly all homes in our service radius are powered by fossil fuels. Currently, your local utility buys its electricity from companies that burn coal, natural gas, or petroleum to create electrical energy. These fuels are harmful to the Earth in a number of different ways. A home that has enough solar panels to cover all or part of its electricity needs will help to offset their carbon footprint and become part of the solution to this problem.
What's the difference between a solar photovoltaic (PV) and a solar hot water (thermal) system?
A solar photovoltaic system converts sunlight directly into electricity. A solar hot water system absorbs sunlight and uses it to heat water for household use. California Premier Solar Construction does not install solar hot water systems. All mention of “solar” on this website refers to a solar photovoltaic system.
What if I move in a few years?
You might be surprised to learn that a move does not prevent you from experiencing the financial benefits of solar. Numerous studies have shown that solar panels add value to your home and help it sell faster, often in half the time. More often than not, homeowners understand the importance of energy costs and would be eager to purchase a home with existing lower energy system. If you have a solar lease, transferring the lease or outright ownership to the new homeowner is simple.
How does solar influence property values?
Solar panels have been known to have a positive influence on property values and homes with solar systems tend to sell for more than those without them. It is important to note, however, that this only applies to solar systems that you own, rather than lease. According to recent studies, adding a solar system in most parts of the country will increase a home's value more than a kitchen remodel!
Can I get solar panels on my roof first without getting a new roof first?
Yes, solar panels can be installed on an existing roof. Our San Diego solar experts are certified roofing contractors and will always replace the roofing in the area the solar panels will be installed if repairs are needed. If your entire roof is ready to be replaced, we will make that recommendation when appropriate. Solar panels can work for 40 years or more, so by installing a system on a newer roof, you can skirt the hassle of having to remove and replace the panels during a roof replacement. Keep in mind that if your panels are going on the roof, they will actually help to shield the roof from the elements and extend the life of your roof. A discount is offered if you decide to replace your roof and add solar at the same time.
Can I use solar electricity without buying a solar energy system?
Yes. Solar leases allow homeowners to switch to solar electricity without purchasing a system. With an arrangement like this, our leasing company owns the system and provides a kilowatt-hour production guarantee each and every year for 20 years. Many people prefer this because it’s available for $0 down, and comes with an easily measured production guarantee.
How will the solar panels look?
We strive to ensure that the installation does not compromise the aesthetics of your home. Solar panels do need to be installed in the right spot to maximize sunlight exposure and solar panel effectiveness. This requires a degree of southern exposure. However, we specifically design systems to maintain the fine aesthetics of your home. Our San Diego solar company's products take up less roof space than conventional solar panels and look much better with their all-black frame and state-of-the-art installation methods.
Our website portfolio contains examples of both traditional sleek solar panels as well as roof integrated panels. Please refer to our portfolio to see for yourself how appealing a solar energy system can be on a home.
What size solar electric system do I need?
The size of a residential solar electric system depends on several factors including your electrical usage history, available roof space, budget, and savings goals. Typically our customers choose a system that covers anywhere from 65-100% of their electrical bill.
How do I know if solar energy panels are right for my home?
There are various factors that determine whether or not a solar energy system is right for your home. When you schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our representatives, we will meet you on-site to assess your solar energy needs and help you decide if this is the best direction for you.
The factors that we take into consideration include, but are not limited to:
- The amount of direct sunlight exposure as well as any potential roof shading
- The size, condition, and type of material used on your roof
- Your current annual electricity bills
- Available tax credits, rebates, and incentives
- Local utility rate structure
In short, if your current monthly electrical bill is more than $100 per month, it would be well worth your effort to explore solar for your home.