Learn more about how solar power can benefit you, and how to get started
How Solar Panels Work to Power Your Home
Solar panels are installed in a sunny location, usually on the roof of your home. When the sun rises, light hits the solar cells and they start producing electric energy. This energy is then introduced to your electric service panel where it first goes to power your home.
As the intensity of sunlight grows stronger, your solar panels will produce more energy. By mid-day most solar powered homes are generating more energy than they are consuming. When this occurs, excess energy flows out of your electric service panel to the utility grid, and your SDG&E meter will actually credit you for the energy you are exporting.
At times when your solar panels are not producing enough energy to completely power your home, electric energy will come from SDG&E just like it always has. Your home will operate as it normally does, whether your electric energy is coming from your solar panels or SDG&E.
What has changed is that your SDG&E meter now goes forward and backward. At the end of each month you will either have a debit or credit on your electric bill. This is determined by whether your solar panels produced more energy or less energy than you’ve consumed. This process is called “Net Metering.”
Benefits of Solar Power
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!”
Once you have the equipment, the fuel is free – forever!
Wouldn’t it feel great to have some independence from SDG&E – your local utility company that continues to raise rates year after year? Just imagine the feeling you’ll get when your monthly bill reads “no payment is required at this time.” Wouldn’t it be great to open only one annual bill that’s less than the bills you used to pay every month? Our homeowners tell us it’s terrific!
Beyond saving money on utility bills, energy generated with solar panels is free of pollutants. Installing solar panels will help you, your family, and your neighbors breathe easier.
Installing solar panels is a step toward a more peaceful planet for future generations. There is no need to deploy troops to protect solar energy interests in dangerous, faraway lands. The sun rises in San Diego every day. With your own solar power plant, you can generate clean, renewable energy right where it will be consumed.
Increase the value of your home with solar panels. There is mounting evidence that a San Diego home’s value is increased when it has a solar power system installed.
Take advantage of the solar energy tax credit. In most cases, the Federal government will pay for 30% of the cost of going solar through an income tax credit. We recommend you check with your tax preparer to learn how you can benefit from a solar panel installation.
If you haven’t installed solar panels on your home yet, we’re happy to help you determine if it makes sense for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Solar Panels represent a big shift from how we’re used to harnessing energy, but it does not have to be confusing. Read on to learn just how easy and beneficial installing solar panels can be for your home!
How does billing change with SDG&E?
The energy from solar first powers your home. Any excess energy produced goes out onto the grid. When you are sending power out to the grid, your meter will record that amount and apply a credit to your SDG&E account. If you look at your meter at these times, you will see it go backwards. This credit will be used when you are consuming electricity but your panels are not producing, such as after daylight hours. You will still receive a monthly statement from SDG&E. However, as part of the net metering program, you will only be billed for electricity on an annual basis.
How do I know what size system is right for me?
The number of solar panels for your installation is determined by how much electricity your home uses, and considering how much it may use in the future. You can find your energy usage history by looking up your account on SDG&E’s website. When you sign in to My Account you’ll have access to some great tools to analyze your energy bills and consumption. With this information and a look at your home, a solar professional can help you size a system to meet your needs. In other words, designing a system with the proper number of solar panels. Another helpful tool that’s available is California Center for Sustainable Energy’s Electric Rate Analyzer. This tool can help you see how system size will affect your electric bill.
Do solar panels require much maintenance?
Solar panels can withstand extreme weather and require virtually no maintenance throughout their entire lifespan. According to a UCSD study, it’s generally not necessary to clean your solar panels. If you want to clean your panels, an occasional light rinse with deionized water when the panels are cool should do it.
How does a coastal marine layer effect electric output?
A common misconception is that San Diego coastal homes cannot use solar power because the marine layer will dramatically compromise the solar panel’s performance. Because we are located in coastal North County, we have installed thousands of solar modules near the ocean with excellent results. In fact, solar panels perform best in bright but cool conditions. So despite the occasional marine layer, the cooler coastal temperatures are ideal for high-performing solar electric systems.
Storing Your Solar Energy:
How Solar Energy Storage Works
For many homeowners, storing energy generated from your solar power system can be beneficial. While battery storage has been used for decades in off-grid solar applications, in some cases it makes sense to add energy storage to grid-tied solar power. Storage systems benefit homeowners by giving them more control over how and when they obtain the power they need, and by providing backup power in times of SDG&E power outages.