San Diego Solar Power – How Does it Work?
Frequently Asked Questions for Our Technicians
At Home Energy Systems Inc., our San Diego solar experts understand that you are likely to want to do a great deal of research before investing in solar technology for your home or business. Read on for answers to some of the most common questions we receive!
What are the major components of a solar electric system?
Photovoltaic modules (PV): Photovoltaic modules are typically monocrystalline or polycrystalline, and use light to convert energy into direct current (DC) electricity.
Inverters: Inverters come in different sizes and models, and convert the direct current (DC) energy produced by the solar modules into alternating current (AC) that is used by household components.
How does solar power my home?
Simply put, solar panels capture particles of light. The SunPower solar panels allow for a free flow of electricity to the inverters. An inverter is the component of a solar panel that converts the power to energy that can be used in your home, (AC electricity). The inverter then send the usable power to your home.
What if I am not using any electricity?
When you are not home, or not using electricity, the power generated by your solar system is sent to SDG&E through the grid (the above- and under-ground power lines). SDG&E credits you for the energy you send to them which can then be used when your solar system is not producing (at night) and your home has to use energy from SDG&E
How much space does the system require?
Depending on your specific needs and the equipment you choose, the space needed will vary. On average, a 5kW system for a household using approximately $150 of electricity per month, will need about 300sq/ft of space for the PV modules. Depending on the system, you will also need a space for the inverter, which takes about 4 sq/ft either inside of a garage space, or nearby your service panel.
How long does the warranty last?
All solar modules used by Home Energy Systems come with a 25-year power, production, and product warranty. Alongside Home Energy Systems’ 10-year installation warranty. In addition, inverters typically come with a 10- or 12-year warranty. Read more about our warranties here.
My PV system increases my home’s value. Won’t that also increase my property taxes?
No. As a part of the California Solar Initiative program to promote solar energy, the state has exempted solar installations from increased property taxes. Note: Solar only increases the value of your home if it is owned by the homeowner, not leased.
How long does it take to install?
Time of install typically takes about 1 day per rated kilowatt. So, depending on the size of your system it usually takes 3-5 days.
How big of a system do I need?
The size of your system depends on many factors that will be determined during your free site evaluation by one of Home Energy System’s highly trained solar consultants.
We will determine size based on:
- Energy usage trends over the past year.
- How much of your bill you want to eliminate.
- How much money you are able to invest.
- Ability to eliminate the most expensive rate tiers first.
Check out our savings calculator to find out what size system you will need and how much it can save you.
What maintenance will be required?
Your solar power system has virtually one moving part and that is found in the inverter, so the maintenance is very low. We recommend that you clean the modules once every three months to ensure maximum performance, but usually a light rain should suffice. No other routine maintenance is required. If you suspect an issue, feel free to let us know here.
Will solar power allow me to get rid of my electric bill?
Yes and no. We can completely eliminate your energy consumption bill; unfortunately, to stay connected to the grid, there is a small fee. This is usually about $10/month. Grid-tied systems use a program called net energy metering (NEM), as explained below.
What is Net Energy Metering (NEM)?
Net energy metering is a program hosted by SDG&E for homeowners and businesses with solar electric-generating energy systems. It allows the consumer to tie their system to the grid.
The program credits you for energy you produce and feed into the grid- for example on sunny days or when you’re not home during the daylight hours. It then applies these credits for power you may need at times when you are not generating your own power like at night or on cloudy days.
It is an automatically renewed annual program that sends you one low bill once a year on your true-up date, the day you turned on your solar system. Read more about Net Energy Metering here.
I live in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA). Will I still be able to install a PV system on my home?
Yes! California Civil Code 2473, otherwise known as the Solar Rights Act, restricts HOAs and local governments from interfering with solar installations except for health and safety issues.
Home Energy Systems will assist you in getting your solar system approved by your local HOA.
At Home Energy Systems Inc., we are proud to offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations to see if solar energy is a good fit for your property. Call us today at (619) 350-0032 to schedule yours!