Solar

Solar’s simplicity is part of its attraction. Solar energy systems are easy to install and easy to maintain. And solar’s ability to save you money is straightforward.

Solar Adoption in California

More than 1 million solar energy systems are producing clean energy in California. A combination of technology improvements, escalating utility bills and environmental concerns have made solar the fastest growing new energy source in both California and the U.S. as a whole.

But just how popular is solar energy in California?
  • We have enough solar energy systems to power nearly 7 million homes throughout the state.
  • Solar energy systems supply nearly 19% of the state’s electricity.
  • We have more solar installed than any other state.
California also leads the nation in progressive energy policies, such as:
  1.  A solar mandate requiring all new homes built here to include solar energy systems
  2. New “reach building codes” in many cities that encourage or require new homes to use only electric appliances.

How Solar PV Technology Works

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has been in use since the 1950s, when Bell Labs developed a silicon cell that could capture enough solar energy to run electrical equipment. Modern solar energy systems harness this technology to convert sunlight into electricity that can power our homes, businesses and more. Solar panels (also called “modules”) are made up of multiple cells on a rectangular panel. These cells are made from semiconducting material, usually silicon.

  • When sunlight hits a solar panel, the cells in the panel absorb photons from the sun and convert them into electrons, which flow through the cell as electrical current. That current then flows from the cells to inverters under the panels which convert the energy from direct-current (DC) electricity into alternating-current (AC) electricity.
  • The electricity flows through your electric panel and into your home or business for use as needed.
  • When you make more solar electricity than you need at the time, the extra electricity flows into the grid, first being measured by the electric meter on the side of your house.
  • The electricity then flows into the utility grid for use by others.
Electricity from the utility still flows from the grid into your home when needed to supplement your solar electricity.

Solar Energy System Warranties

A lot of solar companies operate in California. Make sure your solar energy system comes with the following warranties to protect you and your home. And make sure your solar installer is financially stable so you can rest assured it will be around to honor its long-term warranties.
  1. A workmanship warranty from the solar installation company, ideally 10 years
  2. Materials or equipment warranties from the manufacturers of the solar equipment
  3. A power production warranty, which guarantees that your panels will remain capable of a certain amount of generating capacity over the years.
For more details on solar warranties, read our blog post, How Roof and Solar Warranties Impact Each Other.

The Solar Installation Process

The actual installation of a solar energy system on your property is quick, often taking only a day or two.

Watch an actual installation in this time-lapse video of a Citadel Roofing & Solar crew at work on a California roof:

For more details on going solar, from getting quotes to turning on the system, download our free roadmap infographic.

Incentives for Going Solar

Most homeowners and business owners who purchase solar energy systems benefit from the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), a generous tax credit equal to 26% of the cost of going solar. They also benefit from the California net metering policy.

Commercial solar energy systems qualify for an additional incentive: bonus depreciation, which accelerates the payback and contributes to commercial solar’s very attractive return on investment.

All three incentives are explained in detail here.

Getting Started

There are a few different ways to get started if you’re interested in solar for your home or business:
  • Talk to friends or colleagues about their solar experiences and recommendations
  • Contact a reputable installer like Citadel Roofing & Solar to get your questions answered
  • Check out solar companies on review sites including Google, Facebook, Yelp, HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List. Many installers serve multiple states; be sure the reviews you read are for your area. (Citadel serves all of California, and only California.)
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