Santa Monica Solar Energy Panels
Solar energy is now becoming a viable alternative for many citizens looking for ways to reduce their electricity costs. In the city of Santa Monica , this desire for lower electricity bills is fueled by the fact the city is labeled to have one of the most expensive electricity fees in the country. If you are planning to get a solar panel system installed in your home and make the switch to solar power, why not partner with us at Eco Energy to get the process rolling?
At Eco Energy, we know how complicated solar panel installations can get considering the complex nature of solar panels and the legal requirements to get them installed safely on your property. Whether you are adding solar panels to your home or commercial establishment, we will work with our partners to provide you with efficient Santa Monica solar energy panels for your property and get them installed at an affordable price. We can even help you apply for financing options and financial incentives, as well as not charge you upfront for down payments.
Once we get all the information we need and get the financial aspects sorted out, we will visit your home to give you an honest assessment and sort out a design plan to make the installation go smoothly. We will also guide you through the process so you understand how these solar energy panels work and see how much savings you can get once the system is turned on for your property.
Call Eco Energy today at (818) 918-3691 for your Free Consultation with a Santa Monica Solar Energy Panel expert!
How Do Solar Panels Work and Generate Electricity?
When photons from the sunlight hit a solar cell, they knock the electrons loose from the atoms. If the solar panel has conductors that are installed on both positive and negative sides, it creates an electrical circuit. Once the electrons flow through this circuit, they will generate electricity. Solar panels can consist of many solar cells in one panel, and solar panels can be combined to create a solar array. The more solar panels are used in a property, the more energy it can produce.
Solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity, which means that electrons flow in a single direction around an electrical circuit. However, in the US, alternating current (AC) electricity is used. To allow people to use solar panels, solar panels come with solar inverters, which will convert DC electricity and transform it to AC electricity. Inverters will also serve as extra protection for the entire system and provide people with a way to monitor the system’s health and stats.
If the solar panel system comes with a solar storage system, any excess electricity generated is stored in them. Otherwise, it will be connected to the power grid as part of the net metering program.
Types of Solar Energy Panels
When doing solar panel installation, you may find that there are several types of solar energy panels available for use. Each solar panel type works for a specific situation and solar energy requirement, as well as come with its installation and maintenance requirements.
Out of all the available types of solar energy panels, four are widely used, and they are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, PERC, and thin-film panels.
- Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels or single-crystal panels are made from pure silicon crystal that is then transformed into wafers, which will be cut to form the solar panels. They can easily be identified with their dark black color and their compact size. Many select this type of solar panel because of its 20% efficiency rating and long-lasting durability, which can be attributed to the fact that it is the oldest type of solar panel on the market.
However, it is very costly because of how it is made, involving the use of a large quantity of silicon for one monocrystalline cell. Most of the silicon is also wasted upon production, contributing to the price.
- Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from a variety of silicon materials which are melted and poured into a mold to create the wafers for the solar cell. Because all the silicon is used, no silicon is wasted when the solar panels are made.
The downside to this production process is the fact it is not very efficient in terms of producing solar energy, and the solar panels are too large. Compared to monocrystalline panels, the efficiency rating of these panels is around 15-17%. It also has low heat tolerance, which can be a setback for regions with high solar exposure.
- Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) panels
PERC panels are an upgraded version of the monocrystalline panels as it has a boosted capability to create solar electricity. Compared to the 20% efficiency rating of monocrystalline panels, PERC panels have a 25% efficiency rating. It utilizes a passivation layer installed in the cell’s rare surface to improve efficiency in the following ways:
- It can reflect light back into the solar cell, boosting the amount of solar radiation each solar panel absorbs.
- It reduces the tendency of electrons to recombine and affects electron flow within the solar energy panels.
- It increases the light wavelength each panel can reflect. In other types of solar panels, light waves over 1,180nm cannot be used for solar energy conversion. The lightwaves will simply heat up the cell’s metal components and affect its efficiency. However, thanks to the passivation layer used by PERC panels, it can reflect these lightwaves and protect the back sheet from overheating.
PERC panels are also ideal for areas with limited installation spaces because of their smaller structure. However, it does make these panels more expensive to make, and there are also other materials included in the solar panel system that adds to its cost.
- Thin-film solar panels
The final type of solar panel available in the market is thin-film solar panels. As its name implies, it has very thin solar panels that are easy to install because it does not need to have a frame backing. It comes in various sizes to use its application and has three solar panel variations: Cadmium telluride (CdTe), Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), and Amorphous silicon (a-Si).
While they can be installed easily, these solar panels produce less energy compared to other types of solar panels. Compared to the other three types of panels, thin-film solar panels have a rating of around 6% to 15% depending on the variation selected.
If this is your first time getting solar panels, it can be confusing to pick the best one for your property. Eco Energy can guide you through these options and recommend the best ones for your solar energy requirement. We will reach out to warehouse solar panel suppliers to secure the panels for your installation project and help you with the permits and incentive applications.
Factors to Consider in Selecting the Right Solar Energy Panels
When choosing between solar panels, there are various factors that must be considered in order to know which panels work well for the system and how many panels you should use.
These are the factors that you need to know when selecting solar energy panels either for residential or commercial use:
- Solar energy requirement
To know how much solar energy the solar panel should produce, you need first to know how much electricity is used in the property in wattage. You can check your property’s electricity use by checking your monthly utility bills, look at your hourly energy requirement -under the “Kilowatt Hours (or kWh) Used” section- then multiply it by the peak sunlight hours experienced in your area, then divide it with a solar panel’s wattage capacity.
- Sunlight hours
Peak sunlight hours will indicate how much time your solar panel systems can collect energy to support your property with solar energy. California is one of the US states with high sunlight exposure, and Santa Monica experiences sunlight for 12 hours and 10 minutes each day.
Once you have this information, you can multiply your hourly usage by 1,000 to convert your power requirement to watch. Divide your average hourly wattage by the number of sunlight hours in your area. The answer is the amount of energy that your solar panel system should be able to produce every hour to support your electricity needs.
A solar panel’s temperature can also affect its capacity to generate energy efficiently, and it is visible in the temperature coefficient. The temperature coefficient indicates that for every 1°C rise over 25°C, the panel will slowly show a decrease in power generation.
- Solar panel size
Solar panel sizes can also affect how much solar energy it could harness and utilize. If you have a large solar panel installation area, you can go for large panels to get more energy, but you may end up sacrificing efficiency depending on the solar panel you selected. If you have a limited installation space, you may opt for smaller but highly efficient solar panels.
- Solar panel weight
If you are utilizing rooftop solar panels, you need to make sure they will not be a hazard to your home once it is installed on your roof. With this said, you need to consider how heavy the solar panels are, especially when they are on their mounts or racking. Solar panels vary in weight, but most weigh about 40 pounds each.
- Fire rating
Under the existing International Building Code of 2012, solar panels must match the fire rating of the roof they are installed. This makes sure that it does not spread the flames quickly once a fire occurs on the property. California building law adds another requirement, and that is the mount and tracking system of the solar panel must match the fire rating of both the roof and the solar panel.
- Hail rating
While hailstorms are quite rare in Santa Monica, solar panels are required to undergo testing for hail impacts. To know if a solar panel passes hail impacts, you should look if they have UL 1703 or UL 61703 standard listed in its specifications.
- Hurricane rating
The Department of Energy added hurricane ratings to solar panels used throughout the country. These solar panels must be fastened securely to the roof or ground with mounting or racking systems designed according to the new recommendations.
- Light-Induced Degradation (LID)
Finally, solar panel users – especially the crystalline types – must consider LID or the performance loss of these panels during the first hours of sun exposure. This occurrence happens when sunlight reacts to the oxygen traces in the panels left during the manufacturing process. When this happens, losses can range from 1 to 3% and affect your overall production for these highlighted hours.
Are you confused with all these terms and computations? Don’t worry! Our Santa Monica solar energy panels team can help you out and handle the heavy lifting for you. We will also make it easier to understand so you can help in maintaining your solar panel systems once it is installed on your property.
How Solar Panels are Installed
Regardless of which solar panel type you select, installing solar panels is a meticulous process that is not recommended to do yourself. A qualified and trained solar panel installer is required for solar installations, and they must be familiar with the local permits and fire code requirements.
If you are going to get solar panels installed on your property, here is what you can expect during the installation process:
- Initial Assessment
The first part of the installation process starts with an initial assessment by your chosen solar panel supplier and installer. They will ask you several questions about your property, from your electric bill, your roof’s age and angle, to the type of roof you have. The installer will also discuss with you the financing options available, as well as the incentives you can qualify for from the state, city, and federal government.
Once all the options are selected for financing, incentives, and services, the next step can proceed.
- Site Evaluation
An experienced solar power installer will visit your property to determine what the best solar power system fits its needs. Every area of the property will be inspected to see what issues may affect the entire process and see what remedies can be done to help with the process. For example, if there are issues with your roof and violate the fire code once a solar panel is introduced, the installer will take note of it and ask to get it replaced or resolved.
- Design and Permit Stage
If the installation area is ready and all the measurements are made, the installer will create the site design and installation plan that they will follow for your solar installation project. The plan will indicate how many panels will be used, the wiring system, and how it will be connected to the utility lines. It will be the installers who will speak to your utility company and sort out the permits required by the state and city.
Usually, this part of the process can take one to three months, depending on your location and city. The installer is required to give you updates and let you know when the installation process will truly begin.
The installation process is quicker compared to the other steps for solar power installation. It can be completed within three days or less, depending on the solar panel system that will be installed on your property. Installers will sort out the solar panels and connect them to your main electrical system. Once they have installed everything, they will clean up the work area and proceed to the next step.
- Inspection and Main Connection
The final step of the solar panel installation process involves inspection and connection to the main utility lines. The city will send one of its inspectors to check if the solar installation was done according to the permits given for the project. Inspections can last a few days to weeks, depending on your location. When they see that everything is done well, the inspector will give the green light to connect the solar power system to your utility lines.
Connecting your new solar power system to the utility lines can take weeks, but if you partner with a local installer, the process can be expedited. Once everything is done, your installer will be able to start the system, and you can enjoy the benefits brought by your solar panel system.
When you hire us at Eco Energy, you can expect that this will be the same process we will follow and personalize it to suit your needs. We can also tackle both residential and commercial properties for solar installations.
Dedicated Full-Service Solar Power Company
Eco Energy is a beloved Santa Monica solar power company for residential or commercial solar panel installation. Since we were established more than 25 years ago, our commitment to providing affordable and reliable solar panel systems remains strong, and our clients will agree that our service is personalized to match the projects we handle.
No matter how much electricity your property needs, our team can identify the right solar panel systems to use and provide honest assessments, so clients know what to expect as we handle the solar energy installation for you. We will also reach out to trusted suppliers of Santa Monica solar energy panels to get them at affordable prices, and we will help you get the best financing options if you need help availing a solar energy panel with your budget. Once the system is selected and the financing options are sorted out, we will do the installation process for you, or we will give you guidance on how to install it yourself.
Since you are getting solar panel systems installed on your property, our experts can also help you file for incentives and rebates. We guarantee that you will get all the benefits of solar power when you sign with us to get your property converted to solar power systems.
Free Consultation Today
Solar energy is here to stay, and if people wish to get started with their solar power journey, partnering with a trusted and experienced solar panel supplier is essential to get the best solar panel systems for their properties.
With Eco Energy, you do not have to worry about getting spectacular solar panel systems for your property. We will assess your property to identify your solar power needs and which solar panel system works to cover them. Once that is done, we will make the entire installation process stress-free, from sorting out the permits, speaking to suppliers to acquire the best solar panels, and getting them installed to help you maintain it for a long time.
Our free consultation service is ready to help you at any time so contact us today to get started!
Call Eco Energy at (818) 918-3691 for your Free Consultation with a Santa Monica Solar Energy Panel expert!