5 Steps to Get Started With Solar Power
Are you eager to install a solar energy system on your home in San Diego County? Are you confused about where to begin the project? Follow these five steps to get started on your solar-panel dreams.
- Evaluate Your Energy Use
Gather all of the past year’s power bills to learn exactly how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you use on a monthly basis. Look for months when your electricity use is highest to determine the amount of solar energy you’ll need to maintain your home.
When calculating your expected energy needs, add on any extra power you expect to use in the future. For example, if you plan to purchase an electric car or build a room addition, you may need additional solar panels to meet your electricity needs.
When you have a clear idea of how much power is required to run your household, your solar-panel company has the information they need to set up a reliable and adequate alternative energy system for you. You won’t be disappointed with an under-powered system or have to pay for a too-large system you don’t really need.
- Create an Energy-Efficient Home
Next, work to make your home as energy-efficient as possible. If you use a high amount of electricity during the hottest months, consider trading out your air conditioning (AC) unit for an ENERGY STAR-rated AC system. ENERGY STAR central AC units use eight percent less power than conventional AC units.The following actions will reduce your energy use:
- Insulate your home
- Caulk and seal door and window frames
- Switch incandescent bulbs to LED lighting
- Trade appliances for high-efficiency models
Start a save-the-power program with household members. Offer incentives (like ice cream or pizza) when family members or roommates turn off lights in empty rooms. Create guidelines to cut hot water use and keep the thermostat at an efficient temperature.
- Inspect Your Property for Solar Potential
Californians are fortunate to live in a sunny, moderate climate. In fact, California is rated high on the scale of states with good solar radiation and solar-power potential. However, even a California home may have limitations when it comes to solar-panel installation.Check the following conditions on your property:
- Trees that shade the rooftop
- Neighboring buildings that shade the rooftop
- Pitch of your roof
You may need to have trees trimmed or removed to provide enough sunlight for the solar panels to operate. You may also need to have your older roof repaired or replaced to keep the panels secure.
- Check Out Solar Incentives and Programs
State and federal governments provide incentives that can significantly reduce your costs of installing solar panels. If you’re a customer of certain utility companies, including San Diego Gas and Electric, you may qualify for a rebate of up to $10,000 from the California Solar Initiative.
While terms of programs change, check out the following solar-energy incentive programs to learn more about rebates and subsidies for solar power in California:
- California Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO)
- California Net Metering Program
- Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC)
- Talk to Experts
A qualified solar-system installer will visit your home and help you determine the best solar-panel array for your needs. They can help you perform your home energy audit and advise you on changes you should make to enable your solar-panel installation.
Expert solar installers teach you the tips and tricks to maintain your solar panels and get the most power from your system. Some solar suppliers offer panel cleaning services and other routine maintenance services for your system. Learn more about your home’s solar power potential in San Diego, California, by contacting Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar today. We design a solar system that meets your needs and help you meet eligibility requirements for solar incentive programs.