As a Californian, you’ll already know about laws being put in place right now around solar panels. These laws are stating that most single family residences must have solar panels installed, in an act to reduce the amount of energy consumed in the state. What do you need to know about solar panels before you have them installed?
What Is the California Solar Panel Law?
As we move into 2020, the California solar initiative requires all newly constructed homes to include solar panels. California is the first state to require solar energy on single-family and multi-family homes. This law is part of the California Energy Commission to increase the amount of energy from clean energy sources up to 50% by 2030.
Here’s all the facts before you book that fitting for your roof to fulfill the California solar panel law.
1. Solar Energy Is Free And Renewable
Solar panels are an excellent choice for the home, as the energy they produce is totally free and renewable. If you have solar panels installed, they will collect the energy as soon as the sun comes out. In sunny areas, such as California, this means you can power your home mostly on this energy.
Using a free energy source like this is the perfect option, as once the panels are installed the power won’t cost you a thing. Many home owners love their panels, as they enable them to save a lot of money on their electric bills.
2. Solar Energy Isn’t A New Idea
The idea of harnessing power from the sun isn’t a new one. The first person to document their ideas about solar energy was Leonardo Di Vinci in the 15th century. The first solar cell was developed in the 19th century, but it couldn’t put out enough energy to be useful. Only now are we really getting the most out of solar energy.
3. A Huge Amount Of Power Can Be Gained From The Sun
You would be amazed by just how much power can be gained from the sun. On average, with the California solar panel law, a single home can save 75 million barrels of oil and 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year when they power their homes with solar panels. That’s a huge amount, and if multiple homes are doing this, it’s going to make a huge dent in the ecological change brought about by fossil fuels.
In fact, the sun puts out so much power that the Earth receives more solar energy in an hour then it would need to consume in an entire year. That measures out at about 120 terawatts. You can see how crazy it seems not to harness this power.
4. There Are Two Types Of Solar Panels
You may not have known this, but there are actually two different styles of solar panels that you can get for your home. The first type is the photovoltaic panels, also known as solar PV panels. These are the panels you’ll be most familiar with, as they are the panels that turn sunlight into electricity, and are most often found on roofs.
The other style you’ll find is called a solar thermal panel. These convert the sun’s warmth into heat, and are most often used to heat swimming pools and homes.
5. The Cost Of Solar Panels Can Be Reduced With Tax Credits
You shouldn’t underestimate the cost of having solar panels installed, as you will need to to pay for this upfront. However, you will see savings on your electricity very quickly once they’re up and running. Also, you may be eligible for tax credits, which will reduce the cost under the new California solar panel law. For example, a $20,720 installation will be brought down to $15,333 after the tax credits are applied.
6. You’ll Have To Maintain Your Solar Panels
Once you have solar panels installed, you’ll need to take care of them to ensure that you get the best from them. Luckily for you, this won’t be too much work. Most of the time, panels will just need to be cleaned to ensure they’re not blocked by dirt. If your panels are tilted, then you’ll find that rain does a lot of this job for you as it washes the dirt off. You’ll also need to ensure the panels aren’t shaded, such as by the branches of nearby trees.
7. Solar Panels Have A Long Lifespan
When you’re looking at getting solar panels, you may worry about how soon you have to replace them. The good news is, it won’t actually be a problem for a long time. The average solar panels have a 25 year warranty, but that of course depends on who installs them. With proper care, a solar panel can last for up to 30 – 40 years. You won’t need to think about replacing that solar panel for a long time yet.
8. Solar Panels Do Not Need Direct Sunlight To Work
A common misconception is that a solar panel needs to be in direct sunlight to work. While it’s true that they cannot work during the night, a storage battery will help you power your home when the sun isn’t out. Even if it’s cloudy out, or you’re not getting as much sun because it’s winter, those solar panels will still work. You won’t be missing out because it’s not hot and sunny outside.
9. Placement On Your Roof Will Affect How Solar Panels Work
While solar panels don’t need to be in full sunlight every day to work, they do need to be able to get a good amount on sunlight to work. That’s why it’s often recommended that they’re placed on south facing roofs, in order to get the maximum sun possible. The angle of your roof affects the solar panels too, as they work best at 30-35 degrees.
10. Solar Power Is Already Being Used Everywhere
Solar power installation has already been use for decades, and the ideas behind the California solar panel law is not new. It’s been used to power everything from calculators to phone chargers, so it’s a wonder they haven’t been in widespread use for homes until now. There are solar farms already being used in empty areas, such as the Mojave Desert. This farm generates 90% of the world’s commercially used power.
These are ten of the most important things you need to know about solar power. With this new California solar panel law coming into effect, you’ll need to get solar panels installed on your home. As you’ve seen though, you’ll benefit enormously from it.