Transparency Before Getting Started

In 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) created the California Solar Consumer Protection Guide to aid consumers with everything they “need to know” before investing in solar.  This guide was meant to be supplied to and signed by the customer during the sales process.

Although contractors were technically required to submit signed consumer guide there weren’t consequences for noncompliance until this year. If the IOUs find that contractors are not uploading completed and signed documents, they will be added to a public list of noncompliant installers for that quarter and one following.  Additionally, the IOUs will manually audit the interconnection applications of noncompliant installers during their semi-annual spot-checks. In California, residential interconnection applications are usually reviewed almost immediately by IOUs.

Palomar Solar’s Stance

We understand and support the CPUC’s need to enforce the guide as most contractors shy away from sharing this information with potential solar clients.  Palomar Solar and Roofing has always supplied and explained the guide to clients.  As a contractor in 100% compliance with this law, it has only validated our belief in giving all information and helping clients make a well-informed decision.  In fact, it aids our team and demonstrates our transparency when customers realize the other four companies they already met with were supposed to give them this  guide and did not.  What else are they hiding?

Read the full article here

NEM 3.0 Is Coming - What You Need to Know About Net Energy Metering

NEM 3.0 Is Coming – What You Need to Know About Net Energy Metering

What is Net Energy Metering (NEM)

Net metering (also known as net energy metering or NEM) is a solar incentive framework allowing you to store energy in the electric grid. Essentially, when a rooftop solar system of a residence or business generates more energy than consumed, the owners have the ability to sell the excess production back to utilities and receive credits to their monthly bills. Then, at night or other times when your solar panels are underproducing, you pull energy from the grid and use these credits to offset the costs of that energy.

History of NEM

As the solar industry has matured, multiple iterations of NEM have been implemented by the California Public Utilities Commission. First introduced In 2013, under NEM 1.0, solar owner could expect free enrollment and no mandatory time-of-use rate plans. Customers were grandfathered in under the current rules for 20 years, even if net metering changed in the future.

In January 2016, NEM 2.0 was adopted and reduced a number of financial benefits a solar customer could expect. Compared to NEM 1.0, customers are required to pay a grid-connection fee, estimated between $75 and $150 (this cost is currently $20-$50 per month under NEM 2.0), pay a monthly transmission fee, and requires that all residential solar customers be put onto a time-of-use (TOU) rate

NEM 3.0

As NEM 2.0 is set to expire, California finds itself in a battle regarding NEM 3.0 which may be implemented as early as January 2022.  As history has shown with the previous versions of net metering, each iteration introduces far less benefits to solar customers.

Adding complexity to this situation is Assembly Bill AB 1139, that would further reduce the incentives for homeowners and businesses from adding rooftop solar systems in favor of the local utilities.

In the bill’s current iteration, solar customers would be grandfathered for up to ten years.  This is significantly less than the current twenty-year grandfathering that NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0 customers have expected based on current regulations. Your solar credits would now be reduced in value to a wholesale rate and customers would now be forced to pay a monthly flat fee based on their energy consumption.

Despite being defeated, this attempted bill shows that the utility companies have the power to sway even ardent pro solar advocates to do their bidding.  One can assume that NEM 3.0 certainly wont be as consumer friendly as the current program, time to jump on the solar train today!

What does this mean for those with solar?

While the legality of AB 1139 will be debated over the next few months, you can expect that NEM 3.0 will favor the local utilities compared to the previous versions of net metering that will result in higher costs and lower incentives to solar customers.  However, until those decisions are made, the framework and guarantees of NEM 2.0 are still in effect including the twenty-year grandfathering clause of current benefits.

Most homeowners do not realize it can take 1-4 months after a contact is signed to installation and PTO (Permission To Operate) with the utility company. Depending on the municipality you live in and the scope of the project. We are expecting much higher demand than normal for the second half of the year.

Avoid paying a 20 year procrastination tax!

Schedule an appointment today by calling us at 760-504-0388

Palomar and Enphase Partner to Help

In July of 2019, Nathan Stone was vacationing in Cabo, Mexico when had experienced an unfortunate diving accident resulting in a broken neck.  Initially the injury left Nathan with no feeling or response below the neck.   He was immediately rushed to surgery and after extensive neurosurgery procedures, was able to regain feeling and movement in his shoulders.  Through his recovery journey and rehab, Nathan has been able to move his biceps, elbow flexors, along with partial movement in his wrists.

An injury of this nature requires significant modification to the family residence.  While obvious upgrades include wheelchairs ramps, it was also determined that the Stone family’s current solar implementation was insignificant for their new way of life.

The Need for a New System

Based on a referral from a previously satisfied client, the Stones invited Palomar Solar to their house for a consultation.  During the initial visit, the Stones shared the history of the diving accident with Palomar’s Senior Consultant, Erik Zetmeir and explained that Nathan was confined to his wheelchair.  His current situation requires both special equipment and medication, and in the event of a power outage, this would put his life at risk.  The Stone’s had a contractor-grade PV system installed when the home was built.  Unfortunately, the inverter technology included was not compatible with Enphase’s Ensemble Battery.  The Palomar Solar team proposed the removal of the existing solar implementation and upgrade the system to the Enphase IQ inverters that are now compatible with the Ensemble Battery.

Palomar Solar Steps Up to Help

Upon hearing of the situation and urgent need required by the Stones, Palomar Solar Owner Andy Anderson decided to act.  Long known for their generosity during the Miramar Airshows where full solar systems are given away to a few select service members, Palomar Solar partnered with Enphase to put together a system that would provide the Stone’s with a system solving their short-term and long-term requirements.  Furthermore, the system would be given to the Stones free of charge!

 

How will this help the Stones?

Once the SDGE electrical grid is operational, their batter will discharge every afternoon at 4 PM helping to reduce/eliminate the peak demand charges from power utilities. The additional benefit is in the event of a power outage, planned or unplanned, the Stones can rest assured knowing that they will have power to the essential equipment in their home.  This system is designed to offset over 115% of the previous 12-months consumption.

Enphase Energy and Palomar Solar Grow Together Through Storage and Collaboration

Palomar Solar and Enphase Energy Collaborate on Solar Solutions

Palomar Solar has collaborated on home energy technologies with Enphase Energy for years, and are now expanding the Enphase Storage products they offer their customers. Enphase Energy is a global energy management technology company and the world’s leading supplier of micro inverter-based solar-plus-storage systems. Palomar Solar is a leading solar installation company based in Southern California. This exciting collaboration means that Palomar Solar clients receive not only the easiest installation, but also the highest quality technology from Enphase Energy. 

Palomar Solar has been bringing solar energy to Southern California since 2009. The company offers full service solar and energy storage solutions for customers, making it easy to convert your home or business to solar energy. Palomar also helps with solar installation by managing permits, rebates, utility interconnection, and even providing professional roofing! 

Enphase Energy develops solar panels and energy storage devices. These products mean that even if the grid goes down you’ll have enough energy stored to power your home or business. When the grid is up, clients save significantly on their power bills. Plus, Enphase Energy stores only low-voltage DC power, has intelligent features to automatically back up power if storms are predicted for your area, and has an easy-to-use app that makes it possible to always know how much energy you have. 

The partnership allows Palomar Solar to provide feedback and testing data on Enphase products from their clients. Enphase utilizes this information to better evaluate their designs and serve their customers. As the first Enphase Platinum installer in San Diego, Palomar Solar is able to provide deep product knowledge, end-to-end customer service, and the best solar products to their clients. 

“We value the close-knit working relationship with the business and technical teams at Enphase, and I believe they have the best solar technology in the world and continue to work for the benefit of both companies,” said Andy Anderson, owner and founder of Palomar Solar and Roofing. “To ensure that we can provide maximum value to our homeowners, we have integrated Enphase Storage with our full suite of customer services. With Enphase Storage, we have experienced a surge in demand from customers.”

Want to learn more about this exciting collaboration? Read the press release in full here. For more information about solar in San Diego, California, visit Palomar Solar, and to learn more about Enphase Storage visit the Enphase website.

Buying or Selling a House with Solar Panels

Buying or Selling a House with Solar Panels?

Are you buying a house with existing solar panels?

Perhaps you are in the market to buy or sell a home and ready to assume the benefits of a previously installed PV solar system, here are some tips on how to decide whether the existing system is an asset or a liability.

Should I buy a house with an existing solar system?

  • Is the system owned outright and not subject to a lease or PPA?
  • Was the system installed by a reputable installer who is still in business?
  • Did they use quality solar panels and inverter from companies that are still in business?
  • Is there a copy of the original contract and is the warranty transferrable?

If you can answer yes to all four of the above questions, then the answer is simple; yes, buy the house.

If not, then read on; find out which red flagsto look for and what to expect from the system?

How was the system originally purchased?

  • A system that is owned outright is not subject to any loans or leases and must be assumed at close of escrow – this is the best way to go and poses no “red flags.”
  • A system that was purchased with a PACE loan (Property-Assessed Clean Energy Loan) and must be assumed by the buyer – RED FLAG
  • Use this as leverage in the transaction. Consider if it’s worth a bit more money if the system is unencumbered.
  • See what it will take to have the seller buy thee system outright before the close of escrow.
  • Try to get rid of the PACE loan and do not close escrow unless you fully understand he liabilities you are undertaking. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, however, it’s not the best means to finance a PV system.
  • The system was leasedRED FLAG
  • Use this as leverage in the transaction. It’s not necessarily a deal killer, but lease agreements are certainly not in favor of the seller.
  • Is the leasing company still in business? If not, this could be a deal killer.
  • What is the remainder of the contract? Is the buyout fee reasonable (Doubtful)? What level of monitoring is provided and is it still functioning? A common mean the leasing companies use as a crutch to void their production guarantees is the monitoring device has lost connection and the homeowner ignores it.
  • Who do the lease payments go to and do they have a local presence?
  • Are you sending payments to Wall Street or to a regional company who is still answering the phone?
  • Is there a lease escalator and are you aware of the sales tax billed on every payment?
  • If you need service what is the procedure?
  • If you are in the market to put solar panels on your home this is probably not the choice you would make.
  • But it’s already there so… if you would like the house, then determine if the lease is acceptable to assume.
  • Some leases are acceptable in that the cost of power consumption under the lease is still less than what you would pay your local utility company. If this is the case then don’t let it stop you from buying the house of your dreams.
  • The system is a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement)RED FLAG
  • Again… Leverage.
  • Consider the remaining term?
  • Will you use the power delivered?
  • With a PPA you’re paying for it regardless. Be sure that the system is sized right for you.
  • Again, who do the PPA payments go to and do they have a local presence?
    • Are you sending payments to Wall Street or a regional company who is still answering the phones?
    • What is the current rate?
  • Is that tax rate favorable with today’s rate plans?
  • You will most likely be on a “Time- of-Use” (TOU) plan and offsetting the least expensive power sold by the utility.
  • Check closely. Rates can vary and usually contingent upon your utility plan.
    • Escalators? Is there a lease escalator clause that can potentially change the agreement price?
    • Are you aware of any sales tax billed on every payment?
  • What level of monitoring is provided and is it still functioning?
    • At least with a PPA it’s in the companies benefit to maintain the monitoring.
    • But can they bill expected production if you connection drops?
  • If your system needs to be serviced, what is the procedure?
  • If you are in the market to put solar on your home, PPA is not the choice you should make.
    • But it’s already there so… if you like the house, then determine if the cost per kw is acceptable.
    • If the cost of the power under the PPA is still less than what you would pay your local utility, then don’t let it stop you from buying the house of your dreams.
  • Who installed the system? At Palomar Solar & Roofing, we proudly put our name and contact information on the system plaque.
  • Can the home seller tell you who did their installation?
  • Is the installer still in business? What is their reputation?

So many red flags – do I really want solar?

Let’s take a quick moment to remind you of the benefits of solar. First and foremost: It makes sense financially. Investing in a PV Solar System is one of the best investments you can make as a homeowner and if done right, through a reputable company such as Palomar Solar & Roofing, peace of mind and an overflow of benefits will shortly follow. Many believe the primary reason to go solar is for the environment. Here at Palomar, we prefer to look at the financial benefits of solar and if it’s good for the environment, that’s a bonus! 

Do homes with solar systems sell faster?

Simple answer is… “Usually.” Of course if your house has a PACE loan or a lease, you may experience the opposite. What if the panels are facing the street and located in a haphazard manner as to be an eyesore. This is why it is so necessary when choosing your solar company to ensure that you are hiring a company who will be honest about all variables. At Palomar Solar & Roofing, we know that our systems are installed right and take aesthetics as well as proper sizing into consideration. If a system is installed properly, by a reputable contractor with quality components, then yes; your PV system will add value to your home. It will also allow the homebuyer to close escrow with peace of mind rather than pulling out of escrow at the discovery of any “red flags,” due to the previous home owner cutting corners.

What is the value of my solar system?

Did we mention benefits? One of the many benefits following the installation of solar is that it has great potential to increase the value of your home. But keep in mind that value is truly contingent upon the current market and method in which you’ve purchased your PV solar system and it absolutely matters which company has installed your system. The cream of the crop has risen in the solar industry and in our opinion, there are only a few companies who can really offer peace of mind. If you’re buying a home that these companies have installed on, you can feel comfortable knowing that warranties are going to be upheld and at a minimum the job was done right. Do your research on a solar system that was previously installed on a home you have taken interest in. Once you have identified which company has installed the system, research the company and ensure reputability.

At Palomar Solar & Roofing, we provide each system with a full set of documentation; from the contract to the installation plans and warranties. We are proud of our work and our reputation shows it. When looking for your solar installer, know that these intangibles are what make a difference between a system that is an asset to you and your home, versus one that could make selling your hoe an experience you’d rather forget.

SDG&E Smart Meter

How Do I Read My San Diego Gas & Electric Smart Meter?

Customers are always asking us “How do I read my San Diego Gas & Electric Smart Meter”?

We want to be sure you understand every aspect of your home solar system. And while you can call Palomar Solar anytime for help, here is an easy guide to reading the display on your San Diego Gas & Electric smart meter.

Continue reading “How Do I Read My San Diego Gas & Electric Smart Meter?”

Is Solar Worth it in 2021

Is Solar Worth it in 2021?

You may have heard about solar power from a friend, on TV, or maybe your neighbors got solar panels during COVID.

  1. In 2020 solar power experienced a 37% growth in the United States.
  2. According to SEIA, 42% more solar power installed 2021 and 2025!
  3. Research piloted during the pandemic revealed incredible growth projection for the market over the next 18 months.
  4. According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, Global renewable energy market growth from $184.3 billion in 2020 to $226.1 billion by 2021, with solar leading the way.

The reasons for rapid growth:

  • Homeowners who switch to solar power are saving thousands in electricity costs every year by choosing to produce their own. Southern California homeowners return on investment is usually 4 – 7 years and over 20% ROI.
  • Flexible financing: Financing for your PV solar system is easier than ever, with low interest rates and shorter terms
  • Increased property value: In 2020 you can still take advantage of the 26% Federal Tax Credit on the entire cost of your PV solar system. But is scheduled to drop to 22% by 2023!
  • Cost of installing solar panels has drastically decreased over the past 15 years.

 

There has never been a better time to go solar than now, so contact us today! Call 1-760-504-0388