Solar energy takes advantage of the sun’s rays (photons) to generate electricity. It is an infinitely renewable resource and unique for its ability to generate energy in a quiet, clean, and consistent manner.
Photovoltaic cells are comprised of a semiconductor material such as silicon. Added to the silicon are the elements phosphorous and boron which create conductivity within the cell and activate the movement of electrons. The electrons move across the cell when activated by the sunlight’s energy into the electrical circuit hooked up to the solar panel.
The most important factors that make your home a great candidate for solar include it’s orientation, shading factor, and available roof space. The ideal direction for your panels to face is due south because it will receive maximum exposure as the sun travels across the sky from east to west. Southwest and southeast also work nearly as well while east and west will indeed work too but with just slightly less electricity production. Since solar panels are like long electrical circuits, if trees, power lines, or other obstructions shade even a fraction of a panel, production can be dramatically affected. Therefore it is very important to have little to no shading. Finally, it does take a lot of roof space to fit enough panels on your roof to make enough electricity to completely offset you bill, which is our ultimate goal. We can often be creative if there are multiple slopes available, but a home should have a good amount of available space. Ample roof space also allows us to use the most cost effective panels, which have dropped the most in cost. The amount of panels needed, however, depends on you
After the Contract is signed, we submit the Rebate Reservation Application to your local utility. Upon completion of processing, we will receive your Rebate Reservation Incentive Claim Form via email. This is confirmation that money has been reserved for you. At that time we arrange delivery of materials and begin the installation. Once completed, there are tyically 2 different Inspections required. The first is from the Department of Building and Safety. A copy of the approved Building and Safety Permit is submitted along with your Rebate Reservation Claim Form to the local utility. Once received, they initiate the second Inspection by their respective Solar Inspector. The Solar Inspector verifies the installation, shading, tilt, etc, and releases the payment of your rebate.
The cost of a solar electric system depends on the amount of power you use. A system is designed to offset as much of your energy needs as possible. The larger your energy consumption, the more panels you will need to offset that usage. The price of a solar electic system has dropped in half compared to 5 years ago, with residential payback periods as fast as the mid-single digits, and commerical system paybacks even faster.
In recent years a new option has emerged to make solar even more affordable for homeowners. The Solar Lease. It often comes down to a personal preference of whether you are a buy or lease person. But there pros and cons to both leasing and purchasing. By having another company own your solar panels, they are able to pass along a myriad of additional solar incentives that are only available to businesses. That helps to lower the cost of your solar system. It can even mean “going solar” with no out-of-pocket cost, or “prepaying” the 20 year lease for a fraction of the cost of purchasing the system. The primary benefit of the leasing is just that; it can lower the cost of going solar to as little as zero. But on the flip side, the less that you pay for the lease, the less your savings will be on your utility bill. Purchasing remains a great option for those who want to receive all of the rebate and tax credit benefits directly, don’t want to deal with transferring a lease when they move out of the house, or simply prefer ownership of thesolar system. There are pros and cons to both scenarios, but we will guide you through which option is best for you.
Our first step in the process will be to collect you last 12 months of electricity bills. We want to find out your total kilowatt hours (kWH) usage for the last year. Taking 12 months allows us to account for seasonal variation.When we know your annual kWh usage, we then build a system that will produce enough electricity to cover that usage 100%. A new law was passed on October 2009 which now allows homeowner’s to receive an actual check each calendar year for anyex tra electricity production (although currently not from LADWP) Previously the utilities would only keep a credit for you, which if left unused, would be taken and sold for their profit.
There are additional incentives available for businesses who install solar systems, or if you use part of your home for business. They include accelerated depreciation with no carry over limits, and a refund of the sales tax paid on the equipment should the business be in a State Enterprise Zone.
We handle the entire rebate process for you, from applying for your rebate reservation to submitting your final claim form paperwork once the system passes inspection. Utilities will soon be required by law to get a percentage of their electricity from clean sources. There is no way they could build that renewable energy infrastructure without spending incredible amounts of money. By giving you free money to help you install a solar system they are enlisting you to help them. You benefit from a lower cost to install and free electricity for decades, while the utility gets to include your solar energy production in their Renewable Energy Portfolio “quota”. The size of your rebate depends solely on how much and how well you produce power. Your rebate is an upfront payment for the electricity your system will produce over the next 20 years, as calculated by a program from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Each year the federal government creates a multitude of programs in which they would like us to participate in. Rather than provide cash rebates for participation, they allow taxpayers to reduce the amount of taxes they owe at the end of the year. This is a great way to stimulate activity and spending around these programs without incurring big upfront cost. Lines on your 1040 tax return that allow you to claim these tax credits. Solar and Efficiency tax credits are claimed on Form 5695 “Residential Energy Efficient Property Credits”. Residential solar tax credits are applied to the amount of your solar system after the utility rebate is applied. Unused tax credits carry over until 2016. For business tax credits, the credit is taken against the entire cost of the system with rebate included,however, the rebate becomes taxable income. Credits carry over for 20 years. Credits are taken on Form 3468 “Investment Credit”. Importantly, these are not “deductions” that reduce your taxable income, but rather “credits” that reduce the taxes you owe dollar for dollar.
Since your solar system is still connected to the utility grid, if it goes down you too will lose power. The addition of batteries is necessary if you want power during blackouts or if you are not connected to the grid. Mimeos has installed many battery back up systems, so if you have critical needs or have power disrupted often, we’d be glad to discuss the added costs and benefits with you.
Net meters look very much like other outdoor meters with one notable exception – they spin both forwards and backwards recording both the power produced and power used. If you produce more power than you need though your solar panels (usually during the day) then whatever you do not use runs back into your utilities grid- of which you get credited for and can use those credits whenever your solar is not producing enough for your usage.
Solar photovoltaic panels require little maintenance. It is, however, important to place panels where they will remain clear of shade and debris. It will deliver added dividends if you periodically clean your panels since dust, soot, and other build up will occur. A garden hose, a biodegradable soap, and a soft mop are more than enough to do the trick!
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies usually suffice to meet electric utility requirements. Electric utilities usually require that homeowners who take advantage of net metering sign an interconnection agreement.
Yes. You’ll need to obtain building permits to install a solar photovoltaic. Similarly, building, electrical, and plumbing codes also apply. That said, residential solar power systems do not use “radical” building techniques and most jurisdictions have building codes that fully embrace solar energy technology. As a turn-key business Mimeos takes care of all designs, permits & inspections, all of which are included in the cost.
This will be detailed in your Mimeos solar proposal. By analyzing your energy consumption and your cost of energy from your utility bill we are able to estimate the annual savings based on your solar system’s energy output. Themore expensive your power is, the faster this payback will be, and the smarter it will be to genereate all of you power needs from the sun! With the continued, relentless march higher of electricity rates, solar becomes an even more attactive investment each year.
The planning, design, permitting and any custom ordering for your solar energy system can take up to a few weeks. The longest part of the process is most often getting the permit issued by your local building department. The installation process itself can typically be completed in several days in many cases even less.
You could install your own photovoltaic (PV) solar power system and many self-installed systems work just fine. On the other hand, there are a lot of reasons to use a contractor. A PV system has many complexities, some of them very subtle. Experience counts for a lot. One still has to apply for your own permits and deal with inspectors on your own. Even if you’re really good with electricity and tools and are capable of installing a kit system like a pro, that doesn’t mean you’re an expert at working through the permit process, which can sometimes take every bit as much time as installing the system itself. And it can be very frustrating, as most government bodies seem to be set up to serve the government bodies, not the “customers”, its also important to note that pricing for panels will undoubtebly be at it lowest going through solar professionals who purchase in large quantities and at wholesale rates.