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Solar-powered energy and electricity are rapidly becoming more efficient and common in commercial and residential spaces. Having a Larkspur solar panel on your property to provide power is significantly impactful in many ways, including saving on your energy costs, reducing your carbon footprint, and increasing your home’s value in the long run. At Sun Solar Electric, we acknowledge that these benefits and the installation cost are part of the decision-making process for going solar. We can guide you through and answer questions about how solar panels work, their benefits, cons, and costs, allowing you to make informed decisions.

How a Solar Panel Works

A solar panel collects renewable energy from the sun and converts the light into electricity, offering energy for electrical loads. A solar panel comprises many solar cells containing boron, phosphorous, and silicon layers.

The panel absorbs the photons and, as a result, initiates electric currents. The energy generated by photons striking the panel’s surface permits electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric currents produced by the solar cells, pulling the free electrons in a direct current. The process is called the photovoltaic effect.

A solar inverter converts direct current (DC) electricity from the solar module to alternating current (AC), which many devices and home appliances can use. 

If your solar energy system is connected to the power grid, your electricity can run to and from the grid, and excess energy generated by your Larkspur solar panel can make you some bucks. Through the net metering policy, you obtain credits from the grid when you send power to it, making your overall electricity cost cheaper.

How Much Does a Larkspur Solar Panel Cost?

On average, solar panels cost between $3,500 and $35,00, depending on the model and type. Although a Larkspur solar panel can save you money on energy costs, knowing the initial costs is essential in budgeting.

Here is a breakdown of solar panel costs by type:

  • Typically, a monocrystalline solar panel costs between $1 and $1.50 per watt. That means installing your 6kW solar energy system costs $6,000 to $9,000.
  • A polycrystalline solar panel — This is a less energy-efficient system than the former. It costs up to one dollar per watt, meaning the installation cost of your 6kW solar system would be six thousand dollars making it a pocket-friendly alternative.
  • On the other hand, a thin-film solar panel costs from $1 to $1.50 per watt. That means outfitting your 6kW system costs between $6,000 and $9,000. These solar panels are cheaper than crystalline alternatives but require more space; hence are primarily used in commercial settings.

Other factors that go into the solar panel cost include the following:

Your Geographical Location

While solar panels work everywhere, where you reside makes a difference in the amount of direct sunlight you require to power the property. A solar panel can be expensive depending on the region due to tax incentives, average daily sunshine duration in the area, and overall electricity cost.

Labor and Installation

Your panel’s location, geographic location, and size and type of the system affect the labor and installation costs. Solar panel installation costs approximately $3.50 per watt, while the labor cost averages 0.50 per watt. Generally, installation labor and permit costs comprise 35% of the total installation cost.

Off-Grid vs. On-Grid Solar System

You can choose between an off-grid or on-grid system when installing your solar panel.

An on-grid solar panel system reduces the dependency on the grid but does not entirely remove it. The more Larkspur solar energy systems you install, the lower your energy bill. The on-grid solar system allows you to send energy to the grid if you generate more power than you consume. You will also receive credit on the energy bill. Its cost is about $21,000.

On the other hand, an off-grid system should be large enough to power your home and commercial buildings. Since you will not receive more energy from the grid, you should install generators and batteries. The system costs approximately $60,000.

Your Equipment

Nearly half of your solar energy installation budget will involve the cost of equipment. It includes:

  • Solar panels.
  • Mounting hardware.
  • Metering tools.
  • Wiring.
  • Cables.
  • Batteries.
  • Inverter.

The larger your panel, the more equipment you require for installation.

Operational Costs

Typically, operational costs can include inspections, monitoring, and maintenance. The average repair and maintenance cost ranges between $200 and $1,000, depending on what service you need.

Ground vs. Roof-Mounted Solar Power System

Typically, a roof-mounted 6kW solar system costs up to $21,000, while a ground-mounted system costs $25,000. Although a ground-mounted panel is more expensive to install than its alternatives, it is not an ideal option because:

  • It is hard to access for cleaning and maintenance.
  • Your roof might not support its weight.
  • Your roof might be shaded and needs more sunlight.

State and Federal Incentives

A federal law passed in 2022 incentivizes consumers, allowing them to make renewable energy enhancements like installing rooftop solar. The Residential Clean Energy Credit permits taxpayers who go solar to recover 30% of the total cost as federal tax credits. The credits apply to qualified solar systems installed after December 31, 2021, and remain effective at 30% through 2032.

You can also take advantage of the following solar incentives, rebates, and tax credits in California:

  • Self-Generation Incentive Program — Rebate for purchasing and installing a solar battery and rooftop system. It varies with battery storage capacity and utility.
  • Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion — It involves property tax exclusion on the added home value from a rooftop solar system installation.
  • Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (SASH) — Qualified low-income property owners who receive electricity from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) could receive cash incentives for each KW of solar energy installed.

The investment tax credit and state and federal incentives can increase your savings when going solar. You only qualify for the incentive if you buy solar panels instead of leasing them.

Is it Worth Investing in Renewable Energy?

Installing a solar system can save you up to $1,500 per year on your energy bills. A solar system can produce electricity that is cheaper than purchasing it from a utility firm. However, expect to get rid of your energy bill after a while. It also reduces your carbon footprint.

If you want to buy solar panels, look for incentives. If you will spread out costs over time, consider financing a solar project with a loan. You can also lease a Larkspur solar panel if you cannot afford to buy one. While leasing offers lower upfront costs, the solar system will not raise your home’s value, and you might be ineligible for incentives.

Larkspur Solar Panel System Installation

After signing a contract with your skilled solar installation company, it will take approximately three (3) months before the solar system begins producing energy and is grid-connected.

Here is a step-by-step guide your solar installation company will follow.

  1. Conducting an Engineering Site Visit

After signing the solar contract (regardless of whether it is a loan, lease, or cash purchase), an engineer will visit your asset to assess its electrical status and determine its compatibility with the new photovoltaic system. Typically, the engineer collaborates with the installer.

During the visit, the skilled engineer will evaluate the roof’s conditions and ensure it is structurally sound. Moreover, they will access the electrical panel to determine if you should upgrade it. Upgrading your electrical panel means increasing the current flowing through the solar panel.

Please note that the engineer visit differs from the site visit, during which your solar system installer evaluates the property before signing your contract. The installer’s visit aims to create a system based on the roof shading, type, and the roof’s angle.

  1. Completing the Relevant Documents and Permits

As with most substantial financial decisions, installing a Larkspur solar panel involves extensive paperwork. Your installer will help you handle this paperwork.

One thing you will apply for is federal and state solar incentives and solar programs like essential government rebates. You should also complete financing plan paperwork for a solar lease or loan.

Moreover, you should apply for permits during your installation process. The building permits are specific to your place of residence. Your skilled Larkspur solar panel installer knows California’s requirements and restrictions, will figure out your required permits and will complete the paperwork on your behalf.

This step’s time frame depends on the duration the installer takes to finish and submit the relevant paperwork. To accelerate the process, follow up with the professional to check on the paperwork’s progress.

  1. Ordering Your Equipment and Scheduling the Installation Date

Regarding equipment selection, you should evaluate your solar inverters and panels. Your knowledgeable installer should recommend a specific brand and provide alternatives. Some of the critical factors you can use when comparing different brands include the following:

  • Efficiency.
  • Warranty.
  • Price.
  • Aesthetics.
  • Durability.

Dedicating quality time to studying and researching the various types of solar inverters and panels helps select the appropriate equipment for the system.

After ordering the equipment, the installer will add your asset to their queue. The time until the installation depends on the number of projects the installation company has. The best time to go solar is in the winter, when most solar firms are not busy.

  1. Solar Panel System Installation

The installation duration ranges between one (1) to three (3) days, depending on your roof’s complexity and the panel’s size. Another factor that could add to the installation process time is putting a net metering power meter.

Typical steps involved in the actual Larkspur solar system installation process include the following:

  • First, the installer will prep the roof to ensure tiles or shingles are well-attached.
  • Second, the installer will put in wiring that connects the general power system and electrical panel.
  • Then they will install racking that supports the solar panels.
  • After your racking is safely attached and level, the installer will attach the panel to it.
  • Finally, the professional will connect your panels to the inverters to convert DC energy into AC energy.
  1. Approval and Power Grid Interconnection

Before connecting the solar system to the grid, a local government representative should inspect and approve your system. During the inspection, this representative will:

  • Verify whether your installer correctly did the wiring.
  • Check whether the mounting is sturdily and safely attached.
  • Confirm whether the installation meets the required electrical codes.

After this inspection, you are ready for grid interconnection.

Your utility firm representative will also visit your property to evaluate your solar system.

Solar Panel Maintenance Guide

Typically, solar panels have a 25 to 30-year lifespan and are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions like snow, ice, wind, and hail. They do not require much maintenance other than periodic cleaning and keeping them free from obstacles that cast shadows on the panels.

Dust, dirt, and debris can dirty your solar panel, and their accumulation can reduce the energy the panel produces. You can clean the panel by spraying it down with lukewarm water. Avoid soap or cleaning agents since they can damage your panel or leave streaks. Remember to turn the solar system off before the cleaning.

While your solar panel requires maintenance twice or four times a year, check the manufacturer’s manual for specific maintenance guidelines. Spring and fall are the best times to clean your system.

Regular solar panel maintenance helps monitor the panel’s performance. You can notice issues and fix them early.  

Contact a Qualified and Seasoned Solar Panels Installation Expert Near Me

Investing in renewable energy effectively saves money on your electricity bill and lowers your home’s carbon footprint. And the most exciting fact is that while installing a Larkspur solar panel is expensive, the system is durable, giving you a lot of time to get a return on your investment. The team at Sun Solar Electric can oversee the entire process and handle all your installation details, from HOA approval to inspections to permitting. You can rest assured that you have the most reliable and efficient solar system with the industry’s best and most comprehensive performance, service warranty, and product.    

If you have any concerns or questions about your solar panel, financing options, or our solar energy solutions, please contact our office at 707-658-2157. We are dedicated to offering the support you need and helping you get the best clean energy system for your budget and needs.

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