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Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels?

Most residential solar panels are installed on a homeowner’s roof. Why? Because it’s the best place to capitalize on obstructed sunlight.

That said, there are some cases in which roof-mounted solar panels are not ideal. Reasons include:

To help you learn more about whether your roof is suitable for solar panels, we’ll look at each of these reasons below.

And if you’re worried that your roof falls under one of these categories— don’t be. When roof-mounted panels aren’t possible, you can install a ground-mounted system instead. In fact, ground-mounted systems are more flexible, easy to install, and can help you maximize your highest solar gain.

Let’s get into it!


Thinking about going solar? Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) for a FREE in-home estimate. Our solar engineers will carefully review your home’s roof pitch and energy requirements. Then, we’ll design a custom solar system suited to your needs and budget.

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Your Roof Is Too Small

If your roof is too small, you may need to supplement your solar system with an array of ground-mounted panels.

To accommodate the average American power use, we recommend that your roof provides at least 1,000 square feet of space for your solar panel setup. Otherwise, there simply won’t be enough room to install the number of panels you need.

Moreover, smaller roofs do well with higher efficiency panels. Panels average anywhere from 100 to 400 watts of power, so the higher the power output, the fewer panels you’ll need to meet your energy requirements.

To learn more, check out our blog, How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Produce?

Your Roof Is Too Old

Solar panels need a strong, durable roof to support their weight and mounting hardware. If your roof is more than 20 years old, you’ll either need to upgrade your roof or go with a ground-mounted solar system.

Prior to making any recommendations, a solar expert should provide you with a free on-site estimate. That way they can assess the state of your roof, the material it’s made out of, and whether it can withstand your array of solar panels.

Common roofing materials such as concrete and clay tile, asphalt/composite, and metal are excellent for solar panel installations. However, they will eventually wear and tear— all the more so with weather damage or if your roof wasn’t properly installed. To prevent damage to your solar panels, including the hassle of having them removed and re-installed, make sure that you have a quality roof in place before installation.

Photon Brothers works with trusted roofing partners, so if you need any roofing adjustments to accommodate your solar panel installation, we’re here to help! 

Your Roof Is Too Shaded

The angle or pitch of your roof can affect whether it’s suitable for solar panels. If it’s facing the wrong direction or is largely shaded by trees or neighboring houses, you may not receive sufficient direct sunlight. And without sunlight, you won’t generate enough power.

In some cases, you may be able to cut down trees or place panels on other parts of your roof that aren’t shaded. However, if your roof is on the smaller side, you may not be able to afford a different placement. 

When this happens, you’re better off with a combination of roof or ground-mounted panels. However, as we mentioned above, it’s important to make sure the design is completely custom. Any solar installer worth their salt will provide a free on-site assessment. After a thorough review of your property, they’ll give you their honest opinion on how to maximize your solar investment.

Want to schedule a free estimate with 5-star rated solar experts? Contact Photon Brothers today. 

More Space Is Required for Your Power Needs

The more power you need, the more solar panels necessary to provide it. And depending on the size, age, and positioning of your roof, you may not have the space to accommodate a larger solar panel array. 

The good news is that ground-mounted solar panels can easily be installed. You won’t need to drill into your roof (or climb it, for that matter), nor will you need the mounting hardware to secure heavy panels from falling off it.

Speak with a solar expert and find out whether your roof is suitable for solar panels. At Photon Brothers, our experts are here to answer all of your questions with honest, educated advice, including free upfront pricing estimates. Call us at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) today!


Get a FREE Solar Estimate!

For more than a decade, Photon Brothers has helped thousands of Colorado and California homeowners make the switch to solar energy. To get a free, upfront quote on the cost to install solar panels in your home, contact us today. We provide virtual and in-home consultations in which our solar engineers can answer all of your most pressing questions, including financing, solar rebates, tax credits, and more!

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Solar batteries maximize the amount of energy your solar panels produce, reducing your carbon footprint and your solar panel payback period. Plus, solar batteries ensure your home always has electricity—even during power outages.

Because of these benefits, many solar panel owners choose to add a solar battery to their setup. If you’re considering a solar battery, the first step is to understand the different types of batteries you can purchase.

The two most common types of solar batteries are:

  1. Lead-acid
  2. Lithium-ion

We’ll go into more detail about both of these solar batteries and weigh their pros and cons to help you choose the best battery for your solar system. We’ll also share some other solar battery types that are less common but could become more popular in the future.


Interested in adding a backup battery to your solar panel setup? Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California). Our highly-trained solar engineers can help you choose the right backup battery for your home or business.

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Lead-Acid Solar Batteries

Even if you’ve never heard of this type of battery, you’ve used it before: Lead-acid batteries are widely used in cars, boats, emergency lights, and a host of other appliances. In fact, lead-acid batteries have been around for over 100 years, making them the oldest type of rechargeable battery available.

Lead-acid batteries store electrical energy via chemical reactions between lead, water, and sulfuric acid. Solar lead-acid batteries are “deep charge” batteries because they are designed to draw power slowly and evenly, discharging over long periods.

In solar energy systems, several lead-acid deep charge batteries are linked together to form a large energy bank. The number of batteries in the bank your solar energy system’s size (measured in kilowatt-hours).

Pros of Lead-Acid Batteries:

Cons of Lead-Acid Batteries:

Lithium-Ion Solar Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are not as old as lead-acid batteries, but today they are almost as ubiquitous. Lithium-ion batteries are found in cell phones, wireless headphones, toys, and all kinds of consumer electronics. Notably, lithium-ion batteries are also used in electric vehicles, which paved the way for their use in solar energy systems.

Lithium-ion batteries work by moving ions (particles that have gained or lost an electron) between two lithium compounds, the anode and cathode, found on opposite sides of the battery. The movement of ions from one side to the other discharges electricity or stores it, depending on the direction of the flow. Solar lithium-ion batteries contain additional electronics that help the batteries operate safely and efficiently.

Note: One of the most popular lithium-ion solar batteries is the Tesla Powerwall, which you can learn more about by visiting our Telsa Powerwall installation page.

Pros of Lithium-Ion Batteries:

Cons of Lithium-Ion Batteries:

Other Types of Solar Batteries

Lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used solar battery backup options today. However, a few other types of solar battery technologies may increase in popularity as they become more affordable down the road.

Additional types of solar batteries include:

Saltwater Batteries

Like their name suggests, saltwater batteries rely on a liquid saltwater solution to store and discharge electricity. This makes saltwater batteries very environmentally friendly and safe to operate. However, saltwater batteries are bigger than other types, making them more expensive to manufacture. For that reason, saltwater batteries are not as commonly used as lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries in residential solar energy systems.

Flow Batteries

Flow batteries pass ions back and forth between two large tanks filled with liquid electrolyte solutions to store electricity. These non-hazardous batteries boast an impressive 100% DoD rate, which means you can drain all of the battery without damaging it. However, residential solar flow batteries are still in the early stages of development, and many require rare materials (like vanadium), which makes them very expensive.

As their size and manufacturing costs get smaller, we may see flow batteries become more popular for residential solar energy systems in the future.


Have More Questions About Solar Batteries? Call Photon Brothers Today.

Picking a solar battery by yourself is tricky. At Photon Brothers, we simplify the decision-making process by providing genuine recommendations and honest pricing. Call us at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) for expert advice on the best solar battery for your solar panel system.

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When it comes to solar loans, you have two main options: a secured or unsecured loan. The difference comes down to whether or not you provide collateral to the lender, which determines the loan terms.

While both secured and unsecured loans have their pros and cons, one option may be better for you than the other. In this blog, we’ll share:

Let’s start by looking at both types of loans and the pros and cons of each.


Considering solar panels for your home? Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California). We’ll send one of our knowledgeable solar engineers to provide you with an accurate solar equipment installation quote and help you explore financing options

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How Secured Solar Loans Work

Secured solar loans are also known as “collateral loans” because they require you to pledge an asset to obtain the loan from the lender. The asset provides security to the lender if you don’t pay back the loan.

The collateral you provide depends on the lender and the type of loan you choose. For example, some solar energy system retailers offer secured loans and require the solar equipment to be used as collateral. If you stop payments for whatever reason, the company can repossess or deactivate the solar panels.

If you choose a secured loan like a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), your bank or credit union will require your home as collateral. If you stop payments, the lender may repossess your home.

Even though secured solar loans can have unfavorable consequences if you’re unable to pay back the loan, they typically offer lower interest rates because you (the borrower) are taking on more risk. As a result, secured loans provide better long-term value than unsecured loans.

Pros of Secured Solar Loans

Cons of Secured Solar Loans

How Unsecured Solar Loans Work

Unlike secured loans, unsecured loans do not require you to provide collateral to the lender. However, unsecured solar loans typically have higher interest rates because the lender takes on greater financial risk. As a result, your solar panel installation will cost more in the long run if you opt for an unsecured loan over a secured loan.

Even though you don’t have to provide collateral for an unsecured loan, that doesn’t mean you can default on the loan without consequences. If you don’t keep up with the loan payments, the lender can report you to credit reporting agencies, causing your credit score to drop.

Pros of Unsecured Solar Loans

Cons of Unsecured Solar Loans

Factors to Consider As You Compare Solar Loans

When it comes time to compare different solar loan options, you should consider the following factors:

Interest Rate

Obviously, you want the lowest interest rate possible so that your energy-efficient solar panels can pay for themselves faster. We explained that secured solar loans typically have lower interest rates than unsecured loans. In addition to the type of loan you choose, the interest rate will also be determined by your credit score. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will likely be.

Repayment Period

Most solar loans have a repayment period—the time you have to repay the loan—ranging anywhere from 5–15 years.

In general, the longer your loan repayment period, the lower your monthly payment will be. That said, you’ll likely pay more interest for longer loans, which makes your solar installation more expensive in the end.

Ideally, you want to choose a solar loan that strikes a balance between monthly payments you can afford and the shortest possible payback period. That way, you avoid long-term interest costs.

Down Payments

Many lenders offer low or zero-down initial payments for secured and unsecured solar loans. These low upfront cost options can be beneficial if you don’t have extra cash to spend on a down payment. However, if you make a higher initial payment, the loan will likely have a lower interest rate, saving you more money over time.

Fees

In addition to the initial down payment, you’ll also want to ask the lender about any fees associated with the loan. These can include application fees, origination fees, and closing costs. Knowing these fees ahead of time will give you a better picture of the total cost of the loan.


Have More Questions About Solar Financing? Call Photon Brothers Today.

Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California). Our solar engineers can answer your cost-related questions and help you choose the right financing option for your solar panel installation. When you work with Photon Brothers, you can count on expert recommendations and 5-star customer service during every step of the solar installation planning process.

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Net metering changes in California will soon reduce solar energy system credits. Act now to be grandfathered into higher savings!

Net metering—a program that allows solar energy system owners to offset the cost of power they draw from the grid—was first introduced to Californians in 1996. The purpose of this program was to incentivize homeowners to install new solar energy systems, thereby reducing the state’s dependence on finite resources.

The last major update to California’s net energy metering (NEM) policy, NEM 2.0, was enacted in 2016. In August 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced plans to update NEM 2.0, resulting in a set of new policies collectively known as NEM 3.0. These changes were supposed to take effect in early 2022. However, in February, the CPUC delayed the vote on the new proposal, putting these changes on hold indefinitely.

With all of the recent news regarding NEM 3.0, you might be wondering exactly how these policy changes will affect you as a current or future solar energy system owner.

In this blog, we’ll explain:

Let’s start by looking at some of the proposed changes in NEM 3.0.


Interested in adding solar panels to your California home or business? Contact Photon Brothers at 805-351-3371. Our solar engineers can help you choose the right solar panel equipment based on your budget and power needs. We can also answer your questions regarding net metering and provide you with financing options.

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Proposed Changes in Net Metering 3.0

Compared to the current NEM 2.0 policy, NEM 3.0 would introduce many significant changes, including:

New Time of Use (TOU) Plans

Many of the proposed changes in NEM 3.0 were suggested by utility companies. One of these changes is a new TOU rate (“time of use”), which would increase the cost of electricity during times of high demand.

Utility companies proposed this new rate to incentivize solar energy system owners to install a storage battery. Since electricity demand is highest when the sun is not shining (during the evening hours), relying on a storage battery would reduce the amount of electricity solar homes pull from the grid. However, installing a solar battery puts an extra financial burden on solar energy system owners, often adding thousands to an already expensive solar panel setup.

Reduced Energy Credits

Under NEM 2.0, current solar energy system owners can earn 22 and 36 cents (on average) for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity they send back to the grid. However, the new NEM 3.0 policy would reduce those earnings to only 4.7 to 5.8 cents per kWh, depending on the utility provider.

This dramatic change in energy credits comes from California’s Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC), which essentially calculates the value of solar power for the major utility companies in the state (Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric). However, many solar supporters have critiqued the ACC for not considering solar energy’s environmental and social benefits.

Since solar energy system owners will receive less money for the electricity they send back to the grid under NEM 3.0, purchasing a solar backup battery will be more essential than ever before. A solar backup battery will allow solar-powered homes to become self-sufficient, eliminating the need to sell power back to the utility companies at a reduced price.

Grid Participation Fee

Another change in NEM 3.0 is the addition of a grid participation fee to all solar homeowners. This fee consists of an $8 charge per kilowatt (kW) of solar power capacity. The average size of a solar panel system is 6 kW, which means the average solar homeowner would pay $48 every month. This fee would ultimately reduce the amount of money solar panel owners can save using renewable energy.

That said, this participation fee would be reduced or waived for low-income solar panel customers who qualify for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program. Additionally, utility companies will offer market transition credits to reduce grid participation fees for the first 10 years of billing for solar customers switching to NEM 3.0.

Shorter NEM 2.0 Terms

Many solar energy system owners signed 20-year NEM agreements under NEM 1.0 and 2.0. Under NEM 3.0, those agreements would be shortened to 15 years, significantly altering the original deal homeowners signed when they installed solar panels.

What Net Metering 3.0 Means for Solar Energy System Owners

Net metering 3.0 has been controversial because many PV industry leaders fear it discourages homeowners from switching to solar energy. They claim that the rising costs and decreased financial incentives would make solar energy less popular and force more people to continue using conventional electricity.

In a report by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, researchers estimated that under the proposed changes in NEM 3.0, the solar payback period would increase to 14 to 15 years. This range is more than double the current average solar payback period of 5 to 6 years, which would make rooftop solar increasingly cost-prohibitive throughout the state.

Much of the support for NEM 3.0 comes from utility providers and non-solar customers. They argue that under current policies in NEM 2.0, Californians without solar panels pay $245 per year more than solar energy system owners. The CPUC also attributes net metering overpayments as one of the reasons why the cost of electricity is rising throughout California. To reduce electricity rates and make them more equitable between solar and non-solar customers, utility companies and the CPUC proposed many of the changes we covered in the section above.

If the CPUC approves NEM 3.0, it would significantly shift how consumers purchase solar energy. For example, a storage battery will be an essential component in new solar energy installations. Additionally, smaller PV systems (less than 5 kW) would likely become less common because their high upfront costs and lower energy output—combined with expensive ongoing utility fees—make them a less rewarding financial investment.

The Future of Net Metering 3.0

After solar energy advocates pushed back against the new changes, the CPUC postponed the decision to enact NEM 3.0. As of February 2022, the proposal is at a standstill.

Governor Gavin Newsom commented that “we still have some work to do” regarding the new proposal. The new president of the CPUC, Alice Reynolds, requested more time to review the changes and mentioned that she intends to hold a session for oral arguments at an unspecified later date.

Whether or not NEM 3.0 will become the new standard in California remains to be seen. If the CPUC enacts the policy, it could take effect in the latter half of 2022. If you are interested in adding solar panels to your home or business, now is an excellent time to act—before NEM 3.0 becomes law.


Interested in Solar Panels for Your California Home or Business? Call Photon Brothers Today.

Schedule an appointment online or call us at 805-351-3371. We’re happy to answer your questions about net metering and help you plan the perfect solar panel setup. When you work with Photon Brothers, you can count on us to deliver 5-star customer service during every stage of the project, from planning to installation.

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The short answer: Yes! But you need to have a solid grasp of how much energy your household consumes. Otherwise, you risk running out of power— which can have some pretty inconvenient consequences.

In most cases, homeowners with residential solar power will remain grid-tied (meaning, if their solar power runs out they can pull from the local electricity grid). But if you’re thinking about going completely off-grid, it’s important to do some planning first.

To help you successfully go off-grid with solar, below we’ll review some key preparation items, including:

When set up for success, you can safely go off-grid and enjoy all of the benefits that renewable solar energy provides!


Want to speak with trusted, licensed, and experienced solar professionals? Contact Photon Brothers for a free, upfront, and honest solar estimate. We design completely custom and high-efficiency solar solutions, including 100% off-grid setups!

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How to Estimate Your Daily Power Usage

The easiest way to estimate your daily power usage is by reviewing your current home’s power bill.

Most homeowners are billed on a monthly basis, based on the number of “kilowatt-hours” they used. (Note: A “kilowatt-hour” or “kWh” refers to the number of kilowatts of energy you consume per hour.)

Once you locate the total kWh usage on your bill, divide by 30 days to learn your daily power consumption. Then, divide your daily kWh’s by 12 hours of sunlight (remember: solar panels don’t work at night). Finally, multiply that number by 1,000 to calculate the amount in watts. Since solar panels are sold in watts, it’s a lot easier to gauge how many solar panels you need this way.

Pro tip: Because your heating and cooling systems will eat up quite a bit of your energy costs per year, we recommend reviewing power bills from the winter and summer months. That way you can prepare for peak energy consumption, and won’t be left hanging when the seasons change.

If you’re not planning to use the same amount of electricity in your off-grid setup, another way to calculate your daily power usage is by tallying up the wattage of every single appliance, electronic, and/or lighting product you plan to use off-grid.

While this may seem daunting, keep in mind that wattage is stated on every physical label or online product description, often with “average kilowatt-hour” estimates.

Estimated annual energy consumption of an LG washer and dryer combo.
Estimated annual energy consumption of an LG washer and dryer combo.

And after adding up the wattage, you’ll know precisely how much power you need to live comfortably off-grid. 

How to Determine How Many Solar Panels You Need 

Solar panels typically come in 100-400 watts of power per panel. So once you’ve assessed how many watts of power you need per day, you can begin to plan your solar panel setup.

For example, if your total daily power needs are 2,400 watts, you would need at minimum six 400-watt panels (6 panels times 400 watts = 2,400 watts).

We say “at minimum” because the sun doesn’t shine 100% of every day. You may have cloudy days where the sun’s rays only provide half of your power needs. To make up the difference, it’s wise to double or even triple your solar panel array.

Moreover, the sun only hits your panels with direct sunlight for a few hours per day (usually at high noon). Even with no clouds whatsoever, your solar panels may only produce 30-40% efficiency for most of the day.

Again, to accommodate for the decreased power output, we recommend installing 2-3 times the number of panels you think you may need.

To learn more, check out our blog, How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Produce?

Why You Should Install Solar Batteries

When going 100% off-grid, you should definitely consider battery storage. Why? Because you won’t have any electricity at night when the sun is gone and your solar panels are reduced to 0% efficiency.

Some off-griders choose to supplement their power needs with a wood stove, propane refrigerator, cooktop, and water heater. However, this still doesn’t cover other electricity needs such as the dishwasher, laundry machine, air conditioner, TV, computer, or Internet usage.

So, to be completely comfortable off-grid, we recommend installing a backup battery such as the Tesla Powerwall.

During the day, your battery will store excess solar power energy. Then, you can draw from the battery at night (or on cloudy days) when your panels aren’t producing electricity. 

To learn more, check out our blog, Backup Battery vs. Generator for Your Home – Which is Better?


Want a FREE Off-Grid Solar Installation Quote?

Call Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) or book directly through our website. Our solar engineers will carefully review your energy needs, and then design a custom solar system tailored to your solar goals and budget.

For more information about our 5-star installation service, visit our residential solar power page.

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Going solar is a significant investment. It can also be a complicated and stressful endeavor if you choose the wrong solar installation company.

That’s why, at Photon Brothers, we strive to create a 5-star customer experience. From start to finish, we’re here to answer all of your questions, handle all permitting and inspections, and deliver a custom solar system that saves you on energy costs for years to come.

Unfortunately, not all solar installers provide this level of service— despite whatever claims they may make on their website. So, to help you find a trustworthy solar company that lives up to your expectations, we’ll review some key criteria of a trustworthy installer, including:

If your solar company provides the above checklist items, you can rest easy— you’re in good hands.


Want a FREE custom estimate on a high-efficiency solar installation? Call Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) or book directly through our website. We offer custom solar designs for maximum return on investment, complete with a 25-year panel warranty. Better still, our NABCEP certified solar engineers have decades of combined experience and will work hard to ensure your 100% satisfaction. Contact us today!

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Free In-Home Estimate Provided

A trustworthy solar company will always provide a free, custom estimate. Why? Because their number one priority is your satisfaction, and they want you to have peace of mind around your solar investment. 

What to Expect During Your Free Solar Estimate:

During your free estimate, a qualified solar professional will perform a thorough on-site assessment of your home’s energy requirements and roof positioning. That way, they can start to determine how many solar panels you need and where to place them for maximum solar gain.

Additionally, they should answer all of your questions with educated advice, including how to help you apply for any tax credits, incentives, and financing.

If you contact a solar company and they don’t offer this free of charge, look the other way. It’s a tell-tale sign of an inexperienced or dishonest contractor.

Customized Solar Designs

Beyond providing a free upfront estimate, a quality solar company should provide you with customized solar designs. That way, you reap the most significant return on your investment.

The truth is, cookie cutter solar designs are an easy way to make money. And while you can start generating power through them, you probably won’t be set up to produce the amount of power you need, including when you need it.

To ensure that you capitalize on the largest solar gain, a custom panel design will take into consideration: 

At Photon Brothers, our solar engineers create 100% custom solar designs to maximize your power production and energy savings. To schedule a free, custom estimate, give us a call at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) 805-351-3371 (California) or book directly through our website

10+ Years of Experience 

It’s no secret that the solar industry is booming. As more people seek to gain energy independence and reduce their carbon footprint, new solar companies are also looking to help them achieve it.

While this is great news, it pays to hire an industry veteran if you want to ensure that your solar installation is done safely and correctly. Ideally, a company with 10+ years of solar experience.

With more completed jobs under their belt, your solar installer will know how to navigate tricky permits and inspections, challenging roof lines, and help you select the right solar products for your needs and budget. They’ll probably also have a team of project managers to guide you through the installation process. 

In-House Craftsmanship

It’s common practice for solar installers to outsource the labor of installing your panels. While you may be dealing with a team of attentive professionals during your proposal process, you could end up with sloppy, late, or no-show workers on the day of your installation.

To avoid the headache of flakey or inexperienced installers, it’s best to hire a company who keeps all labor in-house. Not only for quality control, but also for a superior customer experience.

At Photon Brothers, we never outsource. When you schedule a solar installation, you can trust our team of master electricians and installers to coordinate seamlessly, on time, and with laser attention to detail.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee 

Last but not least, look for a solar installer who provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Even the most experienced contractors will make mistakes sometimes, but what matters is that they value fixing them. So, if anything fell short of your expectations, you can trust your solar installer to make it right. 

At Photon Brothers, we always go the extra mile for complete customer happiness, and we’re happy to share that we’ve been applauded for it in 5-star reviews across Google, Yelp, Nextdoor, EnergySage, and more.


Get a FREE Solar Panel Installation Quote!

For more than 10 years, homeowners across Colorado and California have turned to Photon Brothers for a trustworthy solar installation. Starting with a free in-home energy assessment, our solar experts will carefully review your power consumption needs and routines, and then design a customized solar system for maximum efficiency. Offering flexible financing plans, a 25-year panel warranty, and a guarantee of 100% satisfaction, give us a call today and see why we’ve earned so many 5-star ratings!

720-370-3344 (Colorado) 

805-351-3371 (California)

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If you’re considering solar panels for your home or business, you may have heard about a unique incentive called net metering.

Net metering is a billing agreement between solar panel owners and utility companies. Under a net metering agreement, your utility company will credit you for any electrical power your panels send back to the grid.

Of course, that’s just a brief explanation. We’ll explain net metering in-depth by covering the following information:

We hope by the end of this blog you have a better understanding of net metering and how it can benefit you as you make the switch to solar energy. We’ll start by explaining how net metering works.


Interested in adding solar panels to your home or business? Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California). Our highly-trained solar engineers can answer your questions and explain net metering in more detail. Plus, we can provide a FREE in-home energy assessment to help you plan the perfect solar panel setup for your property.

Note: Proposed net metering changes will go into effect likely in June 2022.

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How Net Metering Works

When the sun is shining, solar panels are highly effective at generating power for a home or business. In fact, solar panels are so effective during the day that they often produce excess power. This excess power can be stored in solar batteries for later use or sent to the utility company under a net metering agreement.

You can think of a net metering agreement like an energy savings account: For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you send back to the grid, your utility provider supplies you with an energy credit. These credits are stored in your “energy savings account” and can be applied to your monthly or annual utility bill.

After each billing cycle, the amount you owe will depend on how much electricity your property pulled from the grid during the billing period, minus the net metering credits you choose to apply to your bill.

Many solar system owners save their net metering credits for winter when there are more low-sunlight days. That way, they do not have to pay as much when they pull electricity from the grid to supplement their solar power on cloudy days or during stormy weather.

The Benefits of Net Metering

Solar energy system owners benefit from net metering in the following ways:

Net Metering FAQs

We know you probably have more questions about net metering. We’ll attempt to answer your questions by covering some FAQs about net metering.

How do I know if net metering is available in my area?

Call your utility provider or visit their website to see if they offer a net metering agreement. Chances are, they do: Currently, 41 states have established net metering policies in place.

How does electricity get sent back to the grid?

When your solar panels produce extra power at any point during the day, your electric meter runs in reverse to send power back to the grid.

How much are net metering credits worth?

Utility providers can issue net metering credits at the full retail electricity rate or a lower wholesale rate based on the amount of power (in kWh) you supply to the grid. To find out specific rates in your area, contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) to speak with one of our Solar Consultants, or you can contact your utility provider. 

Do net metering credits expire?

Typically, yes. Net metering credits have “rollover limits” that can expire if they are not used within a specific timeframe.

Can I cash out my solar credits?

No, they must be applied to your utility bill.

Can net metering credits be transferred if I move?

The answer to this question depends on your utility provider. Some utility providers allow you to transfer your credits to a new account if you move within an approved area. However, if you move out of state or change utility providers, you forfeit your unused net metering credits.


Have More Net Metering Questions? Call Photon Brothers Today.

Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California). Our solar engineers are familiar with net metering details in these states, so we can answer your questions or point you to someone who can.

We can also provide you with an upfront estimate on the cost to install a custom solar energy system in your home or business. Our solar engineers do not use high-pressure sales tactics and give truthful information—which is why we have 5-star customer reviews everywhere you look.

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On average, solar panels last about 25 years. However, the lifespan depends on a number of factors, including:

When considering solar panels for your California or Colorado home, it’s important to learn about these lifespan factors. Otherwise, you could still be paying off your panels before seeing a substantial return on investment.

To help you choose the right panels for your long-term budget and goals, we’ll explain each factor below.


Want to learn how much you can save with solar panels? Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) for a FREE in-home or virtual estimate. Our solar engineers are standing by with expert answers to all of your questions, including installation costs, warranties, tax incentives, and more. 

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Brand

Certain brands of solar panels are made with higher quality materials. Therefore, the brand of solar panels you choose to install will greatly impact how long they last. 

For example, Photon Brothers is an exclusive installer of REC’s award-winning solar panels. Made with advanced cell connection technology, REC panels will still deliver 92% efficiency after 25 years. In comparison, conventional panels will drop to 80% or less of their normal power output during that same 25 year period (and often well before it). 

REC solar panels are the gold standard for long-term efficiency and performance.

While it’s true that certain brands cost more than others, when you factor in higher energy yields long-term, the investment proves to be worth it. Your panels will last longer before needing to be replaced, and you’ll get more bang for your buck in the end. 

Installation

The quality of installation will also impact how long your panels last. If poorly installed by a novice contractor, you risk faulty wiring, improper placement, and serious damage to your roof. When left untreated, these problems can lead to expensive repairs, or worse— a sooner than necessary solar system replacement.

To ensure the highest quality of solar panel installation possible, Photon Brothers is proud to keep all labor in-house. Our team of master electricians and solar engineers will ensure your job gets done safely, on time, and with laser attention to detail. It’s also why customers leave us 5-star reviews on Google, Yelp, Nextdoor, EnergySage, and more.

The whole team at Photon Brothers works seamlessly to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

Environment

Environmental factors can reduce your solar panels’ lifespan.

For example, if you live in an area with extreme weather and temperature variations (e.g. hail storms, heavy snowfall, high humidity, etc.) your panels will endure more wear and tear. Depending on the material of your panels, or how well you maintain them after a weather-related event, you could need to replace your panels sooner than necessary.

As we mentioned above, certain solar panel brands use higher quality materials which can withstand harsh environments. So if you live in a tougher climate, it pays to invest in durable panels that will serve you for years to come.

Backup Battery

When the sun is shining, your solar panels are channeling a considerable amount of energy. Especially around high-noon, when the sun is strongest. Depending on your daily routines, you may not be able to use 100% of your energy supply. This puts stress on your panels, which can shorten their lifespan.

To alleviate the power burden, it’s recommended that you install a backup battery. As your solar panels charge throughout the day, any excess power will be stored in your battery bank. That way, you can draw from it at night or on cloudy days. And as a bonus, your panels’ long-term efficiency won’t be threatened.

Want to learn more about battery storage options? Contact Photon Brothers for honest, expert advice and upfront pricing on the industry’s best solar batteries. 

Warranties

Last but not least, product warranties will impact the lifespan of your solar panels.

Premium panels from top brands like REC, Silfab, LG, Panasonic and others tend to offer a 25-year product warranty, including a power output guarantee of 90% and up over that 25-year timeframe.

On the other hand, conventional panels may only come with a 10-year product warranty, and without any power output guarantees. Meaning, you’re not guaranteed that your panels will produce the same level of efficiency throughout that 10-year period.

More often than not, lower end panels with limited product warranties tend to wear out faster, and you’ll end up having to replace them sooner than desired. Whereas with premium panels, you can enjoy them longer, and with increased performance and energy savings.


Want a FREE Solar Panel Installation Quote? 

Contact Photon Brothers today. Our veteran solar engineers will perform a thorough analysis of your home’s energy needs, budget, and ROI goals. That way, you end up with a solar installation that serves you for decades to come. Plus, when you work with Photon Brothers, you can rest assured that you’ll receive attentive care, educated guidance, and 5-star quality workmanship.

720-370-3344 (Colorado) 

805-351-3371 (California)

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Thinking about going solar? You might be wondering, how much electricity does a solar panel produce?

Good question! It’s one that we get a lot.

On average, a solar panel produces anywhere from 100-400 watts of power per hour. For a frame of reference, a standard lightbulb consumes about 60 watts of power per hour.

As you can see, a single panel isn’t enough to power your home. In fact, standard American homes tend to require a setup of more than two dozen high-efficiency panels in order to meet their full electricity needs.

To further explain, let’s take a look at factors that impact a solar panel’s power production:

We’ll then review how to capitalize on your solar panel production with battery storage options. That way, you enjoy maximum power and higher energy savings!


Get a FREE in-home estimate on a residential solar installation from the experts at Photon Brothers! Just give us a call at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) or book directly through our website. Our solar engineers are standing by, ready to provide a thorough review of your home’s electricity needs. We offer custom solar designs to save you money on energy bills for years to come!

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The Climate You Live In

The more sunshine your area receives, the more electricity your solar panel can produce.

For example, a solar panel in Central Coast California receives more sunshine per year than cloudy Seattle. And because it receives more sunlight, it produces more electricity.

That being said, a homeowner in Seattle can still reap the benefits of solar. They’ll just need to increase the number of solar panels they install. 

Hours of Direct Sunlight

In addition to climate, it’s also important to remember that the sun only shines for about half the day. This means that while you may be using electricity at 10 o’clock at night, your solar panel’s power production is at zero, and you’ll need to pull power from the grid (or a solar battery, if you have one).

Furthermore, your solar panel’s efficiency is only at 100% for probably a few hours mid-day when the sun is strongest.

At 9 a.m., for example, the sun may be rising in the sky, but your solar panel’s power production might be limited to only 30%. So if you have a 300-watt solar panel, 30% power is only 100-watts or a third of your panel’s capacity.

To ensure you reap the most significant benefit, it’s wise to invest in a solar array of multiple panels. Even at 30% efficiency, three to four panels will produce roughly the same amount of power as one panel at 100%.

Conventional vs. Premium Panels

Premium solar panels produce higher amounts of electricity than conventional ones do.

For example, at Photon Brothers we only install the most advanced REC panels with an average of 300-400 watts of power per panel. This means that even if the sun’s rays are limiting power production to just 30%, you’ll still get roughly 100 watts of power per panel.

Conventional panels, on the other hand, can only produce about 100 watts of power per panel. So if sunlight is limited, your power production could be less than 30 watts, which, as we mentioned above, isn’t even enough to power a light bulb.

Although more expensive upfront, premium panels provide your most significant return on investment. Not only do they come with better warranties (REC panels come with a standard 25-year warranty), but they also perform better under intense temperatures— often when the sun is strongest, and your chances of generating electricity are highest.

Even better? Premium panels maintain higher efficiency over time. After 25 years, REC panels are rated to have 92% output, whereas convention panels are only around 85%-88%.

Curious to learn more? Check out our blog, “How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Produce?”

How Clean Your Panels Are

Just like your car, your solar panels are exposed to the elements. And in time, they will naturally get covered in dirt, dust, pollen, bird droppings, and other debris that can block sunlight from penetrating them.

When this happens, no matter how sunny your climate nor how many premium panels you have installed, your electricity production will be limited, simply for the fact that your panels are dirty.

If you’ve noticed a decline in your solar panel power production, it pays to invest in a solar panel cleaning. 

Inverter Size 

Solar panels generate DC or “direct current” power. Your home, however, relies on AC or “alternating current” power. So in order to convert DC power to AC power, you will need an inverter.

Because inverters come in various sizes, getting the right one for your solar setup is crucial. If poorly sized, you risk losing out on your solar panel’s maximum electricity production.

The good news is that a qualified solar professional can assess your home’s energy needs and then recommend the perfect inverter for your unique setup. At Photon Brothers, we offer free in-home and virtual estimates, including expert solar guidance and upfront prices!

How To Maximize Power With a Solar Battery

To get the most out of your solar panel’s electricity production, it pays to invest in a solar battery.

Here’s why:

Around midday, when the sun is strongest, it’s common for solar panels to produce more electricity than a home can use at that time. Worse, you have all this power when you’re probably away at work (since most people tend to use power in the mornings and later in the evenings).

So, how can you capture excess power to serve you when needed? A solar battery!

At any point during the day, your solar panels can send excess electricity to your battery. Then, you can draw from your battery when the sun isn’t shining— such as at night, on cloudy days, and even during power outages.

By and large, customers see the most significant ROI with a solar battery installed in tandem with their solar panels. Especially if they have a smaller solar array or happen to live in a cloudier climate.

Curious to learn more about how you can start generating electricity with your solar system? Speak with a solar professional who offers free in-home energy assessments. That way you get solar advice that’s customized to your unique home and budget.


Get a FREE Solar Panel Installation Quote From Photon Brothers!

For over a decade, homeowners have turned to Photon Brothers for custom solar designs that save on both energy costs and their carbon footprint. If you’re thinking about going solar, contact our team of NABCEP certified solar professionals and we’ll conduct a FREE virtual or in-home solar estimate. We offer premium REC panels for maximum power output, including industry-leading warranties. Call today!

720-370-3344 (Colorado) 

805-351-3371 (California)

Schedule free estimate

One of the main benefits of solar panels is the long-term energy savings they provide. Solar panels dramatically reduce your monthly electric bills, sometimes as much as 50% or more per month. All the money you save on your utility bills will help you recoup the amount you spend to install the panels. And after the initial payback period, everything you save goes directly into your pocket.

So, how much can you expect your energy bills to be each month? We wish we could tell you the answer here. Unfortunately, we can’t give you an accurate estimate without considering the following factors:

  1. Your solar panels’ energy output
  2. Your local electricity rate
  3. Your utility company’s net metering policy
  4. Your household’s energy consumption

In this article, we’ll explain how each of these factors will determine your monthly electric bill and how a solar panel expert can provide an accurate estimate.


Want to know how much you can expect to save with solar panels? Contact Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344. Our solar engineers are standing by, ready to provide expert guidance to all of your solar questions. We even offer FREE in-home energy assessments complete with upfront prices on custom designs designed to save you as much as possible.

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Your Solar Panels’ Energy Output

Some homeowners choose to install a few solar panels to reduce the electricity they pull from the grid. Others install more panels to cover all (or most of) their monthly electrical usage. The more you rely on solar energy to power your home, the lower your electric bills will be.

If you want to get an accurate estimate of your monthly electrical costs, you’ll need to calculate the total energy output of your solar panels. This calculation can be complicated, so we recommend consulting with a solar panel expert. A solar panel expert will consider factors specific to your home and city, such as:

The number of panels you have and the wattage rating of each panel

Just as some cars get better gas mileage than others, some solar panels produce more electricity with the same amount of sunlight. Purchasing high-efficiency solar panels will cost more upfront, but they will reduce your monthly energy costs.

Individual solar panels can produce anywhere from 100 to 400 watts per hour. A professional will add up the wattage of each panel in your solar energy system and convert that number to monthly kilowatt-hours (kWh) since that’s the measurement utility companies use to bill consumers. This figure will tell you how much energy your panels can produce under ideal circumstances.

Of course, not all areas and homes receive the perfect amount of sunlight every day, so the actual energy output of your panels will also depend on the factors below.

The Pitch of Your Roof

Most residential solar panels are installed on the roof to receive maximum sunlight. That said, the pitch (angle) of your roof determines how much sunlight hits the panels, which affects the overall energy output of the panels.

Your solar panel expert will account for your roof’s pitch when they calculate the total energy output of your panels.

The Sunlight in Your Area

Some areas naturally receive more sunlight than others, depending on weather patterns and climate. More sunlight means more power, which reduces the amount of electricity your home needs to pull from the grid.

Solar panel experts will look at the number of sunny days per year in your area, plus the peak sun hours per day to determine the energy output of your solar panels.

For more information about solar panel energy output, refer to our blog: “How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Produce?

Your Local Electricity Rate

Even if you live in a very sunny climate, you still have a few overcast or rainy days every year. On cloudy days, your solar panels won’t produce as much energy because of the limited sunlight. Your home will then pull power from the grid to keep your appliances running during these overcast days.

Electricity rates vary from state to state and even city to city. If you live in an area with high electric rates, your bills will be higher. You can look at your last electric bill or contact your utility provider for information about the rates in your area.

One way to reduce the amount of electricity you pull from the grid is to install a solar battery. A solar battery stores excess energy produced by your panels. On overcast days or at night, energy from the battery will power your home, reducing or eliminating the need to pull electricity from the grid.

Your Utility Company’s Net Metering Policy

Some utility companies offer a net metering policy to homeowners with solar panels. A net metering policy allows you to receive credits for the extra power your panels produce. You can redeem these credits when you need to pull power from the grid, which will ultimately lower your electric bills.

If your utility company offers a net metering policy, they will send you a bill at the end of each month or year with the net amount of electricity you put onto the grid and took from the grid. The more electricity your panels send back to the grid, the lower your electric bill will be.

A solar panel expert will help you calculate how much excess electricity your panels will produce, which can help you estimate your potential net metering savings.

Visit our solar resource page for more information about net metering.

Your Household’s Energy Consumption

If your household typically uses a lot of electricity, you may have to pull more power from the grid, even with a robust solar panel system. As a result, you’ll likely have higher energy bills.

You can get an idea of how much electricity you currently consume by looking at past utility bills. On the bill, the utility provider will show you how many kWh your home consumes per month. A solar expert will use this information to help you determine how many panels you need for your home.


Want To Know How Much Your Electric Bill Will Be With Solar Panels? Call Photon Brothers Today!

Our solar engineers can provide you with an accurate estimate based on the factors above. Contact us at 720-370-3344 or schedule an appointment online. When you work with Photon Brothers for your solar panel installation, you can count on high-quality engineering, reliable warranties, and 5-star customer service.

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