What Are Time of Use Rates? A Guide to the Cost of Electricity
An increasing number of utility companies throughout the country have begun to offer residential consumers a structured billing program called Time of Use (TOU) rates. TOU rates are designed to incentivize energy-conscious consumers to use more electricity during “low demand” hours when electricity is less expensive to produce.
In most geographical areas, TOU rates are optional, but homeowners in California who install solar panels are asked to agree to a TOU billing arrangement. California was among the first states to implement mandatory TOU rate structuring, but more and more other states are following suit. Starting in the spring of 2022, Colorado’s largest utility provider began transitioning customers to seasonal TOU rates.
This post will demystify TOU billing structures and explain their benefits. Keep reading for more information on the following:
- What are Time of Use (TOU) rates?
- How a home battery can reduce peak energy costs
- The long-term savings of a battery with solar panels
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What Are Time of Use (TOU) Rates?
TOU rates provide utility companies with a way to bill energy consumers based on the time when the energy is produced.
It costs more to produce electricity when energy usage is high. When demand drops, so does the cost of production. This approach allows savvy homeowners to save significantly on utility costs by planning their peak energy usage around times when electricity is typically in low demand and, therefore, less expensive to produce.
How TOU Rates Affect Your Electricity Bill
TOU rates vary per location and utility company, but they generally involve “peak” and “off-peak” hours.
Peak hours are typically defined as blocks of time. For instance, weekend afternoons are a common peak hour designation because many people reserve major household chores such as laundry and vacuuming for this period of time. Household usage of personal electronics is also higher in most homes during the weekend, and because more people tend to be home at this time, heating and cooling systems are typically working at full strength.
All hours that have not been designated as peak hours fall into the off-peak category. Homeowners can help keep their electric bills down by doing laundry during off-peak hours, waiting until right before bed to start the automatic dishwasher, using programmable thermostats, and using smart appliances.
Choosing Your TOU Plan
Naturally, you will want to choose the TOU plan that best suits the needs of you and other household members. After all, if you’re like most people, you stick to a fairly conventional schedule and don’t want to stay up until the early morning hours doing laundry and vacuuming just to shave a few dollars off your utility bill.
Although most households can save on energy costs by making a few simple adjustments to their daily schedules, the ones who benefit most from TOU plans are those with solar panels installed.
How a Home Battery Can Reduce Peak Energy Costs
Homeowners with solar PV systems can reduce their energy costs even further by installing a home battery to store the solar energy they don’t use. This greatly decreases or even eliminates the need for homeowners to draw from the energy grid during periods of high energy consumption.
Even if your household’s energy needs are more than what your home PV and home battery system can supply, you can still strategically schedule your utility usage so that you’re only drawing from the grid when rates are at their lowest.
As a bonus, having a home battery protects you from power outages. It will also lower your overall carbon footprint.
The Long-Term Savings of a Battery with Solar Panels
The long-term savings you’ll gain by using a home battery with your solar PV system depends on factors like how well you coordinate the times you draw from the battery with the times you draw from the local power grid and your household’s overall energy needs. Other factors include your solar PV system’s efficiency, whether it’s installed correctly, how many hours of direct sunlight you get, and the number of panels you’ve had installed.
However, it’s estimated that the average homeowner saves as much as $35,000 over 20 years or $100 per month. Our expert technicians at Photon Brothers can advise you further on the best ways to save on energy costs and the benefits of using top-quality solar products such as Tesla and REC.
Get a Free Solar Estimate from Photon Brothers Today!
Our solar experts are standing by, ready to provide upfront pricing on the best solar systems for your needs and budget. Call us at (720) 370-3344 (Colorado) or (805) 351-3371 (California) to schedule a free custom estimate. You can also book an appointment online, or click below to get a quote in just seconds!
Whether you’ve recently had solar panels installed or you plan to invest in them down the road, you may be wondering whether you need a home battery.
Although your solar system will function just fine without a home battery, having a battery installed has a wide range of advantages. In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of installing a home battery, including how they can help:
- Maximize your solar panels’ efficiency
- Power your home when the sun isn’t out
- Reduce wear and tear on your panels
- Provide longer lifetime savings
Thinking about going solar?
Get a FREE custom solar estimate from Photon Brothers today! After a careful review of your home’s energy needs, roof pitch, and budget, our expert solar engineers will design a customized system for maximum ROI and long-term performance.
Don’t want to wait? Click below to get a free estimate in just seconds!
Maximize Your Solar Panels’ Efficiency
To get the most out of your solar panel’s electricity production, it pays to invest in a home battery.
You see, your solar panels produce the most energy mid-day when the sun is strongest. However, you may not be home to use it. Or, you simply might not be using electricity at the time of max production.
Some cities offer the option to enroll in a net metering program, which allows you to send electricity back to the power grid for a credit on your monthly bill. But if you don’t have such a program available, all that electricity is wasted.
To maximize your solar investment, a home battery is the perfect solution. Your solar panels will charge your battery by day, and then you can draw from it at a later time, such as at night, on cloudy days, or whenever you’re using extra power.
Another benefit to solar storage systems is that they give homeowners the opportunity to monitor their electricity usage more closely. The Tesla Powerwall app, for example, provides real-time feedback. By knowing how and when you use energy, you can develop more energy-efficient habits.
Power Your Home When the Sun Isn’t Out
A home battery provides greater energy independence.
If your community has an aging energy infrastructure, you probably already know how inconvenient power outages are. But with a home battery installed, you’ll be able to have lights, heat, and other essentials during power outages, instead of fumbling for flashlights, candles, and blankets.
The weather isn’t always perfect. Even places known for abundant sunlight, such as Colorado and California, have cloudy days. So, instead of switching to the grid on an overcast day or after the sun goes down, a home battery allows you to use the solar power you’ve got in reserve.
As a bonus, solar power systems run quietly and efficiently. Many of those seeking to get off-grid as much as possible still depend on generators fueled by gas and diesel, which are irritatingly noisy and create air pollution. You’ll have access to free energy when you need it, rather than relying on the whims of nature.
Helps Reduce Wear and Tear on Your Panels
As you probably already know, solar panel systems are no small investment, so naturally, you want to do what you can to help ensure that yours lasts as long as possible. With a home battery in the picture, your solar panels will offload any unused energy they produce during peak sunlight hours, preventing them from becoming overloaded.
Other ways to reduce wear and tear on your solar panels include having them professionally cleaned regularly — once or twice per year depending on local environmental conditions.
Provides Longer Lifetime Savings
If you already have solar panels installed, you’ve undoubtedly noticed short-term savings on your monthly utility costs. But when paired with a battery you’ll reap maximum long-term savings. Both in energy bills and the lifespan of your panels themselves.
If you haven’t yet taken the plunge into energy independence, keep in mind that the federal government is currently offering tax credits for those who decide to have solar energy systems installed in their homes. Ask our solar experts at Photon Brothers for more information on how you can save. We offer customized designs that are as energy-efficient as they are attractive. We’re also happy to help with sourcing rebates and solar lenders!
Have More Questions About Solar Panels or Batteries? Call Photon Brothers Today.
Choosing a solar battery can be tricky. At Photon Brothers, we simplify the decision process by providing honest, expert recommendations and upfront pricing. Call us at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) for trustworthy solar advice today. You can also click below for a free instant estimate!
Solar panels aren’t just good for the environment, they also save you money every month on your energy bills.
But how exactly do solar panels work?
The short answer is that solar panels transform sunlight into electricity and then send that electricity into your home. But of course, there’s a lot more science behind solar technology than that simple answer suggests.
To give you a more in-depth answer, we’ll dive deeper and explain what solar panels are composed of that allows them to turn sunlight into electricity.
Interested in learning more about going solar? Contact Photon Brothers. We help homeowners throughout Colorado and California achieve energy independence with high-quality, long-lasting solar panel system installations.
How does a solar panel produce energy?
Solar panels are made up of many small units called solar cells. These solar cells are responsible for turning sunlight into electricity. A single panel can contain anywhere from 32 to 96 cells.
Each solar cell consists of two different layers of a naturally occurring element called silicon. One layer is composed of a positively-charged silicon while the other is negatively-charged silicon. When the two oppositely-charged layers are combined, an electric field is generated between them.
Now enter sunlight. Sunlight is essentially a stream of elements called photons. When a photon hits the solar cell, it can knock an electron loose from the atoms that comprise the silicon layers. The electric field between the two layers forces that extra floating electron to move toward the negatively-charged silicon layer.
Now imagine on a sunny day that a non-stop stream of photons (sunlight) pelts the solar panel. This means many electrons are knocked loose then all flow toward the same direction (toward the negatively-charged silicon).
This constant, orderly flow of electrons is…electricity!
How does the energy get to your home?
First off, a single solar cell can produce roughly .5 volts, which isn’t much power at all. However, a solar panel with 36 solar cells in total can produce ~17 volts. When you have several solar panels all creating electricity at the same time, you now have a good amount of electricity being produced.
But how does that energy find its way into your home?
Wiring runs through a solar panel to capture and collect the electricity produced by each solar cell. From there, the wire directs all of that newly-produced electricity into an “inverter”. This inverter transforms the “DC” or direct current electricity into “AC” or alternating current electricity, which is the type of electricity that your home’s appliances need.
Once the electricity is transformed into AC current, it travels along more wiring until it reaches your home’s electrical panel. From there, the electrical panel feeds that electricity throughout your home to power your appliances.
Do solar panels work when there’s no sunlight?
The short answer is, no.
Solar panels might work on cloudy days but they won’t be able to produce nearly as much electricity as they could during a day with full sunlight.However, solar panels tend to produce more power than you use up during a normal sunny day. If you have a solar battery, that extra electricity can be stored for use during nights or cloudy days.
Have more solar questions? Ask Photon Brothers
At Photon Brothers, we’re happy to walk you through the advantages of installing a solar system for your home. We understand it may be a big step to take and we’re committed to answering any questions you may have.
Photon Brothers has installed high-quality, durable solar panel systems for homeowners all over the Colorado and California Central Coast area. We’re proud to say that our entire installation process is handled by a team that’s entirely in-house. That’s something that most competitors can’t promise and it means a faster, tighter-coordinated installation.
We offer high-quality REC solar panels and Tesla powerwall storage batteries that, together, help you optimize your energy savings and decrease your reliance on the grid.
Generally speaking, buying solar panels and battery storage increase a home’s value on the real estate market.
According to EnergyStar, you can gain $15,000 to your home value when you install solar panels and, on average, solar panels can increase a home’s value by 3% – 5%.
So, how do solar panels impact overall home value?
Basically, solar panel systems help raise your home value by saving homeowners money in the long run through lower monthly electric bills. In areas with high energy costs, this can be especially appealing. And unlike many other home upgrades, solar panel systems require very little ongoing maintenance.
In this blog, we’ll go over how the resale value of your Colorado home could be impacted by installing solar panels.
Ready to install solar panels to increase your property’s value? Our team will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. Photon Brothers is dedicated to providing high-quality solar installations and amazing customer experience. Call 719-204-3094
Monthly energy savings boost resale value
A study by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) showed that for every $1 that a solar panel system takes off of a home’s monthly power bill, the home value increases by $20.
It’s no secret that installing a solar energy system in your home requires an upfront investment. But if we’re looking at the value added to your home, a prospective buyer will not be thinking about the cost of installing solar panels. Because they will automatically receive the monthly savings and environmental benefits of solar panels without having to install themselves, they’ll likely focus on the long-term savings they’ll enjoy.
At Photon Brothers, the majority of our customers have an average energy bill of $150+ before installing a solar panel system. That means that if they were to install enough solar panels to offset the cost of electricity each month, they could see savings of up to $1,800+ each year.
Homeowners with more solar panels will likely save more because the amount of energy produced is greater. For some homes with solar power, it’s not unusual for the homeowner to spend $0 on their monthly energy bill. This is because their solar panels actually provide more electricity than they need. Keep in mind, this will not be the case for every homeowner. The more solar panels, the more you save on energy bills and the more your resale value will increase.
For more information on how much you can save by going solar, call 719-204-3094 or schedule a free estimate online.
Solar panels attract environmentally conscious homeowners
Most home buyers in Colorado love the idea of solar power. In addition to the potential energy savings and being entirely independent of utility companies, solar panels provide environmentally conscious homeowners with a sense of pride for helping the planet.
Solar power creates 91% less CO2 pollution than natural gas and 96% less than coal. Because solar power derives clean, pure energy straight from the sun, solar panels help combat greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado and reduce our collective dependence on fossil fuels. For people who are aware of the environmental benefits of solar energy, they’ll likely be automatically drawn to homes that already have solar panels installed.
For homeowners with solar panels who are putting their homes on the market, we recommend hiring a real estate agent who’s familiar with solar energy. That way, they can properly explain how eco-friendly solar panels are to potential buyers.
Lastly, there’s evidence that suggests homes with solar panels spend less time on the real estate market than homes without them. That’s right, studies show that solar panels can help sell your home more quickly.
Leased vs. bought solar systems
If you’re planning on selling your home and are looking to secure a higher sale price, it’s more beneficial to buy a solar energy system rather than leasing one.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging for new homeowners to buy homes with leased solar panels because of the various contracts and fees associated with doing so. Essentially, if a homeowner installs a solar system through a lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), it belongs to a third-party owner. This requires the third-party to be involved in the transfer.
So, if you’re looking to get the most out of your money and benefit from the increased sale price, buying solar panels instead of leasing them would be the best choice.
Trust the best in solar energy. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a cost estimate today.
As a Colorado solar energy company, Photon Brothers is committed to helping Coloradans protect the environment and make progress towards energy independence through clean, affordable solar power. Give us a call today at 720-370-3344 to see if solar panels are a worthwhile investment for your home.
Over the last ten years, the importance of and reliance on renewable energy sources has steadily increased around the world. And as residential solar panels become more affordable, more and more homeowners are investing in solar panels to power their homes, save money and protect the environment.
As we enter 2022 and as the popularity of solar energy continues to surge across the U.S., so too does the amount of questions homeowners have about investing in solar panels.
To help you make a more informed decision, we’ll explain 5 important facts you need to know about solar panels in 2022.
Want a free, no-obligation estimate of what it would cost to install solar panels on your home? At Photon Brothers, we’re happy to help. Just contact us and we’ll analyze your energy use and your home’s architecture to provide an honest and accurate price estimate for a solar panel system installation.
Fact #1: Solar is now the cheapest form of energy in history
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar energy is now the “cheapest electricity in history”. This fact was announced in the IEA’s 2020 World Energy Outlook, a report that is published every year and helps set public policy around the world.
This announcement is big because until now, coal has always been the cheapest form of electricity. But as of 2021-2022, it appears we’ve reached a tipping point where it’s cheaper to invest in solar power generation vs coal power.
This means that homeowners will see even more savings in electricity bills when that electricity comes from solar vs coming from coal or natural gas plants. In fact, over the past ten years, the price of solar electricity has dropped 89%, from $359 to $40 per megawatt-hour.
The steady drop in price for solar electricity is one of many reasons why homeowners are continuing to invest in and install residential solar systems. This steady demand for solar is, in turn, bolstering the solar industry, which leads us to our next fact…
Fact #2: The 2022 solar industry is stronger than ever
While the long-lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will cause turbulence for many industries beyond 2020 and 2022, solar is not one of them. In fact, in 2020, the U.S. solar industry experienced a 43% growth in 2020 alone.
Plus, it’s estimated that between 2021 and 2025, there will be 42% more solar power installed in the U.S. than was installed during the last five years.
So what does this mean for homeowners? It means that with demand continuing to rise, homeowners can invest in solar with confidence, knowing that solar investments made now will continue to pay off in the long run—not just through lower energy bills but also through higher home values (more on this later).
Fact #3: The price to install residential solar panels is lower than ever
The cost of solar panels seems to drop steadily every year. According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the cost of solar panels has dropped more than 70% over the last decade. As we continue into 2022, the market has seen the lowest prices for solar panels ever.
Of course, steadily dropping prices begs the question: Should I buy now or wait?
At Photon Brothers, we don’t blame customers for continuing to wait and see how low prices will drop. However, we always remind homeowners that every year they wait is another year they don’t save on electricity bills.
In other words, for every year you don’t go solar, you lose out on significant savings on electricity bills. And with average utility rates increasing around 3% every year, homeowners need to consider how much waiting will really cost them in the long run.
Fact #4: Solar tax incentives may start to dwindle beyond 2022
On top of losing out on electricity savings, homeowners who wait to purchase solar panels may also miss out on various solar tax incentives.
For example, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 extended a 26% tax credit for homeowners who install residential solar panels through 2022. However, it will drop to 22% in 2023 and expires after 2023 altogether.
The same concept applies to many solar policies and incentives. While there are over 146 solar policies and incentives in the state of California as of now, many of them will expire over the next 3-5 years or reduce the financial incentive every year.
Fact #5: Home buyers are willing to pay more for homes with solar power
When considering whether to purchase a new home, U.S. buyers are more interested than ever in energy efficiency upgrades. And according to various studies, a home with solar panels is becoming more and more valuable.
In fact, one study by Zillow suggests that adding solar panels to your home can increase your home’s value by 4.1% depending on where you live. Another study from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states that U.S. home buyers are willing to pay a premium of approximately $15K for a home with an “average-sized solar array”.
There is also evidence that homes with a solar panel system will sell faster than those without.
Interested in learning more about going solar in 2022?
Just contact our experienced and trustworthy team at Photon Brothers. We have decades of experience helping California and Colorado homeowners maximize their home’s value and energy savings with custom-fit residential solar systems.
Make the first step towards lower electricity bills with a free, no-obligation solar estimate today.
It’s no surprise solar panels are growing in popularity among Colorado homeowners. After all, Colorado is known for its “300 sunny days a year”, making it a popular area for residential solar systems.
While many people are interested in going solar, it is a major home improvement project — and deciding whether or not it’s worth the investment isn’t as easy as it sounds.
So, are solar panels worth it in Colorado? The short answer is yes.
Solar panels pay for themselves over time through energy savings, add value to your home and can be a prosperous long-term investment.
As you start exploring your options, asking yourself the following questions can help you determine whether solar panels are worth it for you:
- How much do solar panels cost?
- How much can I save with solar panels?
- How fast will I be able to pay solar panels off?
- Will solar panels add to my home’s value?
In this blog, we’ll help you answer each of these questions so that you can better determine if solar energy is a smart long-term investment for your Colorado home.
Ready to learn how much you could save with solar? Our team will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. Photon Brothers is dedicated to providing high-quality solar installations and amazing customer experience. Call 719-204-3094 or:
Question #1: How much do solar panels cost?
In Colorado, the average cost of a solar panel installation can range between $13,000 and $18,000.
Keep in mind, a lot of factors come into play when determining overall cost, including:
- The number of panels you need
- The equipment you choose
- The layout of your home
- Available solar incentives
- And more…
The only way to know how much your solar panel installation project might cost is by requesting a solar estimate from one or more solar companies. Knowledgeable service providers like Photon Brothers offer free no-obligation consultations with cost estimates, so you’ll know how much your investment will cost ahead of time.
Paying in cash is common among Colorado homeowners and can lead to the most long-term value for your money. However, some solar companies provide options when it comes to financing.
For those who prefer $0-down options, some solar companies offer solar loans and solar lease/Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to help finance a solar energy system. Solar leases and PPAs are very similar, as they both allow homeowners to lock in a low-monthly rate for electricity and equipment through a 3rd-party financing company.
What’s the difference between a solar lease and a PPA?
- Leases: Homeowners “rent” the system and make fixed monthly lease payments that are determined by the estimated amount of electricity the system will produce.
- PPAs: Homeowners purchase the power generated by the solar system at a fixed per-kWh price.
Keep in mind, financing options will vary greatly by installer and state. To learn more about costs in Colorado or to discover the best investment option for you, call 719-204-3094 to speak with one of our solar professionals.
Question #2: How much can I save with solar panels?
Determining how much money you can save with solar panels is a big concern for those who are still on the fence about solar panels.
How much you can save will depend on a few factors, including:
- How much electricity you typically use
- Your local utility rates
- How many solar panels you install
Typically, the more solar panels you install and the more electricity you use, the more savings you will see every month. In fact, it’s not unusual for some homeowners with solar power to spend $0 on their monthly energy bill because their solar panels actually provided more electricity than they needed.
While paying $0 every month won’t be the case for every homeowner, it does help paint a picture for the max amount of savings every month.
For example, most customers who contact Photon Brothers for a solar system have an average energy bill of $150+, which means, if you were to install enough solar panels to cover the electricity usage in your home, your savings could reach up to $1,800+ per year.
Question #3: How fast will I be able to pay solar panels off?
So, how much time does it take to recover your initial investment through electricity savings?
This is known as the solar payback period. And, on average, homes in Colorado see a payback period of 10-14 years. This varies depending on energy usage and utility rates, but either way, a solar system will inevitably insulate you from rising electricity costs.
Question #4: Will solar panels add to my home’s value?
A US Department of Energy study showed that home buyers are willing to pay more for homes with solar panels. On average, home buyers will pay up to an additional $15,000 for a home with a 3.6 kW solar system.
So, are solar panels worth it when it comes to home value? Regardless of whether you plan to stay in your home for a while or sell sooner than later, the answer is yes.
Trust the best in solar energy. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a cost estimate today.
As a Colorado solar energy company, Photon Brothers is committed to helping Coloradans protect the environment and make progress towards energy independence through clean, affordable solar power. Give us a call today at 720-370-3344 to see if solar panels are a worthwhile investment for your home.
If you’ve looked into converting your home to solar power, you may have heard some myths about solar panels. We’re here to set the record straight.
In this blog, we’ll debunk the following 5 myths implying that solar panels:
- Are expensive and inefficient
- Only work in warm, sunny weather
- Are high maintenance
- Will damage your roof
- Decrease your property value
Thinking of converting to solar power? Call Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 or schedule a free estimate online. Our experienced solar technicians are dedicated to providing high-quality solar panel installations while delivering customer service that’s worth raving about.
Myth #1: Solar panels are expensive and inefficient
The cost of installing solar panels has gone down significantly over the past decade—and will only keep decreasing as more people convert to solar.
The average solar panel installation costs between $15,000 and $25,000, but the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) lets you apply 26% of that installation cost toward what you owe in federal taxes.
Plus, if you’re looking to go solar, you won’t have to pay upfront in cash. Most solar installation companies offer financing options to help make solar power an affordable option for you.
Once your solar panels are installed, you can potentially save a lot on your utility bill. How much you’ll actually save depends on:
- How much electricity you use
- The size of your solar power system
- How much power your system can generate
- Electricity rates set by your Colorado utility company
- The amount your utility company offers for the extra solar energy you send back to the grid
You can learn more about going solar at energy.gov.
Myth #2: Solar panels only work in warm, sunny weather
Solar panels don’t always need bright, direct sunlight—any UV rays that hit the panel surface are converted into electricity. That said, the panels will generate electricity at a slower rate in cloudy weather, but still enough to meet your home’s electrical needs.
Plus, solar panels need light, not heat, which means they can even generate enough electricity to power your home during the cold, short daylight hours of Colorado winters. In fact, solar panels are more efficient in cold weather than they are in hot weather.
Myth #3: Solar panels are high maintenance
Once installed on your roof, solar panels require little to no maintenance. Most solar panel experts recommend cleaning the panels once or twice a year to remove any dirt or grime that they’ve accumulated to help improve efficiency.
Solar panels don’t have any moving parts, which means they don’t often require repairs. If you have a battery-based system—which is more expensive and less common than connecting the panels to your utility grid—the battery may require additional maintenance.
Plus, solar panels are designed to be durable, so they can withstand inclement weather like hail, sleet, snow, etc.
Myth #4: Solar panels will damage your roof
When properly installed, solar panels don’t damage your roof at all.
Before installing your panels, solar technicians will inspect your roof to make sure it’s in good condition and structurally sound enough to handle the additional weight.
If the solar panels do happen to damage your roof, most reliable solar installation companies will back their service with a warranty to make sure they fix anything that goes wrong. At Photon Brothers, we include a 25-year warranty on your panels.
Myth #5: Solar panels decrease property value
Solar panels will increase the value of your home and typically help your home sell faster than homes without them. Most potential homebuyers are starting to consider solar panels as upgrades, similar to the way they do a renovated kitchen or bathroom. This means they’re often willing to pay more—sometimes as much as $15,000 (according to energy.gov)—for a home that already has solar panels installed.
Want to convert your Colorado home to solar?
We’re committed to helping Colorado homeowners invest in your home and protect the environment through clean, affordable solar power. Call Photon Brothers at 720-370-3344 or contact us online for a free estimate.
Solar power is more cost-effective than ever these days. And if you’ve recently jumped on the solar bandwagon, you’re undoubtedly excited about seeing savings on your monthly utility bill.
That said, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to optimize the output of your solar panels and keep them producing as much as possible.
So, to help you get the most out of your solar panels, we’re sharing 5 expert recommendations:
- Install a battery
- Send energy back to the local power grid
- Adjust your daily routines
- Keep your solar panels clean
- Ensure your panels are installed correctly
Want a Free Solar Estimate?
If you’re thinking about going solar, but still have unanswered questions that you’d like to explore, contact Photon Brothers for a free custom solar estimate today. Our skilled solar engineers will assess your household energy needs and roof pitch, and then design a customized solar system around your individual needs, preferences, and budget.
You can reach us in Colorado at (720) 370-3344 and in California at (805) 351-3371. Or, click below to get a free estimate in seconds!
Install a Battery
Installing a battery provides a way to store solar power so you can use it when the sun isn’t shining. This prevents you from needing to switch to the main grid once the sun goes down, or on rainy or heavily overcast days.
At Photon Brothers, we’re certified to install the industry’s #1 rated battery, the Tesla Powerwall, along with Enphase Encharge systems.
Check out the chart below to see how much you can save by installing a home battery.
Send Energy Back to the Local Power Grid
You can also save on utility costs by returning your excess solar power to the grid.
Most states allow utility companies to provide consumers with credits for the unused power they send to the grid, which lowers overall utility bills. You’ll need a grid-connected system for this option to work, and depending on your state and municipality, you may need to purchase some additional equipment.
Grid connection requirements vary, so ask your Photon Brothers professional about what’s needed in your particular area.
Adjust Your Daily Routines
A few basic alterations in your daily routine will help you get the most from your solar panels.
For instance, take advantage of all that glorious free energy by running large appliances such as your washing machine and dryer when the sun is at its brightest (around high noon). This is also an excellent time to recharge your electric vehicle.
If you’re trying to avoid drawing from your local grid at all during sunny days, it’s also a good idea to run only one large appliance at a time. Wait until your automatic dishwasher has completed its cycle before running the vacuum cleaner over your floors.
To minimize nighttime use, charge your electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and cell phones during the day so they can be unplugged at night. If going to bed earlier at night is an option for you, this will also reduce the amount of energy your household uses.
Keep Your Solar Panels Clean
Because solar panels are situated in the great outdoors, they’re vulnerable to all manner of dust and debris, which can build up over time and reduce the amount of sunlight they receive.
Bird droppings and fallen leaves are common culprits for decreasing your solar panels’ capacity to absorb sunlight, but dirt and dust also play a role, especially when steady winds are part of the picture. It’s possible to experience energy losses of up to 10% due to obstruction by dirt and debris on solar panels.
Unless you live in a particularly windy area or a home surrounded by trees, you should only have to have your solar panels cleaned every six to 12 months. This is also a good time to ensure that no nearby vegetation has grown to the extent that it’s providing too much shade for the panels to be able to do their job properly.
Solar panels should be cleaned with distilled or ionized water, and detergents should be avoided. Never clean with hard water because it may leave deposits behind that creates a film over the glass.
Have questions about solar panel cleaning? Ask your Photon Brothers technician about dirt-resistant treatments for solar panels.
Ensure Your Panels Are Installed Correctly
Improper installation is one of the major reasons for underperforming solar panels.
First, it’s important to determine if the roof is suitable for solar panels. The most common installation issue is that the roof was assessed poorly, to begin with. It could also be that the assessment was correct at the time of installation but that the roof has undergone some structural changes over time that are impacting the performance of the solar panels.
Sloppy and haphazard installation may also be an issue. To avoid this type of issue, make sure you find and hire a trustworthy solar installer.
Enjoy Maximum ROI with Solar Panels from Photon Brothers.
For more than a decade, Photon Brothers has helped Colorado and California homeowners reap the most from their solar investment. With 10+ years of experience, rest assured that our team of expert solar engineers and in-house installers will guarantee you see the most energy savings possible. Call us at (720) 370-3344 (Colorado) or (805) 351-3371 (California) to schedule a free custom solar estimate today. Or click below to use our nifty solar calculator and get an instant estimate!
If you’re a California homeowner thinking about going solar, you’ve probably wondered about the return on investment. Is it worth the hassle? How much energy savings will you gain? And when?
As a leading California solar installer with more than 10 years of experience, we can safely say that YES, solar panels are absolutely worth it in California! In fact, many of our customers routinely thank us for how much energy they’ve saved both upfront and long-term.
That being said, some key factors will impact whether your solar panels are worth it, including:
- The solar company you choose
- Whether you lease or own your panels
- The type and placement of your panels
We’ll review each factor below. By knowing what to look for in your solar panel installation, you’ll be empowered to make the smartest choices possible.
Want a FREE solar estimate? Click below and get a custom solar quote within seconds! You can also call Photon Brothers’ trusted solar experts at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) and we’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation.
We’ll review your home’s size, layout, and power consumption, and then provide solar options tailored to your needs and budget. We don’t do cookie-cutter installations, which means you’ll reap the most from your solar investment. Plus, our installations are backed by 25-year panel warranties.
The Solar Company You Choose
In California, solar companies are a dime a dozen. You might see advertisements with attractive energy savings, but whether a company can deliver those results is another story. That’s why choosing the right solar company will make or break your solar investment.
Before signing up with the first solar canvasser that knocks on your door, make sure that they offer:
- Free estimates. Any solar company worth their salt will provide you with a free upfront solar estimate. Be it an in-home or virtual visit, they should have an experienced solar professional discuss your home’s location, energy needs, and budget. You can ask questions, learn about financing and solar rebates, and then review what type of solar system would best suit your household.
- Custom designs. It’s easy to slap some solar panels on a roof and call it a day. But a truly qualified and trustworthy solar installer will provide customized designs. By factoring in key elements like your roof pitch and neighboring trees and houses, you’ll reap the maximum solar gain.
- 10+ years of experience. Because solar is a relatively new industry, it’s critical that you find an experienced installer. If your panels aren’t installed safely and correctly, you risk losing out on your full solar investment. Or worse, damage to your roof or electrical panel!
- Proven 5-star customer service. If a solar company is successful, they’ll have a laundry list of 5-star reviews to prove it. Head to Google or Facebook and find out what people are saying. Are customers generally happy with their solar installation? Or was the entire process a headache or disaster? If the reviews are bad, you can bet your solar panel installation won’t be worth it!
Curious about what California homeowners have to say about their experience with Photon Brothers? Check out our glowing reviews on Google, Yelp, Nextdoor, and EnergySage.
The Type and Placement of Your Panels
Another reason to go with a trustworthy solar company? They’ll help you pick the right type of solar panels to meet your power needs. Furthermore, they’ll invest time and labor into the proper placement of your panels, so that you gain the highest number of sunlight hours and electricity bill savings.
Type of Panels
Not all solar panels are created equal. Conventional panels are a common choice because they’re cheaper in price, but they use low-grade technology which limits power production to about 100 watts of power per panel. Premium panels like REC or Tesla cost a bit more, but you’ll enjoy 400 watts per panel. That’s almost four times as much power!
The reason this matters is because your roof doesn’t get 100% direct sunlight all day long. In fact, you’re more likely to average about 50% sunlight for most of the day, especially with Coastal California’s marine layer. By investing in premium solar panels, you’ll still get a decent amount of power generation, regardless of clouds or time of day. The same can’t be said for conventional panels, which simply don’t have the capacity to meet most California homeowners’ electricity needs.
Placement of Panels
Once you’ve selected the right type of panels, it’s crucial that your panels are placed effectively on your roof. Otherwise, you risk losing out on valuable sunshine, which is the point of installing solar panels in the first place.
At Photon Brothers, we take pride in crafting custom panel designs that are tailored to your California home. During your free estimate, we’ll review where and how the sun hits your roof in order to determine the best placement of your panels. We’ll also assess how many panels would be needed to meet your energy-saving goals. It’s this type of one-on-one, personalized care that can make or break whether your solar panels are worth it.
Whether You Lease Or Own Your Panels
If you’re brand new to the world of solar, it’s important to know about your purchase options because it will directly impact whether your solar investment is worth it.
For example, many solar companies only offer leasing options. Meaning, you rent your solar system for a fixed monthly price. The upside is that you don’t have any high upfront costs, but the downside is that your rent payments are based on a pre-determined estimate for annual electricity savings. In the end, Californian homeowners often find that solar leasing programs aren’t as profitable as they seemed. Worse, they’re locked into a long-term contract, and for a cookie-cutter solar system that’s not optimized for their roof pitch or household energy needs.
On the other hand, companies like Photon Brothers provide customized solar systems for purchase. Meaning, you pay for your solar system up front. Although it may seem daunting to look at the numbers on your estimate, financing programs provide affordable monthly payment plans that are comparable to leasing options. Moreover, you’re eligible for tax credits, solar rebates, and net metering programs that can significantly reduce your overall costs. In tandem with custom designs that maximize your solar gain, you’ll enjoy greater savings both immediate and long-term.
Curious how much you can save with solar? Check out our blog: How Much Will My Electric Bill Be With Solar Panels?
You can also get a free instant solar estimate through our website, or call our friendly solar experts at 805-351-3371 to learn about installation costs and average payback periods.
Get a FREE Instant Solar Quote from Photon Brothers!
If you’re looking for clear-cut pricing from trusted solar experts, contact Photon Brothers today. We’ll review the type, number, and layout of panels needed to meet your energy-saving goals. We’ll even help you navigate financing options, solar tax credits, and any rebates that may be available. That way you can go solar with as little upfront cost as possible!
Amidst frequent power outages and rising electricity costs, more and more California and Colorado homeowners are switching to renewable solar energy. Not only can you save big on electricity costs, but you’ll also have peace of mind that your home is protected against rolling blackouts and downed power grids.
That said, it’s important to know a few things before buying solar panels. You don’t want to risk damaging your roof or electrical panel, or end up saddled with a poorly sized system that can’t fulfill your household’s power consumption.
So, to help you make the smartest choices possible, let’s review 5 key things to know before buying solar panels:
- Your home’s energy needs
- The condition of your roof
- The cons of a DIY installation
- Tax rebates, credits, and financing options
- Parts and labor warranties
Whether you’re ready to go solar or just doing some initial research, it pays to be thorough. A little know-how can help you reap a higher return on your solar investment.
Get a FREE customized solar estimate from Photon Brothers! We’ll assess your home’s energy needs and roof pitch, then provide you with high-efficiency solar system options within your target budget. You can rest easy knowing all installations are backed by 25-year panel warranties and our 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact us today!
Your Home’s Energy Needs
Before buying solar panels, you’ll need an accurate assessment of your home’s daily energy consumption. No two households are the same, so you can’t base your estimate on square footage. Instead, you’ll need to calculate how much electricity it takes to power your HVAC system, appliances, lights, TVs, computers, or anything else that plugs into an outlet.
The easiest way to determine your energy usage is by referencing your power bill. Utility companies charge by “kilowatt-hour,” so there should be a number in “kWh” measurement that’s clearly stated in your statement. In some cases, there may be separate charges for “Time of Use” (TOU) hours, so make sure to tally up the total amount.
Your power bill probably fluctuates by season, with higher charges in winter and summer (your HVAC system consumes a large amount of power), so it’s best to identify higher averages as the norm for your household. That said, summer is also when the sun is strongest, so your cooling bills could very well be eliminated with solar power!
The Condition of Your Roof
Although ground-mounted solar systems exist, most homeowners install solar panels on their roof. For this reason, it’s critical that you identify your roof’s age, composition, and condition before attempting to install solar panels.
Solar panels look sleek from afar, but they’re quite heavy, so you need to make sure your roof can handle their weight. Moreover, your mounting hardware may vary depending on what material your roof is made of (metal, tile, asphalt, etc.). If you use the wrong hardware, you could damage your roof (and your panels!) and end up paying for a costly repair bill.
To learn more, check out our blog, Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels? You can also schedule a free custom estimate with Photon Brothers’ solar experts. We’ll carefully assess your roof’s condition for any necessary repairs and then provide solar panel recommendations based on the pitch of your roofline. By tailoring your solar system to the layout of your roof, you’ll gain maximum sunlight hours and see higher energy savings.
The Cons of a DIY Installation
To save money, it’s common to think you can just buy some solar panels online and then install them yourself. But while there’s no shortage of “easy” DIY solar panel tutorials on Youtube, we don’t recommend it.
Primary reasons include:
- Safety. Beyond unboxing your new panels, the installation is a laborious and risky process. If you don’t have the right ladder, safety harness, or experience navigating steep rooflines, you could potentially fall and seriously injure yourself.
- Complex electrical work. Unless you’re a licensed electrician with years of experience, you probably won’t know how to properly connect your solar inverter, let alone reconfigure your electrical panel to accommodate the influx of power. If done incorrectly, you could end up paying even more to hire an electrician to fix your mistakes.
- Code compliance. Solar panel installations require permitting and inspections from your municipality. Are you well versed in local and state code compliance? If not, you might fail an inspection and delay permission to power on. Not to mention, you’ll be out $150-$300, which is the typical cost of an inspection
- Timing. Even the most dedicated DIY’ers will admit that DIY projects always take longer than expected, especially for solar panel installations. We can’t tell you how often we hear about people buying solar panels online, only to see them collect dust in the garage while they figure out how to install them.
No doubt, choosing to hire a professional solar installer is the way to go. At Photon Brothers, our team of master electricians and certified solar installers provide craftsman-quality solar panel installations. Plus, we back up our work with industry-leading warranties and a guarantee of 100% satisfaction. From start to finish, we make installing your solar panels a breeze. Just check out our growing list of 5-star customer reviews.
Tax Rebates, Credits, and Financing options
Another great reason to hire a solar installer? They’ll help you source solar tax rebates and incentives that may be available in your area. This alone can shave thousands of dollars off your solar investment, so it’s definitely worth looking into.
Furthermore, solar companies like Photon Brothers will help you navigate solar loan options and find the right financing plans for your needs. If you don’t have the cash to pay for your system upfront, there are several great solar lenders that offer monthly payment plans at various interest rates.
Curious about what you might pay for a solar panel installation? Check out our solar calculator to get an instant quote. One of our friendly solar pros will reach out to discuss financing options.
Parts and Labor Warranties
Last but not least, it’s crucial to understand the parts and labor warranty options before buying solar panels.
Reputable solar companies like Photon Brothers offer outstanding 25-year panel and 10-25 year labor warranties. Should anything happen during that time, your out-of-pocket repair and maintenance expenses will be minimal (if not zero).
That said, conventional panels bought online or through big-name solar companies may only come with limited 5-year warranties. And if you do a DIY installation, your labor warranty won’t exist because you’ll be on the hook for any problems.
Going solar is an investment that deserves to be protected. Save yourself the hassle and hire a trustworthy solar installer like Photon Brothers today.
Get a FREE Solar Panel Installation Quote!
At Photon Brothers, we make it easy to get a free customized solar quote. Call us at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) or schedule a free custom solar estimate online today. Our friendly solar experts will review your household’s energy needs, roof pitch, potential HOA requirements, and more. Then, we’ll assess the right number and type of panels to meet your upfront budget and long-term energy goals. Contact us today and see why we’ve been awarded so many 5-star ratings!