LEARN ABOUT SOLAR

Home » RESIDENTIAL » LEARN ABOUT SOLAR

LEARN ABOUT SOLAR

large off grid solar power systems get free quote select the products solar power system
Solar Modules

SOLAR MODULES

Solar modules are the most expensive component of a solar power system. Also known as the solar power panels, they are the elements that sit on your roof and collect photons from the sun’s rays and turn them into direct current electricity. The modules we provide carry a 25-year warranty.

Electrical Inverter

ELECTRICAL INVERTER

The inverter is the component that converts the direct current electricity from your modules to alternating current electricity to be used in your home. Your inverter will be placed in your garage or on the outside of your home for easy access. The inverters we install have a 20-year warranty.

RACKING

Solar racking interfaces with your roof to ensure structural stability of the system and watertight roof connections. The systems we provide use Anodized aluminum and stainless steel components with life expectancies in excess of 25 years and carry a 10-year manufacturer warranty.

MONITORING

A monitoring platform shows what your system is producing in real time via a web connection allowing both you and our service department to track system performance and respond to any system failures in the unlikely event one should occur.  We provide system monitoring for 25 years.

When sunlight strikes your solar panel array, a direct current (DC) is generated through a reaction called the photovoltaic effect. The DC current is routed from the array down to your inverter, which is the brain of your photovoltaic system. The inverter takes the DC current from the solar array and transforms it into alternating current (AC) which is what is used in your home. The energy is then routed from your inverter to your main electrical panel, where it can supply all of the electrical loads inside your home. If your home is using more energy than your solar power system is producing, you will pull energy from the utility grid, meaning you will always have energy. If your system produces more energy than you use, the excess energy goes out to the public grid and you are compensated for it through a process called net metering.

What is Net Energy Metering (NEM)?

Monitoring
Net energy metering is a billing arrangement for utility customers who have solar power systems on their homes. Through net metering, solar power users can build up credits by generating energy for the public power grid and use those credits to pay their utility bills at the end of the year during what is called a “true up.” Your true-up date is set according to when you receive permission from your utility to turn on your solar power system.
The goal is to earn enough solar power credits to pay 100% of your monthly utility bill.
During the winter months when there is less sunshine on your solar panels, you might use more power from the grid to power your home, resulting in a debit to the utility. In the sunny summer months, your system likely will generate more power than you use and you will receive a credit to your net metering account. For solar power customers, the goal of net metering is to earn enough credits to pay 100% of your annual utility bill on your annual true-up date.

A Properly Designed and Installed System is Key

San Diego Residential Solar Power
It is important to note that solar power only “works” if you have a system that is properly designed and installed on your property.
Buying some solar panels and an inverter and slapping them on your roof is not going to produce the results you desire.
Think of a solar energy system as a power plant on your roof. Your local utility uses licensed electricians to work on its power plants, so shouldn’t you do the same with yours? Using substandard labor to install your system components or using unproven products can increase your risk of fire and electrocution while limiting the performance of your system.
Therefore, when hiring a solar power company, make sure you consider only those that use licensed electricians and have proven quality assurance and quality control processes in place to help ensure optimal system performance.
Other Things To Consider
There is a lot of information to consider when going solar. We think you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision about your energy future. The good news is, we do all this for you. We will advise you of all your options and let you decide how you want to go solar.
Residential Solar Power

You are a great candidate for solar if:

  • You own your home
  • Your monthly utility bill is $150 or more
  • Your home’s roof faces South, West or East
  • Good sun exposure between 9 am – 4 pm

A more detailed analysis of your property, your current and future energy needs and other important considerations must be done to make sure, but most property owners who meet aforementioned criteria find that installing a solar power system on their home is a sound financial investment.

Purchasing a solar power system that is properly designed and installed on your property allows you to generate your own power directly from the sun’s rays and dramatically reduce or do away with entirely your current monthly utility bill. Be careful, because buying a “cookie cutter” system that is not installed properly ensures only years of costly headaches and a system that doesn’t produce as it should.

north

If your home’s roof faces only to the north, you are not a good candidate for solar. If another solar company is proposing placing panels on your north-facing roof, they aren’t looking out for your best interests and you should consult with CM Solar Electric for reliable advice.

amp

If you own an older home, the amperage of your electrical panel may need to be upgraded to handle the maximum solar power system size that can be installed.

Tank system

If your property is serviced by a septic tank system, care should be taken to avoid placing ground-mounted solar panels over the septic tank or the reserve field. Installing a solar array over any portion of septic system can cause problems later on if the septic system needs to be maintained or replaced.

ruler

If you have a flat roof, tilt racks may be needed in order to optimize the angle of your panels to the sun. An ideal tilt angle for solar panels in Southern California is 17 degrees to maximize summertime solar production.

home

Your roof must be in good enough condition to support the solar panel system, or you must have sufficient ground space on your property for a ground-mounted solar array. If your roof is 10 years or older, CM Solar Electric will have a roofing inspector come out and determine if the roof can support a solar power system. We are able to install on virtually any type of roof, including clay tiles, and have a solution to help ensure that your roof is in as good or better condition than it was when we started.

tree

In some cases, shade from neighboring trees or structures on your roof can adversely affect the solar power system performance. A detailed report should be developed and given to you to understand the true impact of shade, if any.

HOA 2

If you own a condominium or townhouse, you should check with your HOA before going solar. In some multi-family developments, the HOA actually owns the building exterior where the solar panels and other equipment will be placed.

HOA

If your single-family home is governed by a homeowners’ association, you may be required to abide by some rules, but by law, the HOA cannot prevent you from going solar.

weather

Coastal locations that receive more marine layer clouds may require a slightly larger system than would be needed to generate the same amount of power at an inland location. In designing your solar power system and estimating your energy projections, we take into account the peak sun hours at your property.

Time is Money

Property owners who pay less than $150 each month for electricity may not be able to save money by going solar in the short term, but many still go solar for the positive environmental and long-term financial savings.

Time is Money

Consider the look and aesthetics of the panels and other solar equipment that will be installed and avoid placing an ugly or poorly laid out installation on your roof. Doing so can lower the value of your property. A properly designed and installed solar power system will not detract from the appearance of your home. Make sure a computer-aided drawing (CAD) model is produced and provided to you so you understand exactly what is going to be installed on your roof.

HOW MUCH SOLAR COST AND HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE?

Residential Cost Savings
  1. The cost of going solar and how much you can save by making the switch depends on many factors. Your current and future power needs, your home’s location, your financing options and other important factors must be considered in determining your solar cost and projected savings.
  2. The amount of energy you currently and plan to use in the future is an important consideration in determining the cost and size of solar power system you will need to power your home.
  3. If your current and future energy needs are not factored in, you could end up without enough or too much power generated from your solar power system. For instance, let’s say you plan to add a pool and hot tub to your backyard in the next year. That’s important information our project development team would want to know in order to calculate the amount of power your home will soon require.
  4. Conversely, if you have children who will be moving out of the house soon and taking their energy consumption with them, that’s an important consideration in designing the size and cost of your solar power system to avoid over producing more power than you will soon need.
  5. Are You Prepared for Time-of-Use Pricing?
  6. As more utilities prepare to shift from tiered pricing structures to time of use pricing for all customers, the time of day when you are using energy is becoming just as important as how much you use. In California, by 2019, every utility customer will be on time of use billing method.
  7. CM Solar Electric is an expert in helping our customers maximize their energy savings under the new time of use pricing structures. We determine a customer’s energy load profile by downloading a year’s worth of their actual energy usage in 15-minute intervals. We then take a solar power system’s output profile and overlay it on this consumption profile, to determine how much a customer will save by going solar.
  8. This detailed analysis gives us a precise accounting of your individual energy usage and allows us to accurately calculate how much you’re going to save by going solar.
  9. We have more than a decade of experience doing detailed electric rate analysis for customers. Thanks to our expertise in this area, our customers are able to move from tiered to time of use pricing structure while maximizing the financial benefits of going solar.
  10. If this level of solar power expertise is not being brought to your project, you need to ask whether you are in the right hands. CM Solar Electric  brings this level of solar energy knowledge, expertise and attention to detail to your residential solar energy project.

WHAT FINANCING OPTIONS DO I HAVE AND WHAT IS OFFERED AS AN INCENTIVE?

Saving money is the most common reason why our customers decide to go solar. By generating your own power and reducing your reliance on your local power utility, you can save hundreds of dollars each month for years to come.

When it comes to going solar, customers generally have four options:

Cash

If it is an option for you, paying cash up front for your solar power system can provide the maximum financial savings from going solar. When you pay cash, you own your system, immediately eliminate your monthly electrical bill and start saving from day one.

Using cash to pay for your solar energy system also can provide the shortest payback period on your solar power system, generally between 4 and 7 years. After that, you will have saved as much by cutting your utility bill as you paid for your system and will be getting free electricity from the sun.

Going solar by paying cash is a great way to go solar and quickly realize the financial benefits.

Learn more about buying a solar power system with cash

  • Maximum savings
  • 30% tax credit
  • Shortest payback period
  • Own your system

Solar Loan

Borrowing the money to pay for your system allows you to leave your cash in the bank and take advantage of all-time low interest rates. In taking out a loan to pay for your solar system, you also can qualify for the 30% Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit to immediately reduce your energy costs.

Most property owners finance their energy independence and take out a solar loan to pay for their solar energy systems.

A solar loan can be paid back over either 12 or 20 years and requires a credit score of 700 or higher to qualify. While a the 12-year term provides a faster payback period, the 20-year term results in lower monthly payments.

Learn more about your loan options

  • No money out of pocket
  • Lower payments than current utility bill
  • 30% tax credit
  • Own your system

PACE Loan

Some property owners choose to finance their solar power systems with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). PACE allows California property owners to borrow as much as 15% of their home’s value to pay for going solar. The money is borrowed through supplementary county property tax assessments and paid back annually along with property taxes, usually for five to 20 years.

Property owners like PACE financing because it is levied against the property, not the individual, and can be transferred to a new owner if the property is sold before the assessment is paid off. Financing a solar system through PACE may also provide additional income tax benefits on top of the 30% Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit.

Learn More about PACE financing

  • No credit score requirement
  • No personal debit
  • Tax-deductible interest payments
  • Own your system

Power Purchase Agreement

It is also possible to lease a solar power system through what is called a Power Purchase Agreement. With this method of going solar, you do not own your solar power system. Instead, you lease the solar panels placed on your property and use the energy they generate, but the system is owned by another party.

Since you do not own the solar power system on your property, you do not qualify for the 30% Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. At the end of your solar lease term, you can choose to extend the arrangement for another term, remove the solar system from your property, or buy the system from the owner at fair-market value.

Compare Your Options

As you can see, there are many options for paying for your solar energy system. From paying cash or taking out a loan to leveraging a financing option such as PACE or leasing a solar system from a third party, property owners who go solar now have more ways to pay for their systems than ever before.

As with any financial decision, we encourage you to consult with your financial advisor or tax professional to discuss all the details of each financing option and decide which is best for you and your individual financial situation.

At CM Solar Electric, we provide you all the financing options and let you decide what makes sense for your financial situation. We won’t try to force you into a financing arrangement that is more beneficial to us than it is to you.

Federal Solar Tax Credit and Other Incentives

Federal and state governments have long supported solar power, including by offering customers who go solar valuable financial incentives. These programs can pay for a portion or all the costs of installing a rooftop solar system and are a big reason why solar power has been growing so fast, not just around San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties, but the rest of the nation.

California incentive programs for solar customers have expired and will not be renewed, since they served their purpose of helping get the solar power industry off the ground. Innovation and competition now helps keep the cost of solar power lower, making going solar less expensive now than it ever has been. The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) extends a 30% tax credit for both residential and commercial solar customers. Under the current rules, the federal tax credit will be reduced to 26% in 2020 and to 22% in 2021 before being eliminated for residential customers and remaining at 10% for commercial projects.

It should come as no surprise that the Golden State is a nationwide leader in the solar power revolution and that California previously created several incentive programs for property owners who go solar. These programs were used by thousands of property owners to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes, businesses and other properties.

Regardless of which payment option you choose for your solar power system, it’s a better deal than continuing to pay your monopoly utility for as long as you live.

Why Go with CM SOLAR ELECTRIC?

Solar Company CM Solar Electric

CM Solar Electric is your turnkey local solar provider that specializes in the engineering, procurement and construction of solar photovoltaic systems. In 1999, Southern California native Carlos Melendez founded CM Solar Electric out of a garage with only A loan for $13,00.00, an old set of tools, an old 2003 ford Van and a mission to change the way a company should treat customers and the way they generates electricity. Today, CM Solar Electric has grown to be a reputable solar company in the region.

With 5 Star Ratings across all platforms, CM Solar Electric has proven that our way of consulting with customers and our way of keeping customers informed via one solar advocate works best if you want a solar system that will work for you in years to come. With a straight line of communication to decision makers and not just Sales reps.

We Believe in helping People better the way the produce Electricity.

It is not what we provide that sets us apart; it is HOW we do what we do. Our reputation for ethics, accountability and quality is what has built us to where we are today. CM Solar Electric is committed to developing solar communities throughout Southern California and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.

Our sole mission is to lead the solar energy platform and to fundamentally change the way people generate electricity. That mission drives us to turn every customer into a pro solar individual, and we can only do that by delivering on every single promise and performance guarantee we issue. We can only deliver on those promises by providing quality products, which are designed and installed by quality people, resulting in high-performance systems our customers love. We can create solar advocates only if our customers are as happy 10 years after they go solar as they are on the first day their solar systems are turned on. Our relationship does not end when your panels are installed, and your system is generating power from the sun’s rays. We continue to deliver only the highest standards of solar power systems to our customers helps produce solar advocates who will help spread the word on the change we bring to the industry and their lives.

Quality and responsibility are the core of our company and drives every decision we make.

GREAT PEOPLE

CM Solar Electric provides customers highly trained certified professionals and personalized services. Our company strides to deliver the highest quality solar power systems the industry has to offer. CM Solar Electric is an accredited Solar company in all of San Diego.

QUALITY PRODUCTS

SOLAR EDGE

SMA

LG

PANASONIC

We pride ourselves on supporting the national economy while reducing our reliance on foreign fossil fuels. vendors are calling on us regularly asking to work with us and offer their products. CM Solar Electric has very strict product criteria that must be met when selecting product offerings, so we are assuring our customers with a secure investment and reliable long-term performance of their solar power system.

Our vendors must be financially stable, based in North America, offer products that have outlived their warranties (25 years) and socially responsible. We offer panels, inverters and racking systems that are manufactured by established manufacturers with a proven history of success.

QUALITY SYSTEMS

CM Solar Electric has been in business for over 15 years and has installed more than

3 000 solar power systems across Southern California, ranging from small residential installations to large commercial projects.

The same electricians who work on our commercial jobs will be working on your home. We have been chosen time and time again by Our customers because of the attention to detail and the quality of our service and installation.

Choosing a Solar Power Company

Wen choosing a solar company this are the basic things you need to look for.

  1. Professional Grade
  2. Quality Assurance
  3. Track Record Read Reviews.
  4. Make sure they are a local company

Is Now The Best Time To Go Solar?

The solar power landscape is changing fast, with new regulations coming out seemingly every day. Some of the financial incentives once provided to solar energy users have expired and are not coming back. Others, such as the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, are due to expire in the coming years.

The bottom line is, there’s no better time than right now to go solar and take advantage of the maximum financial benefits allowed.

Net Energy Metering (NEM)

For information on the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) open NEM Successor Tariff Rulemaking (R.) 14-07-002, please visit this page.

NEM Overview

Customers who install small solar, wind, biogas, and fuel cell generation facilities to serve all or a portion of onsite electricity needs are eligible for the state’s net metering program. NEM allows customers who generate their own energy (“customer-generators”) to serve their energy needs directly onsite and to receive a financial credit on their electric bills for any surplus energy fed back to their utility.  Participation in the NEM does not limit a customer-generator’s eligibility for any other rebate, incentive, or credit provided by an electric utility.  More than 90% of all megawatts (MW) of customer-sited solar capacity interconnected to the grid in the three large investor-owned (IOU) territories (PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E) in California are on NEM tariffs.

The current NEM program was adopted by the Commission in Decision (D.)16-01-044 on January 28, 2016 and is available to customers of PG&E, SCE and SDG&E.  The current NEM program went into effect in SDG&E’s territory on June 29, 2016, in PG&E’s territory on December 15, 2016, and in SCE’s territory on July 1, 2017.  The program provides customer-generators full retail rate credits for energy exported to the grid and requires them to pay a few charges that align NEM customer costs more closely with non-NEM customer costs.  Any customer-generator applying for NEM will:

  •  Pay a one-time interconnection fee.  Customer-generators with facilities under 1 MW must pay a pre-approved one-time interconnection fee based on each IOU’s historic interconnection costs.  PG&E’s fee is $145; SCE $75; SCE $75; and SDG&E $132.  Customer-generators with systems over 1 MW must pay $800 interconnection fee and pay for all transmission/distribution system upgrades.
  •  Pay non-by passable charges.  Customer-generators, similar to other utility customers, will pay small charges on each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity they consume from the grid.  These charges fund important programs such as low-income and energy efficiency programs.
  •  Transfer to a time-of-use (TOU) rate.  If a customer-generator is not already on one, they will be required to take service on a TOU rate to participate in NEM.

If you are interested in installing a renewable system with NEM, or if you are encountering issues with your current system, please visit our Resources for NEM Customer page.  If you interconnected your system before the current NEM tariff went into effect, please see the Former NEM tariff section at the bottom of the page.

Billing

Bill Credits

Under NEM tariffs, participating customers receive a bill credit for excess generation that is exported to the electric grid during times when it is not serving onsite load, offsetting energy costs.  On a month-to-month basis, bill credits for the excess generation are applied to a customer’s bill at the same retail rate (including generation, distribution, and transmission components) that the customer would have paid for energy consumption according to their otherwise applicable rate structure.

NEM customer-generators must pay the same non-bypassable charges for public services as other IOU customers, which includes Department of Water Resources’ bond charges, the public purpose program charge, nuclear decommissioning charge, and competition transition charge.  NEM customer-generators are exempt from standby charges.

Net Surplus Compensation and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

At the end of a customer’s 12-month billing period, any balance of surplus electricity is trued-up at a separate fair market value, known as net surplus compensation (NSC).  The NSC rate is based on a 12-month rolling average of the market rate for energy.  That rate is currently approximately $0.02 to $0.03 per kWh (for up-to-date NSC data, follow these links:  PG&ESCESDG&E).  This rate structure was established in Commission Decision (D).11-06-016 pursuant to Assembly Bill (AB) 920 (Huffman, 2009).  More information on the Commission’s implementation of AB 920 can be found here.

Customer-generators may also receive compensation for the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with this excess generation.  To receive compensation, a customer-generator must register their generation facility with the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) and follow the eligibility guidelines contained in the latest version of the Overall Renewable Energy Program Guidebook from the California Energy Commission.

Other NEM Programs

Virtural Net Energy Metering (VNEM)

Virtual Net Metering (VNM) is a tariff available to multitenant properties that enables an owner of such property to allocate a solar system’s benefits to tenants across multiple units.  Tariff rules allow the system owner to allocate renewable generation bill credits between common load areas and tenants along a single service or multiple service delivery points.  Otherwise the bill credits function the same as the NEM program.

NEM Aggregation (NEMA)

Senate Bill (SB) 594 (Wolk, 2012) authorized NEM aggregation (NEMA).  NEMA allows an eligible customer-generator to aggregate the electrical load from multiple meters, and NEM credits are shared among all property that is attached, adjacent, or contiguous to the generation facility.  A customer-generator must be the sole owner, lessee, or renter of the properties in order to utilize NEMA.

For example, an agricultural customer could use a single renewable generation system to provide NEMA bill credit to offset the electrical load from their home as well as from an irrigation pump located on an adjacent parcel.  As of December 31, 2016, roughly 5% of all NEM projects were NEMA projects.  The Commission authorized the IOUs to implement NEM aggregation in Resolution E-4610 and established a bill credit calculation methodology in Resolution E-4665.

Renewable Energy Self-Generation Bill Credit Transfer (RES-BCT)

This program enables local governments and universities to share generation credits from a system located on one government-owned property with billing accounts at other government-owned properties.  The system size limit under RES-BCT is 5 MW, and bill credits are applied at the generation-only portion of a customer’s retail rate.  RES-BCT was established by AB 2466 (Laird, 2008) and codified in Section 2830 of the Public Utilities Code.

NEM Fuel Cell (NEMFC)

Fuel cells that use non-renewable fuels and meet a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standard are eligible for the NEM Fuel Cell program (NEMFC), pursuant to Section 2827.10 of the Public Utilities Code.  The program has a separately defined program cap.  NEMFC bill credits are applied at the generation-only portion of a customer’s retail rate.  As of March 2017, 135 MW of fuel cells were installed under this program.

 

Net Metering is the billing arrangement where solar power users earn utility credits for power their solar systems generate. The rules for net metering are changing across the state.

In San Diego Gas & Electric territory, net metering changed in June 2016, but going solar remains substantially more attractive than remaining with the utility.

In Southern California Edison territory, net metering changes are expected in or before July 2017. The rules are more attractive now than they will be then.

In 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to re-evaluate net metering and will likely change the rules again for all California ratepayers. Those who go solar now or before that review period will be grandfathered in for 20 years into the existing structure. It is in your best interest to take advantage of the current rates and structures.

Technology and Costs Have Never Been Better

Some property owners are hesitant to go solar now, thinking that solar power technology is going to improve. While some innovation and performance improvements are possible, large advancements in solar power technology that would significantly affect solar power’s value are not likely.

The first solar panels developed in the 1950s had an efficiently of just 6%. In the more than 60 years since then, the solar panels of today are 22% efficient. Keeping in mind that the maximum efficiency of a silicon-based cell is 25%, there is not much room for improvement. That’s why waiting much longer for solar power technology to improve before making the switch is not a good idea.

When it comes to going solar, there’s no good reason to wait. Our systems typically pay for themselves after 4 or 5 years.

The question is not should you go solar, but rather why haven’t you gone solar already?

Ready to bring your project to life?

GET RESIDENTIAL QUOTE