F A Q’s
Solar Power Frequently Asked Questions
What is Solar Power?
Solar Power is the collection of sunlight being converted into energy for electric use.
How do solar panels work?
Thin wafers of semi-conductor material, usually silicon, are laid out in a grid that are then sandwiched inside the protective glass and frame of each Photovoltaic Panel. When the sun’s rays hit the silicon, electrons are excited and freed. Every PV panel has a grid of positive and negative metal wiring to collect the electrons as they are released from the silicon. As the electrons are collected, they move down the positive and negative wiring in a current. Viola! A current of electrons is Electricity.
The sun’s electrons are in what is called “Direct Current”, while a home or business runs on “Alternating Current”. The Inverter is the piece of equipment that changes the DC current from the sun to AC current.
How much does a solar electric power system cost?
Without appearing cheeky, the price of a solar system will vary on how much energy you need to produce. Some homes have systems that have 16 solar panels, while others have over 100 panels.
What we do at Hot Purple Energy is size the system based on energy needs, aesthetics, solar exposure, budget, and the desired rate of return.
We like to design systems that have a 6-8-year conservative payback. For a customized quote, call our office, 760.322.4433 to speak to a sales representative.
What Government Incentives are there?
Federal Tax Credit
The current Federal Solar Tax Credit for residential roof top solar allows you to deduct 26% of the Solar System’s Cost from your personal Federal Tax Liability. If the tax credit exceeds your liability in the year of the system’s purchase, the tax credit can be used in subsequent years. We have hundreds of clients who have benefitted from this credit and consider this a very worthwhile incentive.
*Please note the Federal Solar Tax Credit percent is subject to change every year. It will decrease to 22% in 2021.
How much will I really save on my utility bills from a home electric solar power system?
The amount of savings is based on a few factors: available roof space, budget, and your electric use. We have designed systems that produce 100% of a client’s usage as well as 50-80%. We will review all the parameters that affect what you can produce and what you want to produce.
The continuously changing utility rate & billing structures will also play a factor in how your electric bill will look after solar. To learn more about current rates call us at 760.322.4433 to speak to a solar expert today.
What is the difference between solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems?
Solar Photovoltaic Systems produce electricity for your home/business while Solar Thermal Systems run either water or glycol to the roof to heat water. Hot Purple Energy only installs solar photovoltaic systems. We do not install or repair solar thermal systems. Please Call John Hosman at 760.333.1889 for solar thermal installation and say HPE referred you.
How much maintenance do solar panels require?
A great thing about solar is that it has no moving parts and requires very little maintenance. Cleaning the panels is the primary care item. While some areas of the Coachella Valley have more dust than others, the cost for cleaning is minimal compared to the savings.
We offer 2 free cleanings in year one, which allows us to determine how often the panels need to be cleaned. Rain does a good job, when we have it, but having them professionally cleaned helps tremendously with keeping the production up.
Can I finance my system?
While most of clients pay cash, there are many ways to pay for a solar system. The finance options are evolving as lenders are becoming increasingly aware of the validity of solar systems and their savings. In essence there is room to add interest to the cost of the system and still achieve savings on your power bill. We will review the finance options and how they will affect your individual savings.
Do I need special insurance requirements?
Will I need a building permit to install a solar energy system in my home?
Yes. Hot Purple Energy handles the entire permitting process as well as HOA approvals if required.
What should I ask a solar professional installer?
One important thing to consider is who is doing the work on your house. Many companies focus on the solar savings and avoid the reality that “solar” involves roof penetrations, electrical wiring, and conduit runs to your electric meter to name a few. HPE is a full General Contractor and other than bringing in local professional roofers to handle the roofing work, we perform all the other work ourselves.
As a fully licensed, bonded, and insured General and Solar Contractor we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend researching your installer via the available resources:
California State License Board. Make sure your contractor’s license is in good standing. www.cslb.ca.gov,
Local References and Referrals and Affiliations.
Why is it important to get multiple bids?
There is a lot to consider when making the decision to go solar. While we are confident in our value and workmanship, it helps to hear what is available in the marketplace from numerous sources. Hot Purple Energy is a boutique company. We have never aimed to be the biggest solar company, just the best.
Other bids will add to your knowledge and afterwards you will feel confident and comfortable with the decision you make.
How long will it take to install a solar power system in my home?
Depending on how complicated the roof and system is the actual installation can range from 4-10 working days. Permitting can take 1-3 weeks depending on the city you live in.
The Interconnection process with SCE takes about six weeks, so we plan our installation accordingly.
Our project manager and your account representative will review your project details and will keep you updated with the install date and project milestones.
What components do I need to install a grid-tiered solar system?
- The Photovoltaic Panels to collect the suns energy.
- The Stands and Rails to attach them to your roof.
- The Wiring and Conduit to run the DC power from your Panels to your Inverter.
- The Inverter, to convert the DC power from the Sun to the AC power for your house.
- The Conduit and wiring to the electric meter.
- The Monitoring so you and HPE can see your production in real time.
All of this is permitted and processed by the utility company as well.
Do I need battery backup for my solar panels?
Yes. Due to the change in rate structures made in the Spring of 2019 by SCE–the utility company, we are now recommending batteries to our clients as part of their energy solution. SCE made a change in their “On Peak” and “Off Peak” times. Specifically, On-peak hours were shifted to a later time in the day meaning electricity now costs more in the evening (4 pm – 9 pm) and less in the day/afternoon. This is not ideal for solar customers because solar does not produce in the evening. With batteries, however, homeowners can store excess power produced during the day and use it in the evening to offset paying higher rates. Batteries also have the added benefit of providing emergency power for your home in the event of a power outage on the grid.
Please note that while we are recommending batteries at this time, we do have clients that choose to opt out of purchasing batteries.
How much space do I need for a solar photovoltaic system?
The space required really depends on how much energy you use. We also will factor in aesthetics and shading. A few hundred square feet is average, but it is really a case by case number.
How many solar panels do I need for a solar photovoltaic system?
Solar panels have various wattages and efficiencies. We remain an open platform company, so we offer products from several manufacturers to provide our customers with options depending on their needs. Moreover, your specific number of panels will be a result of your electric consumption, available area, and budget.
How much shading is too much for solar photovoltaic panels?
Do not cut your trees without replacing them! This can add a heat load to your house which in some instances may require more solar. Some shading can be mitigated.
How do I know if solar panels will benefit me and my home?
If you have an energy efficient home and still have over $150 in electric costs per month, solar is a viable financial option. A South facing roof is the most optimal for solar but East and West facing roofs also receive a fair amount of sunlight.
Rooftop Solar for homes and businesses is growing in popularity throughout the Coachella Valley because it truly saves money.
None of our clients who have gone solar would opt to go back to paying for, more expensive utility-supplied power. So, if you have “electric bills,” available roof space, and plan to own your home for more than 5 years, then let us get started on your complimentary consultation.
We will review your electric usage, your solar potential, energy-saving options, as well as the various ways to get solar–cash purchase and other financing options.
We provide solar in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, and all the Coachella Valley surrounding cities.
We look forward to working with you.