With the kind of pressure that is being exerted on the planet’s limited resources, switching to solar power is something that everyone should consider, provided that the location is suitable.
Is Los Angeles one of those cities where we can expect to really see any benefits by investing in photovoltaic systems? Understanding the situation in Los Angeles, and the various associated factors which we are going to discuss next, should be able to give us a more clear and perceptive answer to that question.
The Location is Ideal
The sun doesn’t shine in the same way everywhere of course, which is why the location of the region is the very first consideration to make. In order for a photovoltaic system to be actually beneficial, as well as a way to save money in the long term, the location needs to be one where the sunshine is sufficient enough.
Solar installations in Los Angeles are quite popular already, because the city is in California, one of the sunniest states in the US. To put it simply, Los Angeles is an ideal city for solar installations, and anyone investing in a photovoltaic system doesn’t at least need to worry about the sunshine here. If anything, the city council is trying to harness more of the solar energy which is being wasted.
The Electricity Bills are Usually Quite Hefty in Los Angeles
Not that it is cheap in any of the major cities, but Angelenos do not need to be told that their electricity board isn’t lacking behind in offering expensive electricity either! It has been estimated that the price of electricity in the city is going up by 3.5% per year on an average, which is quite alarming, but expected, given that most of the electricity is generated from fossil fuels like coal and petroleum.
Since fossil fuels are limited sources of energy that we do not have any method of recreating at the moment, we will eventually run out of it at some point in the future. Even before we reach that point in time where we have managed to use up the planet’s entire natural fuel reserve, finding the fuel sources is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive with each passing year, which naturally is raising the cost of power in not just United States, but pretty much globally.
As the geographical location of the city itself presents the opportunity for locals to save money on their power bills with the help of solar installations in Los Angeles, the real question is, why shouldn’t they?
Even then, solar installations do require quite a significant upfront investment, so it makes sense to only go with one of the best solar companies in Los Angeles. If you are looking to make the best of the sunny location, the tax benefits and the freedom to go off the grid whenever you decide to or need to, this company may be able to help.
Semper Solaris does not only offer standard photovoltaic system installations on the roof, but they also have a wide range of products to fit both the customers’ budget and specific requirements accordingly. Visit the website and you will likely be able to find a small, introductory solar project to get acquainted with how convenient a properly installed solar system can be.
Los Angeles has the Solar Infrastructure to Help You Earn Money
Saving money by reducing electricity bills is usually what is associated with solar energy, but there’s actually more to it than just savings. Los Angeles has both the private and the government infrastructure to help people with solar panel systems earn money by selling any extra power which they might be producing from their panels.
When the homeowner agrees to connect their solar power generator to a power grid, they get paid for every unit of electricity which they manage to send to the connected grid. Also known as net metering, this is an opportunity to earn money and make up for that upfront investment faster than usual.
Moreover, the utility business you will be connected to will have to pay the full retail price for each unit of power that your solar system manages to send to their grid. This is quite an opportunity, but there is a limit on how much energy you are allowed to sell from a residential photovoltaic system.
Having said that, the state allows households to sell as much as 1 megawatt per month, which is not going to be anything that a standard domestic solar installation will be able to produce in total! You can come pretty close to it though, but it will increase your initial setup costs by a significant amount. It’s just better to install the system you need and consider whatever you are able to earn by sending energy to the grid.
If you are going to install a solar system in any city, it needs to be supported by adequate incentives, which is where Los Angeles is one of the best in the country.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers multiple incentives to encourage citizens in adopting solar power more readily.
There are a number of them of course, but the most immediate and direct incentive offered by the LADWP is a rebate of $0.25/watt of electricity consumed, on adopting solar installations in Los Angeles. Keep in mind that this further adds to the savings on electricity bills, even after you have managed to reduce the electricity consumption from the city grids by going solar.
Even citizens who are unable to buy the photovoltaic systems, but have instead chosen to lease them, will be eligible for the $0.25/watt rebate on their power bills.
The Federal Tax Credit
Federal tax credits are, of course, not just limited to Los Angeles or California, but they apply to all states within the country. Nonetheless, in combination with the state incentives, they make adopting solar power even more affordable and practical.
On adopting solar power in their home, US citizens are able to deduct 30% of the total amount they had to pay for the photovoltaic system installations from their total taxes at the end of the financial year.
Leasing Out Your Solar Roofing to the LADWP
If you had any doubts about the potential of solar energy in Los Angeles, then consider the fact that the city is always on the lookout for residential solar roofing to add to the grid.
This is different from what we discussed earlier, as you are not selling the excess electricity to the LADWP this time around, but leasing the entire system to the city.
Signing up for the Community Solar Program will give the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power complete control over the power generated by your solar roofing system. In return, the city will pay you $360/year or $30/month as the rent or the lease money.
If you take the monthly route, the money will be credited to you in the form of a deduction from your total power bill every month. In case someone decides to take the $360 at once, they will be given a check of equal value from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
State Incentives by California
California in its entirety is a sunny state and known as such, so do not forget to take advantage of the state incentives in place to encourage going off the grid every once in a while, if not more frequently.
The state incentives by California also work in a similar way to what we already discussed about the LADWP’s rebates and incentives, but how much money the particular solar system qualifies for will depend on a complex EPBB calculating system which they have in place.
Check it out by clicking here and visiting the official Go Solar page of the Californian State Government. Check the California Solar Initiative (CSI) rebates system and not the Performance-Based Incentive (PBI) rebate system, as the latter is meant for commercial ventures.
How Long is the Payback Period in Los Angeles for Solar System Installations?
The exact calculations would be impossible to make without knowing the kind of system and panels used, as well as how much energy the system is able to produce on an average. Then there is the question of different companies charging different rates, the original manufacturers of the solar panels, etc. In general, though, the best solar companies in Los Angeles usually use Panasonic photovoltaic cells, which offer the best performance.
Nevertheless, on an average, a rough estimation would put the payback time to somewhere between 5 to 7 years for standard, domestic solar installations in Los Angeles. Then again, it could differ a bit, depending on the system we are talking about.
The Ability to Go Off Grid is Satisfying
When you know that your HVAC system is not entirely dependent on your utility company’s supplied power, there is a sense of liberation which cannot be expressed, unless experienced.
The great positive aspect of solar energy and the reason why it can also be described as “fun,” happens to originate from the fact that solar energy is a renewable source of energy which you will never run out of. Sure, the sun will die in a few billion years maybe, but when it does, electricity won’t matter, since everything will come to an end anyway!
Until that time though, there is no way that you can misuse or overuse solar electricity generated by your own solar panels. As we cannot control how much energy the sun gives us, there is no way for us to misuse it either, which is why you won’t have to feel guilty about cranking the AC or the heating up when you are off-the grid. Any energy which the panels are unable to capture during the day is lost forever, so using it up has no effect, especially in an extremely sunny city like Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Can Use a Bit of a Break from Air Pollution
The city of Los Angeles has been established beyond doubt as the smoggiest city in all of the US for the last two decades. Although major efforts had seen the air quality improve earlier, it changed again when the administrative body in the presidency changed as well. Los Angeles Times reports that the air quality is degrading again, as government efforts are being stalled.
Although photovoltaic systems are generally not associated with air pollution control, and we know them to be more of a savior of fossil fuels, there is a connection and it is a positive one.
The problem with fossil fuels is not just that we are running out of them, but also the fact that burning the carbon-rich fuels themselves is a huge environmental hazard.
CO2, methane and other toxic emissions from fossil fuel power plants can be reduced if more people in Los Angeles were to utilize the mostly wasted solar energy available to the city for meeting their own electricity needs. Generating electricity from the sun creates practically no carbon emissions at all, which would be hugely beneficial for the city’s worsening air quality.
After considering all these points, and by taking a look at the various situations which are currently prevalent in the city, one would have to draw a conclusion that yes, more people in Los Angeles should definitely consider switching to solar power, at least partially.
While Los Angeles isn’t the most advanced city in this respect, it has the potential to be so. The federal, state and city rebates are there to incentivize such expenses, net metering makes it even more plausible from an economic standpoint and, most importantly, Angelenos have the unique geographical location to make the most out of the power which the sun has been providing for billions of years now. Becoming a green citizen isn’t just a fancy word anymore, but it’s a necessity to preserve the future of our own children.