Solar Net-Metering Conflict in Arizona

Written by Chad Becker

The electric utility business is a monopolistic one since there is usually only one provider within each regional market, but government bodies heavily regulate them to protect consumers. These monopolies are on the offensive to protect their territory as alternative energy companies rise to power. Currently, all eyes are on a conflict between an Arizona electric utility provider and proponents of solar energy.

Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s largest utility company, is attacking support for solar net-metering by filing a proposal with the Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC) that would provide homeowners with two crediting options: net-metering and bill credit. Net-metering is the process by which solar panel owners are credited for the surplus energy they generate and send back to the grid. The solar owners can use these credits when their panels are not generating enough electricity to power their homes, like at night. Bill credit is when the electric company pays solar owners for their surplus energy, and they can use these funds to pay for their electricity usage at times when their panels are not generating enough power. APS is trying to change some of the net-metering policies with this filing.

The problem solar owners have with APS’s proposal is that it would decrease the rate that owners receive for their excess energy from about 16 cents/kW-hr. to between 6 and 10 cents/kW-hr. Also, net-meter solar owners would have to pay a fee to use the electric grid. Electric bill savings would decline from 50% to between 30% and 40%.

Recently, two accusatory advertisements have bolstered APS’s attack. APS’s involvement in the advertisements is suspect. Collectively, the ads claim that the current net-metering policy favors solar owners and out-of-state billionaires and that solar owners are paid five times the electric rate for providing power to the grid. They fail to mention the thousands of jobs that solar companies have created, the averted transmission line and generation plant costs from people going solar, and the cleaner air that results from solar’s prospering.

The solar industry needs the incentives already in place to compete with monopolistic utility companies, and it is the responsibility of government bodies to protect this competition’s existence. Situations like the one in Arizona are establishing precedence for solar conflicts. The future of solar is being written as we speak.

Be a part of this future by purchasing your own solar system from Swan Solar. Visit our website for more information, and please consider a free solar consultation and evaluation of your home.

Content derived from “Fight Against Solar Net Metering in Arizona Gets Controversial Support” by Chris Meehan.

Micro-Inverters Trump Central Inverters for Residential Solar Systems

Written by Chad Becker.

What is an inverter? Put simply, it is an electronic device that converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). Inverters are used in solar panel arrays since the panels generate DC electricity while the home and its appliances operate using AC electricity. The inverter is an integral part of a solar system, and they considerably influence the performance of the system.

Historically, the central inverter has been the type used in solar systems. Only recently has there been an improvement. Enter the micro-inverter. In 2008, Enphase Energy developed the first commercially successful micro-inverter. A solar system using micro-inverters has a separate inverter for each panel, whereas a solar system using a central inverter operates using solely that inverter.

The micro-inverter trumps the central inverter in almost every aspect. I summarize these benefits below.

  • Separation of Power: One problem with using a central inverter is that the system will only function at the performance of the weakest solar panel, whether this be due to physical defects or environmental conditions such as snow, clouds, and shade. This is because the panels are connected in series to a single inverter and rely on each other’s performance for their own output. Micro-inverters, on the other hand, allow the panels to be less dependent on one another. If any panel is lagging in performance, the other panels will continue to operate at their max potential since they each have their own inverter. Solar systems using micro-inverters have shown a 5-25% increase in power generation.
  • Longevity and Expansion: Micro-inverters have longer lifespans since they do not deal with the high power and heat that central inverters do. As such, warranties for micro-inverters are 25 years (around 15 years longer than those for central inverters). Also, micro-inverters allow for system monitoring using a web server so that faults and failures can be avoided and detected per the individual panels. This speeds up the maintenance and repair processes. Using micro-inverters also allows for easy system expansion since each new solar panel has its own inverter. A system running on a central inverter may not have the capacity to service the additional panels, and a larger, more expensive central inverter would have to be purchased.
  • Safety: Since micro-inverters do not handle as much power as central inverters do, the solar system is safer to install and manage.
  • Noise: Micro-inverters produce substantially less heat than central inverters, so they do not need cooling systems. This makes micro-inverters essentially noiseless.
  • Cost: Face value, micro-inverters cost more than central inverters. However, there are additional factors that make micro-inverters financially the better choice. Installing micro-inverters is simpler and takes less time; this results in a 15% reduction in installations costs. Also, the enhanced system performance, increased longevity, and ease of monitoring and repair will save you money in the long run.

It is interesting to note that Kevin Tofel, mentioned in my previous post, “Residential Solar System Considerations,” bought micro-inverters from Enphase Energy. Tofel understood their benefits when making his purchase, such as ease of system repair, inverter replacement, and real-time monitoring capabilities.

Swan Solar offers micro-inverters and the data monitoring software along with them so that you can keep track of your solar system’s performance and ensure you are making the savings you desire. Visit the Swan Solar website for information on our micro-inverters, and please consider a free solar consultation and evaluation of your home.

Content derived from “Micro-Inverters vs. Central Inverters” by Mathias Aarre Maehlum.

Residential Solar System Considerations

Written by Chad Becker

In the article, “One year with solar energy at home: mostly sunny,” Kevin Tofel shares his solar experience and brings to light some things potential solar panel owners should be aware of.

Tofel lives in southeastern Pennsylvania, and after 12 months, his panels have generated 13.8 MW-hrs of electricity while his family has used only 7.59 MW-hrs. Tofel’s solar panels produce more energy than his family consumes. The excess energy is credited on Tofel’s electric bill, and the electric company pays him for any unused credit once per year.

Tofel also mentions a fork in the road on the way to buying a residential solar system. Solar panel owners have the option to remain connected to the electric grid or to completely sever ties. With the former option, the owner derives his/her power from the electric company while the solar panels provide electricity to the grid. The latter option results in complete independence from the grid. In this configuration, the solar panels provide all of the home’s power, and batteries must be used to store surplus energy. The disadvantage to cutting ties with the grid would have been an added 20 percent to Tofel’s up-front costs. However, if there is a power outage on the grid, the independent system will still provide power while the system connected to the grid will not. Before choosing either option, it is important to contemplate how often you expect to lose power.

Solar systems are not cheap, but there are several factors that substantially reduce their cost. After including the federal and state tax incentives, the payments received from generating surplus energy, and the increase is your home’s appreciation due to the solar panels, the cost of a residential solar system becomes much more reasonable. After installation, Tofel’s home increased in value by $30,000, and his break-even point is 7.3 years. For Tofel, the increase in his home’s value offset the amount of time to break even. An additional factor is the increase in electric prices. As electricity becomes more expensive, Tofel will receive more money for his surplus energy. This will shorten the payback period of his solar system.

Tofel is even considering the purchase of an electric vehicle due to his excess energy production. Tofel is using his solar panels to cut his costs on gasoline consumption.

Join Tofel and share in the joy of big savings and going green by visiting Swan Solar’s website for a free solar consultation and evaluation of your home. We have the most efficient solar panels on the market that will cut your costs on electricity usage. Maintain some level of sovereignty, and never pay for your electricity again!

An Optimistic Year for Solar

Written by Chad Becker

The solar industry’s advance looks promising as it rides the wave of its success from 2012, the year the industry grew by an astounding 76%. Although its projected growth for 2013 is slower, installations are at their high point since the first quarter of 2012, and installations are expected to amount to 4.4GW for this year. In the first quarter, 723MW have already been installed, and residential installations are a major player in this achievement.

Even with solar’s increasing popularity among both the residential and commercial sectors, we must understand the future of financing solar energy. To date, there is a 30% federal tax credit that helps pay for a solar system, and states are subsidizing the industry to help it compete with other forms of carbon emitting energy. However, these incentives are depleting and will eventually cause solar prices to rise for the end consumer. International trade also plays a role in determining solar prices. The U.S. has imposed a high tariff on Chinese solar panels in an effort to protect domestic solar panel manufacturers. China’s panels were flooding the market at incredibly low prices, making it extremely difficult for U.S. manufacturers to compete. This tariff will eventually increase the price for solar panels in the U.S., as other manufacturers begin to increase their profit margins.

So what should homeowners and business-owners considering the purchase of a solar system do? BUY NOW! Solar prices are expected to increase in the future, and to acquire the financial savings you desire, it is crucial you make that dive into solar now. Solar is an investment that will make immediate returns, and it is more affordable now than later on. Plus, you will add to the wave of solar’s success for 2013 that will carry into the future. Swan Solar is the company to see about purchasing your own money-saving solar system. We have extensive, long-lasting experience in the industry and in home improvement. Please visit our solar energy website for more information and for a FREE solar consultation and evaluation of your home.

Content derived from “The bright spot for the U.S. solar market in 2013: home roof tops” by Ucilia Wang.

Financing Solar Energy Systems

Written by Chad Becker

In an article entitled, “The Future of Solar Financing,” Adam Lesser questions the extent to which solar companies will control the value chain of the emerging solar industry. The market for solar energy systems has grown large enough for companies to establish niches in various links in this chain, such as manufacturing, installation, and financing. Some companies have even capitalized on solar energy at the junction of these links. Clean Power Finance is one such company that connects large financiers with solar installation companies to aid in creating financial options for solar customers.

The question is, will some companies vertically integrate their business operations to control multiple links? In fact, companies are beginning to, and some have already met with considerable success. A notable example is SolarCity, a company that installs large-scale solar systems for clients in the commercial, education, and military sectors while also handling financing.

Lesser also touches briefly on the importance of solar companies establishing a financing platform, the class of solar panels to be used, as well as the rate of return in order to acquire investors. Potential solar customers hesitate at the large up-front costs of purchasing a solar system, and it is vital that solar companies obtain these investors if they are unable to handle financing themselves.

For anyone considering the purchase of a residential solar system, look no further than to Swan Solar! Swan Solar has over 30 years of experience in the solar industry and has vertically integrated its operations to include installation and financing while also expanding horizontally to provide pool and landscaping services. We have multiple solar financing options to fit your budget, from short to long term loans and leases with $0 down payment and low interest rates. Swan Solar uses SunPower solar panels, the most efficient panels on the market to date, warranted for 25 years!

Please visit our solar energy website for more information, and consider a FREE solar consultation and evaluation for your home. Allow Swan Solar to help you harness the power of the sun and make it work for you!

Let the Swan Solar journey begin!!!

Hello there Swan Solar enthusiasts!! I’m Cathleen Siy, the newbie here in the company.  I graduated in 2010 from Calpoly-Pomona with a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture.  To be honest, when I graduated, it was the hardest hit for landscape arch majors.  But, luckily I kept trying and never gave up.  So, it’s been a little over 4 months now since Brett, my boss, has hired me.  So far, the tasks aren’t too bad.  Every day I learn something new even if it’s just a little thing.  Although I’ve used a CAD program for school, I still learn some tricks here and there from Brett (I can almost say that he’s the master of the program).

Roof racking solar panel installation providing 13.68kW of solar power in Laguna Hills, California.

Roof racking solar panel installation providing 13.68kW of solar power in Laguna Hills, California.

Basically, the tasks needed to be done are PLANS.  I need to make sure that the plans have everything to be able to pull for city permits.  Keep in mind, not all city requirements are the same.  So, I need to watch out for those carefully.  At first, I had no idea what was going on, popping lines here and there.  But after awhile, things became clearer.  The more I work on different solar projects, the more I understand how solar panels worked. Swan Solar is fortunate to be a Premier Dealer with Sunpower as their solar panels are the most efficient in the marketplace and because roof space in Southern California is at a premium.SunPower-Authorized-Web-Log

Well, I definitely learned and progressed a lot since day 1.  All I can say is that I look forward to continuing to expand my knowledge and grow with the Swan Group family.  Let the journey begin!!!

Cathleen Siy

Solarize‘ your home with Swan Solar.

U.S. Slaps China with Solar Panel Manufacturing Import Tariffs

In May, the U.S. Commerce Department slapped a 30%-250% tariff on all Chinese solar panels exported to the United States.  Solar Panel manufacturers in the U.S. have complained that Chinese panel manufacturers have been illegally dumping cheap solar panels on the U.S. market in an attempt to run U.S.manufacturers out of business.

The Chinese government has made it clear that they would like to control the solar panel manufacturing industry in the future, so Chinese panel manufacturers have benefited from reduced labor costs, Chinese government subsidies, and low financing rates offered by the Chinese government.

While this might be a step in the right direction for U.S manufacturing of solar panels, it does not solve the problem entirely. China is now using Taiwanese suppliers to make solar cells, which would be assembled into modules in China through a process called “tolling.” This could add 6-12% to their labor costs, but it would avoid the large U.S. tariffs that were just set in place.

Free Solar Energy Consultation and Proposals with Swan Solar.
Go Solar with $0 Down and Save!

Tristan Becker
Swan Solar

Utility Exec’s See Significant Rate Increases Soon

In a survey conducted by consulting and construction firm Black & Veatch, more than 500 electric utility executives were asked about the future of their industry.  The group of executives revealed three major trends for the future:

1.)     Higher electric bills

2.)     Emphasis on solar power

3.)     A surge in electric cars

Increasing electric utility bills: Over 90% of the executives surveyed believe that rules requiring a cut in pollution from coal-fired power plants will lead to higher monthly utility bills for consumers.  Over half of these executives said that these electric bills will rise significantly.

Solar power more attractive than wind: Executives named solar power as the fourth-most attractive way of generating electricity that’s environmentally friendly — behind hydro, natural gas and nuclear.  Wind power, which placed third just two years ago, was bumped down to sixth place because there is already a lot of wind installed in many of the windiest locations near big cities. In addition, there is also uncertainty about whether wind power’s tax incentives will be renewed after they expire at the end of 2012.   Solar’ energy’s tax credit extends to 2016.

Bullish on electric cars: Utility executives believe electric cars will eat up 7% of the nation’s power supply by 2025.  To use that much electricity, Black & Veatch estimates there would need to be 65 million electric cars on the road. The increase in electricity demand will undoubtedly increase the electric rates.

As electric rates continue to climb, solar customer’s electric bills will remain much lower in comparison to non-solar customers because solar systems have eliminated most of the exposure to Edison’s, SDG&E’s, and PG&E’s unprotected electric rate Tiers 3, 4, and 5.

Free Solar Energy Consultation and Proposals with Swan Solar.
Go Solar with $0 Down and Save!

Tristan Becker
Swan Solar

The Enlighted Classroom

I read an encouraging article in the Wall St. Journal, called “The Enlighted Classroom.” In this article, Jim Carlton explains how school districts are using solar power to cut their energy bills and to help cope with budget cuts. With the money saved with reduced operating costs, schools are able to retain more teachers and programs in the face of budget cuts.

More than 500 schools in 43 states have installed solar energy to-date, with a majority of it being installed within the past three years. Solar Power is now often times cheaper than paying retail electric rates. The average cost for solar power for large school projects is 12 cents/kWh, compared to about 24 cents/kWh charged from the utility company.

Cheaper power is extremely advantageous to school districts because the savings over the long run are enormous.  David Peterson, superintendent of the Scottsdale Unified Schools district outside of Phoenix, estimates that 90% of the district’s budget is paid to teachers and other staff. Supplies and other essentials take up approximately 4% of the budget, and energy takes the remaining 6% of the budget. “With so little to buy supplies with already, and the absolute need for staff, the only way to save money is by cutting utility cost,” says Peterson.

One of the Scottsdale Unified Schools saves $300,000 per year on electric bills since installing solar energy. The money saved went toward the hiring of six teachers who had been laid-off due to budget cuts two years prior.

Even SunPower Corp., of San Jose, is getting heavily involved by installing a total of 30 megawatts of solar- power capacity for California schools in the upcoming year. California schools are anticipating a $1.5 billion savings over the next 30 years with these solar investments.

Free Solar Energy Consultation and Proposals with Swan Solar.
Go Solar with $0 Down and Save!

Tristan Becker
Swan Solar

Electric Rates May Start Increasing as soon as 2013 using New Digital Meters!!

Have you ever wondered why Edison and SDG&E are installing all these digital meters (Smart Meters) for free?

Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are switching homeowners over to their expensive Time-of-Use (TOU) billing in 2013 once they installed a digital meter on every home in their territory.  This will have a dramatic increase on homeowner’s electric bills, since on-peak daytime electric charges are almost double the current electric rates (56 cents/kWh)!

How do Smart Meters Work?

These digital Smart Meters collect hourly energy use data for the home and are capable of two-way communication. This means they can send and receive energy use and cost information from the home to the utility and back again.

The Smart Meters will alert customers to periods of peak electricity demand, but since homeowner’s still need to use their major appliances, air conditioners, and pool pumps during the on-peak hours of 10 AM-6 PM these meters will only make things more costly.

Solution – Avoid these Rate Increases

Avoid these rate increases from the utility company, and own a Swan Solar system!  The power generated from the sun in the daytime will offset all your expensive on-peak electric charges, so you can live comfortably in your home at an affordable price.  Swan Solar offers the most powerful solar panels on the market, and has access to numerous financing programs to help ease the transition to independence from your electric utility company’s ever-increasing rates.  Free Solar Energy Estimate.

Article in OC Register about SMART Meters

Tristan Becker
Swan Solar

The Lowly Intern Returns

Brett is gone for two days. I think there should be a party in the office. Too bad there are too many things to do; I have to actually work. Crazy.

Yesterday, after Brett read my post, we were talking about solar energy (weird, right? A solar contractor like Swan Solar talking about solar energy, preposterous) and it came to light that he did not know how a solar panel worked. He never needed to; as the CAD guys, our knowledge base is the city codes and the AutoCAD program. Handily, I took a class on electricity and magnetism at Cal Poly: San Luis Obispo last quarter and one of the subjects was how a solar panel works. By how it works, I mean how the radiation causes electron movement. He was impressed at my impromptu presentation of the material. I am to write an article about the subject to be posted on the Swan Solar webite.

This article should be a comic strip, of sorts. To explain something without pictures is like trying to describe a picture without words. The idea never really comes across quite the way it was intended. I have not passed this with Brett yet, but I think he will go for it.

These two days will be interesting. I have a few drawings to do; nothing too intense, though I may have to clash with a designer on one project. Mostly I have to do typical intern things: blog (ok, that might not be typical, but I could see any intern blogging about their experience), organize the city codes, clean Brett’s desk (he may be a supreme god, but who said that supreme gods’s desks are bare?), scan some papers, and work with advertising. You know about the blogging. The city codes are not particularly exciting, though important because Brett is the only one in the office who has almost all of the codes for the cities with regard to solar memorized. I am getting there, through his corrections and the research, but some things that the city wants can be a little unnecessary. For example, some cities want the location of where the conduit will run. Seems reasonable, but is totally impractical. Sure, the CAD designer will put a line from the panel to the inverter. That will probably not be the route that the contractor will go. From my short stint with Grid Alternatives, I know that the conduit is done by which ever route takes the least amount of wire with the least amount of effort. That can’t really be seen on the drawing. But, the city asks, and so we draw.

Brett’s desk may be described as a paper’s hell: tossed aside to be forgotten, but upon being found, considered important for 5 minutes and then tossed aside to repeat the vicious cycle. I do exactly the same thing with my desk at home. However, I can be more organized than a OCD librarian if necessary. This is one of those times.

The scanning itself is boring, though the things that I am scanning are odd. A little background is necessary here. Swan Solar is the child of Swan Pools. Swan Pools has also fathered another child: Swan Landscaping. So, I am actually interning for three companies at once. These papers are Landscape Details. Basically, on a drawing, I could put an arrow on something, call it by its name, and the person reading the plan would look at these details and know what I was talking about. I have to scan them in because then I could put the detail directly on the plan for the ease of the reader. Not exciting, but useful.

Working with advertising is a strange experience. I did a little work with advertising when I was at school. The Materials Engineering 100 series asked us to volunteer (with our group) at an assigned non-profit, identify a problem with in the company that impedes their mission and solve the problem. Our company was Pathpoint; they worked with people with cognitive disabilities to acquire jobs. The problem was not the shed or the awning that they proposed. The issue was with advertising and ability for companies to contact them regarding job offerings. My team’s main success was with the advertising. The particular advertising in the case of Swan Solar is different. The non-profit team had a very limited budget that affected our ideas. Swan Solar has less restriction in that regard, but still wants the most for its money. I decided that the best way to approach people was to go to their community events. It’s relatively cheap but a very targeted audience. So my assignment is to find the community events in likely areas. It seems Sysiphian.

Maybe next time I will Strike Back.

Ted Arehart

The Lowly Intern
Solar Power Your Life with Swan Solar

The Lowly Intern

That’s me. Ted Arehart. The Lowly Intern of Swan Solar Lake Forest. Ok, it’s really not that bad. I have a chair so that when my boss and I sit in the shared cubicle, I can feel like we are on the same level. But Brett [my boss and supreme god] and I are definitely not on the same level. He is a wizard (in addition to being a supreme god) at AutoCAD, the system I am striving to master this summer. Luckily, the mastery, so far, is not a Sysiphian task. I am making progress. Today, I have taken a solar project from scratch and had it ready to send out, with all the bells and whistles, at the end of the day. The paper doesn’t actually have bells and whistles on it… just thought I would clarify. 

It has taken about three weeks to get to that level of expertise; if that is what you want to call it. Three work weeks, that is. One and a half of those weeks, Brett [Oh Captain, my Captain] was gone on a cruise to Alaska. Lucky dog left me to my devices after two days of training. I managed to get 5 projects out, so not terrible. A different week (which I did not count as one of the work weeks) I went to Kaua’i. You can look on my page, if you really want to know more about that.  Anyway, Brett has really helped me along my path to becoming an AutoCAD master. Before my time here at Swan Solar, I attempted a little CAD on my home computer. A plethora of operator errors caused me to become less than pleased at my progress. I gave up. Not the best idea for a would-be engineer. I was 16 at the time, so I figured I had plenty of time to learn. Now, at 18, I got a crash course from Brett, some practice on other people’s solar arrays (don’t worry, I made sure that Brett [Enlightened One] looked over my work, so if I designed your array, you are just fine) and at least now have a base from which to build.

I hope to keep you updated regarding my adventures here with a bona fide solar energy contractor, at Swan Solar; there will be plenty.


Ted Arehart

The Lowly Intern

The US, SunPower Corp. come out on Top in European Solar Decathlon

The US took first place in the Solar Decathlon this past June for the first time since the competition began in 2007.  The Solar Decathlon Europe, organized by the Spanish Ministry of Housing, is modeled after the Solar Decathlon that is held by the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. The competition was started in the US with the primary goal of constructing usable, self-sufficient and comfortable houses completely sustained by solar energy.  Germany has won the competition every year for the past 3 years.

17 universities primarily from the US and Europe competed this year, with Virginia Polytechnic Institute’s ‘Lumenhaus’ home design taking the grand prize.

Majority of the competitors used SunPower panels to power their homes due to the solar energy maker’s superior panel efficiencies and outstanding aesthetics.  SunPower panels have been used by the last 3 first place teams in the US competitions.  For this competition, many of the first place individual winners used SunPower products for their designs. Winner of first prize in the category of Industrialization and Viability utilized the SunPower 225 (W) panel, and the SunPower 230 (W) panel was used by the winners of the top award in the Communication and Social Awareness category.  SunPower also took awards in Sustainability and was used by the team that won the competition for Public and Web Favorite design. 

Check out more photos of SunPower products in Swan Solar installations (solar panel picture gallery), a “Premier Dealer” of SunPower solar panels.

Ross Reedy
Swan Solar Energy Designer
Free Solar Energy Consultations


Vote NO on Proposition 23On November 2nd, the voters of California will be asked to make a choice that may very well determine the future of clean power in the United States. As many of you may be aware, several out of state oil companies have invested millions to put Prop 23 (the Dirty Energy Proposition) on the November ballot in an attempt to suspend AB 32, California’s landmark clean energy legislation. The companies behind this proposition are two of the top 10 polluters in California and are pouring millions into an effort to protect their right to pollute here, and take their profits out of state.

AB 32 requires California to use more non-polluting power sources and return emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Since the adoption of AB 32 over four years ago, California has become the clear U.S. leader in clean energy initiatives, creating thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector and attracting $9 billion in clean technology investments. The promoters of Prop 23 say it is good for California say it will protect jobs, but AB32 initiatives such as the Million Solar Roofs initiative and Renewable Portfolio Standard targets have helped the solar industry create thousands of local jobs. Prop 23 puts all of these initiatives at risk. An economic analysis by the Clean Economy Network shows that passage of Prop 23 would jeopardize half a million jobs and 12,000 companies in California’s fastest growing industry.

Both California Republicans and Democrats oppose Prop 23, including both candidates for governor, Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown, governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; George Schultz, Ronald Reagan’s former secretary of state, and Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. California workers also oppose Prop 23, including California Firefighters, California Farm Workers, California Teachers Association, California Nurses and many, many, many more. The American Lung Association and American Cancer Society oppose Prop 23 as well. For an entire list of backers, visit The stark reality is that the vast majority of support for Prop 23 comes from outside of California, to support out of state interests.

Recent polls show that California voters are split on Prop 23, as most don’t know the truth about who is behind it, and what’s at stake. Your vote truly matters. Thousands of businesses, hundreds of thousands of jobs, U.S. National Security and the health of our environment may depend on it, and the entire nation is watching. If California can’t protect its jobs and environment from out of state polluters, it will threaten clean power efforts elsewhere.

Therefore, we encourage you and your family and friends to VOTE NO on Prop 23, the DIRTY ENERGY PROPOSITION.

Best Regards,

Tristan E. Becker
Swan Solar, Sales Manager
Mobile: (949) 274-6671

Too Hot for Solar Panels?!

Most people think that the hotter it is outside, the better it is for solar energy generation from solar photovoltaic panels.  As a matter of fact, up until I started working at Swan Solar, I thought the same thing!

In fact, that is not the case at all.  Solar cells begin to become less efficient at higher temperatures.  Specifically, when the ambient temperature gets above 35 degrees Celsius (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit).

To illustrate this, lets compare two different solar arrays, one located in the Mojave desert, an extremely hot place where temperature regularly gets above 35 degrees Celsius, and one located in the Rocky mountains of Colorado, a place that is regularly colder but sunny.  On an average day in each location, the solar array in the Rockies is actually going to produce more energy than the system in the Mojave desert.  And this is strictly because the temperature in the Mojave is so high it renders solar panels less efficient!

However, the Mojave has more total sunny days over a given period of time than the Colorado Rockies.  What this means is that although the desert has more days when the outside temperature gets “too hot” for solar cells, it also has more days than Colorado that are sunny.  So, in a long-term comparison, the Mojave is actually the better place for solar energy, but not by much!

A picture of my electric meter stopped.Along this logic we can correctly say that Orange County is one of the best locations in the world for solar energy.  Ambient temperatures rarely get hot enough to hurt efficiencies in cells and we see over 300 days of sun every year…another reason why I love living here!

Request a Free Solar Panel estimate for YOUR home!

Swan Solar Total E-Clips

We have all experienced the feeling that arises when we see something clearly for the first time and ask ourselves “How did I not see this sooner?” or “What was I waiting for?”

The feeling that you ‘missed the boat’ can often be frustrating. I am inclined to believe that many people are missing the “Solar Energy” boat, not out of reluctance or apathy, but a consequence of being poorly informed.

The purpose of this blog post is not to criticize or take head-on the educational messages sent through the media on behalf of a rapidly expanding solar industry. I’ll save that for another time. The purpose here is to shine a ray of sunlight on the solar subject as reported from our Swan Solar clients.

Our clients are certainly realizing the daily value of owning a Swan Solar System. Once a month they observe the financial value when reviewing the new “with solar” power statement/bill. The savings are dramatic, and the sense of freedom is palpable!

In today’s world we are occasionally fixated on, and trudge through financial analysis, rates of return, security of investment, pay back periods, and such like. The solar proposition holds it’s own versus current electricity prices to which much of the solar financial quandary is settled. Is that it? Is solar simply a hood ornament with an XYZ internal rate of return?

The answer is a respectful “No!” In many cases solar is a large investment respected by everyone in the industry. We thank all folks throughout the world that have moved beyond the initial investment hurdle to join the ever increasing number of renewable energy system owners.

What more is there? There are many benefits to solar beyond the well documented financial justifications. Let’s look at one.

Swan Solar clients have noted a lifestyle change since “going solar.” Evidently our clients have increased their energy awareness and become determined to lower personal energy consumption!

This is fantastic news. A message not yet being screamed from roof-tops or Sacramento, but give it time!

Photovoltaic solar systems reduce the carbon footprint directly, and system owners further reduce the carbon footprint by way of more frugal and attentive energy use!

“Thank You” to all of our clients from the team at Swan Solar. Thank you for making the commitment to renewable energy, to the environment, the planet, and the future of our children.