Diamond Certified Blog

Tag Archives: Solar

Video: Financing Your Solar Installation with PACE

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips about residential solar. One tip mentioned a recent financing program available to California homeowners called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE. To learn more about PACE and its benefits, watch this informative video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Randy Zechman of Clean Solar, Inc.

To learn more about solar power and other topics, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Diamond Certified Experts | Tags:

Diamond Certified Experts: Residential Solar Basics

Despite the prevalence of solar power, many Bay Area homeowners still aren’t sure how to take advantage of it. Photo: Freedom Solar, Inc. (2016)

Despite the prevalence of solar power, many Bay Area homeowners still aren’t sure how to take advantage of it. Photo: Freedom Solar, Inc. (2016)

Not long ago, solar power was a fringe technology whose viability as a widespread energy source remained in question. Flash forward a couple of decades to today, where solar panels can be seen mounted on rooftops and hillsides throughout the Bay Area and beyond. However, while Bay Area residents have become well-acquainted with the concept of solar power, many still don’t know how to incorporate this revolutionary technology into their own lives. To learn more, we’ve asked seven Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to shed some light on the basics of residential solar.

Determining whether solar is worthwhile for you
Everyone knows solar power works, but the question on most homeowners’ minds is whether it will work for them. According to Christina Danenhower of The Solar Company, there are a few factors that go into determining this, one of which is the amount of sunlight your home receives during the day. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Residential Solar Basics” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Diamond Certified Experts | Tags: , , ,

Swim ‘n’ Save: How to Splash the Cost of Running Your Pool

save-energy-swimming-pool

Swimming pools may be notorious energy guzzlers, but there are plenty of ways for pool owners to decrease their summertime power bills. Photo: Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc. (2016)

While children anxiously await the coming of summer, there are others who are less enthusiastic about it—and no, we’re not just talking about their parents. Motorists, for example, know all too well the “pain at the pump” that sets in as gas prices make their seasonal ascent. Likewise, if you’re a swimming pool owner, you experience a similar summertime phenomenon—only, instead of the fuel pump, your pool pump is the source of pain. Let’s face it: swimming pools are enjoyable, but they aren’t cheap to maintain. In fact, it’s been estimated that homes with swimming pools use almost 50 percent more electricity than those without. Continue reading “Swim ‘n’ Save: How to Splash the Cost of Running Your Pool” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Making Sense of Solar

Today, many homeowners are considering the benefits of going solar because of energy savings and tax credits. Systems are also getting more affordable. I asked Sungevity’s Sloane Morgan to answer some of the most common questions.

Most solar panels are designed to only lose 1 percent efficiency each year. Photo: Sungevity (2016)

Most solar panels are designed to only lose 1 percent efficiency each year. Photo: Sungevity (2016)

Is it expensive to install solar?
When residential solar systems were first introduced, they were expensive for the average homeowner, but solar panel prices have dropped radically since then Continue reading “Making Sense of Solar” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Savvy Tips, Solar Power | Tags: , , , , ,

When in Drought, Californians Can Turn to Solar Energy

Skiers Avoid dry patches at Squaw Valley during drought

Skiers avoid dry patches at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Photo: Max Whittaker/Getty Images/New York Times via Sungevity, 2015

This article originally appeared on the blog of Sungevity, a Diamond Certified company.

Guest post by Leslye Penticoff

In April, California’s Governor Jerry Brown imposed mandatory restrictions on the state’s water use for the first time in history. The announcement coincides with the end of another disappointing winter season for local skiers, who looked on enviously as snowfall set records in New England. The evidence is clear: the drought in California is serious, and it’s getting worse. So, why is solar energy making us hopeful? Because solar energy requires little to no water to generate electricity, unlike other energy sources, and it’s growing like gangbusters across California. Continue reading “When in Drought, Californians Can Turn to Solar Energy” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Solar Power | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Residential Solar Power: The Basics

With California experiencing one of the worst droughts in recorded history, it’s a great time to explore converting to solar. Not only can solar power help put the brakes on climate change, it’s also one of the least “thirsty” methods of generating electricity. According to Diamond Certified solar company Sungevity, coal-fired power plants require 100 to 1,000 gallons of water to generate one megawatt-hour of electricity. Solar, by comparison, requires zero gallons of water to produce the same amount of electricity (more details). With this in mind, we’re re-posting this timely article on how to get started with a  residential solar power system.

Solar panels are low maintenance.

Keeping your solar panels in good shape is actually relatively simple. Photo: Synapse Electric, 2015

People have many reasons for switching to solar power, from rising electricity consumption and energy costs to growing concerns about the environment. Regardless of why you want to install a solar system on your residential or commercial property, there are numerous factors to consider before making a final decision. To ensure you’re as knowledgeable as possible when going through the process, consider the following tips and information:

Continue reading “Residential Solar Power: The Basics” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Solar Power | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Locking in Your Utility Rate with Solar

Modern consumers are relying on electrical power more than ever—a fact made apparent by the growing prominence of electric vehicles. The problem is that power rates aren’t static; they increase exponentially in proportion to increases in usage. So, if your power bills are out of control, it’s time to seriously consider installing a solar power system on your property.

While solar power offers financial benefits like utility rebates and tax incentives, the single greatest savings to be had is on your monthly power bill. Photo: Sierra Roofing & Solar (2014)

While solar power offers financial benefits like utility rebates and tax incentives, the single greatest savings to be had is on your monthly power bill. Photo: Sierra Roofing & Solar (2014)

The exponential correlation between usage and utility rate is something electric vehicle owners are finding out the hard way. Continue reading “Locking in Your Utility Rate with Solar” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips, Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Going Off-Grid with Solar Power

With the right application, going off-grid with solar power can be an advantageous option. Photo: Freedom Solar (2014)

With the right application, going off-grid with solar power can be an advantageous option. Photo: Freedom Solar (2014)

With the growing popularity of solar power, more and more homeowners are making the switch to this affordable, environmentally-friendly energy source. However, many are unaware of the scope of their options, particularly in regard to on- and off-grid systems. While the majority of solar power systems are connected to the main utility grid, off-grid installations remain independent of central power, which can be a beneficial option under the right circumstances. Continue reading “Going Off-Grid with Solar Power” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

How to Differentiate Quality in Solar Panels

When shopping for solar panels, seeing the numerous products available on the market might get you thinking about quality. Is one panel really that much different than another? Is it really worth it to pay more for expensive panels? As with most products, where there’s a variance in price, there’s usually a variance in quality as well. Here are a couple of the major differences between high- and low-quality solar panels:

High-quality solar panels can maximize both your energy savings and the longevity of your system. Photo: Complete Solar Solution (2013)

High-quality solar panels can maximize both your energy savings and the longevity of your system. Photo: Complete Solar Solution (2013)

Panel degradation
One of the primary differences between expensive and inexpensive solar panels is the rate of panel degradation—that is, the amount of production efficiency the panels lose over time. Continue reading “How to Differentiate Quality in Solar Panels” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Diamond Certified Tips of the Day: Best of 2012 (Part 1)

The Diamond Certified Tip of the Day series was a big hit with consumers this year, providing useful information and advice for a wide range of topics across many different service industries. The series will continue in 2013 and beyond (with the addition of new media channels!), but in the meantime, here are 5 of the most popular tips from 2012. Look for Part 2 next week!

1. Solar
Before installing a residential solar system, take steps to ensure your home is as energy-efficient as possible. Install weather stripping around doors and windows, add new insulation in walls and attic spaces, switch to fluorescent light bulbs, or insulate your water heater and water pipes. By reducing your energy needs, you can reduce the size and cost of the solar system you’re installing.

2. Cars
Leaving your car idling in the driveway actually wastes more gas than driving it, as it requires the fuel injectors to provide extra fuel to the engine for a longer period of time. When your car’s engine is cold, its computerized sensors tell the fuel injectors to stay open longer, allowing more fuel to flow to the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Tips of the Day: Best of 2012 (Part 1)” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , ,