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Why Solar and What Are The Advantages of Solar?

  • A solar PV system converts the sun’s rays into electricity. By using solar energy, homeowners are helping to increase the amount of clean, renewable energy being used in Los Angeles.
  • Lowers electricity bills through a process known as “net metering” When a customer generates power they are not using, it will feed into the LA electrical grid and your net meter will run backward registering a credit to the account.
  • Increases property value – Capital improvement that delivers a return on your investment.
  • Reduces dependence on fossil fuels
  • Cuts back greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions are from the energy consumption of commercial buildings.
  • Saves you money
  • Boast to the community how you are saving energy
  • Hedge electricity costs for the next twenty years
  • Don’t be left behind by paying more for your electricity! Solar power today is affordable, easy to use and maintenance-free.
  • Few power-generation technologies have as little impact on the environment as solar power. It quietly generates electricity from light and produces no air pollution or hazardous waste. It doesn’t require liquid or gaseous fuels to be transported or combusted. And because its energy source-sunlight is free and abundant, it can guarantee access to electric power.

Why Solar?

Solar Power is a virtually limitless supply of energy. Solar Power allows us to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, coal energy, and nuclear power plants. Solar power is available to us in abundance by the sun and can be harnessed at affordable levels. Using solar power allows you to tap into your current utility connection and receive credits for the electricity you generate. If your solar power is low, you can also tap into your utility company for extra power. You will not run out of power, you will save money, and you will reduce the use of limited resources available to all of us.

What Is A Solar Electrical System?

A Solar Electrical System is a device that generates electricity when exposed to the sunlight. It literally spins the electric meter backwards, providing you free solar electricity day and night! If solar energy is low, you can still generate electricity from your utility.

How Does Solar Power Work?


Silicon wafers laminated under non-reflective glass in solar panels collect photons from the sun, and turn this into DC electrical power. This power then flows to an inverter, which converts and transforms it into usable voltage and AC electrical power.

What Kinds Of Systems Are Available?

There are two basic types: bill reduction and blackout protection. Currently only bill reduction systems are available in the LADWP district.

What Kind Of Solar Systems Do You Offer?

ChangeYourPowerSource, BDS SOLAR, is a commercial and residential solar installation company. We utilize Mitsubishi, Sharp, Canadian Solar, and SolarWorld photovoltaic (PV) power systems.

A Grid-tied vs. a Grid-tied System with Batteries?

  • A Grid-tied Photovoltaic system produces solar electricity during the day and spins your utility meter backwards for you to use free electricity during the night.
  • A Grid-tied Photovoltaic system with batteries provides the same benefits as the system without batteries but, this system will provide limited electricity if the grid fails. The usual protected circuits are refrigerator, telephone, alarm and entertainment circuits. The system provides enough electrical power to provide emergency lighting and minimal comforts during prolonged electrical outages.
Please see the question below regarding your need for a battery powered system.

Is Solar Enough Power To Run My Home?

Yes! A solar electrical system is connected to your electrical main and is designed to offset all power usage within your home or building including air conditioning and all major appliances!

Do I Need Batteries?

No, the most popular systems sold in California do not have batteries and are designed specifically to lower or eliminate electrical bills only. However, you can choose to have batteries as an option for solar electrical systems designed for blackout protection. When power goes out the batteries will operate special isolated circuits in your home, and your “power” stays on!

What Are The Installation Requirements?

We will assist you with getting the required documents and approvals.

  • Permits required from the Department of Building & Safety
  • Equipment must be UL certified and approved by CEC (California Energy Commission).
  • Meet LADWP Solar Photovoltaic Incentive guidelines Note: systems 11kW AC-cec and above have specific requirements.

What Are The Components Of A Solar Installation?

There are 3 components:

  1. Inverter – An inverter takes the power generated by the solar panels and converts it to usable electricity for your home or business.
  2. Racks –
  3. Panels –

How Long Is The Warranty?

Photovoltaic systems have been around for 30 years so far and the original systems are still working just fine. Yet the accelerated testing is giving us numbers like 40-42 years with a 2% per decrease throughout the systems life. Manufacturer Panel warranty is 25 years and Inverter warranty is 10 years. Our labor warranty is 5 years.

What Happens At Night?

Electricity generated during the day, from the solar panels, in excess of your usage is “sent back” to the grid – power company. You will receive “credits” which will go against your usage at night or on severely cloudy days when not enough electricity is generated see note below UPDATE

How Long Does It Take To Install?

Once an estimate has been accepted and material has been received (3-4 weeks) the installation is approximately 4 days. 95% of the installation can be completed with interruption to your power.

What Is The Maintenance On These Systems?

The systems we install require very little maintenance. Because there are no moving parts in a solar power system, there is nothing to go wrong. Basically, make sure the modules are clear of bird droppings and dirt and trees aren’t shading the system and hose off the panels twice per year. Also, make sure the system is putting out its proper power during the year by glancing at the metering system from time to time. Other than that… keep smiling every time you see the sun and knowing it is working for you all day long!

How much roof area do these systems take?

Typically, we need 100 square feet for every kilowatt of photovoltaic system required in a location like Souther California. Solar Systems also need South, West or East facing roofs that are not shaded between 9am and 5pm. Our solar power systems can be flush or tilt mounted and uses light to generate power, not heat. One of the main side benefits of a photovoltaic system is that the solar power system shades your roof and reduces your air conditioning load by 10% saving you even more money.

What if my roof needs replacing?

If you need to replace the shingles the brackets will be worked around – much like your air conditioning and other items atop the roof.
If you need to re-roof it is advisable to remove the panel brackets.
Talk to us about our White Roof application for greater efficiency of your rooftop.

What Geographic Areas Do You Install?

Generally 75 miles from Tarzana, California 91356.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

We are a general contractor with 20 years of experience. We have 5 years experience with installation of solar pool systems.

What Do You Need To Complete An Estimate?

One year of utility (electric) bills. Dimensions and visibility of trees which might shade the panels are determined with our imagery tools. We utilize satellite imagery for rooftop measurements.
Contact your utility supplier’s web site and request a twelve-month history via e-mail

What Is The Cost?

We will come out for a free solar and energy evaluation and will follow up with a competitive bids.
Our goal is to help you Hedge electricity costs for the next twenty years.
The total cost to install the system depends on your electrical usage and your service area. For example a 3kW solar system in California would remove the majority of a $100.00 per month electrical bill. Winter months are a little less and summer months a little bit more.
If you were to purchase this solar power system as a business, besides the California solar power rebates, you would receive an additional 30% Federal tax credit and accelerated depreciation for State and Federal on the balance. Of course, this would be different for each person and tax bracket, and should be examined by your tax professional…but you get the idea. We’re looking at a 3-7 year break-even and a positive cash flow for 30 years.
Another benefit here is solar power systems are exempt from property taxes, a good thing to remember when the tax man cometh. Fax electrical bill with contact information for a cost analysis.
Contact Us for a FREE estimate.

How Much Is The Incentive?

LADWP
The incentive is issued as a one-time payment based on the estimated performance of the solar PV system for the first 20 years of its useful life. If the solar equipment is leased for less than 20 years, the incentive is prorated for the term of the lease.
To calculate the incentive amount, estimate the solar system’s first-year energy production.
Multiply the estimated energy production by 20 years (or term of equipment lease)
Multiple the estimated energy production by 0.9 (the system degradation factor)
Multiply the estimated energy production by the incentive rate in $/kWh (currently Oct 2009: $0.10kWh for taxable entities and $0.13 for non-profit and government entities)

SCE
Two types of incentives are available through the CSI (California Solar Initiative) program:

1. An up front incentive based on the solar energy system’s estimated future performance, applies to projects less than 50 kilowatts (kW)
2. A flat cents-per-kilowatt hour performance based incentive that is paid over 60 months, applies to projects greater than 50kW
Incentives in California will decline as more systems are installed.The CSI Incentive Trigger tracker, available at www.sce.com/csi provides information on current incentive levels based on customer classification and the size and characteristics of the solar installation.

Additionally, in 2009, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed bills that require investor-owned utilities like Southern California Edison to buy surplus solar electricity generated by homes, small businesses and by warehouses whose sun-baked roofs could be transformed into solar power plants. The new solar legislation does not affect municipal utilities like LADWP (AND PG&E.)

What Are The Federal Tax Incentives?

30% credit or 10% – 30% payment in lieu of tax credits
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 section 1603, the United States Dept of Treasury makes payments to eligible persons who place in service specified energy property and apply for such payments. By receiving payments for property under section 1603, applicants are electing to forego tax credits under sections 48 and 48 of the IRC with respect to such property for the taxable year in which the payment is made or any subsequent taxable year.

Solar is eligible at a rate of 30%- if installed during 2009 or 2010.
Payments are received via submission of an on-line application before Oct 1 2011. See www.treasury.gov/recovery,. Consultant your Tax specialists for details applicable to you.

How Do I Apply For My Rebate?

Please look at www.ChangeMyPowerSource.com/incentives there is a flow chart to assist you. One thing which is imperative – an appointment must be made before the solar panels are installed with your utility company. Then a second visit is made after the installation. We are can help through all of the paperwork.

Who Is Qualified To Install My Solar Panels?

We are a licensed contractor. We are registered with the State CSI (California Solar Initiative) website as a contractor for solar installation. Our license number is 6147006.

Solar is GREAT! How Can I Get Started?

Please contact us (link) for a free estimate. Once we review and analyze your current monthly electricity usage and bills, we talk about your needs based upon your budget and how much savings you would like to receive from solar power, we use satellite imagery to provide a thorough evaluation and estimate. We will then visit your California home or business, determine structural qualifications, placement, etc., and then we make a system recommendation. We make the process as simple as possible!

Should you have any further questions and/or remarks, feel free to contact me. Talk to you shortly.