Auburn is a great city for a Solar Home!

The demand for solar supplies and accessible suppliers has increased in Auburn over the last decade. In order to make the city more accessible, prices have decreased. At the same time, financing and purchase options have improved for California homeowners, making solar less of an anomaly and more of a normal. The more you know about your solar options, how solar works, and what questions you might ask, the more likely you are to make the right solar buying decisions.

Solaria Solar Panels

How Does Solar Work?

Solar energy is the bulk of home solar systems (or photovoltaic, sometimes referred to as PV). These devices can produce electricity through a few primary hardware elements: a panel that converts light from the sun into electricity, and an inverter (or several inverters) that turns the sun’s current into an alternating current that can be used by your home.

Frequently Asked Question: What’s the Difference between a micro inverter and a String Inverter

What to Consider Before Making a Solar Purchase

There are different versions of “going solar” and you need to be sure which one is right for you. One of the principal traps people get into is not getting “enough solar”. Consider how much solar you need prior to making this decision. You need to make sure that you’re at 100% offset if you want your electricity bill to vanish entirely. This would prevent true-up bills from finishing the year and make sure you and your family are completely protected. Since they have a more attractive price point, many companies are attempting to market smaller devices to promote the actual use of energy than you need. If you want to cover just half of your energy, which is also perfectly good, just know what you want and what you get.

panasonic solar panels

How is the Condition of your Roof?

It is important for your roof to be in good shape from a material, shape, and age perspective. You should first consider having these repairs completed beforehand if your roof needs repairs or is a roof that is likely to have to be replaced in the next five years or so. This is because repairs that take place down the road are possibly going to enable you to remove the panels from your roof. You’ll have to have them re-installed after these repairs have been done. Some solar companies partner with roofing companies so that you can get any job that needs to be done at the same time. It should be easy to find out if your roof is in sufficient shape for panels for the solar technician who comes to your house especially if it is strong enough to support them.

Where Does your Roof Face?

Just because you live in a sun-filled city doesn’t mean that your house is a great solar candidate. That is because the angle of your roof plays a role. Your panels will not be as strong as you want if your roof is not located where the sun shines all day. If your roof faces south or west, then you are likely to be a stronger candidate. If your roof, however, has the right pitch, then the panels installed on the north or east of your home will produce enough electricity.

The solar technician who visits your house should be able to figure out if your roof is in good enough shape for panels, particularly if it is strong enough to hold them.

solar roof condition

Project Sunroof is a great tool to see your house’s sun exposure live prior to getting a quote. If your roof isn’t optimal for solar it doesn’t mean you cannot get a system it just means that you and your solar installer will need to work to right fit your home in a different way.

Did You Know There Are Solar System Warranties?

Typically, solar power systems are a fairly smooth and solid investment, they require limited maintenance and are built to last however, all systems should come with a warranty included in the bid but some companies may not include them without you asking. All warranties are not equal, and you should always ask what the warranty length is and on what equipment.

There are typically two types of warranties; one is an equipment warranty on panels and inverters which ranges from 20-20 years on the panels, 5 to 10 for the inverts, and the other is related to the quality of the installer’s work.  i.e. a guarantee that they didn’t make holes in your roof that will lead to leaks. This is normally an average of 10 years.

solar warranty

Example Warranty with Mr. Sunshine Solar

25yr. Product and Performance Warranty “Bumper to Bumper Coverage”
– 25 yr. Panel Warranty
– 25 yr. Inverter Warranty
– 25 yr. Racking System Warranty
The biggest commitment Sunshine makes is to its customers. They operate using the top tier warranties but also have a company committment to transparency, education, and customer service.

Frequently Asked Questions


How heavy are solar panels? This is a common question! On average, solar panels and the mounting equipment weigh 2-4 lbs per square foot (10-20 kg per square meter), which is usually within the acceptable limits of your roof.


Photovoltaics (PV) are best known as a method for generating electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun into electricity. The photovoltaic effect refers to photons of light knocking electrons into a higher state of energy to create electricity.


Solar energy is, simply, the energy provided by the sun. This energy is in the form of solar radiation, which makes the production of solar electricity possible. Electricity can be produced directly from photovoltaic, PV, cells.


When certain semiconducting materials, such as certain kinds of silicon, are exposed to sunlight, they release small amounts of electricity. This process is known as the photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect refers to the emission, or ejection, of electrons from the surface of a metal in response to light. It is the basic physical process in which a solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) cell converts sunlight to electricity.
Sunlight is made up of photons, or particles of solar energy. Photons contain various amounts of energy, corresponding to the different wavelengths of the solar spectrum. When photons strike a PV cell, they may be reflected or absorbed, or they may pass right through. Only the absorbed photons generate electricity. When this happens, the energy of the photon is transferred to an electron in an atom of the PV cell (which is actually a semiconductor).
With its newfound energy, the electron escapes from its normal position in an atom of the semiconductor material and becomes part of the current in an electrical circuit. By leaving its position, the electron causes a hole to form. Special electrical properties of the PV cell—a built-in electric field—provide the voltage needed to drive the current through an external load (such as a light bulb).


A photovoltaic (PV) system needs unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most or all of the day. Shading on the system can significantly reduce energy output. Climate is not really a concern, because PV systems are relatively unaffected by severe weather. In fact, some PV modules actually work better in colder weather. Most PV modules are angled to catch the sun’s rays, so any snow that collects on them usually melts quickly. There is enough sunlight to make solar energy systems useful and effective nearly everywhere in California.


The size of solar system you need depends on several factors such as how much electricity or hot water or space heat you use, how, the size of your roof, and how much you’re willing to invest. Also, do you want the system to supply your complete energy usage or to supplant a portion of your higher cost energy usage? You can contact a system designer/installer to determine what type of system would suit your needs.

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