Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re like most of our customers, you have tons of questions about going solar. To that end Solar Harmonics has the created the world’s first Solar Podcast, called Straight-Talk Solar Cast! Since 2017 this is your go-to podcast for answers about solar! (Please Subscribe here!) In every episode we discuss the most important decisions facing anyone considering solar. Check our episodes below!
Swimming Pools + Solar
As it gets warmer, people are starting to want to use their swimming pools. Most pool owners believe their pools are expensive to operate, but with a variable speed pool pump, electric heat pump and PV solar, swimming pools can be a net-zero system. Stay Safe and Stay Home!
Was PG&E to Blame for the 2018 Camp Fire?
ln this week’s podcast we discuss a story that seems to have flown under the radar due to the shelter in place news, and that is PG & E Pleads Guilty to 84 Counts of Manslaughter for the Camp Fire in 2018. The magnitude of this story is overwhelming, especially when above ground powerlines are everywhere, and there are countless examples of trees intertwined with the powerlines.
How Can I Keep Calm During the Shelter in Place Requirement?
In this week’s episode we discuss the new Shelter in Place requirement. Many people are now required to work from home, and thankfully this is not happening during the hot summers. What would happen if the Shelter in Place happened when everyone needed their air conditioning to work from home? More than likely, rolling blackouts and solar + storage can help keep the power on!
How Does Covid 19 Connect with Solar Ownership?
In today’s podcast, we get to talk about how in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, solar power provides a sense of independence and self-reliance when many people feel out of control. PG & E Planned Shutdowns, weather outages, and now COVID-19, many people take control with solar power to help them feel in control of their energy production with clean power and saving thousands of dollars every year.
What Should I Do With My Solar Panel System When I Move?
In this week’s podcast, we answer the question of what to do with your solar panel system when you are moving to a new home. As with most things solar, there are things to make sure to do, and things to avoid. Many considerations in the new home as well! If you know anyone in the real estate business, or if they are planning to sell their home that has solar already, this podcast is for them!
How Does Homeowner's Insurance Change When Buying a Solar Panel System?
In this week’s podcast, we discuss the impacts of a solar panel system on a homeowner’s insurance bill. Steve Doden from Goosehead Insurance joins us to briefly discuss what a new or existing solar panel system owner can expect, and what to do if their insurance premiums increase a result of the new system. We also touch on fire safety and how trees near the home can impact solar exposure, creates a massive fire hazard, and provide a rodent superhighway into the attic.
I Have Many Solar Quotes, Now How Can I Compare Them?
In this week’s podcast we respond to a listener question about sorting out the various solar quotes he received, and what to look for in a solar company before going forward. It’s not so much about the equipment as it is about the financing and installer reputation.
How Does California's AB5 Affect the Solar Industry?
We discuss the impacts of AB5 not only on the solar industry unforeseen but other unforseen impacts of the new AB5 contractor to employee rule. Most importantly, we discuss how AB5 is being enforced by the state and the penalties for non-compliance.
When Does it Make Sense to Expand My Solar Panel System?
How Has the Trump Administration Supported Solar?
In this week’s podcast we discuss the approval of the largest solar farm in US history by the Trump Administration, and there are more solar farms to come. The intersection of financial goals and environmental goals is the common ground for everyone!
What are the Job Prospects in the Solar Industry?
In most podcasts we discuss the demand side of the solar industry. In today’s podcast, we discuss the supply side, the challenges in labor that we face in the construction business, and our strategies to plan for future labor supply.
How Can Solar Help My Cannabis Business?
In this week’s podcast, we discuss how some Californian’s are starting to grow their own cannabis, and are finding it to be a very electricity heavy venture. We discuss how solar power is a solution to help foster California’s next largest cash crop.
How Does AB5 Connect with Solar for Businesses?
In this week’s podcast we discuss the new 1099 vs. W2 employee rules and how they will affect businesses in California. Many businesses are struggling to figure out how they can proceed, but considering solar is a good hedge against rising costs!
How Should We Deal with PG&E Shutdowns?
In this week’s podcast, we discuss another shutdown horror story, how the solar industry is preparing for more shutdowns, and working together with our clients to help us all deal with the new normal.
What Should we Expect in 2020 in Solar?
In this week’s podcast we discuss the new rules going into effect in 2020, and how they will affect the solar industry. Specifically, we discuss the reduction of the solar tax credit from 30% to 26%, and how solar is now mandatory on new homes.
What Happens When PG&E Shuts off the Power? Real-Life Battery Backup Story
In this week’s podcast, we talk about all of the recent action going on in the world of solar power, and a quick update on a client who did have a backup battery installed before the PG&E shutdown, and her experience relying on backup power from her battery.
What's the Good News in Solar? Battery Backups!
In this week’s podcast, we discuss the good news in solar power among all of the PG & E power shut down craziness. Many people are feeling the pain of the shutdowns and are now motivated to go solar and add battery backup to their homes and businesses.
Who Should Expect to be Affected by Future PG&E Shutdowns?
In this week’s podcast, we continue to discuss the implications of the intentional power shutdown by PG&E, who the shutdown affects, and why the shutdown is not a temporary isolated event. This may be the new normal…
What is The Solar Game Changer - PG&E's Planned Power Outages?
In this week’s podcast, we discuss the 2019 Planned Power Outage by PG&E, and the implications the outage has on the solar industry, along with how the outage impacted over 900,000 people in PG&E territory at the same time!
What About the PG&E Shutdowns?
In this week’s podcast, we discuss the recent shutdown by PG&E, the implications, and strategies for our clients with future shutdowns. Over 900,000 PG&E customers lost power for more than 5 days, and we discuss the role solar power can have to mitigate future outages.
What Are Solar Energy System Disclosures?
In this week’s podcast, we discuss the new disclosure requirement for solar projects. Customers must sign off they have reviewed the solar disclosures regarding PACE, HERO, leases, and unlicensed contractors. Solid solar companies are annoyed at the new disclosures as they are unnecessary, but shaky solar companies should be nervous…
Does Solar Affect My Real Estate?
In today’s podcast, we discuss the affects of solar leasing on today’s real estate deals. We talk about PACE & HERO loans, and how they affect a real estate sale or loan refinance, and much more. Educating the real estate professionals about solar financing is a big hurdle for the solar industry and its future growth.
Know anyone in the real estate industry? This would be a great podcast to share with them!
Are Online Reviews Biased?
In this week’s podcast, we discuss not only the upcoming federal solar tax credit decreasing to 26 % on January 1st, 2020, but we also discuss how reliable online reviews, review services, and solar panel reviews are, and what to look for to avoid bias in the reviews.
Here’s a quick list of Solar Harmonics’ online reviews:
Diamond Certified: https://www.diamondcertified.org/report/solar-harmonics-inc/
30% Solar Federal Tax Credit is Shrinking
Solar + BitCoin Mining
Wondering how excess solar energy can be used to ‘mine’ for BitCoin and other cryptocurrencies? There is some time and investment required, but the opportunity is still there, and solar power makes this process even more profitable. Learn more on our podcast!
Client Ghosting & How to be a Great Solar Client
With everything in life seeming to get more expensive, going solar gives you a sense of independence from not only the electric company, but when solar is combined with an electric car, you also get independence from the gas/oil industries too. Add in the tax benefits and more people will join us and ask, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” Learn more on our podcast!
Solar + Backup Generators
Leatn the pros and cons of backup generators vs battery backup systems. PG&E is sending out a ton of notices to their customers letting them know of planned outages, and most solar clients are considering a battery backup to cover for the outages. In this week’s podcast, we discuss how a backup generator is a better solution than a battery system for backup power.
Solar for HOA's
In this week’s podcast, we discuss one of the untapped markets in the world of solar power – Home Owner’s Associations. These groups are challenging and rewarding to work with, and we discuss the best practices so both sides come out with a win/win at the end of the project.
This Week in Solar
PG&E Planned Blackouts
In this week’s episode we discuss recent solar news. Did you know that PG&E is planning rolling blackouts for the summer? This is generating a lot of interest in solar power + battery systems. We discuss the substance vs. the fluff. And a few more happenings this week in solar industry news. Here’s a recent quote from NPR:
Feedback from Solar Internet Trolls
In this week’s episode we explore how the solar industry continues to shoot itself in the foot with high pressure sales, poor communication and unrealistic expectations. Learn more on our podcast!
What Makes a Nice Solar Installation Experience?
In this week’s episode, Solar Expert Jamie Duran describes how to make your solar experience a nice, friendly, transaction that will exceed your expectations. Learn more on our podcast!
Electric Vehicles & Solar Energy
Not exactly in the realm of solar energy, but how we commute each day affects how we live each day. In today’s podcast we discuss how electric vehicles are becoming much common and how solar energy can become the fuel of the future. Learn more on our podcast!
Another Solar Lease Nightmare
Check out this new nightmare for solar leasing customers, and this one is on a big scale! Learn more on our podcast!
Survey from the SGIP (Battery Storage Questions)
In this week’s podcast, Jamie Duran answers questions from the Self Generation Incentive Program regarding battery storage questions.
Whole House Fans & Solar
Whole house fans are great for two story homes and can reduce air conditioning costs by 40 – 60%. Learn more on our podcast!
Why is it necessary to use a licensed contractor for your solar project?
In this week’s podcast, we answer the question “Why is it necessary to use a licensed contractor for your solar project? Learn the answer on our podcast!
I Got a Better Deal
In this week’s podcast, we focus on the “I Got a Better Deal” situation that is all too common in the solar industry. Learn more on our podcast!
How to Prepare for Going Solar
Want to make your solar installation go as smooth as possible? Check out this podcast as solar Expert Jamie Duran details the exact steps you need to take care of so you can get ahead of the solar installation process. Learn more on our podcast!
The adage “too good to be true” is alive and well in the solar industry, especially when it comes to financing your solar panel system. In this podcast Jamie breaks down the dangers of unrealistic interest rates on unsecured loans for solar. Many financing companies advertise unbelievable interest rates for loans – but those loans come with a 15% or 20% loan fee that many times isn’t disclosed properly in the solar contract. Listen to this podcast to learn the best way to finance your solar panel system, and the ONE question you need to ask when going solar. Learn more on our podcast!
Whole House Fans & Solar
Whole house fans are great for two story homes and can reduce air conditioning costs by 40 – 60%. Learn more on our podcast!
Swimming Pools & Solar
Changing from a single speed pool pump to a variable speed pool pump can save $50 – $100 per month in electricity costs. Learn more on our podcast!
Solar Monitoring - Why You'd Be Crazy not to Monitor Your System
Many other solar companies do not monitor their client’s systems. Sometimes power surges or outages happen that shut off the solar from the breaker panel. Without monitoring, you can go months without noticing no solar production. Learn more on our podcast!
Paralysis Through Analysis – Choosing the Right Solar Company
Checking a company’s reputation with the state contractor board, online reviews, awards and certifications all give a good indication of how well the installer’s customers would go solar again with that company. Learn more on our podcast!
Solar & Newly Built Homes
California is now requiring new homes to come with solar. How in the world will a customer know what their usage will be when they have never lived there? It makes more sense to have the home ready for solar, and use energy efficient appliances and then go solar after 1 year. Learn more on our podcast!
Diamond Certified & Checking Your References
With Diamond Certified, they sampled 100 of our past clients and asked them 6 questions. Solar Harmonics scored a 9.9 out of 10 rating that our clients would use us again for their solar projects. Learn more on our podcast!
Solar Lease = The Albatross on the Roof
Do you know anyone in the real estate or mortgage business? Ask them their experience with solar leases, PPA’s and PACE loans and you will hear the real estate horror stories that you want to avoid. Most are tragic! Learn more on our podcast!
Rental Properties & Solar
Currently the tenant pays the rent to the landlord, and pays their electricity bill separately. What if the landlord could collect the rent + electricity bill from the tenant at the same time? The value of the rental increases immediately, and the renters tend to stay in the rental much longer. Learn more on our podcast!
The Future of PG&E
As PG & E fights through bankruptcy, we are confident they will still be in business to deliver natural gas and electricity to their clients. Just about everyone expects those costs to increase, so solar power offers a much better alternative in just about every way. Learn more on our podcast!
Commercial Real Estate & Solar
Solar on buildings reduces costs, increases cash flow and that cash flows straight to the bottom line. Divide the increase in cash flow by the market cap rate, and solar increases the value of the building from the first day. Learn more on our podcast!
Community Choice Aggregation
CCA’s such as Marin Clean Energy are fantastic for solar customers. Most will pay much higher rates for solar overproduction than PG & E, and many customers can oversize their systems to get paid $300 – $500 per year. Learn more on our podcast!
Solar and a Pool; What Pool Owner Should Know About Solar
Thermal Water Pool Panels tend to leak over time and use a lot of electricity to pump the water from the pool to the roof and back to the pool. A much more efficient system is an electric heat pump that stays on the ground & uses air induction to heat the pool. Learn more on our podcast!
How To Maximize Your Solar Panel Output
Solar panels need sun to perform at their best. Shade from trees, chimneys, roof structures, satellites dishes, etc. can all reduce the solar panel output. It is in the best interest of the owner to reduce or remove these shading issues if possible to maximize solar output. Learn more on our podcast!
The Golden Year for Solar Power
Every year is a great year for going solar, but we will look back on 2019 as the best year ever as electricity rates will be at record levels, the 30% tax credit is declining, and solar panel prices are as low as they will ever get. Learn more on our podcast!
The Tesla Powerwall
Battery storage in general does not make much financial sense. Storing excess power in a battery system means the system is missing out on the Net Energy Metering credit, which is a huge benefit lost. Learn more on our podcast!
President Trump and Solar Energy
Solar tariffs approved by President Trump have increased prices artificially, pushing suppliers to move their production out of China, but still able to offer relatively low pricing. Very little has happened to increase manufacturing in the United States. Learn more on our podcast!
Solar Roof Tiles from Tesla Solar
We think the roof tiles look and perform great, and we have been installing them for many years now. The downside for most customers is that the tiles produce about 1/5 the energy of a normal solar panel, and they are very expensive to install, generally twice the cost of a standard solar installation. Learn more on our podcast!
Is Solar a Good Investment?
Solar could be the safest investment any homeowner can make. Not only do systems start producing from the first day, but the cost of electricity can only increase. Once the solar panels are paid off, they do not stop producing so the benefits extend 30 years into the future. Learn more on our podcast!
How Do You Make the Decision to Go Solar
In general, if your electricity bill is greater than $100 per month, and you plan to be in your home for the next 5 years, solar is a no brainer. Learn more on our podcast!
What's a Micro-Inverter?
Microinverters allow each solar panel to produce power independently of the other panels, and we often see higher output than other inverter systems. There are some downsides of microinverters however. Learn more on our podcast!
What's an Inverter?
The solar panels themselves generate direct current power from the electrons in the crystalline smashing into each other. The power we use is called alternate current (AC), and the solar inverter “inverts” the DC power to AC power, which is what we use everyday. Learn more on our podcast!
What's the Best Solar Panel?
That’s subjective question as most solar panels are pretty similar in their power generation, efficiency, etc.. It is similar to asking, “what is the best car?” All cars will provide a way to get from A to B, but the best car depends on what is most important to the driver. Same with solar panels, and why we give our clients a choice of “good, better, best” choices. Learn more on our podcast!
Solar & Electric Cars; How We Can Save the Planet
The best strategy maximize your solar investment is to drive an electric vehicle. Your solar panels generate electricity, and charging your electric car from your home reduces the need for fossil fuels from countries are in constant conflict. Learn more on our podcast!
How Much Does Solar Cost?
In general, most solar panel systems break even in 4 – 6 years depending on the size of the electricity bill. In PG & E territory, electricity is very expensive and continues to increase each year. Including the federal tax credit, solar will pay for itself in just about 5 years for homes and 4 years for businesses and farms. Learn more on our podcast!
Leasing Solar vs. Owning Solar
Owning solar has many more benefits than solar leasing. We strongly advise against solar leases, power purchase agreements and PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) loans to finance solar panel systems. Learn more on our podcast!
What's My Return on Investment (ROI) for going Solar?
In general, solar pays for itself in just over 5 years. As electricity costs continue to rise, solar continues to produce power. And as long as the sun rises, solar panels will produce power. And the savings are after tax, so solar can be considered the safest investment possible.As PG & E fights through bankruptcy, we are confident they will still be in business to deliver natural gas and electricity to their clients. Just about everyone expects those costs to increase, so solar power offers a much better alternative in just about every way. Learn more on our podcast!
My husband and I got our solar put in February 2017, after much consideration. We did our research and Solar Harmonics was the best fit for us! They’re pricing is fantastic, they were easy to work with, great communication, and getting things installed quickly was a breeze. They were recommended to us by neighbors and we highly recommend them to anyone else!
I have never posted a review on yelp before and generally don’t post reviews, although I find them incredibly useful when researching purchases. But, I feel it’s worth my time to let other people know of my experience with Solar Harmonics compared to my experience with a couple of other companies.
First, if you are considering a solar panel project, I highly recommend Solar Harmonics. Solar Harmonics was professional, courteous, and was fantastic at keeping me updated about every step of the solar panel installation process. All of my questions and issues were answered promptly and clearly and I really appreciated him working with me to determine if solar could be installed on my roof.
Prior to working with Solar Harmonics, I tried another local installer and they kept trying to sell me a lease even after I made it clear I did not want a lease (goodbye). I then tried getting solar through a website where contractors submit competing bids and the customer can choose which bid to accept. This was a nightmare. I spent about four months of phone calls and emails with nothing getting done after selecting one of those bids. I was lied to and misled and the price could have potentially nearly doubled after being told I needed a panel upgrade (another lie as Solar Harmonics inspected the panel and informed me no panel upgrade would be necessary). After four months, I was never even sent a contract showing the actual price. This was a year ago and I gave up after that.
Thankfully, I decided to try one more time and contacted Solar Harmonics. The contrast in experience couldn’t be any more different from what I experienced previously. There was no pushy selling. Instead, he worked with me to determine if solar would work for me. Communication was superb and the process was incredibly fast.
I am a 64 year old home owner who worked for 30 years as an aircraft quality engineer. I have never written a review for any product or service, but I am compelled to do so for Solar Harmonics. The service was first class. Any and all emails were answered promptly, most in a matter of minutes. The job of installation was completed professionally with little or no intrusion into my lifestyle. The price for the job was extremely reasonable. Do not go with the big corporate solar installers. You will pay twice as much and get half the service for the same product. A special thank you to the owner of Solar Harmonics who was always there to help with any issues that I had.
Don’t think twice. Use Solar Harmonics as your solar installer.
We chose Solar Harmonics as our installer due to their astonishing Diamond Certified Rating. Our sales consultant was very knowledgeable and straightforward in explaining the pros and cons of having solar at this time due to future electricity rate hikes we are expected to get by the end of the year. We want to take advantage to lock in on current rates than pay the future rates in kwh.
Solar Harmonics install team did an incredible job installing the 19 solar panels at 300w rating. We also installed an Ev plug connection in our garage. They matched the paint color on the conduit to our trim color so it blends in so well we couldn’t tell there was an installed conduit.
I would recommend Solar Harmonics again and again. We took less than 4 weeks to plan, install, and connect to the grid to start saving money on electricity. Thank you Solar Harmonics for making this all happen.