Solar products

San Diego Solar Panels

Solar panels are the foundation of a solar system so you want to get them right. We’ll show you everything you need to know.

Everything you need to know about solar panels

Building a solar system is exciting. But without the right guidance, it can feel like a maze of questions: Which installer can I trust? When is the best time to get solar installed? Which panels will offset my electric bill the most? Will I really save money?

Whew, that’s a lot to break down. But that’s why Baker Solar Professionals are here —we know the details that make the difference, so you don’t have to. Let’s start with those solar panels.

What is a solar panel?

Solar panels collect the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity. Solar PV is the most common technology used to power homes.

There are two main Solar PV types: monocrystalline or polycrystalline, and they offer different aesthetics, efficiency, and price ranges. Their output and efficiency ratings determine their size and total output. Panels are an essential part of a solar panel system and these are just a few factors that will play into the type you choose.

Close up of a solar panel

How many will I need?

Sizing your system correctly the first time is critical in meeting your energy goals and maximizing your investment. Why? Because while you can add more in the future, the cost per solar panel will never be as low as it is during your first installation.

Here’s a look at some key things we’ll consider when recommending the size of your system:

1. How much power you use now and how much you plan to use in the future

Your past electric bills will show your usage trends. But we won’t stop there. Think about what you have planned for the future and let us know so we can build your system to handle it. Here are some common changes to consider:

  • Installing a pool, hot tub, or major appliance
  • Getting an electric vehicle
  • Adding a central air conditioner or simply running yours more
  • Switching from a gas dryer to an electric one
  • Growing your family (more people = more energy)

2. Future power degradation

Your solar panels will have a very long life, most likely 25-30 years or more. Though they are a solid long-term investment requiring little maintenance, they have limits, much like any other machinery or appliance you buy. Over time, all solar panels experience some loss of production, known as degradation.

What does this mean for you? To maintain the same output over time, we need to build in enough power to compensate for degradation. For example, our calculations will include a buffer of energy production now, so you’re not limited by slight power loss 15 or 20 years in the future.

Buying quality solar panels also helps. Tier 1 panels guarantee no more than 10% loss over 25 years. This means that in 25 years your system will still be producing above 90% of the energy production you produced when you first went Solar.

3. How time-of-use (TOU) rates will affect you

In California, all solar homeowners must have a time-of-use plan. With TOU plans, the cost of one kWh of electricity varies depending on the time of day. Rates are typically lower during off-peak hours and higher during peak hours like 4-9 pm.

This means when you send excess energy to the utility at 12 pm, you get a lower credit than for energy sent at 5 pm. Likewise, you’re charged this higher rate if you need to draw energy from the grid during peak hours. We recommend planning a 5-10% cushion to counteract these effects.

Can I add more later?

You can. We’d be happy to help you with that too. But if you’re building a solar system with us, let’s get your solar panel installation right the first time.

We could take shortcuts to make your solar panel system seem less expensive upfront, but we’d just be under-sizing your system. So when you inevitably need more power, you’ll be frustrated to learn that adding even a few panels requires the same fixed projects costs as the first installation (e.g., permitting, design and engineering, and an installation crew). You don’t want that.

Instead, we’ll tell you an industry secret: everyone, and we mean everyone uses more power once they get solar energy.
Call it freedom. Call it human nature. Or call it enjoying your ROI. It’s real, and it proves that with solar energy, people stop limiting their energy usage and start living. One of the most common changes we see from our clients is that they finally feel free to run their air conditioner as much as they want!
This may be the most important thing we can stress: The question is not “will you use more power?”. It’s “how much more will you use?”.

We’ve helped 15,000 local homeowners. No one has ever complained that they ended up with too much power. But the few who opted for less power…well, it wasn’t long before they wished for more!

How do I choose?

When choosing your solar panels, you ultimately need to consider quality, performance guarantee and efficiency.

1. The manufacturer

The tiered solar industry classification system is a helpful guide in choosing the best solar panel company for you. Manufacturers are classified as either Tier 1 or Tier 2, depending on factors like how long they’ve been producing solar panels and how they’re known for quality, service, etc.

We recommend Tier 1 solar manufacturers because their solar panels must meet higher standards, like a stricter manufacturing process, and have longer warranties. These companies also have solid reputations. Being able to trust that they’ll be here for the life of your warranty is critical.

2. The power warranty

We recommend solar panel manufacturers who offer a 25-year power warranty. They guarantee your solar panels will produce electricity at minimum 90% of their power output rating at year 25. This warranty covers your system output as a whole.

3. The product warranty

This warranty covers each individual panel. Most manufacturers offer 12 or 15-year product warranties. This means if an individual panel becomes defective during that period, it’s covered. After the warranty is up, you’re responsible for individual panel replacements or repairs.

4. Efficiency preferences

This decision really depends on your situation, goals and budget. The most efficient solar panels will cost a little more, but provide the most power production per square foot, which maximizes output when space is limited. If you’re not limited by space, slightly lower efficiency options may be more budget-friendly.

5. Solar panel cost

As with anything, your budget will play a role in your decision here. The things we’ve covered like manufacturer type, warranties, and efficiency will all impact the cost of the panels. Your installation type — roof-mounted or ground-mounted — will also be a factor.
The good news is your “per panel” cost effectively goes down the more panels you install. Fixed installation costs stay the same whether you install 2 panels or 20, so don’t hold back when deciding how many you want to install. Planning for your future energy needs now will save you the bigger expense of adding one or two panels later (after initial installation).

6. Installation

We hope this is obvious but it’s worth saying anyway. Solar panel kits can be hazardous, likely aren’t warrantied, and can cost far more in the long run. You wouldn’t buy a car in pieces and attempt to put it together yourself. Don’t do it here either.

Let certified installation professionals, like Baker Home Energy, help you choose quality solar panels and handle your system with the utmost care.

Lynda Damato
Lynda Damato
We are very impressed with the caliber of employees this company employs. It is a BIG investment for anyone who is putting in solar/batteries, etc., so you better get the best and most established company you can. There are solar company horror stories about “here today, gone tomorrow” everywhere you turn, but you won’t be one of them if you go with this 80 year old company. I chose them because they did a huge job for my employer 25+ years ago and I was a part of that build out. The company was very pleased. They’re still providing great service. A VERY special shout-out to Felix Ortiz and Bobby (sorry Bobby, I don’t know your last name). All the other folks who were here were great too. It was apparent that they enjoyed working with each other. Felix offered (and did) to paint the outside conduits to match our house. He was was not required to do it, but he did it to make us happy. You don’t get service like that anymore. Even if we have to swap out a light switch Baker is going to do it! Good job, Baker! Read more
Denise W.
Denise W.
We recently had an issue with our furnace not working and we contacted Baker because we have been so pleased with their work and impressed with their staff… Read more
Shanny L.
Shanny L.
We are very pleased with the service we've received, specifically, from the service manager Josh. We ran into some snags, initially, after Baker became… Read more
Jill Tavolazzi
Jill Tavolazzi
Every step along the way with Baker to install solar has been smooth and efficient. They were straightforward, honest, and kept me up-to-date on everything. I researched solar companies and interviewed 3 of them. I was very impressed with Baker, plus they had the best reviews. Their prices were similar to other companies but they gave me an extra $1,000 off (someone referred me) and I am also going to receive $250 for a referral. I also took advantage of their no down, no interest, no payment offer that gives me 18 months to pay my solar installation costs. That allowed me to use my savings for a new roof and fence that I desperately needed. Go with Baker…you will have no regrets! Read more
Andra C.
Andra C.
Our AC went out last night. Great timing with triple digit temps. Carrier gave us a list of companies to service our AC which was still under warranty…. Read more
Caroline M.
Caroline M.
What a great business to do work with! Their staff has been awesome. I have the pleasure of dealing with Jeremy Denton, from customer service, not only that he is very professional, courteous, knowledgeable and takes ownership of the issue and follows up to get resolution, he also seems like a real genuine and caring person. One cannot hope for more from a business. It is so rare in the recent years to find good customer service, and this company exceeds all expectations. Thank you for putting so much emphasis on selecting the right people for your team. Read more
Pat Reynolds
Pat Reynolds
Gustavo Ruiz and his team (Alfredo, Luis, Roman and Bryan) were all very professional and courteous. They were knowledgeable about their business. They arrived promptly at the job site every morning. They performed an outstanding install. They policed the job site for cleanliness and parts before they left. I would highly recommend Baker Electric and this solar roofing team for future work. Tim Akenson and his team performed the solar electrical component install. The roof team did a great job of arranging and installing the solar panels on the roof. Tim and his team did a clean and organized install of all the electrical conduit and control boxes. The complete electrical install was completed in one day. The job looks great. The system was working properly and producing electrical energy that afternoon under test. Tim’s team was very professional, courteous and efficient in performing their job. I would highly recommend them and Baker Solar for future upgrades to my system. Read more
Pat Reynolds
Pat Reynolds
Gustavo Ruiz and his team (Alfredo, Luis, Roman and Bryan) were all very professional and courteous. They were knowledgeable about their business. They arrived promptly at the job site every morning. They performed an outstanding install. They policed the job site for cleanliness and parts before they left. I would highly recommend Baker Electric and this solar roofing team for future work. Read more
Sherry Kear
Sherry Kear
Friendly and terrific energy. Great communication and knowledge. Straight forward and honest. No up selling. Sending details to our email so we can see what the issues are and make the best decision. A low quote cost that can roll over into service. Will definitely call em again and recommend. Read more
Melissa B.
Melissa B.
11 Aug 2022: Initial Contact – Kevin We just signed the contract with Baker to add solar panels and battery backup to our existing system. Am going to… Read more
Mike Lynch
Mike Lynch
Excellent experience. The crews were very professional and quite large to get the required work done in one day. Roofers, then solar, then roofers again, 3 days. They were very respectful of our historic home and obviously had experience with red clay tile roofs. They were also able to work around our delicate gardens. Very, very satisfied. Read more
Sue F.
Sue F.
I give Baker Electric 5 stars and would give them more if I could! They are a first class outfit. In business for almost 80 years and I can see why! I… Read more
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