Why is Now Such a Good Time for Solar

Now is a good time to go Solar

 

Why is Now Such a Good Time for Solar

Despite some of the bad publicity about a few Solar companies, specifically Solyndra, the industry overall is very healthy and provides significant financial and environmental benefits to homeowners and businesses.

There are 3 good reasons why now is a good time to go Solar – it’s all about saving on your utility bills.

  1. You can save immediately on your electric rate, and lock these rates in for 20 years with a Power Purchase Agreement! This is very attractive when utility rates continue to climb at 3-5% per year
  2. Current Lease and Power Purchase Agreements do not require an upfront investment – a huge hurdle for many
  3. Panel prices have come down significantly and Financing companies can pass this on to homeowners

The two most common ways for homeowners to go Solar are through a standard Lease or a Power Purchase agreement. A Solar lease means a homeowner will have the system installed on their roof, or in their yard, and a pay a flat monthly rental fee for the use of the electricity generated by the system. A Power Purchase Agreement means the homeowner agrees to purchase the power generated from their roof at a lower cost (per KWh) than the utility provides, and lock in these rates for 20 years or more. This ensures the homeowner will have a hedge against utility price increases for many years.

So, there’s never been a better time. If you and your home qualify, it makes perfect sense to go Solar! Why do you want to go Solar?

Solar Financing or Purchase Options

Solar Financing or Purchase Options

Solar Financing or Purchase Options

With all the options available today for designing and installing the right Solar System for your home, there are really only 3 considerations for Solar Financing or Purchase Options. These are:

  1. Purchase – depending on your tax and cash flow status, this may the best option. The average cost of a system is $25-30K, so be prepared. You will immediately receive a 30% Federal tax credit, and will also see the most significant reduction in your utility bill. Depending on the size and configuration of your system, the payback period is usually between 5-7 years. However, after that you will have free electricity for as long as the system is in operation, usually 20-25 years or more.
  2. Lease – this is a standard agreement where the homeowner pays a flat monthly fee for having the ability to use power generated from the system. There will be immediate savings on your utility bill, and those savings will increase in future years because the of the typical utility company rate increases of 3-5% per year. Also, the homeowner usually has the option to purchase the system at a fair market value, if it makes financial sense to do so.
  3. Power Purchase Agreement – this is a relatively new option, and is similar to a lease. The difference is that the homeowner agrees to purchase electricity generated from the solar panels at a reduced rate, instead of from the utility. The PPA also allows homeowners to lock in their rates for the length of the agreement (typically 20 years or more), so they have a hedge against the typical utility company rate increases of 3-5%.

With each of these options, the home must qualify by (1) being relatively free of shadows to allow the maximum amount of the sun’s rays at all times of the year, and (2) having few obstacles on the surface of the roof so there can be an optimal number of panels. Either way, it’s a great time to install Solar, so you can generate a lifetime of savings!

St. Benedict Solar School

St. Benedict School

St. Benedict Solar School

Congratulations to the entire St. Benedict school team for successfully completing this large-scale project on extremely short notice! In mid-November the approved installer decided the job was too much to handle and bowed out. Cathy Warshaw, Business Manager at St. Benedict’s, called 1st Light Energy to see if we could complete the job before February 25th, and our team went into action. According to Fred Rhodes, VP of Operations, “everyone on the team worked long hours and overcame many obstacles to get the job done!” Cathy was full of compliments and praise for the quick turnaround, “you did anything it took to get the job done by the deadline”, thus saving her organization about $100K in SREC awards from Jersey City Power & Light (JCP&L).

The system is 255KW (910 panels for the rooftop and ground-mount combination) and will immediately reduce their electric rate from $0.15/KWh to $.09/KWh. These savings will increase significantly throughout the life of the system. In order to meet the tight deadline, the key issues were:

1. New installation drawings (from scratch – reengineering) and new Civil Engineering approval
2. New School roof – approved roofer to put 300 mounting points on a PVC roof (good thing for warm weather) – during Christmas vacation
3. Long lead time for a state-of-the-art ground mount system (ground screws vs. drilling in a concrete post) – arrived last Friday 
4. Township approvals – tree commission, major zoning variance through the Committee, permits, etc.
5. New switchgear for their electrical system to accommodate the increased load from the system

Read more in this article http://matawan-aberdeen.patch.com/articles/st-benedict-s-solar-panel-project. Again, congratulations to all who made this happen.


Holmdel, NJ

ExtraSpace Storage Solar

Extra Space Storage goes Solar

ExtraSpace Storage Solar

Extra Space Storage is the second largest operator of self-storage facilities in the US. They are a national owner, developer, acquirer and operator of professionally managed self-storage properties.

When Extra Space Storage Management saw how much they could save through our retrofit program, as well as the short ROI period, we started working immediately.

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I See a Solar Sunrise

I See a Sunrise

I See a Solar Sunrise

We have a couple of businesses that worked more like a government than a business and an installer or two who perhaps got a little too close to their politicians. Quite frankly, this is the exception and not the rule. I think that solar energy is still a vibrant and wonderful business. Here are a couple of facts taken from SEIA (www.seia.org):

  • The solar industry employs more than 100,000 Americans, more than twice as many as in 2009. They work at more than 5,000 companies, the vast majority being small businesses, in all 50 states.
  • The U.S. solar industry grew by 69% in the past year, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. economy.
  • Since the beginning of 2010, the price of solar panels has dropped by 30%, and costs continue to fall making solar an even more viable choice for residential and business customers.
  • The U.S. was a net exporter of solar products in 2010 by $2 billion. We were even a net exporter to China.
  • Solar power in the U.S. now exceeds 3,100 megawatts (MW), enough to power more than 630,000 homes.
  • Continued industry growth enhances our energy security and diversifies our domestic energy portfolio.

It is almost impossible to keep up with the changes occurring in technology, financing instruments, and available markets. Although some companies came into solar energy with an over-excited wallet, most investors have come in with reasonable expectations and have stayed in the business because those expectations have been met and surpassed. Over 600,000 homes have solar because it made sense to do so. In California and other states where the cost of energy increases the more you use it, solar has reduced home utility expenditures by shaving the higher rates with supplemental solar energy. In New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, and other states, solar energy often is used to completely eliminate the majority of the electricity bill where rates are up over $0.15 per kw. These numbers don’t even include the new installations that are done to remove homes from the power grid.

With news sources constantly looking for new stories and the reporters look for the big break to make a name for themselves, it seems they always turn to people, companies or industries where there has been success stories and try to break them down. The smart money is still pushing into solar projects and smart people are still trying to keep some control over their energy expenses and who is being enriched by their expenditures. More and more, people don’t want their money going into Middle Eastern bank accounts. The best way to get away from participation in that terrible cycle is to have energy independence. The best way to individually gain that independence is through solar energy. No other source of power is available to the individual home owner or business owner the way solar power is. No other energy source can provide the level of energy solar power can without major disruptions in the environment. This industry has a long way to go before it becomes ”saturated“. If you haven’t considered solar power for your business or home, do it. The times have never been better to see the sunrise!!