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Suprise drops solar panel permitting fees

Across America, before you can install solar panels to heat your water or generate clean electricity most likely you will have to file a building permit with your city. The city of Surprise in the greater Phoenix took a bold move to encourage more homes and businesses to seize control of their own energy future. The city council voted unanimously on Thursday night t0 drop all fees related to procuring permits for residents who are installing solar panels to produce electricity or heat water. Typically the city charged 5 for a building permit to build your own power plant. “The mayor and council gave clear direction that solar is a key element in our sustainability commitment. This ordinance is a useful tool in encouraging more people to adopt solar by helping to lower the up front costs.,” said Community Development Director Jeff Mihelich. This is a great sign of the general acceptance of solar energy as a priority on the local level of government. I think more people are realizing that energy is becoming a limited resource and people understand the USA has occupied Iraq for energy reasons. The cities are doing their part to reduce the upfront costs of going solar. Even though the permits are just a small percentage of the total cost of a system every little counts when you remove the barriers to generate green energy. We hope every city across America removes this annoying barrier onto top of the already confusing process of going solar. It seems like renewable energy is going mainstream through local grassroots movement towards clean energy...

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Buying a Small Wind Electric System

Are you thinking about purchasing a small wind power system? Small wind energy systems are the fastest growing form of distributed power generation systems. Many people considering to power their homes or businesses are not familiar with a wind power system don’t even know the right questions to ask to make an educated decision. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has a free consumer’s guide called Buying A Small Wind Electric System which focuses on grid tie wind electric systems to ease the decision making process for many consumers shopping for wind turbines. I think the most important part of the guide is the zoning, tower height and permitting issues which is covered in the guide, many consumers get stuck in the permitting process I have encountered while helping people install their wind power systems. Another important tip the guide mentions is you have to talk to any neighbor 500 feet away from your property who maybe able to see your wind turbine to mitigate the risk of issues with neighbors after the wind power system has been...

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Disinformation: Solar panels ‘take 100 years to pay back installation costs’

I was reading an interesting article today in The Independent, a United Kingdom publication. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), “Solar panels are one of the least cost-effective ways of combating climate change and will take 100 years to pay back their installation costs.” Rics published a new guide on energy efficiency, and stated that solar hot water or solar electric systems are unlikely to save a householder any money and solar energy is a poor investment overall for your pocketbook and the environment. In the case of Solar Hot Water to heat your household water, Rics estimated that the payback period on money saved on electricity and gas would have a payback period of more than 100 years and up to 208 years in their worst case. Rics estimated that Solar Electric Systems would break even in 50 to 100 years! Being a renewable energy professional, I’ve done and seen many of my co-workers do financial calculations and study put out by Rics is total disinformation! I have never seen payback periods that high with electric rates and gas prices shooting through the roof, actually the payback period on solar energy and wind power systems are breaking even much quicker rather then long as Rics claims. The study conducted by Rics is such a hit job for big energy, it’s not even funny how inaccurate their statements are, by spreading this type of propaganda it’s scaring potential consumers away from renewable energy. Rics did not factor any of the rebates and tax credits, they used old data for electric and gas rates and modeled the financial returns based on old solar energy technology, basically they ran the numbers in their favor for the study. So the real question is why are they afaird to publish a real story about the effectiveness of solar energy? What do they have to...

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Will you able to elimate your entire electric bill?

When consumers are considering solar or wind power for their home or small business they typically come in with high expectations of what a system can do for them although when we start to conduct fact finding and uncover how much energy is used, typically the customer is calling because they are an energy hog and think renewable energy will help them magically eliminate their bill. Speaking in realistic terms, most often people will not be able to eliminate their entire electric bill because of the lack of southern facing roof or ground space or their budget is just not large enough to afford the high upfront cost of renewable energy power generation. The avg household in America needs a 5 kilowatt system depending on their location and the peak sun hours they receive, at a price of /watt installed the cost before incentives could rack up to ,000 for a complete installed system. On the other hand and energy efficient home can do well with a 2.5 kilowatt system costing around ,500 before incentives and tax credits. It is cheaper to reduce 1 kWh (kilowatt hour) worth of electricity then it is to produce 1 kWh. So if you are energy efficient off the bat, not only will a solar power system be affordable for you but it will help you achieve the energy dream every solar power shop has in their mind, to eliminate their entire bill. In most cases people who install solar power have systems that reduce their overall usage but do not eliminate their entire bill. When you do the math of an average solar power system produces electricity over a 30 year period at 15 cents per kWh. Taking that into consideration, its most cost effective to just eliminate your most expensive electricity typically the time of use rate or any usage over baseline, which is where the cost of solar power is very competitive.That is the beauty of a grid tied system, is the ability to use the cheap electricity provided by the utility company and offsetting the higher rate charged by the utility company with your solar power...

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Southern California Edison – 25% electric rate hike!

This week, Southern California Edison (SCE) made a huge announcement, according to an article in easy reader news, Scott Gobel, regional manager for Southern California Edison said average customers in SCE territory will see an electric rate hike of 25%! Scott says,”that is a huge increase, In 25 years I’ve worked with this company, we have never raise the rate 25 percent.” Natural Gas is a major element of electricity generation here in the USA and is the reason for the astronomical rate hike customers will start to see on their bills shorty. You thought the pain at the pump was bad enough, well energy inflation is soon going to hit your electric bill. People who have installed solar panels or wind power generators have already locked in their electric rates since they are producing their own clean energy. Renewable Energy power generation is a great tool to hedge against raising energy costs. If you are considering to purchase a solar electric system or a wind turbine and are a SCE customer, well now is the time to start looking into it because your investment is going to pay itself back 25 times faster then...

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Educate Yourself: Don’t Get Fooled by Renewable Energy Scammers

If you’re thinking about purchasing a solar or small-wind system, make sure you do your homework! There’s a good amount of work that goes into making such an important investment, such as doing research on your installer, knowing about the product they’re installing and, most importantly, understanding the rebates available to you as a proud producer of renewable electricity. There are an increasing number people overselling the benefits to solar and residential wind systems, so it’s extremely important that you know what you’re buying! Even worse – there are scammers out there trying to take advantage of this growing market. They’re looking to prey on uneducated, green-minded consumers, so don’t let yourself be one of them! You can help drive these people out of the industry by doing your due diligence. Earlier this summer, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) received numerous phone calls from buyers who had very large deposits for solar systems taken from them. In two of the cases, $40,000 was taken and in the most egregious case, over $105,000 was taken! Now instead of enjoying the benefits of solar, these people are mired down in legal battles to get their money back. Don’t let yourself get into a similar situation. There are a number of things to keep in mind when buying a renewable energy system for your home or business. Here are a few: – Make sure your installer is a licensed contractor. All installers need to be licensed by their respective state. You can simply call your State Contractor’s License Board or visit their website and search for the company doing the job. They will be able to give you everything you need to know about a company. – Know how much the contractor can legally take as a deposit. The cases mentioned above could have been avoided if the buyers knew that in California it is illegal for a contractor to take more than $1,000 for a deposit on a residential job. – Ask if your installer is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). You can go to their website and search for the installer’s name. NABCEP certification is not legally required, but it will show that the installer has had good training. – Compare at least two other quotes for an installation. – Request at least two references from the installer. – Know the various incentives that are available to you and how long it will realistically take to payback your investment. In some cases, sham solar companies are telling customers they will get a return on investment within 11 months! Unfortunately, that’s not going...

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