Call (888) 338-0183 or click here for solar pricing


demand charges explained

Demand charges are a significant cost on your overall electric bill but very few people understand what a demand charge really is. I recommend everyone who is considering to do energy efficiency upgrades or install solar panels and wind turbines start with analyzing a 12 month history their electric bill first. Understanding the rate you are being charged per kWh and other elements of your billing is important for you to make effective energy reduction decisions. Demand charges are a cost on your electric bill which are based on the greatest amount of electricity used in any half hour period during the billing period. The charges are represented as a dollar per kilowatt (kW) and is applied to your maximum kW demand also know as the highest rate at which you required energy. Demand is the rate of how fast electricity is delivered to you over a half hour period of time. For example, if you have all your appliances running at your house at the same time your electric meter would spin forward really fast therefore your demand charges would skyrocket. Demand charges represent the rate of how fast you are consuming...

Read More

cities overcharging for solar power permits

The Sierra Club, an environmental protection advocacy group did a study of solar panel permitting fees in the Bay Area (Northern California) and the results are shocking. Solar power is associated with a high upfront investment to get started and cities that charge extravagant fees for people to install solar panels are not helping push the green energy revolution forward. They’re a hindrance to the process of helping our environment and economy get back on track by making solar power more accessible to it’s citizens. Many cities across the USA have made acquiring a building permit for solar panels completely free but on the other hand cities like Cupertino, CA charge $11,737 dollars for a building permit for a 49kW (kilowatt) commercial solar electric system, a system valued at $475,000. A year ago Bethel Lutheran Church in Cupertino installed 150 solar panels reducing the church’s electric bill by 40% and the environmental benefits the system contributed. The church was shocked when they received a bill for $5,700 from the city for the permitting fees! After three meetings with the city council Pastor Randy Pabst was able to bring down the fees to $1,o00. What do you think about solar panel permitting fees? are they excessive in your city or are you lucky to live in a progressive city that does not charge for solar panel...

Read More

plastic solar cells = lower cost per watt

Organic solar cells are translucent, flexible, lightweight and cost less to manufacturer compared to silicon based solar cells because they are composed of a plastic material. Solar panels have not reached grid parity (a cost competitive to fossil fuel based energy) and that’s the primary reason people are excited about organic solar cells. According to Solarmer Energy, the leading developer of organic solar cells, they have independently verified their plastic solar cell was able to reach an efficiency of 6.31% and will be presenting their technology at organic photovoltaics 2009 a conference which focuses on plastic based solar cells. Plastic based solar cells can also improve building integrated photovoltaics a term that describes embedding solar cells into existing building materials. The picture above highlights how plastic based solar cells can be infused into an awning that has a dual purpose of providing shade yet collecting electricity simultaneously. Do you think organic solar cells expand the solar power horizon? Will the technology be able to reach efficiencies and cost reduction in which the cost per watt will be competitive to subsidized fossil fuel based...

Read More

how are solar panels for homes financed?

One of the most popular methods people use to finance solar panels was home equity loans. Although not many people have equity in their homes today, the people who do have an extreme advantage since interest rates are at historic lows, therefore people with good credit and equity in their homes can borrow money for cheap and invest it into a solar electric system which will lower or eliminate their electric bills. Solar electric systems generate cash flow for your home, therefore the ideal situation would be to replace your monthly electric bill with a fixed monthly payment on a loan for a solar panels for your home, wouldn’t you agree? Companies like New Resource Bank are offering a zero down solar energy loan for people to avoid the upfront investment it takes to get started with a clean energy system. This is a great strategy for a small community bank like New Resource Bank to get started in a rapidly growing industry, although it seems like the large conglomerate banks are not offering any loans specialized for consumers to purchase solar energy, why do you think that is? Why is it in this country, it’s so easy to get financing for a car (an asset that depreciates the second you drive it off the lot) but its almost impossible to financing a solar electric system for your home (something that acutally appreciates in value and creates instant cash flow) What a country we live in, I tell...

Read More

will homeowners pursue energy tax credits?

The Obama administration has offered unprecedented incentives to U.S. homeowners who install solar energy, wind turbines and efficiency products to save energy. Now through 2010 as part of the economic recovery package, homeowners together can reap billions of dollars in tax credits as an incentive to at least take a second look into green energy technologies. A recent survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation concluded that millions of U.S. homeowners intend to take advantage of the generous tax credits offered for energy upgrades in 2009. According to the survey respondents, saving money in general was the primary reason people consider energy efficiency upgrades. 40% of the respondents said monthly savings on their utility bills was the key reason for planning upgrades to save energy. 30% of the respondents stated that energy upgrades would improve the comfort of their home and for those respondents that is why will take advantage of the tax credits this year. Only 13% of the people surveyed said they would be investing into green energy technologies to reduce their carbon footprint. I suppose U.S. consumer care more about the green in their wallet over protecting the environment since saving money is the most important motivator in making a decision in buying energy upgrades. Even though many of the respondents agreed that the 30% federal tax credit was a great incentive to look into installing green energy this year, a total of 41% said the tax credit would need to exceed 40% of the final purchase price to encourage them to pursue a home energy efficiency upgrade. In my opinion, the most interesting piece of information reviled by the survey was that 72% of consumers had no idea how to apply for the federal tax credits, state incentives and other rebates offered by local utilities. I think this is our biggest barrier in terms of getting people started with green energy, making the process easier for them so consumers don’t have to think about it. Currently it seems like the process is too complex which holds back the adoption rate of green energy technologies. If your interested in learning more about tax credits, rebates and other incentives you’ll receive for investing in check out DSIRE, it’s the most up to date database to learn about what is available for you. You can always give us a call, we help consumers figure out how much in incentives they will receive if they invest in green...

Read More

is your city offering you financing to install solar?

AB 811 is a unique piece of legislation which allows borrowers to pay back investments in solar panels through property tax payments over a 20 year period. Rather putting residents through the pain of obtaining the upfront cost to go solar, more cities are encouraging their local residents get started with green energy by offering low interest loans that removes the largest barrier to entry and increases the adoption rate of solar panels. Since homeowners are used to paying their electric bills on a month to month basis, buying solar panels is nontraditional because the homeowner has to prepay their electric bill for the next 30 years. This is where the financing solves that problem by giving the homeowner the ability to make month to month payments on a solar electric system on their rooftop. Berkley, Palm Desert and Sonoma (cities in California) already have programs in place to provide financing to its citizens. Now San Diego has jumped on the AB 811 bandwagon, their program is going to start in July of this year. What do you think about more cities offering financing for solar panels through property taxes? Would you purchase a solar electric system if your city offered financing? Do you think this financing method will catch on to more cities around...

Read More