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Do you think your electric rate is too high?

I was looking at this interesting chart of the average utility electric rates here in the USA published by the Department of Energy. It’s really interesting to see what people are paying on average per kWh (kilowatt hour), especially if you are considering solar power to offset or eliminate your electric usage. Solar Power without rebates and tax credits typically produces electricity for a solar power system owner at about 15 cents per kWh, therefore states with rates in the range of 10.26 to 24.13 cents per kWh will see a quicker financial payback period with solar panels since the cost of electricity is higher. Take a look at Hawaii, they have the highest electric rate in the USA! Does your electric bill match with the average for your state? Why do you think the electric rate in your state is what it is? Do you think solar panels will make a good investment in your neck of the woods, why or why...

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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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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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Reduce the upfront cost of going solar!

One of the most common complaints about “going solar” is that the upfront cost is just too high. The primary reasons a solar power system can be a high ticket purchase for many solar power shoppers is because of the customers bad energy usage habits. The majority of solar power shoppers don’t realize they are energy hogs until they start shopping for solar power which forces them to understand and analyze their electric consumption. So how can Solar Power shoppers instantly get a deep discount on their solar power system? The answer is simple, “reduce then produce.” Focusing on energy efficiency, and implementing lifestyle and product changes can greatly reduce the upfront cost of a solar power system. It is always more cost effective to reduce your consumption through efficiency than it is to produce your own power. Think of it this way, the more you can save through energy efficiency the less solar panels you need to cover your electric usage, its that simple, but most solar power consumers get frustrated seeing high upfront costs of going solar and think there are no alternatives to bring the cost down. How do you reduce your energy consumption? A good start (and cheapest) is to change all your light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs, insulation can help reduce your energy by keeping the house cool during summer and warm in the winter, thus significantly reducing your yearly energy usage. Get rid of old appliances which hog and waste energy. Unplug unused items (they draw energy even if they are plugged in, but not in use), set your computers to automatically hibernate (power saving mode) when they are idle for more than 5 minutes. Purchase energy star appliances and most importantly turn off the lights when you leave a room. Changing the way you consume energy can have a significant impact on the overall price of a solar energy system, practicing reducing energy consumption can shave off thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars off the final cost of a system. Energy Efficiency and Solar Power fit very well with each other, so when considering solar power, think about how easy ways you can reduce your consumption first, you’ll be saving tons of...

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SMA launches new educational solar power website

SMA, a leading inverter manufacturer launched a new website today dedicated on providing a free resource for solar power consumers to learn about how a solar power system works and the overall benefits of renewable energy. The biggest barrier for people shopping to buy solar for their home or business is the lack of quality information, SMA has taken a huge step in the right direction to fill the need by creating www.solar-is-future.com a website that uses interactive flash animations to explain how all the different pieces of solar power equipment make up an entire system. The website also has a very detailed FAQ and Glossary you can take advantage of….this is a great website solar power shoppers can start their research and decision making process. What do you think? Is it difficult for you as a consumer to find accurate information about solar power? Is it better when the information comes from a reputable solar products...

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What is CEC rated and why does it matter?

If you are shopping for solar power or small scale wind turbines in the USA, you have probably heard of a term called “CEC listed”. Why is that term CEC listed so important for renewable energy power generation buyers here in the US? Well the acronym CEC stands for California Energy Commission. When a new renewable energy product hits the market the manufacturer, if planning to sell in the US market applies with the CEC to get their produce listed on the approved products list which are the only products that qualify for local, state, and federal rebates. So if you are shopping for solar or wind power and want to qualifiy for the federal tax credit and rebates that are availble to you, make sure your products are CEC listed! Its easy to check. Use the links below for an updated list of products that are approved onto the CEC list: Eligible Solar PV PanelsEligible Inverters Eligible Small Wind Turbines Check the list, make sure the items you are shopping for are on the list if you are shopping for solar or wind power in the...

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