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Shopping around for solar power.

It’s always best to get multiple quotes when making any major purchasing decision and its common when making a large investment such as a renewable energy system. It’s recommended that consumers get multiple quotes when shopping for renewable energy services and products by the department of energy itself. But the problem is that most consumers don’t compare product quotes apples to apples. Many times the lower priced quote may not be all what it seems to be when you start comparing the real facts. A consumer should compare products and complete solar power systems with the following in mind: 1. How many watts are the solar power systems being quoted? 2. What type of warranty are the products backed by? 3. How about after sales support? Will the retail outlet or service provider be responsible for your questions after the sale? 4. What is the output quoted? Is the same output shown on a competitive quote? Are both quotes using the same standard in quoting the output of the solar panel or wind turbine? 5. Which organization gets back to your emails / phone call faster? There are many times consumers in this industry shop for the lowest price and regret it afterwards. In the renewable energy industry its better to shop for the best value compared to the lowest price. The lowest price many times ends up costing more in the long run, therefore when comparing two quotes make sure you are comparing...

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The first thing you should do before you think about going solar

Thinking about going solar? Start off by looking and trying to understand your electric bill. Yes, we know no one understands how to read a bill, we don’t blame you its so complicated! Most people just pay the bill at the end of the month without really looking at the bill. When going solar its important to do an analysis of your usage. You should look for the following when looking at your bill: What are you paying per kWh (kilowatt hour)? Is there a time of use charge? Are you paying a higher rate during peak hour times? Winter usage compared to summer usage…..does your electric bill spike up in the summer? What service period does the bill cover? How many total kWh are you using during your service period? What rate tier are you in? To conduct a proper analysis its best to have the last 12 months of your bills hand to come up with the most accurate number of your usage. Starting with your bills is a good place to start in figuring how much solar you need to reduce or eliminate your bill. Sometimes it much more cost effective to just use solar to reduce your peak hour usage to drop you into a lower paying tier….so use your bill as a roadmap for your solar power...

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California Solar Power State Rebates

California compared to the rest of the United States is ahead of the game in solar power and renewable energy in general. Why is California leading the charge in the USA to become more energy independent and why is the state giving so much money back to businesses and homeowners to acquire solar power? California, even though it’s just one State within the United States is one of the biggest energy hogs in the entire world. California has been through an energy crisis in the past, it’s a no brainier for the state to invest in renewable energy since the California has a powerhouse economy that has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) more significant than most nations. When I speak to consumers who are interested in solar power outside of California they feel that Solar Power is so “peachy keen” out here, but in reality its far from the best it can be. Obvisouly the Califoria state solar power rebates is the reason the solar power market out here is booming but the process is difficult for consumers to obtain the rebates. The rebate paperwork for solar power in california can be more difficult then installing solar power itself! The paperwork is as thick as a book, so it can be very overwhelming for a first timer. There are two types of rebates californians can qualify for Solar Power: Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) – is an upfront rebate program funded as part of the California Solar Initative, systems under 100kW are eligible for the EPBB rebate. The EPBB Rebate is based on location, system size, orientation and the rebate level at time of finished installation. Performance Based Incentive (PBI) – a program in which rebates are paid based on energy production, designed to benefit owners of larger solar power systems The current PBI program in California pays solar system owners monthly for energy produced for 5 years. Rebate levels decline as more people in california install solar...

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Solar panel buying stampede

Since the federal tax credits are disappearing the end of this year (December, 31 2008), and there is no extension in sight, there’s a stampede of people and organizations deciding to go solar by the end of this year which is also causing a supply issue with solar panels because of the high demand, manufactures capacity and supply of silicon is causing a bottleneck in the industry. Some members in congress have been trying to push through legislation that would extend the federal tax credit for installing wind or solar power beyond 2009 although the legislation is have a difficult time finding where the money would come from to support tax credits for renewable energy. So if your one the fence about going solar or buying wind power you have 8 more months to benefit from the federal tax credit unless legislation is passed by congress by the end of this...

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Department of Energy provides funding for America’s top solar cities

Today, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman made a public announcement that the DOE will be funding 2.4 million dollars to 12 cities across the country. These Solar America cities have been chosen for their commitment to the deployment of solar technologies. Cities selected as Solar America Cities will receive 0,000 (doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than nothing) to implement a variety of solar technologies throughout the cities. The funded cities include: Denver, CO Houston, TX Knoxville, TN Milwaukee, WI Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN Orlando, FL Philadelphia, PA Sacramento, CA San Antonio, TX San Jose, CA Santa Rosa, CA Seattle, WA In addition to the funding the DOE will provide technical assistance to the cities for them to implement solar technologies. The cities will be free to implement various renewable energy technologies from solar water heating, photovoltaics to concentrating solar...

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Why isn’t solar power used more often?

If solar power is so great why isn’t it on every roof already? Did you know in 1980 President Regan removed perfectly working solar panels from the White House’s roof! There are many reasons why solar power hasn’t gone mainstream, besides the minimal support by the government. Purchasing solar power is a complex investment decision (it’s not easy to go solar!) Solar Power is associated with a large upfront cost There is no nationwide standard for solar power rebates Lack of Feed-in tariffs (a requirement for utilities to buy power generated through your solar power system at a premium) People are used to buying power as a service (month-to-month), consumers aren’t used to “pre-paying” for energy. Lack of information for consumers to make educated decisions Are the people who purchased solar power already eco-freaks? No way, the number one reason consumers who have bought solar power systems already is because it makes great financial sense. If you look at a solar power system in terms of an investment, the rate of return is much higher compared to a Bond, Bank C.D. or even the S&P 500 The best way to start in figuring out if solar power is right for you is to start looking at your utility bills. Figure out how much energy you are using per month…its shocking people have no idea what they are paying for, because most consumers I talk to often pay their bill without even looking at it….when buying solar power most consumers finally understands what the heck their electrical bill really...

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