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Arizona: Last call for solar?
Jul14

Arizona: Last call for solar?

Opposition to the solar industry in Arizona by its largest privatized public utility company could effectively eliminate monetary incentives for homeowners that aren’t grandfathered in under current rates.   For the past three years, Arizona Public Service has fought relentlessly to either eliminate or reduce net-metering credits and incur additional costs on solar homeowners in the state.   This past July the company filed for a solar rate review with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), increasing new solar homeowner’s bill by an average of $133 and seeking to end net-metering.   What separates APS’s recent efforts from attempts in the past, is that it has positioned politicians into some of the five elected seats on the ACC.   The move, however, did not go unnoticed: State news outlets slammed the ACC for its allegedly shading dealings, bringing it under scrutiny from the FBI.   Still, if history is any indication, it’s that the APS is not one to back down. In 2013, the utility company was the first successful one in the United States to impose discriminatory charges on solar customers. Sources indicate that the APS’s current attack has a good chance of getting its desired legislation moved through the ACC, all current commissioners, of which, are Republicans.   If there is a bright side to this dark period Arizona solar homeowners are facing, it’s that the proposed bill would not be retroactive. This means that changes to the state’s net metering and additional rates would not go into effect until July 2017, giving solar homeowners and homeowners thinking of changing to solar the chance to be grandfathered in under the old benefits for 20...

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Burbank residents can make bank on extended rebates
Jul07

Burbank residents can make bank on extended rebates

In an effort to inspire solar savvy residents to generate more power during afternoon hours, the city of Burbank, CA has rolled out a new solar rebate program that lasts until July 31 and gives money to homeowners if they point their panels westward. In the Northern Hemisphere, south facing panels produce 10% more electricity than their west facing counterparts. As the sun sets in the evening, however, west facing solar arrays are able to milk the last of the sun’s rays and produce more electricity during the critical hours of 4-7pm, when Burbank’s energy consumption is at its peak. This graph illustrates the difference of solar energy production on March 31, 2016: To qualify for the Burbank’s rebate program in California, a home’s panels need to fall within the span of 200-270 degrees and have a minimum tilt of 5 degrees. If you’re a solar homeowner or considering becoming one in California, the city allows rebates for portions of systems that meet its requirements. You can go to this link to find out how much money the city will give you. Like the majority of rebate programs, this one is open only for a short time, until the end of the month or when funding is exhausted. You can start the rebate process by emailing Burbank’s Solar Support program manager, Alfred Antoun...

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4 things you might not know about solar
Jun12

4 things you might not know about solar

1) Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Weather Don’t believe us, just ask someone from Germany, which is one of the world’s leading markets for solar. This cold climate country, along with some of its scandinavian neighbors has shown that solar can thrive even in cold climates. But of course, if you’ve ever gotten burnt on a grey day, you’d already know the sun doesn’t stop working just because of some clouds.   2) Solar panels don’t require much maintenance Yup, with no moving parts, and robust hardware, it’s rare that a PV system will fail within the lifecycle of its 25 year warranty. Some homeowners care for their panels by giving them an annual cleaning, but some don’t even do this. Why lift a finger when the rain or snow can do the job for you? Solar monitoring software allows users to spot drops in power generation immediately, so if a large piece of debris falls on one of the panels, it’s easy to locate. In some cases the panels have even been known to improve the strength of the roof:   3) These surprising statistics More than half the united states solar panels have been installed within the last three years The amount of solar energy that hits Texas each month is equal to the entire amount of energy ever produced by oil and gas, according to CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Rhone Resch. The amount of solar energy that hits the world every minute is enough to meet its power needs for a year.   4) Solar is more cost effective than fossil fuels At first look it might appear that the fossil fuel per a KW hour cost is cheaper than solar, but in some areas, a combination of federal, state and local incentives can slash up to 60% off the cost of a home PV installation. Additionally since conventional energy is a limited resource and the cost is guaranteed to rise, locking in a net-metering rate now is an easy way to stabilize future finances. Unlike fossil fuels, solar pays for itself within 7-15 years once it is installed, usually bringing in two to four times their worth in savings on electricity bills. Indeed The Wall Street Journal has shown that to install a new coal or nuclear plant today, would be less cost effective than encouraging homeowners to switch to solar, since the plants are so expensive to fund:     And then there’s all the nasty health and environmental side effects of fossil fuels, which, when considered in calculating its per KW hour cost make its price-tags more than double....

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Roof Mount Innovations
May19

Roof Mount Innovations

Pigeon coops, gardens, athletic facilities and power generation–over the last century, roof tops have seen a diversification of uses in addition to their job of keeping out nasty weather. When it comes to mounting solar panels on your roof, it’s important to keep in mind its original function, and make sure any new additions don’t stop it from completed its first and foremost job. Staving off the elements is no easy task–sun, rain and wind can damage even the toughest of materials over time, which is why heavy duty shingling and tar are commonly prefered for their robust qualities. Drilling holes to mount solar panels into a roof can compromise the material’s integrity and, sometimes, using the proper mounting technique is not enough. New age solar mounting technology and hardware like those made by our industry favorite, IronRidge anticipate the bad weather a system is likely to encounter and include subtle design features that make a huge difference. The IronRidge FlashFoot attachment, which holds racking mounts to a roof, uses a patented bushing that snuggly compresses into an L-foot cavity. This seal creates a dual shield with complete protection against water intrusion. This small design tweak eliminates the need for depending on caulking, which will eventually dry up, crack and cause leaks. Additionally, the 12 inch flashing support squares that support the attachment have an elevated platform to control watershed so water doesn’t pool up.     The innovation continues with the IronRidge Mounting RX system, which has a curved shape to resist the vertical and lateral pressures that panels might incur due to high winds. Previously, the industry standard was to use flush roof supports and shape the rails square at 90 degrees. Small design design changes such of as these can lead to thousands of dollars in savings on eventual roof repairs.   As the industry continues to grow and mounts become more common, no doubt even more innovations will occur helping our roofs evolve to become one of the home’s most useful...

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The Big Apple’s Sun Farms
May12

The Big Apple’s Sun Farms

2016 has seen an unprecedented surge of solar projects in New York, with federal incentives enticing entrepreneurs to lease remote sites outside the city for community solar installations that can deliver power to the urban population. The growth of solar projects in New York has been on a steady incline according the State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA). In 2011 the state saw approximately 9,000 projects producing 80 megawatts of power compared with 2015, which saw 45,000 projects producing 525 megawatts of power.   Growth in 2016 is expected to accelerate even faster in the wake of New York Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, which aims to have the state producing more than half its energy from renewable resources by 2030.   Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard includes an array of incentives for residential and commercial installations and has sparked a landrush from businesses looking to get in on supplying clean energy for the city.   While rooftop panels have been the standard for supplying solar energy and are still common, proposals like those seen in the Village of Owego’s project are looking to lease out areas to build solar farms.   The clean energy recipients of the farm-style solar projects vary: some are group projects, some serve commercial users, and some serve municipal users. According to figures from the NYSERDA over 42 applications for farmed solar projects have been submitted at the start of 2016. It remains to be seen, however how well these businesses will do since, unlike fossil fuels, solar is available to anyone who is clever enough to harness it and, currently, so are its...

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