There is a growing American obsession with finding ways to save energy and to join the green movement, but there is a lot of misinformation floating around. Commercial and Residential Energy Consultant, Michael Chance with Solar Energy USA is a wealth of information and is enthusiastic to enlighten AGBeat readers on the topic.
Q: Why is solar the best option for homeowners?
A: Solar is one of the only things that will for certain add value to a home at a time when home values are at a very low level. A recent study from Berkeley found that every 1 watt of energy a home solar array generates translates to a $5.50 increase in home value. We currently use 230 watt and 235 watt solar panels, so even a small 5 panel system on a home owner’s roof would add over $6,000 dollars worth of value to their home. On top of that, federal, state, and local incentives help bring down the cost of purchasing a solar energy system.
Q: How mainstream is solar power in residences?
A: The idea of solar is becoming more and more popular. Homeowners are getting very irritated with their increasing power bills, and the idea of producing one’s own power and being self-reliant is very appealing to many. As a national solar company and the state of Georgia’s largest residential solar integrator, we talk to hundreds of homeowners a month about ways to decrease their power bills through energy efficiency measures, renewable energy like solar panels, and a combination of both. But some homeowner’s associations do not yet acknowledge solar, a minor bump in the road that slows down this energy independence journey.
Q: What about solar panels are Realtors likely unaware of?
A: Real estate professionals are probably unaware of the increased resale value of a home with solar panels. They also probably don’t know about the growing popularity of investing in a solar farm on a commercial piece of property as a new form of investment, a result of increasing power prices and the over-supply of undeveloped real-estate (something they probably are aware of).
Q: What do homeowners really like about your solar energy systems?
A: Our residential solar energy systems come with a system monitoring package where owners can log on to a website at anytime and see the performance of their solar panels. You can even use a smart phone to check! A solar array layout is shown with a real-time time lapse which measures power production to the watt of each panel. Even better, our customers really enjoy keeping track of their environmental equivalencies like how many light bulbs their system could power and how many pounds of CO2 they have offset.
Q: What role do you see solar playing in the future?
A: Electric vehicles (EVs) like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are beginning to gain popularity with automobile drivers because of their higher mpgs and financial savings though the use of electricity as fuel. In the future driver will plug-in their EVs and power them via a set of solar panels which will recharge them with solar “fuel” from the sun. The cost of filling up goes from $30 dollars a tank to under $5 dollars for a full charge.
Q: How do tax rebates impact the solar panel industry?
A: Tax rebates help bring down the cost of purchasing a new solar energy system for both commercial and residential entities. Residents in most states see a 65% off solar “SALE” because of state and federal tax incentives, while businesses can take advantage of over 90% worth of tax credits to offset the purchase of a new solar energy system.