30,000 to 500,000 solar installations on Long Island

  • By SunPower by EmPower Solar
  • 20 May, 2016

A letter from our CEO, David G. Schieren

This week we celebrate Long Island’s 30,000th solar installation with the Donnellan family of Long Beach, NY, whose SunPower by EmPower Solar system was just installed. We should take a moment – just a moment – to celebrate. This is a major achievement. When we first started in 2003, solar was an exotic novelty. Today, it’s seen as the solution to lowering and controlling energy bills, and Long Island is considered a national leader.

Our success to date is a result first and foremost because of our incredible clients. But significant credit is due to enormous commitment from LIPA and now PSEG Long Island to incentivize going solar, and safely integrate renewable with the grid. It’s easy to take the electric utility grid for granted, but it is highly complicated infrastructure that delivers incredible reliability and service.

SunPower by EmPower Solar is proud to have collaborated with LIPA, PSEG Long Island, the NYS PSC and many other solar industry partners to work through the countless issues and hurdles over the years. We are all driven beyond business interests to make our common home a better, healthier and more prosperous place.

That’s why we can’t indulge in the moment too long; there’s much work to do. Governor Cuomo set a goal to achieve 50% renewables in New York State by 2030, and we’re ready to make it a reality. But how? Integrating solar and wind – intermittent energy sources – with the grid at this level requires a paradigm change in system architecture, regulations, technologies and business models. This requires creative thinking, strategic planning and entrepreneurship both from small and ascendant private sector companies, such as SunPower by EmPower Solar, the utilities, and policy makers.

We’re going to get there, together. And it’s an incredibly exciting time. In 2003, we were happy to cover 50% of a home’s electric load. Today with SunPower high efficiency panels, Tesla Energy Powerwall batteries, air source heat pumps, LED lights, and electric cars, we can cover 100% of a family's energy needs – all with solar! Plus the system is ready to supply energy if there is a blackout. 

On to the next 470,000!

David G. Schieren, CEO

Solar News and Updates - SunPower by EmPower Solar

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 21 Jul, 2017

For most people, “going solar” means putting 20-30 solar panels on your single-family home to eliminate your electric bill. For others, who have impediments like like large shading trees, multiple dormers, or a slate roof, meant that a solar array was out of the question. With no way around it, these people were stuck paying high electric rates and handling whatever cards your electricity provider dealt you.


Luckily for NYC and Long Island residents, that’s not the case anymore. Here's why:

Let us introduce, Community Solar.

As solar catapults into mainstream consumerism, this business model is on its way to taking center stage.  Community Solar “subscriptions” are available to all electricity customers.  Subscriptions provide access to all the benefits of clean, lower cost energy without requiring on-site generation. This means you can reap the financial, environmental, and economical benefits of solar energy without having an installation on your home.

The market potential is huge in urban areas, and we are excited to include the service as one of our core offerings through our sister company, Solar Ex .


How it works:

  1. EmPower Solar installs solar at a building or land host at zero cost to them, and we pay the host an annual rent, simlar to a cell phone tower arrangement.  
  2. Solar Ex  signs up subscribers that agree to purchase energy produced from the community solar array
  3. Through virtual net metering, energy from the array gets credited to the accounts of the subscribers at a lower cost than traditional rates
  4. Subscribers can monitor energy performance through the Solar Ex web platform.
Consumer Benefits:

  1. Immediate financial savings
  2. Pay as you go options
  3. Access benefits of clean energy without installing on your own property
  4. Support healthier communities

End product:

Cheap, clean, communal energy. Money goes back into the pockets of building and land owners businesses that get rent to install solar on their roofs and the energy consumer has a lower monthly electric bill. This is now all possible without having to physically installing the panels on a client’s own home.


Are you interested in lower electric bills, low carbon footprint, and contributing to a strong local economy? Fill out your information here to learn more about subscribing.

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 30 Jun, 2017

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cost to generate 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month varies from state to state, neighborhood to neighborhood, and even house to house.

This guide  will help you understand that calculating the true cost of solar involves more than just learning the sticker price for a photovoltaic solar system. It's also important to realize that your solar panels will start paying for themselves as soon as they're activated. The rate at which they do so will vary according to your specific installation, utility rates, energy use, tax credits and other incentives, and several other factors.


Cost of the Solar Panels

We take into account your roof size, production needs, sun exposure time and more to determine how many panels - and which SunPower® system models- will be required for your installation.

Before you arrive at this cost, you need to decide what is appropriate for you. If zero money down appeals to you, then a lease may be the best fit. SunPower will own the system, and you benefit from playing just a monthly fee.

You could also choose to finance or pay cash. this way you own the system. Eventually your electricity savings may amount to more than the cost of the system. That's when solar starts paying you back!


Cost of Installation

This cost depends on the number of SunPower® panels you need, plus the labor and permitting involved with your installation, as well as current utility discounts, if any.  We will assess your roof architecture, angle to the sun and current consumption needs to determine the best fit for you and your home. Our goal is to achieve the optimal production needs to fit your lifestyle and comfort in your home.


Electricity Savings

You'll get an estimate of what you can save after your initial consultation. Your actual savings will depend on how much energy you produce each month, your utility's net metering policy (whether and how they handle credits for you energy production) and future increases in utility rates.


Incentives

The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows qualified homeowners deduct 30% of their solar systems cost from their income taxes. If you lease a system, the value of the federal ITC is factored into your monthly payments.

You can check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to check for additional regional incentive programs.


Long Term Value


There are already market indicators that adding a solar photovoltaic system to a home increases its resale value. A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that purchasing solar may increase the resale value of your home.

Download a PDF version of this information here. 

Want to know if you qualify for a Long Island or New York City solar program?    
  Contact us  or visit our   Virtual Design Center   to learn more about the programs you may qualify for.
Call us at (516) 837-3459, email us at  info@empower-solar.com   or learn more about SunPower here    .

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 26 Jun, 2017

When we opened our Solar Design Center in 2015, we imagined it as a space where our employees could comfortably work, our clients could easily visit, and members of our Island Park community could wander in to learn more about solar. One thing we hadn’t planned for is the opportunity to assist local groups and organizations with a meeting space, and the potential to treat our office as a hub for civic engagement and growth!

The SunPower by EmPower design center located in Island Park is a local, open aired, and well-equipped space for non-profit organizations. Think; Apple store meets your local coffee shop. The space includes educational and interactive displays, a full kitchen, a conference room with large table, chairs, and a large communal lounge space in the front of the showroom. The front lounge comfortably fits 25-35 people, and the conference room fits 10-14; both are equipped with large display televisions with computer display hookups. The best part? The center is 100% powered by SunPower solar panels and visitors can charge their electric vehicles during the meeting with one of our 4 EV charging stations. 

Our design center welcomes all philanthropic, community focused, not for profit organizations to use the space as a hub for whatever effort, big or small.

Some recent organizations that have used our Solar Design Center as a meeting space include; Long Beach Bring Your Own Bag committee and Surfriders of Long Island Central Chapter and a local Girl Scout Troop.

You can submit your event request on the form located on this page. 

Want to know if you qualify for a Long Island or New York City solar program?     Contact us    or visit our   Virtual Design Center    to learn more about the programs you may qualify for. Call us at (516) 837-3459, email us at   info@empower-solar.com    or learn more about   SunPower here   .

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 16 Jun, 2017

The beauty of competition is the motivation it can create in its participants. Whether it’s a global space race, the NBA finals, or a local spelling bee, what’s important about a competition are the achievements that wouldn't have been reached without it.


This is especially true for EmPower Solar as a company. Our founder and CEO, David Schieren, was a participant in the 2005  International Solar Decathlon competition. It’s a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, held in Washington, D.C. For the competition, each team had to design and build a fully functional solar-powered home to compete against schools around the world. Their project placed 5th out of 18 teams. While placing was exciting, it was not the most important part about David’s decathlon experience. The contest served as the catalyst that propelled EmPower into existence. He met his co-owner, Greg Sachs, during the competition and they teamed up to build EmPower based on the ideas and principles they learned in the decathlon. 


Presently, the city of Long Beach finds itself in a similar situation. In the Energy Independence State Street competition, the west end of Long Beach is presented with an opportunity to achieve real change. Neighbors are collaborating to represent their “State Street” in a competition that aims to strengthen the energy independence of the community. The competition is heating up and the overall resiliency of the Long Beach community is strengthening with it. At a time when the renewable energy is in need of acceleration, contests like this one could facilitate the momentum the community needs. 


In this case, the stakes are high. The prizes are $2,000 for first, $1,000 for second, and $500 for the third place streets, to be used however contest participants decide. 


Sometimes, a little competition is what it takes to empower people to take action.


You can participate in the competition here.  


Want to know if you qualify for a Long Island or New York City solar program?   Contact us  or visit our Virtual Design Center  to learn more about the programs you may qualify for. Call us at (516) 837-3459, email us at info@empower-solar.com  or learn more about SunPower here .

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 02 Jun, 2017
Clean energy is the future and is already resulting in a stronger economy and better public health. There are so many reasons why staying in the Paris climate accord would have been the right move. 

As Mike Bloomberg and Carl Pope state in Climate of Hope, “Each part of the problem of climate change has a solution that can make our society healthier and stronger.”

By removing the U.S. from the accord, we have been inspired to work harder in pursuit of our mission of clean energy and with a stronger community around us than before. 

We are now activated, majorly motivated, and armed to deploy renewables. 

EmPower remains dedicated to our team, our mission, and our community and we know how to deliver results, because we know the truth. We live it every day. Solar + battery + EV + electrification WORKS and will lead our society into a cleaner future. 

The future is very bright and filled with ultra clean air and crystal clean water. 

It's up to us to make that true (on this planet).

David Schieren
CEO, SunPower by EmPower Solar

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 30 May, 2017

1. Financial Benefits

Receive a return on Investment sooner rather than later.

The simple way to think of it is this: the more power you make on your roof, the less energy you have to buy from your utility company.

Solar customers are also eligible for Solar Investment Tax Credit. This federal income tax credit allows taxpayers to take a "dollar-for-dollar" reduction income taxes owed equal to 30% of the basis that is invested in your SunPower system.

In the long run, you may also be increasing your property value when you install solar.
 

2. Clean Energy

Your house becomes more than a home; it becomes a mini renewable power plant.

By tapping into the abundant, clean energy of the sun, you are helping to sustain the environment that needs to support everyday life.

SunPowerⓇ MaxeonⓇ solar cells are streamlined panels with a low profile, and without grid-lines. An architect and builder favorite, SunPower panels are designed with all-black solar cells and anti-reflective glass.

The panels superior performance boasts 60% more production than any other conventional panel during the first 25 years. ​​​​​​
 

3. Performance Monitoring

Through big data, and analytics you can monitor your system on an app on your phone:

You can watch every kilowatt (kWh) produced and used on just about any device. This includes viewing the peaks and valleys of usage throughout different times of the day, your electricity bill savings, and how much CO₂ you're avoiding.
 

4. Set an Example

Choosing SunPower is a means of representing your involvement in a sustainable future.

When you retell your journey about going solar, you can also talk about how 100% of SunPower direct current (DC) solar panels meet  Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver  standards. That means that not only are you producing renewable energy, but you are also producing that energy with solar panels manufactured with reusable or recyclable materials through a sustainable process. That's a life-cycle you can be proud of.

Learn how you can change your life with solar   CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 19 May, 2017

The solar roof announced by Tesla and Elon Musk is a very exciting product. The EmPower Solar team has been a big fan of Tesla for many years. Since 2007 we've been driving Tesla's cars, and were front row at the 2009 Model S launch. Elon Musk is an incredibly inspiring figure for us and for many, helping to accelerate the shift to renewable energy.

While Tesla’s primary expertise has been in the automotive industry, their parlay into renewable energy technologies is an exciting move. The new solar roof is a welcome solution to conventional panels as it overcomes a large barrier to consumer solar adoption; aesthetics. Although other solar roofing shingle combo products have not caught on in the past, we are hopeful that Tesla, a long-term partner of ours, will be successful in launching the new solar roof.

As a SunPower Master dealer and Tesla certified partner and authorized installer of the Tesla Powerwall, we know firsthand consumer demand for high quality products. Educated consumers want a product that looks great, saves them money, and will increase the value of their home. While the Tesla Solar Roof isn’t ready for installation today, there are other products available that meet these criteria.

Currently the solar roof product is only for new construction and is only available in California. Until solar roof products is ready for mass-market adoption a few years down the road, other high-efficiency and aesthetic-friendly options exist within the SunPower suite of product offerings. Many of our clients choose to install the SunPower 335 all-black panel to keep the roof design consistent.

While the Tesla Solar roof is a wonderful product that serves an important segment of the marketplace, there are a few things that we believe prevent it from being widely adopted tomorrow. First, it will only be available in California and only for new construction and major renovation. The second key factor is that it may not provide enough power to offset 100% of homeowner’s electric bills in some parts of the country. According to Energy Gang podcast, on a per-square foot basis, the power density rating is half as powerful as a high-efficiency SunPower panel. This means you need 2x the coverage area for the same amount of power. Third factor is cost. While one of Tesla’s selling point is that the Solar Roof costs less than a similar style roof, it is important to note that they are comparing it to a high quality of a slate or clay tile roof; historically much more expensive than an asphalt roof which is used on a majority of homes today.

According to Consumer Reports, the cost of the Tesla Solar Roof is roughly $21.85 for a roof that is 35% solar tiles. (The cost comes from a combination of $11/sq. foot for non-solar tiles and $42/sq. foot for solar tiles.) According to the Tesla Solar Roof calculator tool, typical Long Island roofs are recommending 70% solar tiles and 30% non-solar tiles. The calculator shows that a system for a typical) roof of a Long Island home (2,000 square foot of roof space and $200 monthly bill would cost somewhere between $60,000 and $70,000.

The cost in 2017 for an average SunPower high efficiency solar system (9kW) is under $4 per watt a gross system cost of $35,000 before the federal, state tax credits and local incentives.

Asphalt roofs can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 – putting the whole system cost of a brand new system at under $50,000. Today, with a $0 down financing or lease option, homeowners can start saving right away with a significant amount of long term savings.

We are excited about this product and look forward to watching the solar roof technology evolve over time. However for now, we believe that for 90% of homeowners, SunPower is the superior solution to achieve maximum energy production with the best available warranty.

To learn more about how Long Island and New York City homes can make the switch to an aesthetically pleasing solar solution, contact SunPower by EmPower Solar at 516-837-3450 or contact us here.

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 16 May, 2017

This content is a recap from a recent event at the Molloy Institute of Sustainability, where builders, local policy makers, industry professionals, and community members came together to learn how to better prepare New York for solar energy. 

 1.Rooftop orientation

Solar production is optimized on true south facing roofs, which should ideally be 180 degrees with a 33 degree pitch, or close to it. Design should also maintain a level roof space free of obstructions, dormers, and peaks.


 2. Continuous roof spaces

For typical energy use of about 12,000 kWh per year, the homeowner would need an 8-10 kW system. This would require about 600 to 800 square feet of roof space. To make this achievable it’s especially important to group vent stacks, chimneys, and skylights near ridges, gutters, on northern surfaces.


 3. Structural integrity

It is important for the installation and the integrity of the roof that you build a structure which is prepared for additional weight of the panels. Keeping solar in mind from the start can create a more streamlined installation later on. Ways to do this are to preinstall anchors in a permanent fashion to reduce roof penetrations. For pitched roofs, assume an additional 5 PSF in addition to existing structure. Install large rafters and a knee wall for spans larger than 18 feet.


 4. Conduit specifications

Install EMT or PVC Conduit from the attic underneath where each solar array is to be installed. Conduit run from solar array shall have no more than 3-90 bends, anymore than that should have accessible pull points. Allow access for roof penetration during PV array installation to continue the conduit run to an exterior junction box. Identify conduit with labels stating “ Solar Ready” or “Future PV Conduit.”

EV considerations

When building single family homes, the electrical conduit between the main breaker box and a location for an EV charger should be incorporated in the new home when it is built. conduit in place makes it much easier to add the wiring and actual charger if and when one is needed. Otherwise adding that circuitry to an already built house is much more expensive. In the case of multi-family buildings, some fraction of the parking spots should be similarly equipped, or even have chargers in place ready for use.


 5. Surface panel spacing

Allow a minimum of 3’ wide by 4’ high space for PV equipment components. Optimal location for the equipment area is adjacent to the main service panel and utility meter.


 6. Cables, Wiring, and Attachments

It’s always good idea to consult a solar integrator. Keep in mind the location of the inverter, conduit, and pipe runs. Leave room in electric panel for back-fed breakers, and leave space adjacent to panel for additional panel. To protect wiring and panel attachments install squirrel guards, and keep wiring neat underneath the panels.


 7. Know the proper materials, and best-practices for each.

Metal Seam Roofing is a very solar friendly material. Attachments can be made using S-5 or seam clamps. Conduit runs should be pre-run to the exterior and capped and flashed during roof construction.


Asphalt Shingle is the most common residential roof surface. Attachment points will be flashed and sealed at time of PV array installation. Only use asphalt shingle for roof surfaces pitched 14 degrees or steeper.


Tile Roof: PV array attachments can be made on tile roof surfaces. Additional material and labor will be needed, and conduit should be pre-run capped and sealed during construction.


Rolled Asphalt or Rubber is also solar-friendly material, and is recommended on any pitches shallower than 14 degrees to prevent leaking. The roof might require additional equipment such as standoffs and pitch pockets.


 8. Consult local codes for buildings, electricity, and fire department requirements.


 9. Install load monitoring systems to understand usage habits, and to make the most of net-metering benefits.


 10. Consider what the home’s backup power source will be and prepare to design for “battery ready” capabilities.

Something to consider is radiant heating systems that use natural gas. It’s also important to include a critical loads panel, energy efficient lighting, appliances, and general equipment.


By SunPower by EmPower Solar 15 May, 2017

Author: Georgia LoPresti Meckes


Not everyone can say that solar changed their life in a big way, but the honest truth is, I moved to Long Beach, Long Island because of Solar Power. Growing up a “farm” family, my clan was an unlikely bunch to move to such a highly populated and urban community, but when my husband, Dave Meckes, an electrician and farmer by trade, became adamant that he be a part of this “solar revolution”, we made the plunge and haven’t looked back. 

Two years later my husband and two sons have become happy South shore residents (and loving it!) because of SunPower by Empower solar. Being big outdoor enthusiasts and living previously in Vermont, the Catskills, and Colorado, our love of quiet landscapes and farming was hard to leave, but we’ve made a home among the most outdoor-loving community on Long Island; Long Beach. My husband has been a Site Foreman for EmPower for just about three years now, and we feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of this growing industry, day-to-day.

 Professionally, I am proud to serve as Director of LI Greenmarket Inc., a non-profit organization that organizes Farmers’ Markets, runs gardening mentorship programs at local schools, and fosters community gardens throughout Long Island. If you’re a Long Beach local, chances are we’ve met at the Market manager’s tent in Long Beach or at the new Welcome Center on the LIE! Supporting local agriculture and providing fresh food access to people is one of my biggest passions. The SunPower by EmPower team has been 100% behind our organization in helping to promote this mission. Both of our organizations, personally and professionally, believe that sustainability and environmentalism in today’s culture is critical for the health of our communities, as well as for the future of children.

A key component to the work my family does, is what we like to call “green education” and are always thinking about how we can live best, everyday, with keeping “being green” in mind. The more we can learn about sustainable energy, local foods, and low-carbon living and how we pass that onto others, the more we feel we are succeeding and contributing. A big part of that starts at home with our energy sources and I look forward to passing information onto friends and neighbors how they can work with EmPower to go solar at their residence.

I am honored and excited to have been asked to become an Ambassador for SunPower by EmPower. From installers to senior management, the EmPower folks have been a pleasure to know. I’ve enjoyed having the EmPower team at some of our Farmers Markets, and I felt like family on the company’s summer beach volleyball team. The company’s culture, passion, and work ethic in this community has made a huge difference in my family’s lives and I am eager to help share their sincere passion with the rest of my neighbors - because what they do, from start-to-finish and beyond, is truly remarkable.


To join Georgia in going solar, contact her at lets.empower-solar.com/GM 

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 22 Apr, 2017

One of our five founding philosophy's is our commitment to clean energy . This is directly tied to our company’s fundamental belief that renewable energy will lead to a more prosperous, healthy and civil world.  We live this philosophy every day, but each year on Earth Day we take time to reflect how far we’ve come and think about how much more we can do. 


In 1969 a catastrophic oil spill occurred off the coast of Santa Barbara, California . Shortly after, U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, proposed a “National Teach-In on the Environment.” In partnership with local officials, and a Harvard graduate named Denis Hayes, he launched the first inaugural Earth Day on April 22, 1970.

 

As one of the first political movements of its time to receive support from both parties, the first Earth Day enacted nationwide change. This empowerment lead to the Environmental Protection Agency, which resulted in the passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Acts.

 

The next large scale Earth Day campaign took place in 1990, with Denis Hayes at the helm once again with help from the Earth Day 20 foundation. On a mission to drive international attention, his campaign reached 141 countries, and involved over 200 million people. Finally with the help of a worldwide community, recycling initiatives were brought to the forefront of public attention. Thanks to the worldwide acceptance of Earth Day, in 1992 the United Nations hosted the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

 

In the year 2000, Earth Day became the largest secular holiday in the world. This was a time where corporations were recklessly polluting in the name of profit margins, and there were still mountains to be moved for fuel efficiency. The 3rd large scale Earth Day Campaign focused on clean energy. It’s been almost 20 years since then, and the progress made by renewables has been huge , but our work isn't over.

 

 With our sights on progressing forward towards a more informed, and environmentally educated community, here are some events and initiatives that SunPower by EmPower Solar will be participating in this week:

 

1.  APEC Green Gala in Queens

2.  Francis Lewis High School Earth Day Event

3.  Brooklyn Boulders

4.  Huntington Earth Day Expo

5.  Long Beach Earth Day Festival

6.  Building Solar Ready Seminar

 

Learn more about upcoming events.

 

Please feel free to stop by and say hello at any of the events listed above!

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