Blog

SunPower by EmPower Solar Blog

Sharing company news, updates and our thoughts on solar and the clean energy initiative. 

SunPower by EmPower Solar

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 10 Feb, 2017

I was a little girl, learning to ride a bike without training wheels and outside of my comfort zone... I had to make the decision to keep pedaling and catch up to my father in the parade, or quit and go back home. I was ready.  This is part of the story Jill Anderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer , New York Power Authority (NYPA),  told a group of 125 women at this week’s “C3E Women in Energy” meetup event on Long Island.

As keynote speaker, Jill Anderson reminded us that many of us think we are “not ready” for the next step in our careers, and often hold ourselves back from professional growth. Studies have shown similar results; women are more likely than men to believe that they are not qualified or ready for a promotion and are less likely to ask for one if they don’t meet the “written criteria” on a job posting.

The Hauppauge event, co-sponsored by SunPower by EmPower Solar and Cameron Engineering, hosted students and women working in energy on Long Island in sectors including the utility, engineering, government, non-profit, solar, efficiencies, and more.

C3Enet, a project of Clean Energy Education & Empowerment, encourages meetups across the country and around the world. Professionals in every aspect of clean energy from government to industry, and from Silicon Valley startups to international development are engaged in this effort.

The event also featured an interesting panel discussion consisting of several leading women in energy on Long Island. Led by moderator Lisa Broughton, Energy Director at Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning ; the panel consisted of Tara Bono, Marketing Manager at SunPower by EmPower Solar ; Sarah Oral, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Project Engineer at Cameron Engineering & Associates ; Bobbi O’Connor, Deputy General Counsel, Long Island Power Authority ; Terese M. Kinsley, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Town of Huntington.

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 11 Jan, 2017
It’s cold. It’s gray. Winter is officially upon us! Every year, some commonly asked questions pop up regarding home solar panels and how winter affects performance and production on these short (but seemingly long) cold days.
By SunPower by EmPower Solar 11 Jan, 2017

When a home is designed with the latest energy efficiency technologies and construction methods, solar panels can power all of its energy needs, including fuel for the electric cars.  The key is to set this goal from the beginning.  EmPower Solar recently became a US Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready home partner to help promote smart home design that enables solar panels to cover all of our clients’ energy needs.

Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) ZERH Standard represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability on the path to zero energy ready homes. A ZERH is a high performance home that is so energy efficient that a renewable energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption.  Ideal ZERH projects always start with proper design, and they feature many technologies, include high insulation, careful air sealing, high efficiency air conditioning and heating system, proper construction methods - and of course solar ready design.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, SunPower by EmPower Solar is in a select group of top companies in the nation who have certified one or more homes that meet or exceed Zero Energy Ready Home guidelines for excellence in performance and energy efficiency.

Samuel Rashkin, Chief Architect for DOE Building Technologies Office, said “Zero Energy Ready Homes like those constructed in part by SunPower by EmPower Solar are the home of the future because they live, work, and last better with incredibly low or no energy costs. And what’s exciting for American homebuyers, they are available today thanks to leading builders across the country.”

United Way Long Island Example: Award-Winning Zero Energy Home

In October 2016, for the second year in a row,  United Way of Long Island  was recognized as one of the nation’s top builders, being named  Grand Winner in the Affordable Home  category from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Housing Innovation Awards, for its Patchogue home.

EmPower Solar was proud to engineer and install a high performance 6.87 kilowatt SunPower solar power system for this award winning Patchogue home that will provide 100% of the electrical needs.  The 6.87 kW system is smaller than the average home needs on long island.  This is testament to outstanding ZER and solar ready design planned by Rick Wertheim of United Way and aJean-Pierre Lardoux, AIA, Principal of Fusion Architecture.

“Zero Energy Ready Homes represent the perfect solution for the housing needs of Long Island,” added Rick Wertheim, senior vice president of housing and green initiatives at United Way of Long Island. “It costs less for the nonprofit agencies we work with to own one of these homes than a low-cost-per-square-foot home over time. Our goal is to provide sustainable energy savings - lowering monthly expenses and reducing ongoing costly maintenance. This is the future of housing available today.”

"United Way Long Island sets the home energy performance standard that every residential construction project can look to for how to build.  These high performance homes are sustainable, solar ready, affordable, and deployable today.  It's incredibly impressive, and we are honored to participate and collaborate with the United Way LI team." said David G. Schieren, CEO of SunPower by EmPower Solar.

Next up: Habitat for Humanity Net Zero Home

For our second net zero energy home project, we are excited to work with Habitat for Humanity in Nassau County. The Roosevelt home is being constructed with an extremely efficient building envelope, appliances, and systems. The 6.5 kW home solar panel system is scheduled to be installed this spring will produce all of the electric to be consumed by the house throughout the year.

How To Take Action

If you are a homeowner or builder looking to renovate or build a new energy efficient and sustainable home, you can find, the Department of Energy has a list of certified Zero Energy Home partners here.

Design your home to be solar ready. Click here to learn the basics of building solar ready.  

A Fully Solar Powered Future

To achieve our goal of making solar the dominant source of energy, we need to do more than just power our buildings by the sun. Our mission is to empower our clients and achieve complete energy independence. We pride ourselves on helping our clients achieve more energy offset with the most powerful panels available; SunPower. Our team also guides our clients on other actions they can take to reduce their energy footprint; like ensuring their home is energy efficient, switching heating and cooling over to geothermal or electric, powering vehicles with energy produced by the sun, and storing solar energy with batteries for use during potential blackouts.


To learn more about DOE's Housing Innovation Awards Program, visit http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/housing-innovation-awards .  To take a virtual tour of DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes in your climate region, visit http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/doe-tour-zero .
By SunPower by EmPower Solar 07 Dec, 2016

Solar Financing: Loans

Solar loans have become the most popular way to go solar in the United States and are helping to catalyze rapid solar power adoption.  The reason for this growth is straightforward: homeowners finance solar systems for $0 down and start saving from day one, while also building equity in the system and owning it outright at the end of the loan term.  Approximately 70% of SunPower by EmPower Solar’s customers finance solar with some form of loan, and 30% use the lease ( learn more about the lease here ).  Following are some details about how the solar loan works and some of the benefits.


Solar Loan Product

SunPower by EmPower Solar offers its own dedicated solar loan through a financing partner.  This solar financing product is comprised of two loan components; a bridge and a term. The bridge loan covers the amount of the solar tax credit, and is paid back within 12 – 18 months once the tax credits are received.  The term loan covers the net project cost after the tax credits, with 10, 12 and 15 year term options.

The net result is that the term loan monthly payments are usually lower than the pre-solar utility bill, generating immediate savings.  This means that customers start paying to own their solar power system by paying less than the utility bill from day one.  So homeowners begin building equity in this clean power generating asset with zero down, and save right away. Because the solar payment is fixed, as electric rates rise, the monthly savings will increase.  Then, at the end of the loan term, solar generates free electricity.


Home Equity For Solar Installation

Using a home equity line of credit or loan to finance solar can make a lot of financial sense. First, home equity interest rates are low and most likely the best available rate to fund any home improvement project.  Second, the home equity would be one loan for the total project cost.  Once the solar tax credits are received, the line is paid down.  Then, the homeowner can pay down the home equity line as they choose.  Following the principle of monthly savings, customers often decide to make monthly payments at an amount lower than the pre-solar utility bill, resulting in immediate monthly savings.  Another benefit of home equity is that interest on the loan payments is tax deductible.

According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index , home values have shown a 38 percent rise in the national index since its low point in February 2012.  This means that homeowners are realizing increasing wealth and building equity.


Solar Loan Example:

Before solar, a homeowner uses 12,000 kWh per year and pays $2,400 annually: an average of $200 per month. The homeowner installs a 10 kilowatt SunPower solar system that off-sets 12,000 kWh per year of usage and the utility bill decreases from $200 to $10 per month (considering standard connection charges). The monthly solar loan payment is $170, resulting in $30 per month savings.  Because the solar payment is fixed, as electricity prices rise, solar savings increase. After 15 years, the homeowner pays off the loan and owns the solar system with 10 years still left on the system warranty!


To think of this another way:

Year 1 utility price: $0.20 per kilowatt hour (kWh), on average, increases 3% per year

Year 15 utility price: $0.35 per kWh

Year 1 - 15 year solar loan cost per kWh: $0.17, fixed rate

Year 16 - solar system cost: $0.00 / kWh

Twenty year savings: $30,000 - $70,000 (depending on system size)


Home Value Increase

A key benefit of the solar loan is that the solar system adds to home value.  

Studies  from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The National Bureau of Economic Research have shown that homes with solar energy systems can command a 3 - 4% premium over homes without solar energy systems.  Using either home equity or the solar loan enables homeowners to realize the benefits from increasing home value.


When The Solar Loan Makes Sense

We find that the solar loan makes sense for homeowners that have the ability to use the solar incentives including the federal solar tax credit and New York State solar tax credit. It allows people to go solar with no money down, save money from day one and ultimately own their system outright. Given the rapid growth of solar loans, it is clear that they are proving to be a very smart and economical way to go solar.


To learn more, schedule your free solar assessment with one of our Solar Experts. Email: cx@empower-solar.com and get started today!

SunPower by EmPower Solar is Long Island's exclusive SunPower Master Dealer, committed to delivering more savings now and more over time with the world's most powerful solar panels and the industry's best combined power and product warranty.  

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 14 Nov, 2016
We get a lot of questions about the differences between the SunPower solar lease and other solar leases, as well as solar power purchase agreements (better know as PPAs.)  While both options can deliver immediate solar panel cost savings, there are real differences.  If you’re considering making the switch from traditional electricity to clean solar energy, and you’re curious why the SunPower solar lease is the smart choice for consumers, this blog is for you.
By SunPower by EmPower Solar 02 Nov, 2016

Big news from Tesla Energy: The Powerwall 2.0 Home Battery is here, and we’re excited to announce that as of January 2017 it will become an integral part of our product lineup!

The original Powerwall has been wildly popular among consumers, and we expect no less from the impressive and revolutionary Powerwall 2.0.
By SunPower by EmPower Solar 19 Oct, 2016

Last month, we embarked upon our second solarize journey and we’re excited to empower the residents of North Hempstead with clean energy, with a lower cost and more PSEG bill savings. Homeowners will be offered the “Power of Choice” and can use their Town discount on either a purchased, leased, or financed system.

Solar Panels for North Hempstead: How to Get Started!

1.      Interested homeowners can sign up here to secure special solarize pricing until December 31st.

2.      Our designers create a custom design and you select a date to meet and go over your options.

3.      We install your system and your PSEG bill drops from month 1!

Solarize North Hempstead Events:

To date, we’ve spoken to dozens of homeowners at the Port Washington Farmer’s Market. We attended a Sabbath Service with congregants at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of Manhasset. We’ve also met dozens of homeowners in New Hyde Park at the first STOP day of the season.

Here are a few more events coming up:

-        10/29 – 6pm to 9pm Educational Tent at SPOOKY WALK – Clark Botanic Garden, Roslyn

-        10/30 – 9:30am to 3pm STOP Day at North Hempstead Beach Park, Port Washington

-        10/30 – 12pm to 4pm Edu. Tent at NOT-SO-SPOOKY WALK – Clark Botanic Garden, Roslyn

-        11/2 – 7:30pm Presentation: Port Washington Library

-        11/3 – 6:30pm Presentation: Yes We Can Community Center, Westbury

-        11/9 – 6:30pm Presentation: Clinton G. Martin Park, New Hyde park

Voted Best Solar Company on Long Island

We’re pretty proud that the Town of North Hempstead chose SunPower by EmPower Solar for this program. It helps validate what our clients have been saying for a while – we’re voted number 1 on Long Island according to Yelp, and have 5 stars across the board on Facebook, Google, Angie’s List, and SolarReviews.com.

 

Fore more information about the program, contact:

cx@empower-solar.com

516-837-3459

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 28 Sep, 2016

In our last blog we took some time to dig a little deeper into our recent video,  The Power of Choice  and what exactly that phrase means. We discussed the key differentiators that set us apart from the competition, including transparency, amazing products and customer service, and the ability to choose how you go solar, whether it be leasing, financing, or purchasing your system. 

Now, let’s go into a bit more detail and spend some time breaking down and discovering the benefits of each payment option. The goal is to determine what’s best for you!


Purchase as Investment

Roughly 10% of our clients purchased solar using cash, and view their solar system as an investment vehicle with an annual return of 15-20% per year. For consumers with an investor mentality, this is superior in comparison to most other safe investment options, and has a favorable risk/reward ratio. If you choose to use cash to go solar, you receive all the benefits of the state and federal tax credits along with a comprehensive 25 year warranty. Essentially, you go solar on your terms and maximize financial returns.


Solar Loan and Solar Lease

Solar leasing or financing are the two most popular ways to go solar. For most consumers, a loan makes greater sense when they plan to be in their home for a long time, however, a lease is a great benefit to homeowners with little-to-no tax appetite, or who simply don’t want to commit to owning the system. It’s important to note that there are a number of ways to finance your solar system, including loan products we offer, home equity lines of credit, personal loans, etc. We will explain the nuanced differences in future posts.

The handy infographic below gives you a side by side view of the benefits of our lease and loan products.


By SunPower by EmPower Solar 07 Sep, 2016

You may have seen our latest video,“The Power of Choice”. In it, we highlight key differences between SunPower by EmPower Solar and some of the other solar companies out there. We’re pretty proud of not only the message but the video itself, especially considering it features our very own in-house Client Experience and Engagement Coordinator, Christiana!

If you haven’t seen it yet you can check it out here:

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 29 Jul, 2016
This week, representatives of over 120 companies and organization participated in the 11th annual Marcum Workplace Challenge at Jones Beach State Park. This year’s challenge hosted over 8,900 individuals who braved the heat to participate in the 3.5-mile run-walk, all for a good cause. Proceeds from the Challenge are being split between four local charitable organizations: Long Island Children’s Museum, Children’s Medical Fund of New York, Long Island Cares, Inc. – The Harry Chapin Food Bank, and the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Since 2006, the event has raised nearly $600,000 for Long Island Charities.
More Posts
Share by: