Solar Panel Defects are Not the Norm
“The solar panels covering a vast warehouse roof in the sun-soaked Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles were only two years into their expected 25-year life span when they began to fail,” began a recent New York Times article. While this is cause for concern, it is not common among solar companies with high standards.
When considering solar power for your home or business, it is essential to consider the company you decide to work with; know which panels you’re choosing and consider the company and panel manufacturer warranties.
EmPower Solar is among the premier solar installers that explains to customers exactly which panels will be placed on their roofs. For us, the most common modules used are SunPower, which have been rigorously tested (see the proof here).
SunPower, in addition to the other panels we provide, such as Yingli, Hyundai, and Suniva, are among the highest quality in the world. But don’t just take our word for it — ask us, ask any company you are considering what will be placed on your property.
Panel quality is important, but warranties are just as important to consider. Then, if something does go awry, you’re covered. EmPower offers a ten-year workmanship warranty, and the panels we provide offer a warranty between 20 and 25 years.
While it’s unfortunate that some solar companies and manufacturers are cutting corners and providing low quality products and customer service, remember that they are in the minority. If you ask questions and do some research, you will go solar with no problems.
Click here to view the original New York Times article, “Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels.”
EmPower Solar Hosts Student Competition
Do you know a high school student in New York City or Long Island who would like to win $1,000 and a trip to California? Then it’s time to tell them about the EmPower Solar Student Competition.
Students simply form a team of 2-4 friends and create an essay and video submission answering questions related to solar power and how it fits into today’s energy paradigm. Then, the winners each get $1K and an all-expense-paid trip to the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon in Irvine, California.
Participation sign up deadline is June 15, 2013, and the project submission deadline is July 1, 2013.
Just watch the video for more details, or check out the specifics under our ‘News & Events’ section here: http://www.empower-solar.com/overview/empower-solar-student-competition/
New Utility, New Solar Programs for LIPA Customers
LIPA Changes for 2014: What to Expect
LIPA is expected to undergo significant structural changes in the near future that might have an impact on the renewable energy and energy efficiency incentive programs available to electricity customers on Long Island. Specifically, in 2014, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), New Jersey’s largest and oldest investor-owned utility, will take over operation and management of Long Island’s electric transmission and distribution system from National Grid.
In addition, Governor Cuomo has proposed a far more limited role for LIPA, and an expanded role for PSEG, including control over budgets and overall management. The goals of the changes are to have a more accountable and transparent utility structure, while maintaining the benefits of the lower debt payments associated with the non-profit LIPA holding company structure.
Impact on Solar Incentives
LIPA presently offers the most attractive solar incentives in New York State that help make solar an attractive investment for residential, commercial, and non-profit clients. So given the proposed changes to LIPA, what impact will it have on solar incentives?
While it is certainly possible that the specific incentive levels and rules might change, and historically incentives get reduced incrementally each year, we do not think there will be a dramatically reduced solar program. First and foremost, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated a significant commitment to developing solar in New York. In non-LIPA territory, The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) currently offers a solar rebate of $1.40/watt for commercial-scale solar systems, up to 50 kilowatts (kW) or $70,000, and 7kW for residential systems or $9,800. This is significantly lower than the solar rebates that are currently available in LIPA territory, which are capped at:
-$17,900 for purchased residential systems;
-$17,200 for leased residential systems;
-$172,000 for commercial-scale systems;
-$225,000 for non-profit, government, municipal, or educational customers;
However, NYSERDA’s rebates are still significant enough to drive solar growth (EmPower Solar is very active in Con-Ed territory with NYSERDA rebates).
For large scale solar projects, NYSERDA offers incentives for large scale net-metered systems, which compare favorably with LIPA’s Feed-In-Tariff Program. We anticipate that, under PSEG, LIPA customers will only be eligible for NYSERDA’s program, and not the robust incentives that are currently available today.
It is also important to note that PSEG has been commended for its commitment to solar energy in its New Jersey service territory, particularly through the release of their Solar 4 All program.
One specific concern is that the Governor also announced a rate freeze for three years. This might imply a reduction of budget available for renewable energy projects.
Take Advantage of LIPA’s Rebates Today
It is anticipated that the solar rebate available from LIPA for commercial and residential customers will stay at or near current levels throughout the rest of 2013. If you are currently considering acquiring solar power for your commercial facility or home, now is a great time to go solar and secure LIPA’s strong rebate funding.
To learn how you can go solar, call us today to set up a free consultation, (516) 837-3459.
Stressed? It’s time to unwind with help from the sun
You’re late to work. There’s traffic on the parkway. One child is home sick. The other is waiting for a college acceptance letter. Your spouse is working late, again. The shirt you need for tomorrow is still sitting in the laundry basket.
There are so many reason Americans are stressed, and lately I’ve been reading about it a lot.
While mental health experts and bloggers continually tout prioritization, reorganization, and simply letting the small things go, I think the key is tackling problems head on to avoid them in the future.
What should be no surprise is that money, or its absence, is a huge stressor. And yes, most bills are like taxes. There will always be some you have to pay (at least for the next 20 years).
The good news: some bills can be cut dramatically including, wait for it, your electric bill.
Most homeowners just accept that an electric bill will arrive each month and they’ll have to pay this ever-increasing cost. I’m delighted to tell you, they’re wrong.
Now, thanks to utility, state, and federal rebates, as well as a solar lease, homeowners can significantly reduce or eliminate their electric bill with solar power.
“What? Use the sun to power my home,” you may ask.
Absolutely! And this can be accomplished with little to no money out of pocket so you can start saving immediately.
Are you intrigued? Have a bunch of questions? That’s great! Simply call or email us to connect with our solar experts and find out how solar can save you money, and reduce stress: email@example.com, or (516) 837-3459.
Hiring the Best Solar Contractor
Hiring a solar contractor can be a challenging task, especially when limited time after work is spent caring for children and pets, and accomplishing more pressing tasks. Homeowners also want to protect themselves to ensure they are making a reliable, long-term investment after receiving the best service and products available.
At EmPower Solar, our goal is to make a difficult decision as easy as possible. To assist you in this process in becoming an educated consumer, we’ve composed a list of the Top 12 Topics to discuss when hiring a solar company. Every home is different and every homeowner has different priorities, but starting with these questions will simplify the process.
1. Company History: How long has the solar company been in business? How many energy systems has it installed?
2. Company Licenses: Is the company properly licensed and insured? Specifically, what licenses and insurance does it carry? Does the company carry liability insurance and workmen’s compensation coverage?
3. Subcontractors: Does the company subcontract? If so, what is the background of the subcontractor, and what work is performed?
4. Project Timeline: What is the timeline for design, permitting and installation?
5. Paperwork: Who handles the paper work for permits, solar rebates, and tax incentives? Do I have to do that myself?
6. Engineer/Designer and Installation Team Qualifications: Are there trained engineers and architects on the design team? What about the installation team? Are they NABCEP certified?
7. Solar Equipment: What type of solar panels and inverters are recommended? How strong are the manufacturers financially? What is the contractor’s relationship with that manufacturer?
8. Installation Technique & Roof Impact: What method is used to attach the system to my home and will that violate my roof warranty?
9. Monitoring System: Is the system monitored remotely to make sure it’s functioning properly? Is the monitoring system included in the cost? Is consumption monitoring an option?
10. Historical System Performance: How accurate is your prediction of how much energy my system will produce?
11. Warranty: Who is responsible for system maintenance once it is up, or will you come back and check on it? What does the workmanship and panel warrantee include?
12. References: Can I talk to someone who already has a solar system installed by your company? What about someone who has required service work – was the company available in a timely fashion?
Once you finish interviewing solar contractors, it’s time to research references. EmPower has a series of YouTube Videos that highlight “EmPowered” homeowners sharing their solar experience. Upon request, we can also provide you with direct contact information for families who have chosen to go solar with EmPower. We’re especially proud of our response to those impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
Additionally, Renewable Energy Long Island (ReLI), a non-profit energy advocacy organization, has a network of hundreds of homeowners who have gone solar and are ready to tell their stories. Access that network to discover what homeowners liked best about their contractor what they wished they did differently.
Certainly not all solar companies are the same. When comparing companies and pricing, it’s critical to put apples next to apples, and not lemons. Take into account what products, services, and guarantees are offered. Consider the skill and certification levels of employees. The installation becomes a critical part of your home or building that should produce clean kilowatt hours for many years to come. It is a long term investment.
The EmPower Solar team could talk until your face turns blue about why we are the #1 solar contractor on Long Island and New York City, but we won’t. We value the health of our employees too much. However, we do feel obligated to provide homeowners with the information and tools necessary to make educated decisions about selecting their solar provider so please contact us with any and all questions: Sales@Empower-Solar.com (or) 516-837-3459.