A Letter from our CEO: Paris Accord

  • By SunPower by EmPower Solar
  • 02 Jun, 2017

Motivated by Withdrawal from Paris Agreement

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

Solar News and Updates - SunPower by EmPower Solar

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!

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 04 Apr, 2017

Being a lifelong Long Beach Resident, I truly care about our community and our impact on our surrounding environment. I have a background in public safety, and over the years I been involved with several initiatives to protect the local environment. This experience offers me a unique perspective on the value of using renewable energy to make our homes more resilient and communities more sustainable.  

When SunPower by EmPower Solar offered me the opportunity to join their team to help spread the benefits of switching to solar power, it was very exciting. The company’s values are very much in line with mine and we all are in it for the same goal; a commitment to a cleaner environment.  This is especially important to me now as a father of two with one more on the way.

Over the last decade, I’ve had the chance to learn about “the company” EmPower Solar as well as get to know a lot of the individuals who make up their 70-person team; all based in Island Park. They are a great group of people, and more importantly; they do great work. As a technical person, I respect the quality of work they do and appreciate they go the extra mile to ensure their clients have a positive experience. As an established leader in the solar industry, they offer the most efficient solar technology available delivered safely with honesty, craftsmanship and reliability.

Many friends of mine have already switched to solar and I look forward to educating my neighbors and friends on solar programs, incentives available, and the importance on choosing the right Solar energy service.

I believe in Solar, and I have confidence in SunPower by Empower!

 

If you are interested in learning more about solar, you can reach me at spinto@empower-solar.com or at the office 516-837-3459.

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 30 Mar, 2017

Making investment decisions can seem like a gamble at times, especially when investing in your home. Not to mention, renovating and improving your home takes time, money, and trust that your contractors will do a good job. The monetary return on investment doesn’t come until you sell the house, and it all depends on an unpredictable housing market.

Adding solar panels to your home could put money back into your pocket immediately, money that could be used for that bathroom, kitchen, pool, or new flooring you have been dreaming of. This extra money could lessen the financial burden at the end of each month, and reduce financial stress from monthly utility bills.

“I had accepted electric bills as an unquestionable monthly expense. Once I started researching solar, I realized it was a no-brainer. I paid $13,300 to get my system installed in 2011 but it’s already paid for itself, leaving me with no monthly electric bills or solar payments. Friends have spent the same amount on kitchens or bathrooms and are still paying those projects off. I now have about $220 in monthly savings each month that I can put towards home projects or my children’s education. We couldn’t be happier with our decision.” says Walter T., an EmPower Solar client from Wantagh, NY.

Utilizing the power of home solar panels in a place like New York has never been more important. We live in an area where the cost of living exceeds almost all other parts of the country, and high utility costs haven't been getting any lower. In fact, there are proposals in the works calling for residential electric bills to increase by 5.2 percent, and gas heating bills by 7.7 percent next January.

Each month you are throwing money at keeping your house running, but you’re missing out on an opportunity to let your home power itself.

For those who prefer not to purchase a solar system upfront, there are a multitude of financing options including a Nassau Financial Solar Loan or a SunPower lease that provide a few hundred dollars a year in savings.

Whether you choose long term savings or short term savings, you have a chance to put that money into the kitchen you’ve always wanted, reduce home operating costs and add value to your home.

When it comes to adding value for a home sale; while renovating a kitchen or bath may add value to your home, it is not guaranteed due to tastes and preferences of buyers. Neither of these projects have a tangible savings, while adding solar panels has an actual and identifiable cash flow.

Want to know if you qualify for a Long Island or New York City solar program? Contact us to learn more about the programs incentives you may qualify for. Call us at 516.837.3459 or email us; cx@empower-solar.com


*$75,000 savings is estimated based on a 20 year time-frame.


By SunPower by EmPower Solar 23 Mar, 2017

The Sisters of St. Dominic of Long Island have a lot to be proud of when it comes to their contribution to the environment. From their on-site organic farm in Amityville, the geothermal system at the Motherhouse, to the hybrid vehicles that they drive, the Sisters have taken many steps over the years to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize their impact.


For many years, Homecoming Farm, a certified organic CSA project was one of the Sister’s major environmental initiatives. In late 2014, the Long Island-based Sisters asked themselves “what’s next?” They took a close look at their goals and what they saw as the next piece of their mission. The vision was clear; they want to leave the planet better than they found it and encourage others to do the same by acting as a positive example. This was all being considered around the same time that Pope Francis released his encyclical on the environment.


In the 2015 encyclical, entitled “Laodato Si”, the Pope encourages the faithful to take on an ecological conversion. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” Pope Francis wrote. This sentiment especially resonated with the Sisters of St. Dominic, who are as forward-looking as they are present.


“We sisters, with Pope Francis, recognize human induced global climate change to be among  the most serious issues facing the global community today. "Going solar" even in a modest way, gives us the opportunity to make some small contribution toward the mitigation of this problem” said Sister Margaret Galliardi, a leader on the project.


Together with Sunpower by EmPower Solar, the Sisters assessed many options for solar panels both at the motherhouse and many of the individual sites. They identified several properties most viable for solar and began there.


In summer of 2016, work began at the Malverne apartment. Housing seven sisters, the house is now 100% powered by the sun with a home solar system that generates 10,300 kilowatt hours per year. “The installation of the solar panels went well and to date, the utility bills have been greatly reduced” said Sister Louise Raab, a resident of the Malverne apartment.


The Amityville Apartments shortly followed suit, installing a home solar system that cover over 100% of the buildings’ energy needs, with the surplus energy used to credit the mother house electric account.


“The Sisters of St. Dominic are some of the most inspirational and motivating people we've ever worked with.  The entire EmPower team comes away more dedicated than ever to make solar the dominant energy source" said David Schieren, CEO of SunPower by EmPower Solar. 


The Sisters will be able to monitor their system’s energy production in real time and can measure their actual environmental impact over the 30+ year life of the solar panels. Altogether, the systems are projected to produce 40,269 kWh of energy per year. If the same amount of energy had been produced via coal, that would mean CO2 emissions of 29,992lbs. That’s a lot of avoided greenhouse gas emissions! This equates to removing 6 vehicles from the road each year.


While the Sisters of St. Dominic have always supported and promoted energy efficiency and renewable energy, they now lead by example. The Sisters proudly show off their solar panels and plan to use their experience as a tool to help further educate their communities and to encourage others to make the switch to clean, renewable energy.


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