An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power 

  • By SunPower by EmPower Solar
  • 14 Aug, 2017

Our summer intern, an Energy Tech High School student, summarizes the sequel to an Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. 

This blog was written by the SunPower by EmPower summer intern, Pamela Tuwaidan.

In the 2005 movie  An Inconvenient Truth , former vice president Al Gore talks about climate change,  global warming, and how people can take action to make the world a more environmentally safe place.

Throughout the years, the world has become a more hazardous complicated place because of all the hazardous chemicals polluting the air, this is causing the sun's radiation to stay in the earth's atmosphere. The hazardous released chemicals are greenhouse gases which can be produced from industrial processing, industrial agriculture, land transportation, and many others.

To everyone, it could seem like these greenhouse gases are no big deal, but they are. These greenhouse gases traps the sun's radiation in the earth's atmosphere making it hotter on earth. Since the temperature is increasing every day, the effects are melting ice and glaciers. This temperature increase is happening worldwide   Mountains in some parts of the world no longer have ice on top of them.There are glaciers that are breaking apart and the extra water is flowing into the ocean. Since there's more water in the ocean, this causes flooding in other parts of the world. It’s especially influential to the state of Florida, which due to rising sea levels, has alarming rates of flooding and is projected to increase substantially. It also affected New York, in 2012 Hurricane Sandy took its toll on the people in New York City and Long Island.

With all the extra hot air in the earth's atmosphere, it's causing vast climate change in the US and other countries. Although, there could be a way to stop these climate changes and stop global warming.

One way to help reduce these greenhouse gases is to switch from gas cars to electric cars. The factor that makes electric cars environmentally safe is, it reduces the harmful chemicals that go into the air. This will decrease emissions from burning fossil fuels. This will help the world tremendously and make the air less polluted.

Another way to help make the world environmentally safe is having solar panels on homes or in communities. The use of solar panels is, instead of having the sun's radiation stay in the earth's atmosphere and make the world hotter, the sun's radiation can be stored in the solar panels and then used to generate energy for the whole house. Not only are you saving the planet, you could save a lot on your electric bill. Because not a lot of people use the electricity produced in 24 hours, all the extra electricity gained can be used when there is a power outage or when it's a cloudy day.

There are many other initiatives that people can take to help make the world a better and a more environmentally safe place. Although only you can help start making a difference in the world.


“If we're destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there's got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that."  -Ellen Degeneres


Solar News and Updates - SunPower by EmPower Solar

By SunPower by EmPower Solar 14 Aug, 2017

This blog was written by the SunPower by EmPower summer intern, Pamela Tuwaidan.

In the 2005 movie  An Inconvenient Truth , former vice president Al Gore talks about climate change,  global warming, and how people can take action to make the world a more environmentally safe place.

Throughout the years, the world has become a more hazardous complicated place because of all the hazardous chemicals polluting the air, this is causing the sun's radiation to stay in the earth's atmosphere. The hazardous released chemicals are greenhouse gases which can be produced from industrial processing, industrial agriculture, land transportation, and many others.

To everyone, it could seem like these greenhouse gases are no big deal, but they are. These greenhouse gases traps the sun's radiation in the earth's atmosphere making it hotter on earth. Since the temperature is increasing every day, the effects are melting ice and glaciers. This temperature increase is happening worldwide   Mountains in some parts of the world no longer have ice on top of them.There are glaciers that are breaking apart and the extra water is flowing into the ocean. Since there's more water in the ocean, this causes flooding in other parts of the world. It’s especially influential to the state of Florida, which due to rising sea levels, has alarming rates of flooding and is projected to increase substantially. It also affected New York, in 2012 Hurricane Sandy took its toll on the people in New York City and Long Island.

With all the extra hot air in the earth's atmosphere, it's causing vast climate change in the US and other countries. Although, there could be a way to stop these climate changes and stop global warming.

One way to help reduce these greenhouse gases is to switch from gas cars to electric cars. The factor that makes electric cars environmentally safe is, it reduces the harmful chemicals that go into the air. This will decrease emissions from burning fossil fuels. This will help the world tremendously and make the air less polluted.

Another way to help make the world environmentally safe is having solar panels on homes or in communities. The use of solar panels is, instead of having the sun's radiation stay in the earth's atmosphere and make the world hotter, the sun's radiation can be stored in the solar panels and then used to generate energy for the whole house. Not only are you saving the planet, you could save a lot on your electric bill. Because not a lot of people use the electricity produced in 24 hours, all the extra electricity gained can be used when there is a power outage or when it's a cloudy day.

There are many other initiatives that people can take to help make the world a better and a more environmentally safe place. Although only you can help start making a difference in the world.


“If we're destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there's got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that."  -Ellen Degeneres


By SunPower by EmPower Solar 04 Aug, 2017

When George Klein retired his tools at the end of this electrician career, he probably didn't realize that he was far from done producing energy.

He spent many years staying up to date on industry practices, and technical awareness in the field. This knowledge base was both a cause for concern and an important skill when deciding who to use for his solar panel installation. From the initial phone call, Klein was involved in deciding where the system would be located, the types of equipment used, and the functionality of the panels. The eager interest continued through to the end of installation, and each question was answered in detail by each employee he encountered.

Klein’s interest in the recent technological advancements represents a small fraction of a much larger national transition to renewable sources. As solar transitions to a more commonplace occurrence, people from all schools of thought, occupations, ages and locations are considering the viability of going solar.


New York State has seen an 800 percent increase over the last 5 years with Long Island being the leading region in the state with over 38,000 residential solar installations.


The interplay of cost savings, governmental incentives, customer service and technological efficiency are what persuaded Klein to his transition. “I went solar because the [electricity]  rates are high, and they are only getting higher,” stated Klein. “It will increase the value of the house, so it’s a good investment.” It’s important to note that not one of these factors are to be discounted, Klein later says, “I wouldn't have done it if not for the government incentives and tax credits.”

Klein’s 8 kW system covers all of his electricity usage, including air conditioning. After 44 years of being an electrician, keeping the power on is finally something Klein doesn't have to worry about anymore!


“If you’re thinking of going solar, EmPower Solar is a company to consider. I had EmPower solar install a solar system on my house in June 2016. Their salesman was fully acquainted with their solar systems. He answered all my questions fully. Being a retired electrician of 44 years I had a few. The office project manager kept me informed through the whole process. Their install crew was excellent which made the install move smoothly When it came time to commission the system. Every step was explained to me. At conclusion of the project I had no complaints. When appointments were made they were always on time. Empower Solar is one of the best companies I have ever had the pleasure to do business with.”


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.


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