A Solar Revolution is Occurring
In 2013, California installation of Solar doubled the amount of Solar installed statewide, against all previous years combined. In 2014, the 2013 volume was doubled again. And in 2015, that amount was again doubled! By the end of 2016, California was deriving 13% of its total electricity from Solar, making California the #1 state in the U.S. for Solar production and use.
California, though, is not alone in demonstrating exponential growth. A glance at the “top 10” states rankings in solar development indicates the surprising variety of state “personalities” leading the way toward a new energy infrastructure:
- North Carolina.
- New Jersey.
- New York.
The Driving Factors
What has been the driving principle causing home owners and businesses to make the conversion to Solar, from the previous Utility-source-only model, as the choice for vitally needed electricity?
Quite simply, a deliberate look at costs and effects comparisons with the 2 models-utility or solar-reveal one consistent truth: Solar is an investment cost with a significant ROI; while paying for Utility generation is merely an ongoing cost, with the only return being last month's electrical usage.
Multiple influences and factors have made solar more desirable and feasible to initiate.
- Advancing technologies continually increase efficiencies and lower comparative costs.
- Increased manufacturing production reduces cost per item.
- Federal, State, and Municipal incentives, created to address outdated, fossil fuel Grid infrastructure budget burdens, have also been important growth stimulates.
Solar simultaneously provides its owners with an increased sense of independence, while providing the local grid with additional clean energy for all.
- An increasingly widespread awareness of Solar's environmental health benefits have added to its appeal, and provide a tangible legacy of satisfaction to the purchasers' payback.
Solar's Financial Wisdom
For businesses and home-owners, the common denominator for “going Solar” is, in fact, the monetary payback. When a purchaser acquires a properly designed solar system to be part of the assigned property, the outright cost of electricity goes down, and becomes predictable; the property value goes up (without tax liability), as does future market value; tax write-offs become available, as well as a 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit; the decision makes dollars as well as sense.
The price of electricity produced and provided by U.S. Utility servers increased by over 200% from 1950-2013. In spring of 2014, Bloomberg News reported the following announcement from PJM Interconnection, the country's largest grid supplier, consisting of over 900 Utility companies:
“Costs to ensure adequate generating capacity will more than double in the year starting June of 2017”
Ever Increasing Electrical Demands
PJM is, in fact, the Eastern Grid in the U.S. The truth of those predictions has become increasingly evident to those living in the other National Grid Quadrants, including here in the West. As learned in economics 101, the higher the demand, the higher the price. And, all of our tools in the age of Information-television, computers, phones, all forms of media play back, etc.; light, electrical heating, air conditioning, appliances, etc.-all are part of our growing collective demand for electricity. We now see the beginnings of the electric car becoming commonplace, as well as electric public transportation. Our demands for electricity will not decrease. They will continue to grow.
Learning from Our Past
We have learned hard lessons from depending largely on finite fossil fuels, something foreseen by Thomas Edison, quoted saying this to Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone in March of 1931:
“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy -- sun, wind and tide.... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.“
For we reasons we can speculate on-including the anxious logic of a faster-building infrastructure-fossil fuel was the basis of our Grid foundation and growth. Now, however, much has changed, as have our perceptions of, and attitudes about, fossil fuel.
One of the more famous names affecting fossil fuel infrastructure was Rockefeller. It was significant, when, also reported in 2014, September, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced plans to sell off assets tied to fossil fuels and invest in alternative energy. This was a deliberate move of their Fortune from Oil to Green Tech. It was a move preceded by very careful deliberation, it seems obvious.
Acquiring the New Choice
Now it is a viable choice, in the case of many property owners of business or residence, to acquire their own electricity source through solar-and/or, in some cases, wind. And, as stated previously, a deliberate comparison of seeming ever-rising Utility payments without end, vs. self-owned, property-attached Solar System production, quickly becomes an obvious choice.
The startling discovery is that the “break-even” point- i.e., the time it takes utility supplied electricity payments to equal the out-of-pocket cost of a solar system ownership, averages 5-8 years. The higher the usage average, the earlier the payback, normally.
Nowadays, the Performance Warranty standard for 1rst Quality panels is 25 years. In reality, the better panels can often surpass the given warranty life. If the system has been designed correctly, it should provide 10's of thousands of dollars in years ahead-and far more for large business concerns.
Obviously, the projected cost of acquiring electricity over the total of the next 5-8 years can be a daunting figure to pay at once. Part of what makes solar such a viable endeavor now, is the myriad of ways one can obtain financing. Banks and Credit Unions are now aware of the tangible value solar gives your property, with secured (tax deductible), long term HELOCs, shorter termed unsecured loans, etc. Other intricate variations for business and property owners can also be found.
When for various reasons one might want “off-book” financing, PACE Programs are available for Residential and/or Businesses in multiple Counties. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs allow acquisition of a solar system through attachment to the Property tax. It still allows the homeowner or business the current 30% Federal Tax Credit, the non taxable increased property value and potential market value. And, very importantly, ownership and transfer-ability of the Warranties and, the Net Energy Metering Agreement: the terms of sell-back to the grid of excess generation; terms established at installation with the Utility. PACE Program eligibilities are not dependent on credit report, but rather on timely mortgage payments and up to date property tax payments.
Another method of having solar on a property is through “third-party” ownership, by a company that specializes in offering Leases and/or PPA (pre-paid Power Agreement). In this construct, the property owner gives right to the third party to use said property for placement of the solar system that is also fully owned by the third party-i.e., the Net Energy Metering Agreement, application of the FED ITC, and the warranties for the system they own. The system is then rented by the homeowner, whose property value does not increase, nor does the market value improve. Some savings do occur vs. paying the utility company. This arrangement sometimes makes sense- for some cases- but not for most.
It is not an investment for the home-owner. Leases/PPA’s are the investment of a third party, who will profit considerably with the ROI.
SSE's Recommendations for Best ROI
At SSE, we believe it is right that the property owner garners the major benefits and profit of going solar. In fact, we believe no one should make more in the transaction than the property owning client. The manufacturer makes a little, the Installer makes a little, workers maintain employment-but, the client who is making the investment will profit considerably more. Ownership in the client's name is what brings the greatest ROI. The client making the investment deserves the greatest profit. This is what we at SSE perceive and believe.
We believe in providing our clients a clear and transparent view of our steps in analysis, and what effects each of any variety of options will have on your bottom line-both immediately, and long term.
If you want to finance, and want some options, we can point you to tried and proven sources to work with comfortably. We base our suggestions on known finance entities we have learned about in our lengthy experience helping our clients. SSE does not offer direct financing-nor do we have an alliance with any particular finance entity. However, we have identified different trusted financial avenues, each with their own benefits, fitting a broad array of fit-to-need for our clients.
At SSE INC, we are aware that solar energy is, in itself, an optimal choice of energy use for the general health of the biosphere. We also believe each individual acquisition of its use can and should be an optimal investment choice for the purchaser, bringing the maximum return in dollars as an investment. In other words, we believe our clients deserve the financial rewards for themselves that each solar installation provides for the world at large. That is why we work meticulously with each different client to tailor a system to maximize benefits for each set of unique circumstances and needs.
For each prospective client reaching out to us, we make a comprehensive study of electrical usage history, explore through discussion what future needs might be added, and determine the ideal system sizing to meet the apparent needs. Understanding your long term plans with the property itself also helps us help you-a solar system can often have an optimally working life beyond 25 years.
We then present options in equipment we recommend, to fit your energy needs and your budget- and, we can create a system that meets your current usage or budget needs, in a manner that will most easily allow future expansion.
Helping you see the best choices in financing, if desired, that will produce the greatest ease and return, is another important part of our consultative approach to insuring our clients receive the greatest overall Value in this important investment.
Increased property and market value, and tax benefits, are parts of the return. Long term, the greatest “pay-out” is received through Cost-Avoidance.
The dollars that do not get spent “renting” from a Utility company for daily needs, will add up to thousands that can gain interest in your bank account, or other investments- or, simply be there for personal needs of a home-owner (kids, vacations, medical needs, etc.; or, R&D, Operations expansion, or other needs of a business that can help it be more profitable.
Paying those dollars to Utility Companies, with no return, will become a fading memory! Solar is an investment. One to consider wisely.
How We Work for YOU
We at SSE view our Work being three-fold:
- Consulting-for your best Investment
- Construction-for your most enduring Design
- Service-for your complete Satisfaction
When we do our work as we are committed to, everyone wins!
Perhaps that is why we continually grow through happy referrals.
We love what we do!