76% increase in U.S. solar installations in Q1 2015

Solar PanelsSolar power is gradually asserting itself in the United States as shown by growth statistics from the first quarter 2015. Between January and March, installations in the national residential market increased by 76% over the same period a year ago. We’ve also seen an 11% jump since quarter four of 2014.

The biggest increases came in California, with 53% of all installations. Nevada and New York are two other states that are leading the solar charge. In Nevada, there were more solar installations in the first quarter of 2015 than in all quarters of 2014 combined.

For the U.S., overall, this year’s first quarter marked the sixth quarter in a row in which PV installations topped 1 GWdc.

These calculations and increases point to the fact that solar energy is considered by many to be the “elite” energy form available to us today. With advances in solar panel technology, solar power keeps upping the ante with economical and clean energy to light our world.

Why is the country getting crazy about solar energy? Here are some of the benefits.

  • Solar energy isn’t just another “sustainable” energy source – it’s also a source we’ll never run out of as long as the sun still shines. Everything these days is about sustainable and renewable, and solar power is at the forefront.
  • By converting to solar energy, you allow Nature to power your life rather than grids and power lines and complex (read: “easily breakable”) technologies. In other words, solar customers avoid power outages that can take hours – or days – to fix.
  • The panels that bring solar energy into a home or building require little maintenance to keep them running optimally.
  • The generation of power through solar technology is a dead-quiet process, i.e., you’ll hear no humming, buzzing or grinding as your home is energized.
  • Continual improvements in the industry mean more efficient and clean energy production at lowered costs.

Solar Investment Tax Credit

Through the end of 2016, owners of residences and commercial properties can qualify for a 30% tax credit when they convert to solar power under the federal policy known as the Solar Investment Tax Credit. This is a strong incentive that the government hopes will encourage more individuals to seriously look into solar power alternatives.

But even after 2016, converting a home or office to solar energy will still make good sense. It’s by far the cleanest source of natural energy, it’s cost-effective and efficient, and maintaining a solar setup won’t require a bunch of your time or money.

North American Solar Stores is the place to get all your questions answered about solar installations and benefits of this most-natural form of energy. Our member stores are dotted throughout the Northeast and as far south as Arkansas. Use the map on our home page to find the store nearest you.

Share Button

Is Solar Energy a Good Long-Term Investment?

Solar Energy InvestmentIf you are one of those homeowners who have been on the fence about whether or not solar is worth the investment, it’s time to see the light. The sunlight, that is. Harnessing the power of the sun comes with a number of great benefits, and when it comes to dollars and cents, solar is a great long term investment. Although there are a number of factors that can determine how quickly you’ll see a return, the number of immediate benefits a solar energy system provides will quickly show you just how valuable it is.

Here is a look at why solar energy is considered a great long term investment:

1) Incentives Put Solar in Reach for Many Homeowners

Some homeowners may disregard solar as an option without a second thought because they believe a solar energy system will cost more than they can afford. In reality, you may be pleasantly surprised at the final cost once incentives are taken into consideration. In many parts of the US, there are excellent tax breaks, credits, rebates, and other incentives to accommodate homeowners & business owners who are interested in investing in solar energy. Speak with a solar expert near you to find out what your state & federal incentives are that will help reduce the final cost of installing a solar energy system.

2) Escape the Rising Costs of Utilities

The cost of electricity has steadily risen year over year which can put a strain on any homeowner’s budget. By the end of this year, the average increase for electricity in the residential sector is projected to be 2.3% higher than in 2014. With oil prices once again on the rise and the supply of fossil fuels dwindling, energy costs will continue to increase. Energy from the sun, however, will not increase. The sun is abundant & free to harvest, and your solar energy system will consistently collect energy from the sun, even the cloudiest days.

3) Become more Energy Independent

The more sunlight that your system harnesses, the less electricity you will need from your utility supplier. This can significantly reduce your heating & cooling costs. Your total savings will be determined by the size of your solar system, how much power you use, and the current price of energy, but on average, homeowners save about $84 per month.

4) Increase Your Home’s Value

Did you know that the value of your home can increase by 20 times the annual electricity savings when your home includes a solar energy system? That means that a home’s value will raise an average of $20 for every $1 that is saved annually while the system is in use. According to a recent study, a solar PV energy system will add an average of $24,705 to a home’s sale price.

5) Solar Panels Require Very Little Maintenance & Upkeep

Because solar panels have no moving parts, they rarely malfunction. Most homeowners can keep their panels clean by spraying them with their garden hose to remove debris or dust. If you live in an area with heavy snow or brutal freeze/thaw cycles, it’s a good idea to have regular inspections, but overall maintenance is minimal and well worth the effort to keep the effectiveness of your unit intact.

6) Solar Energy is Extremely Reliable

tesla new home batteryThe sun has been burning for billions of years and will continue burning for potentially billions more. As other fossil fuels continue to dwindle in supply, solar energy will remain steady and powerful. If combined with a battery backup/storage system, such as the brand new Tesla Powerwall home battery system, your stored solar energy can be used during a blackout. Whether the blackout is caused by a severe storm or grid overload, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to continue life as normal, even when you are not receiving backup electricity from your energy supplier.

There are plenty of reasons why solar is considered to be an excellent long term investment, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you have questions regarding solar energy or you would like to learn how you can take advantage of harvesting the sun’s power, speak with one of our local member stores. We can help set you up with a system that will perfectly suit your needs & usage requirements and will offer great returns in the years to come.

Share Button

Compare Roof-Mounted with Ground-Mounted Solar

Roof mounted solar pv systemThinking about cutting energy costs by investing in solar energy for your home? The installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system can be a roof-mount, a ground-mount, or a pole-mount. Which is best for you is determined by a number of factors, perhaps even strict guidelines enforced by your homeowners’ association. Since pole-mounted panels and ground-mounted are very similar, comparisons here will be between panels installed on the roof versus installed on the ground.

Optimal Conditions for Roof-Mounted Solar

The most economical method for homeowners to install a solar system is on the roof because no additional structures are required for mounting the solar panels other than the roof itself. Your best option is to go with roof-mounted solar panels if the following conditions exist:

  • The appearance of solar panels on your rooftop is something you are comfortable with
  • The roof faces south
  • There are no significant obstructions to sun exposure on the roof, such as nearby trees, buildings, hills, or mountains
  • The roof itself has few obstructions which would interfere with installation of panels, such as sky lights and chimneys
  • The roof has an adequate amount of room for installation of solar panels
  • The homeowners’ association where you live doesn’t disallow rooftop solar panels
  • You have small children and are therefore concerned about their having contact with electrical wires on a ground-mounted system
  • You prefer the added security provided by having the solar panels up on the roof rather than on the ground

It’s possible that the size of the solar system that can be installed on your roof may be limited due to lack of space, if you are interested in generating a certain amount of solar energy. Our NASS professionals can help you determine what size solar system you can install with the amount of square footage available on your roof and answer any other questions you may have about installing solar on your rooftop.

Reasons to Install a Ground-Mounted Solar System

If the following conditions apply, installing a ground-mounted solar system may be the right choice for you:

  • Ground-mounted solar energy systemYour roof does not give you the opportunity to maximize on solar capabilities, whether due to size, too many obstructions, too much shade, or a shape that doesn’t accommodate solar panels
  • Your property is roomy enough for ground-mounted solar panels
  • Your roof is made with material that is difficult to work with for solar installation, such as clay tiles
  • The pitch of your roof doesn’t work for solar panel installation
  • Your roof is old and needs to be replaced within a few years (solar panels usually carry a minimum 20-year warranty)
  • Your area usually gets an excessive amount of snow
  • You want the option of being able to maximize solar potential by adjusting the solar panels seasonally

The greatest benefit of ground-mounted solar panels is that you may have better options for placing your solar panels where solar capabilities are optimal, since they can be installed to directly face south. The air flow is better for ground-mounted solar, which means there is a slight, though not significant, increase in performance. The additional materials required to install ground-mounted solar panels includes structures underneath and wiring which should be trenched in order to connect the panels to the house. If you live in a particularly rocky area, trenching the wires could be a special challenge.

NASS can help you, whether you need professional installation of ground-mounted, roof-mounted, or pole-mounted solar panels. Give us a call today and get energy savings started.

Share Button

Create Wealth: One More Reason to Go Solar

Solar PV SystemLooking to make a solid financial investment? According to the most up-to-date Geostellar Quarterly Index, investing in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for your rooftop is highly profitable and tops many other investment strategies. Couple this information with the fact that the majority of people today who install solar on their homes are primarily doing it for the purpose of saving money, and you’ve got a winning combination.

Investment Comparisons – Solar vs. Cars and Home Improvements

The major investments people usually make are in their home and their car. Cars are assets, but they continually depreciate. Investing in home improvements has not proven to produce a high rate of return; renovating only gives a home’s value a boost some of the time. And neither cars nor homes actually generate income.

Compare cars and homes to the profitability potential of solar, which:

  • Immediately yields dividends,
  • Increases the value of your home, and
  • Produces no-maintenance dividends.

Residents in Massachusetts have apparently come to realize the investment benefits of solar. In a recent survey by a clean-energy company, it was discovered that 7 out of 10 people in the state recognize that solar is the best investment, when the other choices were buying a new car or renovating your home. Their reasons included the long-term value of solar, lower energy costs, and benefits to the environment.

Investment Comparisons – Rooftop Solar vs. S&P 500

In 13 states, installing a rooftop solar system has been found to be among the best investments that can be made, including producing a better return on investment than investing in the S&P 500. The states and their return on investment in solar over a 25-year lifespan of the solar panels include:

  • Hawaii at 24%
  • Colorado at 15%
  • New Mexico at 13%
  • California at 12%

The 2012 states which installed the greatest amount of solar capacity were California, Arizona, and New Jersey; none of these three states made the top 5 states in which return on investment is greatest. Incentives such as tax credits in Connecticut and New York propelled those states to the top 5 of the Geostellar Solar Index.

In calculating rooftop solar profitability, some factors that were considered were:

  • The amount of solar radiation produced throughout a year.
  • Tax credits, renewable energy credits, rebates, and other variables computed on a county-by-county basis.
  • Local utility costs.
  • Costs of installation for a rooftop solar system.

Besides the 13 states which offered a higher return on investment than the S&P-500, about 33 states offered a better ROI for solar than when purchasing a 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond, which yields a 3.7% return.

Solar Energy StoresCEO David Levine, Geostellar Founder, put the news in clear terms: If homeowners install a rooftop solar system, they will generate more wealth than with CDs, stocks, bonds, or other investments. He says that residential solar power has moved beyond being practical to being a wise, solid investment.

In the top states on the Geostellar index, the investment that a homeowner makes in a rooftop solar system would be paid back in full within just four to six years; after that, they would receive energy free of charge worth another five times the amount of the initial investment.

Contact any of our NASS stores for professional installation of solar panels and to ask any questions you may have about the feasibility of solar where you live.

Share Button