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DIY Solar Thermal Water Heaters

Installing solar panels seems like a great idea, but finding that spare $30k can be rough. Solar Thermal Water Heaters are a great alternative to installing a full photovoltaic solar panel system.

These water heaters will help greatly reduce your energy use. They are much smaller than a PV system, making them much cheaper. Also, converting the sun's energy into heat is much simpler than turning it into electricity. To have a solar thermal water heater installed, you will likely spend about $.... read more

Solar Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentive Programs by State

 

Across the nation, legislation is being passed to make investing in renewable energy more affordable to homeowners and small business owners. In addition to the 30% federal tax credit, many states offer a variety of programs via tax credits, rebates, and incentives. Click on your state for more detailed information.... read more

What is Solar Net Metering?

 

Net Metering

There are many environmental and financial benefits of installing PV solar panels or other small renewable energy systems. Many states offer “Net-Metering” to offset your utility use.... read more

Environmental Literacy in Schools – the California Regional Environmental Education Community

 

Environmental Literacy California

Many children today grow up hearing terms like “green” and “sustainability” without understanding the relevancy to their lives and future. Educational programs promoting environmental literacy in school children are incredibly important for the future of our planet – our children need a keen understanding of the importance of environmental responsibility in order to lead the future of the sustainability movement.... read more

Go Solar! - Individuals' Experience Going Solar

 

Solar Panels

While installing solar panels may seem like a great option to practice principles of sustainability AND reduce our energy costs, the idea can be a little daunting. How much does it cost? Can I afford it? How do I handle rebates? What rebates are available to me? How do I choose an installer? How long does installation take? How do solar panels work?

Walk through the process of solar installation with three people who have been there before.... read more

Go Solar! - Los Altos Hills, California

 

Belle G. of Los Altos Hills, CA discusses her experience with Poco Solar as part of our Go Solar! series.

What went into the decision to install a PV solar system? Belle had been exploring the idea of installing solar panels for several years. She wanted a system that would produce 70-80% of her power, which meant it had to be pretty large. She began with a solar pool heater and kept her eye on the photovoltaic market as prices began to drop. She always felt going solar was the right thing to do, it was just a matter of time.

How Belle chose a solar installer. When the time seemed right, Belle got 6 estimates, ranging from small local installers to the big guys. Poco Solar had previously installed the solar pool heater and had done a great job. The bid provided by Poco was the best price AND used a more efficient panel than the quotes from other installers. Between Belle's prior experiencewith the company, the super efficient panels, and the price, it was clear that Poco was the best company for the job.... read more

North Carolina Solar Rebates, Incentives and Tax Programs

In 2007 North Carolina became the first state in the Southeast to set an renewable energy reduction goal (12.5% by 2021 – modest, but better than none) and to implement a tax rebate incentive program. The tax program is quite simple. The credit covers up to 35% of the cost of a solar electricity or other renewable energy system, capped at $10,500 for residential systems and a whopping $2.5 million for commercial and industrial systems.... read more

Minnesota Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentives

The state of Minnesota leads the mid-west's efforts to increase clean energy by providing several incentive programs for installing wind and solar power systems. In 2005, the legislature passed a law which requires all utility providers to generate at least 25% of their energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources by the year 2025. Xcel Energy, the state's largest utility, must produce at least 30% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025, 25% of which must be wind power.... read more

Louisiana Solar Installation Rebate Incentives

The beautiful gulf state of Louisiana is home to the most generous solar tax credit in the nation. (Don't believe me? Ask residents Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who took advantage of the program back '08).... read more

New Jersey Solar Rebates and Installation Incentives

The Garden State has a pretty awesome Solar Incentive program, making PV solar installation affordable for many residents and small businesses. The program in New Jersey (aka “The NJ Renewable Energy Incentive Program”) is comprised of several components which differ somewhat from traditional models (in states such as California and Massachusetts).

  • Open market system of “Solar Renewable Energy Credits” (SRECs):

    • Utilities are required to increase the amount of renewable energy they use each year. In order to do this, they buy SREC credits from individual producers of renewable energy (you).

    • 1,000kWh (kilowatt hours) of solar energy = 1 Solar Renewable Energy Credit (1kW of PV paneling will create, on average 1,000kWh per year, providing you with one SREC. The average home solar system is 2-4kW, so that would be 2-4 SRECs per year... confusing, I know).

    • These SRECs can be traded on an open public exchange, where their value will change from year to year. In 2010, one SREC was valued at $693, so a homeowner with a 4kW system could have received approximately $2,772 for their credits.... read more

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