<![CDATA[creativesolarusa.com - Blog]]>Fri, 01 Nov 2019 01:49:20 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[DIY Solar: The Spooky Side of the Sun]]>Tue, 15 Oct 2019 20:43:31 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/diy-solar-the-spooky-side-of-the-sunBy Jarred Clark, Sales CSUSA
DIY has gotten more and more popular with the proliferation of the internet and the widespread access to information. Now, a homeowner can get online and get all the information necessary to design, size, source, and install a solar project. This may sound simple enough, but there is also a reason solar installation companies are around and growing rapidly, one DIY mistake could be very costly. 

Selecting a certified solar energy provider to complete your home or commercial solar energy installation will ensure that 1) your insurance company will cover systems they may not cover if installed DIY, 2) manufacturers will honor warranties which sometimes require professional installation of equipment to specific code, 3) your system may be eligible for additional rebates from your utility that are not available to you if you install the system yourself. 

If you are still thinking about installing a DIY Solar Energy system let’s take a walk through the whole process and see where things can get really scary. 

  1. System Sizing
    1. This part of the process seems fairly simple right? Take a look at your utility bill and size the system to create as much energy as you use. Wrong. There are over 50 different utilities in the state of GA. All of them have different solar policies. If you size the system incorrectly, you can accidentally cut your return on investment in half and double the time it takes for the system to pay for itself without even knowing it. 
    2. Have you taken into account shading? Do you know how many hours of sunlight you get on average?  Is there space on the roof for the necessary amount of panels? Did you take into account fire code? All things to consider when sizing a solar system. 
  2. System Design
    1. This is where it starts to get really scary. Here are just a few questions that will need to be answered. Luckily, Creative Solar USA has more NABCEP certified professionals on staff to answer these often challenging questions for you than any other installation company in Georgia, 
      1. How are you inverting power? What type of racking? Is the surge protector in the combiner box or do you need an external surge protector? What type and how many of panels are you using and how does impact the inverter(s)? Are you getting battery storage? If so, AC coupled or DC coupled? What type of charge controller is necessary, so you don’t over charge/discharge your batteries and ruin them? Where do the AC/DC disconnects go to meet code? What is required structurally to ensure a successful installation? How long are the runs of wire, do you need to size up the wire to reduce loss? Is your system meeting all National & local building & electrical code requirements to ensure the safety of your home?
  3. Permitting 
    1. Once the design and engineered drawings are complete, you will need to permit. We have all heard and experienced the nightmares concerning permitting.  Nothing is scarier than the permitting department, nothing. 
  4. Installation 
    1. We’ll skip the arduous process of researching, comparing prices, and purchasing all the right materials required for your project, but there can be some spooky times when you go to order your panels and they are not available for 3 months. The more important part is the physical install. 
    1. Do me a favor and take a look at your roof. Look for the highest, sunniest, spots as that is where the install will occur. Imagine yourself on the roof for two-three days. Now imagine carrying a solar panel up a ladder and walking on the roof to get to that spot. They are not only bulky (3.5’ x 5.3’) but upwards of 40 pounds.
    2. Roof leaks are fairly uncommon with professional installations as we have the tools, materials, and expertise to properly locate and seal penetrations. DIY systems are much more likely to experience roof leaks after install. We also warranty our work for 5 years to ensure peace of mind. 
    3. Electrical installation is where the vast majority of issues occur with DIY solar installs. Most “DIYers” hire an electrician who may not have solar experience to do the install and they still fail to properly wire the system. Electrical failures can disable the system, damaging the electrical system of the house, or worse, create a fire hazard. 

There are many examples of faulty electrical work causing big issues. Googling this can be scarier than a haunted house on Halloween. 

At the end of the day, we want everyone to be able to harness the free energy provided by the sun. Are some people able to successfully DIY a solar system? Absolutely. Does the average person have the knowledge and patience to properly go through the whole process? Very Doubtful. 

At Creative Solar USA we have NABCEP Certified PV Professionals in Sales, Engineering, and Installation. With more than 11 years of experience in the industry, we are still learning, but understand that in a rapidly growing industry, constant change is a given. We have the training and experience to get any project done, from off-grid to grid-tied with storage and would love to help you on your solar journey.

<![CDATA[My First Week In Solar]]>Mon, 07 Oct 2019 16:57:07 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/my-first-week-in-solar
Hello, my name is Sarah O’Connell, and I’m proud to be the newest team member at Creative Solar USA as their Marketing Executive. In my career, I've had a hand in several different industries from veteran organizations, nonprofits, and even car sales. Like many in Georgia’s emerging solar energy market, Creative Solar USA is my first career introduction to solar and the energy industry as a whole. After finding Creative Solar USA I was moved by their commitment to educating the public about solar power and all of its possibilities while still maintaining top-notch customer service. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be offered a position and I was ready to hit the ground running. 

With every new endeavor, I do my best to understand not only the product but the industry's ins and outs from top to bottom and what I found out in the solar industry in Georgia truly astonished me.

As a lifelong resident of Georgia, I've always taken great pride in being from the south, particularly the Atlanta region. From our famous pecans to our award-winning tourist attractions we have a lot to be proud of here in the Peach State however residential solar is not something about which we can toot our own horn.

With Georgia Power heading up the lead of energy utility providers the majority of us fall at their mercy when it comes to energy rates, however, solar would seem to be the solution to that. Unfortunately, though, it's not that simple. What I have discovered from learning about the interworking of energy in Georgia is that the consumer's best interests are not always taken into account by the power companies, to say the least.

For example, John Kraft wrote in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (and then published by Matt Kempner at AJC) “The current basic service charge does not cover the costs to connect customers to our electrical grid that exists whether the customer uses any energy or not.” So even if you never use much energy, Georgia Power is asking you to pay the price for their grid.

But the fun doesn't stop there folks, "Georgia Power wants state regulators to approve changes that would eventually add about $200 a year to average home electric bills. That doesn’t include expected higher rates once a multi-billion-dollar nuclear expansion is completed at Plant Vogtle." according to Matt Kempner.

And it's not difficult to assume who will have to pay for the Plant Vogtle project (which went way beyond the proposed budget). That's right, you guessed it. You, and me). It must be nice to go over budget and have someone else pay for it, I wish that applied to Amazon shopping. I guess that means it's not smart for everyone, huh? But I digress.

So why not just use solar you ask? This potential increase in the base charge could "dissuade some from adding rooftop solar" according to Lisa Bianchi-Fossati, who directs policy for the Southface Institute, an Atlanta nonprofit that advocates for clean energy and environmental sustainability. “It limits consumer control over how to manage their energy use and, therefore, it limits the impact of their choices on their energy bills,” she said. 

Georgia once again stands at a crossroads. Do we stay imprisoned by the rates that Georgia Power declares we will pay? Or will we as a community and as a state band together for better options for energy consumption? Maybe then Georgia could catch up to other states who offer sensible solar policies including state tax credits for renewable energy sources like residential solar power systems as well as strong net metering and interconnection laws that layout sufficient standards to protect consumers like you and me.
Thankfully, not all is lost.

Through many current reports, it’s apparent that not only is solar positive for the environment but it can reduce your utility bills significantly. However, the benefits of solar stretch beyond just reducing utility costs and improving the environmental impact of energy consumption, solar power also creates long-term ROI and is proven to improve profits for businesses across the United States. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) “solar is creating well-paying jobs and driving down electricity costs for consumers, businesses and municipalities. It also has generated significant economic activity, accounting for $140 billion in private investment since its inception.” 

Customers time and time again report meeting a high percentage of their demand and with the data shown from their system, they are able to see how much money it saved them. The data is clear, solar is the way to go for homeowners who have access to it. Many even regret not going solar sooner!

Here at Creative Solar USA we strive to offer you the highest quality customer service available and we would be proud to guide you throughout the entire process of having solar power in your home, from your first call to your first utility bill report post-install, we’ll be there every step of the way. With current incentives available for a limited time only, give Creative Solar USA a call today and let us show you the power that the sun can give!
<![CDATA[How to know if Solar Battery Storage is Right for Your Home]]>Wed, 02 Oct 2019 14:49:02 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/how-to-know-if-solar-battery-storage-is-right-for-your-home
Solar storage has long been a great option for those interested in capitalizing on the power their solar system is producing. Solar batteries allow for the ability to store extra energy generated by the solar system and then draw from that storage when the panels are not producing as much power, vs sending that stored energy back to the grid.

In states like Georgia, there is no true net-metering where the local utility provider credits a solar customer at the retail rate for their surplus solar energy.

Instead, most electric utilities pay a wholesale rate, called “Avoided Cost”, for solar energy not consumed on-site.

This avoided-cost rate is usually between ¼ and ½ of the retail rate and is typically what your utility company would have to pay if they were to buy that same power from another source. The effect of this unbalanced exchange is the monetary value of each kWh of solar power you use is higher than what you’re sending back to the grid while it’s still the same product or ‘energy’.

Solar batteries, however, offer a solution to this predicament. With solar batteries, you are able to maximize how your energy is used every day.
Additionally, batteries allow you to use any stored energy during times that your panels are not producing as much power, such as during bad weather or at night. The time that each battery will run the home from stored energy ranges from a few hours to a couple of days depending on the appliances within the home as well as the capabilities of the battery itself. Creative Solar USA’s solar consultants work closely with every homeowner to determine the size and type of battery best suited for their needs, based on the specific energy usage of the home, solar production at the home, and the types of appliances to which we’re providing back-up power.
The best value from solar batteries is obtained by homeowners who are still connected to the grid and use the battery as an excess solar energy storage unit. 

Overall due to the lack of true net-metering in Georgia and the control that batteries give you over the power being produced by your panels, it’s economically sensible to add a battery to your system. 

For full details on all of the benefits that a solar battery can bring to your home, give us a call TODAY and let us show you how to capitalize on the power given from the sun!
<![CDATA[On the fence about solar? Come visit a home currently using solar as a part of the National Solar Tour!]]>Tue, 24 Sep 2019 07:00:00 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/on-the-fence-about-solar-come-visit-a-home-currently-using-solar-as-a-part-of-the-national-solar-tour
By now you’ve heard that solar power is starting to take hold in homes across the US, but have you considered it for your home? Now is your chance to see solar, up close and personal with the National Solar Tour.

The National Solar Tour is a chance for people all around the country to learn about solar, meet their neighbors, and see solar power at work in their communities. Solar owners host solar open house events to share their experience going solar and interested visitors get the opportunity to ask questions and consider going solar themselves. Events are volunteer-led, free, and open to the public. The Tour is organized by Solar United Neighbors and the American Solar Energy Society, along with tons of local organizations and solar installation companies across the country.

We invite everyone to come visit the homes CSUSA is hosting at the National Solar Tour (October 5th 2019). Even if you are at the early stages of considering going solar or you simply support solar in your community, we encourage you to attend a solar open house on the National Solar Tour!

For a full list of homes in your area visit https://www.nationalsolartour.org/localtours/creative-solar-usa-tour/ then click on the location you are wishing to visit and RSVP!!

Time is running out, so don't delay, be sure to RSVP today!!

<![CDATA[Urging Congress to Extend the Solar Tax Credit]]>Wed, 21 Aug 2019 16:43:32 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/urging-congress-to-extend-the-solar-tax-creditOn July 17th, 2019 the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) sent a letter to Congress signed by roughly 1,000 companies in the solar sector across the nation, urging them to extend tax code section 48 and section 25D known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Solar Energy which has proven to be one of the most prosperous clean energy policies in history. 

In this letter, SEIA laid out the contributions that the ITC has brought including “creating nearly a quarter-million well-paying jobs and driving down electricity costs for consumers, businesses, and municipalities. It also has generated significant economic activity, accounting for $140 billion in private investment since its inception.” They also explained the economic benefits of solar with “more than 240,000 Americans work[ing] in solar energy today, a figure that has more than doubled since 2010. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “solar installer” could become the fastest-growing occupations in America.”

So what’s the big deal?
Well, after 2019 the ITC will be reduced from 30% down to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021, and finally, in 2022, the residential renewable energy credit is eliminated completely. This could mean serious problems for the growth of the solar industry, according to the letter, “the solar industry has experienced $8 billion of cancelled or deferred investments and the loss of 9,000 jobs in the wake of federal policy changes singling out solar” which is a result of the tariffs placed by the federal government. According to James Ellsmoor a contributor at Forbes, “the U.S.’ decision to add a 30% tariff on foreign-produced solar panels had a negative effect on its domestic solar industry, which heavily relies on cheap imports. The loss of the solar ITC is likely to have some negative impact on the development of new solar energy projects as well. Without new solar energy systems coming online, utility customers are more susceptible to high rates of pollution and rate-hikes as utilities rely on fossil fuel generation that is becoming increasingly more expensive to build and operate.

Specifically in the state of Georgia changes impending on the local level could also result in heavy impacts for residents. For example, Georgia Power and its partners are pushing forward with their nuclear power plant construction. With the financial influence of continued construction at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, also known as Plant Vogtle, not only will Georgia Power rates continue to rise (to pay for the long exceeded budget and plan to build the plant) but it will also impact other residents who do not get their power through Georgia Power (or one of the dozens of EMCs and municipalities who also have a stake in Vogtle). According to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy “A utility company’s energy resource mix affects all residents in Georgia, even if they aren’t Georgia Power customers since it influences power generation across the state”.

It makes sense to rely on an energy source that is not only good for the environment but also good for the people and solar is the natural selection for that, but until we the people stand together for a change in energy resources solar may never reach its full potential for Americans. As stated by Luke Richardson at Energy Sage “solar’s low-cost trajectory is likely to continue: unlike oil, gas, and coal, solar PV is a technology not a fuel – meaning that its costs will continue to fall every year as research continues and technology improves.”

So, while there may be a few roads bumps a future with solar energy is bright and there are ways to save with solar!! Give Creative Solar USA a call secure your install before the end of 2019 and receive all of the incentives you can before they could be gone!!

<![CDATA[Three Things to Consider When Going Solar in Georgia: Rising Electricity Costs, Payback Period, Your Home’s Location and Value]]>Tue, 20 Aug 2019 14:58:00 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/three-things-to-consider-when-going-solar-in-georgia-rising-electricity-costs-payback-period-your-homes-location-and-valuePicture
Did you know that the state of Georgia receives approximately 217 sunny days per year? That means that solar energy is a perfect option for residents wishing to save on their utility costs!   Here are three things to consider before going solar in Georgia. 

The first question to ask is what are the future factors that are on the horizon that could affect utility costs. In Georgia, the first thing most residents think of is the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (AKA Plant Vogtle), a multi-year and multi-billion dollar project led by Georgia Power and it’s partners. This plant is the only nuclear power plant currently being built in the United States and its way over budget. Unfortunately, to cover those costs, utility companies will likely be turning to their customers to make up that difference. Solar and solar storage can help you avoid these rising costs in electric bills by allowing you to produce and store your own power. 

Another thing to consider when going solar is the time it will take to recover your initial investment in a solar energy system via the energy savings it produces. This is often called the Payback period. For Georgians, the typical solar payback period is roughly 8-9 years for a system that is accurately sized for your use (compared to Florida's 10 year ROI). This means that in Georgia you will have an end date of approx. 8 years for when you will begin receiving free electricity in your home. 

The other factor to think about is your home’s location. If your home is surrounded by forestry and your roof rarely gets sun, it will likely take a longer period of time for you to see any major savings in energy as solar panels need a good amount of sunlight to produce enough energy for you not to have to resort to the grid. However, with adequate sunlight solar can add significant value to your home. On average it can increase your home’s value up to $15,000.00 making it a no-brainer for any smart homeowner. 

Remember, a solar energy system qualifies for the federal tax credit that will be fading away prior to 2020 so it’s wise to jump on board now so you can receive all of the incentives possible!! 

It’s a good idea to look over your utility bill and see how you can save by making your own energy with solar. While we support producing as much of your own energy as possible, this does not mean you will be totally off the grid, but simply that you will not have to resort to it as heavily and thus save on utility costs.
At CSUSA we would be glad to give you a free consultation and see if solar would be a good fit for you. Give us a call TODAY and see how you can save with solar!!

<![CDATA[CSUSA is Now a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer]]>Mon, 12 Aug 2019 20:58:19 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/csusa-is-now-a-tesla-powerwall-certified-installer
Tesla’s rebranding of residential-use batteries is in line with their legacy of re-imagining existing products. Tesla's battery may represent the first time in history that everyday homeowners are truly excited about the potential of storing energy at their home. 

Tesla describes the Powerwall as a “rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control.”  Tesla battery packs are the perfect the perfect complement to existing or newly installed solar systems.


Thanks to Georgia's lack of net metering solar owners aren't able to capitalize on all the energy they are producing unless they have a way to store excess solar power. During the day, while your solar energy system is soaking up the most energy from the sun, most residential solar owners are away at work. So, instead of that energy going to waste (or getting sold back to the grid) why not store that energy for when you do get home in the evening?
Introducing Tesla's Powerwall. The second-generation Tesla Powerwall  offers one of the best ratios of cost to capacity of any product available in the United States. A single Powerwall can store 13.5 kWh (which can power essential appliances for a full 24 hours, for the average home) and all Powerwalls come with an integrated inverter.

The Powerwall has a 10-year warranty that is based on your battery being used for daily charging and use. As part of their warranty, Tesla offers a minimum guaranteed capacity that states Powerwall will sustain at least 70 percent of its capacity over the course of its warranty period. A solar storage solution like Tesla's Powerwall allows you to maintain a sustained power supply during the day and night, as well as when the utility grid becomes unavailable. As a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer CSUSA is proud to offer you the best recommendation about the Tesla home battery and other energy storage options available to homeowners today, so give us a call and let us show you the power the sun can have in your home!

<![CDATA[Declare Your Energy Independence This Year]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:44:34 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/declare-your-energy-independence
How to take advantage of batteries / energy storage and become independent from traditional methods of energy.
Becoming more independent in every aspect of our lives is something we all strive to accomplish, and when it comes to our homes and businesses, energy shouldn’t be the exception.
Did you know that energy storage — more commonly known as batteries — is the fastest developing element of renewable energy today? In fact. according to this Green Tech Media article, one of the predictions for this year’s solar energy trends is that the record for solar storage will be broken. “The second prediction for 2019 is bolder than the first — the observation that the record for solar-plus-storage deployments in 2018 will be broken yet again in 2019. That’s based on the forecast for falling solar and battery prices, combined with a continuation of the federal Investment Tax Credit for solar that can include the cost of batteries as part of the installation,” the article explains.
So how will people and businesses continue to benefit from energy storage? To name a few, energy storage benefits users by:
  • Optimizing your photo-voltaic (PV) system by capturing excess energy produced to be used later on site
  • Expanding the hours you can use clean, self generated power in your home or business
  • Providing greater independence and autonomy from the grid
  • Load-shifting- as batteries store excess energy generated by PV to be used at a later time, typically at night and cloudy days or also during the hours of grid peak pricing rates
  • Working as back-up, in case of emergencies, as it enables your home or business to sustain power during a utility grid outage or commonly known as a “blackout”

You can save money too!

The federal tax credit of 30%*, which fades after 2019, applies towards all costs of battery installation when installed within the same year as PV. Make sure to take advantage before it goes away!
Getting Started

Now that you know the benefits of energy independence, why not get started right away? At Creative Solar USA our energy experts are happy to talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Click here for a free consultation!
*The federal tax credit has upcoming changes. Creative Solar USA does not warrant or guarantee rebates, grants, credits, awards, or ROI. ​See your tax professional to assess which financial advantages will apply to your installation. ​​
<![CDATA[Message from the CEO: This is why Solar could be saving you money this year]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:38:01 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/message-from-the-ceo-this-is-why-solar-could-be-saving-you-money-this-year
The savings on an immediate basis Is a challenge. There’re different parts of the country where solar is prominent, and other where it’s not. Regardless, homeowners are accustomed to having a 30-year mortgage or timeline, as opposed to the immediate investment that it would take to add solar to their home. Solar is a 5 - 15 year economic break even which means that there is an additional 15 - 25 years of free on-site electricity and generation. The icing on the cake is that the energy that is produced locally and is money that’s being attributed and benefiting the local community rather than being distributed to countries other than our own.

Gasoline, as a fuel is far more expensive than solar, because solar is a natural energy source from the sun as opposed to money spent on coal and foreign sources of oil. Because we are accustomed to the ever-changing increase of gasoline fluctuation ranging from 20-30% a month, converting to solar and electricity as a fuel in electric vehicles buffers that fluctuation, and reduces the cost of transportation as we know it. Solar and electric vehicles can drop to the equivalent cost of 40 cents per gallon, making it an immediate advantage. Not to mention, within the 25-year warranty period that the solar systems operate in, the systems consistently generate net savings greater than $10,000.

Historically, solar has been restricted to single-family home ownership. And while the utility companies are advancing programs to accommodate solar with apartment dwellers and condominium owners, there’s ongoing lobbying to permit a more direct and greater benefit to renters and owners alike. So, we can expect in the future that the cost drops of home battery storage systems will allow pairing with solar panels to enhance savings and provide better security should outages occur.  

In conclusion, solar is no longer an “if” or and unknown benefit. There are clear benefits surrounding solar energy so there’s no reason to wait. The sooner homeowners start the solar process, the sooner savings will occur.
About Creative Solar USA: Creative Solar USA is a Georgia-based, turn-key installer of innovative solar panel systems, dedicated to alternative energy solutions for your home or business. Become a member of the Creative Solar USA community. We're your solar power resource long after the installation is complete because we don't just build PV systems for our clients – we build relationships.
<![CDATA[Summer Travel: Solar Trends for RVs and Vehicles]]>Tue, 28 May 2019 12:24:39 GMThttp://creativesolarusa.com/solarblog/summer-travel-solar-trends-for-rvs-and-vehicles
Why solar could be the future of transport.

Much like solar panels for homes, solar energy for vehicles has been in the works for a long time, as solar energy could potentially provide enough energy for a car to run. “Like solar-powered homes, solar cars harness energy from the sun by converting it into electricity. This electricity fuels the battery that runs the car's motor. Instead of using a battery, some solar cars direct the power straight to an electric motor.  Great examples of the latest solar powered cars are the University of Michigan solar car, the MIT solar car, and the Berkeley solar car,” this article explains.
So, what are the main solar trends we should be on the lookout for with RVs and vehicles? Here are a few things to know:
Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
"Solar-powered vehicles are of two types: electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. An electric vehicle contains electric motors and stores energy in rechargeable batteries. Solar electric vehicles charge their batteries through solar energy. Hybrid vehicles contain two types of power: the internal combustion engine present generally in vehicles and the electric motors to power the vehicle electrically."
For Hybrid vehicles, it is predicted that the market will reach $243.2 billion by 2026.
The Benefits

The environmental benefits of solar panels for cars are undeniable, as they don’t create greenhouse gases as gasoline engines do. On the other hand, people also benefit financially as solar energy is free, widely available, and grants the solar car driver complete independence from foreign oil.
Finally, an often overlooked benefit to solar panels is that they don’t add to the noise pollution because they are silent.
Targeting Millennials

In order to target new audiences, the recreational vehicle industry has been obligated to adopt new, more appealing technologies. According to this USA Today article, "Many of even the smallest RVs and trailers contain solar panels, entertainment systems, and wiring to charge smart phones and tablets far from plug-in power."
Because hybrid cars are environmentally friendlier than conventional gas engine cars and have lower emissions, consumers who prioritize the environment when making their purchases have helped make these cars more popular across the world. But did you know that the car industry is not the only one focusing on the environment? In 2015 a solar-powered aircraft successfully traversed the United States without the use of any fuel whatsoever, and we will continue to see these initiatives as technology continues to advance.

Learn More About Solar Energy

Are you ready to take a step towards solar energy and how it can help power your home or business? Let us help! Contact us today to explore options that'll save you money.