'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
The panels were mounted on the rooftop with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The homeowners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of utility savings (thanks to solar) danced in their heads.
With ma in her pj's, and dad in his cap,
They had just settled their heads for a (well-deserved) long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their bed to ensure their solar panels weren't battered.
They tore through the screen door with a thrash
And away to the lawn, they flew like a flash.
When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a big red sleigh, and eight hardy reindeer.
With a jolly old driver, careful not to disturb the solar panels,
Yet still lively and quick,
They knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!
With a friendly wink and twist of his head,
He assured them that they had nothing to dread.
He then spoke not a word but went straight to work.
Down the chimney, he went
Where the stockings were filled, then he turned with a jerk.
After giving a nod, up the chimney, he rose;
Then he hopped on his sleigh, and away he drove.
But they heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
"Your solar helps to make the future look bright!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"
It is safe to say that climate change is already impacting modern society’s ability and methods for meeting basic human needs for clean water, nutritious food, secure housing, and reliable electricity. The last 5 years have been the hottest ever recorded. 100-year floods, devastating wildfires, and severe drought are rampant and become increasingly normalized.
Larger and more frequent hurricanes leave countries and states in a constant rebuilding cycle. Even large power companies aren’t immune to these devastating impacts of severe weather. In October, California’s largest electric utility threatened to cut the power supply of 500,000 customers for as many as five days over wildfire threats.
Nearly 75% of Americans say that climate change is “personally important” to them. That means that many Americans have started to think about and prepare for extreme weather events with the capability of knocking out power for days or weeks at a time. What’s the best way to secure your home and your quality of life in a grid-outage situation that is both environmentally friendly, affordable, secure, and reliable? We here explore the best long-term solution to building resilience in your home and business.
There are two commercially available and affordable options for most Americans to keep the lights on when the grid goes down: natural gas/propane generators or solar energy coupled with battery energy storage. Both generators and Solar + Battery allow homeowners to experience uninterrupted power supply through the use of an automatic transfer switch which makes your home’s electrical circuits their own island, separate from the rest of the grid and allows you to consume the energy being generated on-site.
Natural Gas or Propane Generators
Name-brand residential generators can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 after installation. Like any fossil-fuel-powered combustion engine, generators need to be exercised and will generally run automatically about once a week for 10 minutes to keep the moving parts lubricated. These motors also require regular service, with annual maintenance costs of around $400. Even the best commercially available residential back-up generators typically have warranties lasting no longer than five years. Considering the long term maintenance costs of generators, the total cost of ownership over a ten year period is roughly $12,000-$16,000 excluding the cost of propane or natural gas fuel used to run the system.
In areas without access to natural gas service, propane tanks can cost well over $1,000. Propane costs, on average, between $2.00-$2.50 a gallon. A generator sized to provide back-up power to an average 1500-2000 sq ft home will consume between 2-4 gallons of propane an hour. That means for a 24-hour grid-outage, the fuel costs for a propane generator system can cost $120.
The fuel costs for fossil-fuel run generators are considerably lower in areas where natural gas service is available. A generator sized to provide back-up power to an average 1500-2000 sq ft home will consume between 150 to 300 cubic feet of natural gas per hour (or 1.5 - 3 Therms). In the State of Georgia, the rough average cost of a therm in 2019 is about $1 meaning that running your home on a natural gas generator during a 24-hour grid outage can cost around $75 dollars.
Over the course of ten years, assuming an average of 5 days of grid outage each year, the total cost of owning a fossil-fueled powered generator can range from $15,750 to $23,000. But remember, a back-up generator’s only purpose is to provide electricity when the grid is down, however often that may be. This makes it very difficult- if not impossible- to quantify any ‘return-on-investment’.
Solar + Battery Storage
Solar Energy plus Battery Energy Storage, on the other hand, is an investment opportunity to become grid resilient and own your own power production that works to create a return on your initial investment from day one. In addition to providing immediate back-up power to your home in the event of a grid-outage, energy storage can also help your home to maximize the value of the clean solar energy produced in the home and in variable rates offered to you by your utility company.
During sunny days, a solar battery system will capture and store any surplus solar energy being produced on your roof but not immediately consumed in the home. That power remains available until demand in the house again exceeds the energy produced by the solar energy system. As the sun goes down and your solar energy system stops producing, the home battery system will discharge and power the demand in the home. This process of maximizing the amount of solar energy that you consume in your home can help ensure that you receive the greatest value for every kWh your solar energy system produces.
Over time, regular operations of the battery will allow you to use less and sometimes eliminate your night time consumption. In what is called ‘backup mode’, the battery will charge and stay charged until power is lost, it is then at that point that the battery will discharge and provide power to the home.
The amount of energy discharged from the battery and where it is discharged can be catered to the homeowner’s preferences. For example, if a homeowner wishes to only run the ‘essentials’ during an outage the battery will keep the set essentials powered while reserving power from the rest of the home. Some batteries can even gather weather data from the internet and presumptuously charge in preparation for a potential outage.
In the Georgia market, two Tesla Powerwalls (27kWh of battery capacity) will cost roughly twenty-three thousand dollars (including installation) and is often adequate to provide whole-home backup for the average Georgia home. This means when the power goes out, your entire home will be powered without having to choose which appliances get power and which do not.
Modern battery storage systems require virtually zero maintenance and when paired with a solar energy system is also eligible for federal tax credits. In 2020, the Federal Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit for solar + storage systems will be 26% making the after-credit cost of your two Tesla Powerwall batteries just seventeen thousand dollars.
The industry-standard warranty for any lithium energy storage system doubles that of even the best residential generators at 10 years, guaranteeing 70% of the battery’s original capacity is available after that same amount of time.
Solar + Storage creates the opportunity for homeowners to essentially become their own power plant with a strong return on investment. The typical return on investment for owning a solar energy system in Georgia can range from 6-12 years generated when the sun is shining and the grid operating, however, only when the system is paired with a battery or generator does it provide power when the grid is out.
Generators are reliable if you have a fuel source but are used very infrequently, burn fossil fuel, are accompanied by high maintenance costs and have zero return on investment. Adding solar with a battery can do more than make you grid resilient during outages but it will also reduce your demand for energy from the grid and thus save you money on your utility costs.
Unlike generators, a battery will be charged and discharged every day working to help you save instead of sitting idle awaiting power outages. When considering the functionality and overall cost of ownership of solar alone vs solar with storage, a solar energy system paired with a battery is the wiser investment overall and does more than simply providing you backup power during an outage, it brings intelligent energy consumption to the next level.
When you’re ready to take control of your home’s energy with solar + storage, give us a call at 770-485-7438 and let us show you all the power the sun can bring to your home!
**Costs fluctuate based on labor prices and region
Written by Matthew Johnson,
CSUSA Solar Consultant
By 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!!
On 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!!
Three Things to Consider When Going Solar in Georgia: Rising Electricity Costs, Payback Period, Your Home’s Location and Value
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!!
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!
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:
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!
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.