There is no time like the present to start looking at alternative energy solutions to save hard-earned dollars, and the potentially looming costs seem to be encouraging more folks than ever to get behind a more permanent fix: solar power.
Solar power has long been advocated as the next move towards energy conservation. It requires no foreign resources; it’s non-polluting, virtually maintenance-free and a reliable resource, with guaranteed savings. “This is an investment for someone who understands the power of investing. It’s for someone with a green thumb, who wants to add value to their home,” says Scott Delany, sales and marketing director at Aztec Solar Power.
Understanding Your Utility Rates
Originally, as part of an agreement made with electric utility companies, the rates were capped at 1996 levels, protecting Pennsylvanians from harsh increases all these years. As prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels skyrocket, electric companies will most likely pass on the extra costs to their consumers now that the mandated caps expire.
For six electric service territories across Pennsylvania, these caps have already expired with mixed results. In some areas, customers ended up paying less for electricity service than they did prior to restructuring, while other areas saw an increase of up to 70 percent. Until the caps at West Penn Power, PECO, Metropolitan Edison and Pennsylvania Electric also expire, no one can predict with any certainty how the extra costs will be reflected on consumer bills in this area.
At first glance, a viable solution would be to simply insist on extending these rate caps, especially since the electricity rates continue to rise. In truth, no other good or service has ever had a cap that has lasted this length of time, so a government-lobbied extension is unlikely. Either way, it would still be only a temporary fix, as caps would eventually have to be removed.
Making the Right Investment
The cost of transitioning to solar power can be steep, but for many, the cost of electricity bills far outweighs it. Dr. Leon Strohecker of Lansdale took out a loan to pay for a solar-panel installation by Aztec Solar Power at his dental office last year. He made the switch because he was tired of the astronomical bills he was slapped with every month.
“The bills were really out of hand, and getting the panels for me was the right investment,” Strohecker says. “It’s really the only way I could afford to keep my business.”
What makes solar power a wise investment is the incentives offered by the federal and state government, which can knock down nearly 60 percent of the cost.
The rest you save in your energy bills over time as well as the credits generated back from your utility account, Delany explains.
The incentives are available because of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Program, which was established to help fund solar electric transition for Pennsylvania residents and small business owners. The program provides rebates as much as 15 percent to help cover the purchase and installation costs of solar systems.
The federal government also offers a tax credit of 30 percent. Furthermore, once the system is installed, the extra energy generated can be sold back to the electrical company at retail rates up to 110 percent of the customer’s bill.
Solar power is a “no-brainer,” according to Aztec Solar Executive Vice President Dave Rarrick. The combination of government tax credits and other incentives enable consumers who purchase solar-power systems to save as much as $95,000 in electricity costs over a 25-year period. “And we can tell you how to finance the system,” he says. “The biggest question for people considering solar power is, ‘Where am I going to get the money to do it?’ Our company has all the financing in place, and we can finance anybody as long as they have reasonable credit.”
As it turns out, with solar power, you choose not only the eco-friendly route, but also one that saves you money and improves the value of your home or business.
A Growing Business
Aztec Solar Power has boosted the local economy by putting dozens of construction workers back to work in the area. As a comprehensive company, Aztec does not outsource its design or installation process and uses superior panels. In the coming months, Aztec will begin selling and producing its own panels. Aztec has been busily installing solar panels on top of available roofs throughout the mid-Atlantic.
“I did my research,” says Strohecker of his choice to hire Aztec for his project. “They are a top-rated company for a reason. I saw how meticulous they are about setting up their systems. They were very well informed and were able to answer every question I had. I even found their panels were about 7 percent more efficient.”
What differentiates Aztec Solar Power from other companies in the area is its ability to simplify the complicated process of transitioning to solar power, whether for a residence or a small business. Its team evaluates on site whether your space is right for solar panels and then the company takes on the burden of all the necessary paperwork for rebates and tax credits. For the customer, it becomes as easy as just saying “yes” to savings.
Aztec Solar Power
701 Lee Rd., Suite 200
Wayne, Pa. 19087
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family, Volume 1, Issue 8 (October, 2010).
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