One of the leading developers of solar power solutions, Applied Solar, Inc. today unveiled its new Solar Communities™ program in San Diego County. The program aims to increase the number of homes using solar power by eliminating two significant deterrents: aesthetics and cost. They will start the program off by holding a series of open house events. While many people are interested in renewable, environment-friendly energy sources, few are willing to make the initial investment of installing rooftop solar panel, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Also, though federal and state incentives are designed to significantly lower this initial cost, many people do not fully qualify. Applied Solar wants this to change. A spokesman for the company said that while more Americans than ever are aware of the environmental impact of their actions, the ailing economy has them keenly focused on controlling their monthly expenses. He added that any initiative designed to raise solar power usage must be combined with measures to control short-term costs. The company aims to reduce the typical payback term from ten years down to three or four.
The program makes available to homeowners in San Diego County power purchase agreements, or PPA essentially the same idea that‘s been a huge success in the commercial sector. PPAs have actually been available in San Diego since last year, but until now they were only for typical rack-mounted solar panels that many people find to be an eyesore. Under Applied Solar’s new program, PPAs will be available on premium, building-integrated solar tiles. These newer systems are designed to blend in with the color and texture of your roof to create a nicer look. SolarBlend™ Solar Tiles , developed by Applied Solar, are available in several colors and style to match multiple roof types. They are manufactured by Suntech Power Holdings Company, Ltd. Suntech is the largest manufacturer of solar module in the world. Some of the largest builders in the country, such as Pulte, Centex, and Toll Bros. use the tiles due to their efficiency, reliability and visual
The Solar Communities™ program works in five specific steps:
Step 1 involves company reps deciding on a system that best suit’s the needs of the home. Systems should be of sufficient size that they significantly cut Tier 3 and Tier 4 energy purchases, which commonly account for 55% or more of San Diego County electricity consumers’ bills.
Step 2 is where the homeowner signs the PPA. The PPA allows the customer to pay only a fraction of the purchase price for the system, typically 10% to 15%.
In Step 3 the system is installed, along with a free EcoTouch™ Energy Management System, a value of well over $1,000. This system has a touch screen display panel to help homeowners monitor their electricity usage in real time. It is a valuable tool for optimal energy usage and increasing future savings.
Step 4 entails homeowners purchasing the electricity generated by the solar system. The prices are locked in at up to 20% lower than those charged by San Diego Gas & Electric.
Step 5 makes Applied Solar or an affiliate liable for any future maintenance costs or repairs while the homeowner benefits with affordable, environment-friendly, long-term solar energy.
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