Solar can give electric costs sunny outlook
Northern/Southern Dutchess News – April 2014
By: Ray Fashona
With electricity prices soaring, using sunlight to power your home or business is something to consider.
“Homeowners and business are complaining that their electricity bills are doubling,” said John Wright, vice president of Hudson Solar. “People have a good, solid choice: solar. They can ‘rent’ their electricity from the utility or can generate their own.”
Wright added that it’s a perfect time to opt for solar. He said there are incentives and rebates, plus tax credits on the state and federal level.
One knock on solar energy in the past, he said, is that solar was too expensive to install. Now there is a “substantial” local program offered by the state that can offer as little as no money down for solar installation.
“And when the loan is paid off, you are essentially getting free electricity,” he said.
Wright said loans are available from five, 10, 15 or 20 years. In essence, Wright said, a homeowner is “locking in” his electric charge during the period of the loan, because all he is paying is the monthly cost of the loan, which doesn’t change.
With longer term loans, he added, a homeowner can get solar energy for about $75 month.
Another concern people have about solar is, “What if there’s not enough sunlight?”
Wright said that’s not a problem. When the company designs a system, they have to calculate and guarantee sufficient electricity based on 30-year weather data.
In our area, average usable sunlight over a 365-day period is four hours. He noted that Germany, which has four times as many solar installations as the U.S., has a three-hour average.
When the system is not producing enough electricity, Wright said, the system draws it from the grid at the prevailing utility price. But the homeowner gets that money back when the solar system is producing excess and sells it back to the utility at that same rate. The utility, he added, is obligated to purchase the solar electricity. In the hand, he said, it should be a zero balance.
Cold weather is not a factor, either, Wright said. In fact, the electricity flows better in cooler temperatures.
As far as maintenance is concerned, there are really no working parts, Wright said. The major piece of equipment is the panels. Other than trimming trees that may be blocking the sun, there is really no maintenance. He added that the panels carry a 25-year warranty, so if anything goes wrong with a panel it will be replaced by the manufacturer.
Some recent large projects undertaken by Hudson Solar include Maplebook School, Kildonan School, New Horizons and Arnoff Moving and Storage’s Millerton facility.
Hudson Solar has locations in Rhinebeck and Albany, and according to Wright, the company covers everywhere from Westchester and Rockland counties in the south to the Adirondacks, western Massachusetts and southern Vermont.
For information about Hudson Solar, visit www.hvce.com or call 866-452-7652.