FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/14/20
Woods Charter School
Chatham County, North Carolina (5/14/20): Woods Charter School (WCS) is no stranger to being at the top of the class. Founded in 1998, Now they have sustainability to add to their list. In May 2020, Woods added 276,000 kilowatts of solar panels to their roof. This clean energy system will generate enough electricity to cut their utility bill by 41%. Most importantly, according to the EPA these kilowatt hours are equivalent to the carbon sequestration of 311 acres of U.S. forests for one year or green house gas emissions avoided by recycling 81 tons of waste.
Cotton Bryan, Principal at Woods Charter School said “When you stand atop our school building in the midday sun, the metal roof shines bright and just bakes under the sun’s rays. You don’t even have to be a fan of solar energy to know that there’s a missed opportunity there. We’ve tried for a decade to reach an arrangement that would make sense for us, but we never really gained traction until we partnered with Eagle Solar and Light and its lease program. We now have a system that will put our roof to good use, lower our carbon burden as a school, and save us a whole bunch of money over the life of the panels.”
Scott Alexander, Managing Director for Eagle Solar and Light commented “I was confident that Woods Charter School would find our lease program an attractive financial scenario, and when coupled with and the NC Solar Rebate it significantly reduced the upfront cost of solar. Both of our organizations have similar values with a focus on people and the planet. It has been great to work with Woods Charter – a dynamic and thoughtful team that exemplify what’s unique about our community in the Triangle.” Scott continued.
The demand for commercial solar continues to rise across North Carolina as both a hedge against rising costs of conventional energy and as demonstration of a commitment to environmental sustainability.
See more pictures at https://eaglesolarandlight.com/
About Eagle Solar & Light: Eagle Solar & Light offers solar power systems and energy storage for residential, commercial, nonprofit and government buildings for Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Mission Statement: “It is our passion to expand renewable energy by developing partnerships driven by trust and integrity, while meeting savings and sustainability goals.” They are NABCEP certified and a member of the largest U.S. solar cooperative, Amicus. For more information visit eaglesolarandlight.com
by Steven Gambla, Eagle Solar & Light PV Associate
The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is an alluring incentive given to the owners of photovoltaic systems in the United States. If you are a tax-paying citizen or business entity in 2020, 26% of the cost of your new system can be credited back to you on your federal tax return. The origin of the credit was a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The goal of the credit is to incentivize clean, renewable energy in the United States as a way to combat pollution and global climate change. It has been a successful incentive, evident by the amount of installed photovoltaic systems increasing from 79 Megawatts in 2005 to 14,762 Megawatts in 2016.
Between 2006 and 2019, the ITC was at a strong 30%. At the start of 2020, it dropped by 4%. Unfortunately, it is set to drop even more unless Congress realizes that they are making a mistake by letting it die off. By 2021, the credit will be 22% and that will be the last year residential customers can utilize the incentive. Starting in 2022, only commercial customers can utilize a 10% credit on their system.
So let's do some quick math to understand the ITC better. Jim has decided to get an off-the-grid photovoltaic system on his house in 2020. The batteries in his system will only be charged by solar energy, allowing them to be included in the credit calculation. A contractor has quoted him $20,000.00 to design and build the system. Let's also say that Jim owes the Federal government $5,500.00 in taxes for 2020. If he decides to go through with the project, he would only owe $300.00 in taxes ($5,500.00 minus 26% of $20,000.00).
As you can see, the ITC has the potential to drastically reduce the payback period for a photovoltaic system by saving the owner money when tax season comes around. Although there are conflicting opinions as to whether this is the right way to incentivize solar energy, it does seem to be working. So what is the point that I am trying to make? Go solar this year before time runs out! It is unlikely that Congress will be extending the ITC anytime soon. If you went in to the future and realized that a company's stock was selling for $500.00 per share in 2025 and only $5.00 per share in 2020, you would probably go back to 2020 and buy all of the stock that you could fit in your budget. This is a similar concept with a solar investment! The incentives and electricity bill savings you lock in now will be worth a lot more in the future when the incentives are non-existent and electricity prices skyrocket! So contact Eagle Solar and Light today if you are interested in getting a photovoltaic system and we will lock you in to the 26% ITC before time runs out.
Clean Energy Technology is advancing at a formative pace and is on the cusp of becoming an everyday part of our culture, much as the smartphone has since it was introduced a decade ago.
What’s driving this revolution? Electric vehicles (EV’s).
We are excited about this development because renewable energy sources like solar benefit directly from these technological gains.
First, let’s get our arms around the global automobile market.
In 2017, over 93 million automobiles of all types were sold worldwide. China purchased more vehicles than any other country with 28 million, and the United States was a distant second at 17 million. Even more impressive, China’s automobile sales have doubled in the last 6 years, and there are expectations for continuing growth. On a per capita basis, China’s population owns only 154 automobiles per 1000 inhabitants, compared to the United States where we own 910 per 1000! And there are 4 times as many EV’s sold in China as there are in the United States. Global EV sales are increasing by 60-70% annually and should top 2 million in 2018.
As the electric vehicle (EV) market grows, technological advances are making EV’s an ever more compelling next step from the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).
Why the EV?
- The ICE is only 18% efficient and is nearing the end of its century-long product lifecycle. The Electric Motor is at least 5X more efficient.
- The ICE Automobile has some 2000 moving parts. The EV has less than 20 moving parts.
- The ICE Automobile has an average lifespan of 250,000 miles. EV’s are being built today to last 1 million miles.
- EV’s will cost less than ICE Automobiles within 3-4 years and have over a 250-mile range.
- EV’s produce no direct carbon emissions.
What’s the technology driving the EV Revolution?
Energy Storage solutions like Lithium-Ion Batteries. There are at least 10 mega factories on this planet pouring billions into energy storage research, and the global market will reach $80 Billion within 2 years. As companies like Tesla invest in battery technology, the cost curve is bringing prices for Lithium-Ion Technology down at a rate of 20% per year.
What does this mean for Renewable Energy?
It opens the door for the rapid introduction of Distributed Energy Generation, wherein homes, businesses, farms, and industry can economically transition off-grid by deploying Solar Energy plus Energy Storage.
When will EV’s become economically advantageous?
It started in 2017. Let’s do the math. The nationwide average Transmission, Distribution, and Administration (TDA) cost for utilities is 2.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWhour). Their incremental cost for producing each additional kilowatt-hour is 3 cents per kWhour. Simple addition yields an average net cost of 5.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, not counting shareholder returns (profits). This rate is increasing 2.9% year according to the nationwide average Utility Inflation Index.
- Last year, Tucson Electric signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Energy Storage for 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour!
- And, it costs our nation’s utilities on average 5.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (30% more) to bring that energy to your home or buisness
The Bottom Line on the Economics of Renewable Energy
The cost of installed Solar Energy continues to drop by 7% per year, and the cost of energy storage is falling by 20% per year. The cost of energy delivered by our nation’s utilities is rising and is no longer competitive with Renewable Solar Energy.
Greenhouse emissions in the United States greenhouse declined for the first time in 2007-08, and have continued a gradual reduction since. We now produce just under 7 trillion tons of carbon dioxide annually, with transportation and electricity generation making up 56% of the total.
The Clean Energy Revolution paves the way for both a more economical method of energy generation and storage and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions!
Join us in the Clean Energy Revolution and call us today.
First Published on LinkedIn on by Eagle Solar & Light President, Joe Bennett:
Not too long ago, I entered the PV field with close to 30 years of operations experience and lots to learn. During the first two weeks into my new field, I made a startling and crucial observation about what I see as the truest potential of solar energy:
Solar has a wide range of appeal across a diverse set of stakeholders.
The people that I met while talking about solar came from differing backgrounds, with differing attitudes and experiences about solar and its technology. Different in their motivations to implement solar and each had their own way of describing how solar would benefit them or their business. In all the differences – whether it was an individual that wanted to reduce their carbon footprint with renewable energy, or the business owner that wanted to off-set their annual costs of energy – solar just works.
Regardless of one’s ideology surrounding renewable energy, the fact is that we have one of the most abundant energy resource in the form of free, available sunlight. For us Alabamians, it is one of the most poorly-leveraged energy resources across the state. Many economic and political reasons exist why Alabama ranks among the bottom 10% in the nation for installed solar, but I sense our biggest challenge in Alabama for solar is overcoming the lack of information about Solar and its benefits.
Here are just a few of the more common misconceptions I hear from potential customers:
#1. “Residential solar systems are illegal or not allowed by the power company.”
As long-time solar professionals in Alabama, we hear a form of this sentiment regularly. Often enough, the person making this statement is arriving at this conclusion because they don’t see solar systems on their neighbors’ roof tops in the numbers they see when venturing out-of-state, so there must be some authority preventing it from happening. While not an unreasonable observation, the reality is that residential solar systems are not illegal, and they are available across Alabama. We also hear this type of statement from individuals that started their solar quest by first consulting the “power company”. Again, not an unreasonable place to start, but energy providers in our state don’t have (whether financial, strategic or political) a focus on solar energy as an alternative resource for energy to their customer base. Alabama companies like Eagle Solar and Light want to be your complete go-to resource for anyone that is considering solar for their home or business.
#2. “Solar system components don’t last very long, and are expensive.”
Harvesting solar energy to produce electricity is a big business outside of Alabama, and even more so outside of the United States. Per the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the U.S. Department of Energy, at the end of 2014, there was 27 gigawatts of installed solar in the United States as compared to 251 gigawatts outside the U.S. In the ever-expanding Solar marketplace manufacturers and component engineers are producing some of the industry’s most efficient and long-lasting products each year. The costs of soar components consistently trend downward year to year as well. As an example, ten years ago, the average cost per installed watt was close to $6.00, where today, it is headed towards nearly $3.00 for the same grid interactive system. Solar panels offer up to 25 years of warranty. Other critical Solar components (inverters, charge controllers, etc.) provide 15-year warranty periods, and sometimes even longer. With the new generation of Solar technology in the market today, Solar components are designed to last beyond the payback point.
#3. “Alabama does not have the right climate features for solar.”
While Alabama ranks in the bottom 10% for installed solar, we rank 3rd in the nation for solar irradiation. This is a big deal as Alabama’s position on the globe, 30 to 35 degrees above the equator and being a few degrees east of true south combine to make where we live one of the most solar-desirable places in North America. We also hear, in our Great State, we have way too much humidity and way too many trees for solar to be efficient. Granted, increased temperatures can have a legitimate de-rating factor for power producing circuits. A well-trained solar professional can design a system to take the extremes of ambient climate conditions into account so that the impact is managed effectively and has minimal impact to the overall performance and reliability of the system. Clearly direct sunlight delivers optimal PV performance versus periods of shade. Experienced solar professionals have several tools available to them to study the effects of shading on a system, by time of day, and by time of year (as the sun’s path across the sky changes with the seasons). Today’s solar technologies, found in both the panel and with its main components, provide power point tracking and/or optimization to help mitigate the effects of reasonable shading, along with an accurate system design.
These types of common misconceptions are just a sampling of what we encounter in the community when discussing solar as a viable renewable energy source for Alabama consumers. The more informed we are about our energy choices the better consumers of energy we will be. Clean, quiet, abundant and responsible solar energy is another Alabama resource that we can (and should) put to good use. Solar works, Alabama!
You can quickly start your search for more solar information by visiting our website at www.eaglesolarandlight.com. And when you feel ready to speak to someone about what solar can mean for your home or business, we’d be honored to talk with you and share the many examples of how solar can reduce your energy bill and improve your impact on our environment to keep Alabama thriving. You can reach us at (205) 202-2208.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 13, 2018) — Daily, it is estimated that over 100,000 people travel Highway 280. Many have likely noticed the highway’s newest neighbor, SouthPoint Bank, in place of the former Kobe restaurant. What they cannot see while driving is the solar power that SouthPoint Bank is harvesting.
Eagle Solar & Light recently installed a 60-kilowatt solar system on the new bank. This system consists of two hundred and eight solar panels, or modules, and is designed to produce over 73,000 kilowatt hours of power annually. Solar power is not only good for the environment; it is also projected to save SouthPoint Bank over $10,000 per year on their utility bill.
“When we began the design process for our new headquarters, we knew this building needed to not only serve our need for space, but also to better our efficiency. Early on we decided to incorporate modern, clean energy technology to decrease our energy costs and make our contribution to environmental sustainability,” says SouthPoint Bank’s CEO Steve Smith. “At SouthPoint Bank, our goal is to look to the future and point forward with continuous improvement in technology. Utilizing solar energy within our corporate headquarters is one step toward achieving that goal.”
The solar panels selected by Eagle Solar & Light are produced in Jackson, Mississippi by Seraphim Solar. The use of American made solar panels defies the trend of using cheaper imported panels. Eagle Solar and Light trusts the quality of Seraphim Solar panels and backs their manufacturer’s 25-year warranty. Other American made components in this system are provided by SolarEdge and Snap’N’Rack.
“We were also able to meet our goal of supporting local companies by using a local contractor Eagle Solar & Light, plus using American solar panels rather than sourcing them from Asia,” says Smith.
“Using American made products means a lot to us and our customers, and that is why whenever possible we source our products from American companies,” says Eagle Solar & Light CEO, Sam Yates. “We strive to meet the goals of every customer we serve.”
As one of the first solar companies to open in the central Alabama region, Eagle Solar & Light provides architecturally advanced, aesthetically designed solar electricity, LED lighting solutions and energy saving products that offer long-term economic benefits.
Traditional banks are good at traditional loans, but sometimes they struggle to understand “outside the box” situations. Unfortunately, “outside the box” is a phrase that is often used to describe both non-profits and renewable energy solutions.
Melissa Malkin-Weber is the sustainability director at Self Help Credit Union, a lending institution that understands that sometimes you must think “outside the box” in order to make a difference. We are thrilled to feature Melissa at our nonprofit event on March 20: Non-Profit Sustainability: Raise money, Save money, Make a Difference. Reserve your spot today!
We spoke with Mrs. Malkin-Weber to find out more about Self Help Credit Union and their mission.