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How Solar Saves for Rainy Days

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As fall approaches and the days grow shorter so does the amount of time the sun shines.  Does that mean your solar panels won’t work as well?  After all, if their job is to turn light particles into energy, sunlight is a must, so what happens at night and on rainy days?  This is one of the most commonly asked questions by home and business owners when considering a switch to solar power.  The good news is that there’s no cause for concern as today’s more efficient solar technology has you covered rain or shine.

Earning extra credit

While solar panels work best on sunny days, they provide the power you need no matter the weather.  That’s because they are designed to save for a rainy day.  Just as many people stash away spare change and extra funds when they have them, so do solar panels when they make more power than needed to meet the demands of your business or home.  This is done by sending extra power generated on sunny days to the power grid for safe keeping.  It’s credited to your account and managed by your solar net meter.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), if a home is net metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against the electricity used at night or whenever the demand exceeds the system’s output.  You are charged only for your “net” energy use which translates into lower electricity bills.

New Jersey (NJ) leads the way

If you live in NJ and are thinking about going solar, you couldn’t pick a better time to make the move.  It’s one of only three states to have more than 1 Gigawatt (GWH) of installed solar capacity – and it’s just getting started.  The SEIA credits NJ’s strong solar market to net metering and a solar renewable portfolio standard, or RPS — a state mandate to increase the use of renewable energy sources.  The federal government is also lending a hand by extending the Solar Investment Tax Credit – a 30% savings for solar systems on residential and commercial properties.  Courtesy of the SEIA, here are a few other facts about solar power in NJ:

  • At your service are more than 547 solar companies currently employing more than 7,000 people.
  • Last year alone, NJ installed 181 Megawatts (MW) of solar electricity capacity, ranking it 10th
  • In 2015, $486 million was invested on solar installations in NJ.
  • In the next five years, NJ is expected to install 1,709 MW of solar electric capacity. This is more than twice the amount of solar installed over the last five years.

(Related:  Five Tips for Selecting a Solar Power Panel Installer)

Work with the best

TerraSol Energies is a family-run business that has served the Tri-State area (PA, NJ, DE) since 2009.  Our solar company is focused on solar electric systems.  We have one of the area’s most knowledgeable teams of solar specialists.  When you work with us you can count on making a smooth transition to clean energy.  We provide a turnkey approach, quality products and services, professional advice and expertise, and financial flexibility. To find out more about us, our expert partners, and see feedback from our customers, visit our website, or contact us today.

Coming to Terms with Solar Energy

If you are new to solar energy, or just tired of pretending to understand the terminology and acronyms used to describe it, welcome to your first lesson on solar speak. The following are some of the more basic terms. Plus, we’ve tossed in some fun facts sure to impress your friends and co-workers. It’s time to study up, and yes…there will be a test at the end!

A new language in energy efficiency

Solar System: The sun with the celestial bodies that revolve around it.
Fun fact: The sun is massive – accounting for 99.8% of the solar system’s total mass. (Source: ThePlanets.org)

Solar Power: Energy from the sun which is converted into thermal or electrical energy.
Fun fact: The sun’s rays produce enough energy in one hour’s time to power the Earth for an entire year. (Source: National Geographic)

Photosphere: A star’s outer shell from which light is radiated.
Fun fact: During a total eclipse, the sun’s photosphere is not visible. (Source: eHow.com)

Solar Thermal Collectors: These devices absorb the sun’s energy to heat water or air in homes, offices, apartment buildings, and more.
Fun fact: While the sun is 90 million miles from Earth, it takes only about 10 minutes for light to travel from there to here. (Source: Conserve-energy-future.com)

Photovoltaic (PV) Cell: A cell that converts solar energy into electrical energy. PV cells work on both sunny and cloudy days.
Fun fact: The Photovoltaic effect (the theory behind PV cells) was explained by Albert Einstein. He won his only Nobel prize for that. (Source: Green-the-world.net)

Renewable energy: A source of energy that can be replaced…and not run out.
Fun fact: Solar power may account for the world’s main source of energy by 2050. (Source: Fortune.com)

Kilowatt (KW): This is a globally recognized standard for measuring electricity. One kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts. Your electricity bill is based on how many kilowatts of energy you use per hour (kWh).
Fun fact: Running an electric dryer twice per week uses approximately 208.8 kWh over the course of a year. In New Jersey, the average cost of one kWh is 17.7 cents. How many loads of laundry do you dry each week? You do the math! (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Carbon Footprint: We each have one. It stands for the total of all carbon dioxide emissions that result from our daily activities such as driving a car and using electricity to heat and cool our homes. The use of solar energy can considerably reduce the size of our carbon footprints – and help protect our planet.
Fun fact: If every home in the U.S. switched to compact fluorescent bulbs, we could reduce the amount of electricity spent on lighting by one half and significantly reduce our country’s carbon footprint. Give it a try. (Source: Mashable.com)

Energy Star – This is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) formed to help families and businesses reduce energy costs and help protect the environment.
Fun fact: Use a laptop instead of a desktop, as Energy Star estimates that it is 80 percent more energy efficient. (Source: Mashable.com)

Solar Incentive Tax Credit (ITC): The ITC is a government-sponsored, 30 percent tax credit for solar systems.
Fun fact: The ITC was recently extended. This is expected to drive solar prices down and installation rates up. At the same time, technological advances will continue. (Source: SEIA)

The test
Okay, so it’s not the paper and pencil kind. Instead, it’s a challenge to improve your company’s bottom line – and do your part to protect our planet. Start by learning more about the many benefits of solar energy by contacting us today.

TerraSol Energies is a family-run business that has served the Tri-State area (PA, NJ, DE) since 2009. We have one of the area’s most knowledgeable teams of solar specialists. When you work with us you can count on making a smooth transition to clean energy. We provide a turnkey approach, quality products and services, professional advice and expertise, and financial flexibility. Ace the test by getting started today.

Why the Forecast for Solar is Sunny & Bright

It may seem hard to imagine, but solar power was used as early as 700 B.C. That’s when we humans figured out how to make fire by capturing and directing sunlight using a magnifying glass. A few hundred years later, Archimedes used a similar technique while at sea to defeat his opponents. Legend has it that he and his crew used mirrors to focus the sun’s rays onto enemy ships until they caught on fire. While they didn’t know it, they were on to something big.

Today, we know that the sun is powerful enough to produce enough energy, in just one hour’s time, to fuel the world for a full year. Now that’s big. We also know how to harness that energy using solar technology – something that has improved dramatically with the creation of photovoltaic (PV) cells. The real kicker is that solar energy, unlike oil and coal, is completely clean – absolutely pollution free.

What’s not to love, right? Well yes, except that early solar technology was far less efficient and more expensive than it is today – resulting in fewer people willing to make the switch.
That’s about to change.

Sunny skies ahead
According to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Research Foundation, the U.S. installed 1,665 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in the first quarter of this year to reach 29.3 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity. That’s enough to power 5.7 million American homes. The solar industry also hit a significant milestone with more than 1 million individual solar installations nationwide. By year’s end, the industry is expected to double in size. While utility-scale installations will account for the lion’s share of this growth, the residential and commercial markets will also experience rapid expansion.

There are a number of factors driving this growth. Perhaps the most significant is the decision to extend the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The federal ITC provides a 30 percent tax incentive on all solar projects. While it was originally set to expire at the end of 2016, the program will live on. Other growth drivers include an increase in community solar projects, the availability of new financing options, lower costs for residential and small business customers, and the increased awareness of the benefits of clean energy.

Solar power in New Jersey (NJ)
If you live or work in NJ, there has never been a better time to invest in solar technology for your home or business. The state has one of the fastest growing markets for solar panel installations, thanks in part to the ITC. It won’t last forever, though, so consider making the switch now so you can enjoy savings for years to come, not to mention do your part to protect and preserve the environment.

Getting started
Ready to find out more? If so, the team at TerraSol Energies, Inc. is here to help. We are a family-run business that has served the solar needs of residents and business owners in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware since 2009. We take pride in creating solutions designed to meet the individual needs of each of our customers. Don’t take our word for it, though. See what they have to say, and then contact us today.

Sunny Side Up – An Introduction to the Sun

Right smack in the center of the universe is the rotating star we call the Sun. It is the Earth’s most important energy source. Its power is unsurmountable in terms of its ability to sustain life. Without it, we and the world we live in would not exist. Yet, how much do we really know about this fiery sphere of hydrogen and helium?

As a solar power company, our work revolves around the sun so we decided to share a few quick facts about our favorite star:

1. The sun originated about 4.6 billion years ago and is halfway through its life. (Sources: Space.com; Planets.org)

2. The sun is massive – accounting for 99.8% of the solar system’s total mass. (Source: ThePlanets.org)

3. Sun has a diameter of roughly 870,000 miles – large enough to hold 1 million Earths. (Source: ThePlanets.org)

4. The atmosphere of the sun is comprised of the photosphere, chromosphere and solar corona. (Source: PlanetFacts.org)

5. The core of the sun can reach 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (Source: Space.com)

6. The energy created by the Earth’s core is called nuclear fusion. (Source: ThePlanets.org)

7. All nine planets orbit the sun. (Source: Telescope.org)

8. The beautiful Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are the result of electrons colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere. (Source: Space Weather Prediction Center)

9. Sun spots (dark spots on the sun that we can see from Earth) are formed by the sun’s powerful magnetic field. (Source: Space.com)

10. Every hour of sunlight produces enough global energy to power the Earth for an entire year. Yet today’s solar technology produces less than one tenth of one percent of global energy demand. (Source: National Geographic)

Harnessing the power
It’s on Fact No. 10 that we’ve built our business. While still in its infancy when compared to its potential impact, the solar energy industry is growing faster than ever before.

In New Jersey alone, 181 Mega Watts (MW) of solar electric capacity was installed in 2015. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 91 MW were residential, 48 MW were commercial, and 42 were utility scale. The 1,632 MW of solar energy currently installed in NJ, ranks the state fourth in the country in installed solar capacity. That’s a lot of solar panels generating a lot savings and preserving a lot of natural resources along the way.

While solar may not be right for everyone, it has much to offer to many individuals, families and businesses worldwide. The technology is proven and a solar panel installation is a low-risk improvement with guaranteed performance and savings. Solar systems are safe, tested, virtually maintenance free, and produce 100% clean energy.

Expect the unexpected
In July 2017, the Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane, made history. Powered only by the sun, it completed the first round-the-world journey — landing in Abu Dhabi after a 25,000-mile flight that began a year earlier. Its purpose: to promote clean technology. The Solar Impulse did that and so much more as it captured the attention of everyone under the sun. Solar energy is a clean energy solution that really works. If it can power a flight around the world, just imagine what it could do for your business. It’s time to find out.

About TerraSol Energies, Inc.
TerraSol Energies is a family-run business that has served the Tri-State area (PA, NJ, DE) since 2009. Our solar company is focused on solar electric systems. We have one of the area’s most knowledgeable teams of solar specialists. When you work with us you can count on making a smooth transition to clean energy. We provide a turnkey approach, quality products and services, professional advice and expertise, and financial flexibility. To find out more about us and see feedback from our customers, visit our website, or contact us today.

Should You Buy or Lease Your Solar Panels?

When installing a solar power system at your home or business, you can choose between two financing options – buying your system or leasing it.

It’s a simple distinction between owning your system or having a third party own the system, but it also impacts the cost, maintenance, terms, financial offsets, and savings/returns on investment of your solar panel system.

Making the choice depends on your goals for installing the system.

Owning your own system is the best choice when you want to get the most financial benefits from the system as possible, such as being able to add the system’s value to your home or business should you sell your property.

You should also consider owning if you are eligible to reduce your federal and state tax liability through the federal investment tax credit. Businesses can also realize tax benefits by treating the solar panel system as a depreciable asset.

A solar lease/PPA is your best option when you are primarily interested in using electricity generated from renewable resources and want to avoid the costs of maintaining and repairing the system. It’s also a viable option if you are ineligible for federal or state investment tax credits.

Here’s a look at the practical differences in cost, maintenance, terms, opportunities for financial offsets, and savings/returns on investment, depending on the financing decision that you make with some help from energysage.com.

Installation cost
• Solar loan/cash purchase
Solar power systems can cost $25,000 to $40,000 before rebates and incentives.
State and Federal rebates can reduce the total cost by up to 40 percent. Most solar installers will manage the paperwork and adjust the purchase price to reflect the net amount.
• Solar lease/PPA
You can get a solar energy system for little or no money down. However, you won’t qualify for tax credits, rebates, or incentives – those belong to the third party owner of the system.

Maintenance

• Solar loan/cash purchase
You own the system and are responsible for maintaining it. Note that solar equipment is durable and carries warrantees, so you won’t have much maintenance to worry about.
Your purchase may not include an app to track your system’s performance.
• Solar lease/PPA

The solar company owns and maintains the solar power system.
Most leases include free apps that track the performance of your system.

Terms

• Solar loan/cash purchase
Loans are generally available for 10 to 20 year terms, with interest rates ranging from 3 percent to 8 percent if you have a FICO credit score of 640 or above.
• Solar lease/PPA
Solar leases and PPAs are generally for 20 to 25 years, at which point you can renew your agreement or purchase the system outright.

Savings and return on investment

• Solar loan/cash purchase
You can save between 40 percent and 70 percent on electricity costs over the lifetime of your solar panel system, depending on your property and the incentives in your state.
You receive free electricity for the life of the solar energy system (usually 25 to 30 years).
• Solar lease/PPA

You can save between 10 percent and 30 percent off the prices you pay your utility for electricity, depending on your property and the incentives in your state.

Before you make a decision on buying or leasing your solar power system, explore all of the solar financing options available to you. Every situation is different, and what is best for your property depends on a wide range of factors. We can help you make the best choice for your circumstances.

Do you have questions about solar installation or financing? Call TerraSol Energies at 888.873.9995. Or leave us a note on our contact form. We’ll be happy to help answer any of your questions.

Lighting the Way with Energy Efficient Products and Technology

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Find out how your business can benefit

If you are anything like most parents, you spend a lot of time reminding your kids to turn out the lights when they leave a room. After all, lights use electricity, which costs money – that doesn’t grow on trees. Plus, the more electricity we use, the larger our carbon footprint – something households everywhere need to reduce for the sake of the environment. The same is true for businesses – large and small. The good news is that energy efficient lighting has come a long way.

According to the Small Business Association, depending on the type of business you operate, lighting accounts for 20% to 50% of electricity consumption. That translates into a big opportunity to reduce costs and natural resources. Because technology and equipment is better than ever, businesses that invest in upgrades are experiencing a strong return on investment.

Where to begin
The best place to start is with a complete lighting audit. With some guidance, you can do this by yourself, or hire an expert in energy efficient lighting to do it for you. You might be surprised by what they find. For example, depending on the age of your facility, it may still be using traditional incandescent lightbulbs. These are highly inefficient, so much so, that they are no longer made. In fact, 90% of the energy they produce is in the form of heat. Today, many more efficient types of lighting exist including halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

How solar can help
An expert will help you select the right solutions for your business. They may even suggest an initial retrofit with more efficient lighting, followed by the installation of solar to maximize your savings.

If your business is located in New Jersey, an investment in solar may be especially beneficial. That’s because the government is pushing alternative energy solutions big time and the cost of installing a solar energy system is more affordable than ever.

According to Solar Nation, the government has set a goal of having 22.5% of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources – and are providing incentives to help make it happen. Considering the cost of electricity in New Jersey, this couldn’t be happening at a better time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average price for a kilowatt of electricity in the U.S. is just under $0.14. If you live in NJ, you’ll need to add $0.08 to that – making it 150% more expensive than average.

Meet TerraSol Energies, Inc.
The possibilities for cost savings and making a positive impact on the environment are great – especially when working with experts like those at TerraSol Energies, Inc. TerraSol Energies is a family-run business that has been serving the Tri-State area of PA, NJ and DE since 2009. Most recently, TerraSol announced its expansion into the commercial solar market by signing on as an official Commercial Dealer with SunPower Corporation — serving small- and medium-size businesses, large commercial businesses, schools, government buildings, and more. Whether you’re looking for an initial lighting audit, or are ready to make the move to solar, TerraSol can help. Contact us today for a free consultation: 888.873.9995

American Reading Company and TerraSol Energies Dedicate Completed SunPower Solar System

PR Newswire sheds light our work with American Reading Company. Read their coverage below:

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., July 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Today, American Reading Company, an educational services company, and TerraSol Energies, a SunPower commercial partner, announced the completion of a 313-kilowatt high efficiency SunPower® Helix™ Roof solar power system at American Reading’s warehouse in King of Prussia.

“As a triple bottom line company (people, planet, profit), we are proud that our new SunPower system will help us reduce carbon emissions and save approximately $2 million in electricity costs over the next 25 years,” said American Reading CEO and Founder Jane Hileman.

“As a triple bottom line company (people, planet, profit), we are proud that our new SunPower system will help us reduce carbon emissions and save approximately $2 million in electricity costs over the next 25 years,” said American Reading CEO and Founder Jane Hileman.

“It’s rewarding to help our customers achieve financial savings and peace of mind as a result of selecting the most efficient and reliable solar technology on the market today, which is what you get with SunPower,” said Robert Santoleri, vice president of TerraSol Energies.  “The high quality SunPower Helix technology combined with TerraSol’s reputation for excellent craftsmanship and customer service helped American Reading decide to go solar.”

The SunPower® Helix™ Roof product is the world’s first fully-integrated rooftop solar solution for commercial customers. It is a pre-engineered, modular solution that is built to last, maximizes power production, and can be installed almost three times faster than competing technology, enabling customers to scale their solar programs quickly with minimal business disruption.

The Helix product was launched by SunPower last year. SunPower is currently installing Helix systems for customers such as Macy’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond. The Helix system for American Reading is the first SunPower Helix Roof system installed by one of SunPower’s commercial partners.

“With standardized components, we have eliminated the inefficiencies and added costs of complex solar system design,” said Bill Kelly, SunPower vice president. “Helix makes the complex simple, allowing customers like American Reading to manage energy costs and maximize solar power production over the long term. We commend TerraSol for being the first of our commercial dealers to complete a Helix Roof system, and look forward to their continued success.”

About American Reading Company
American Reading Company is a diverse, mission-driven, woman-owned business based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  Built and run by education activists, ARC is a trusted partner of 5,320 schools and 1,070 districts in 50 states. With a staff of more than 200, ARC helps strengthen district and school capacity at every level to ensure all students read, write, discuss, think, investigate, and solve problems at ever-increasing levels of proficiency. As a result, students’ academic performance is accelerated and their life prospects are fundamentally improved.

About TerraSol Energies
TerraSol Energies, Inc. was founded in 2009 by a professional group of Villanova University graduate engineers who are recognized experts in the field of solar energy. The TerraSol team provides full-service energy solutions with a focus on renewable energy and high efficiency lighting. TerraSol has successfully completed more than 60 installations in PA, NJ, DE, MD and Washington, DC during the last seven years with commercial and residential partners who have identified TerraSol Energies as one of the area’s most preferred and knowledgeable teams of solar specialists. The company is noted for its customized installations which have achieved significant economies of scale for companies, organizations and homeowners in the Northeast.  TerraSol Energies, Inc., which is based in Glen Mills, PA, has been a SunPower partner since 2011.

Why Owning a Commercial Generator is Good for Business

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Let’s face it. Every business owner needs a back-up plan, because you just never know. That’s especially true when it comes to the weather. Imagine that

it’s the middle of winter and an unexpected storm hits your area overnight. You lose power and the electric company expects outages to last for at least a full week.

Would your small business be able to remain open and operating? If you’re not sure, or your answer is a definite no, now’s the time to consider investing in a commercial generator for your business. The benefits are big and include:

1. Providing heat and lighting for your employees
2. Preserving any perishable items stored at your business
3. Protecting your bottom line by continuing to meet customer needs
4. Powering up your electronic communications systems, enabling you to continue operations, as well as provide support to others in your community

Shopping for generators
When it comes to your place of business, you will want a generator that can automatically start and restore power in seconds, even if you’re not there. That means that your air conditioning, heat, sump pumps, well pumps, security systems, computers, appliances, and machinery remain unharmed at the ready.

You’ll be shopping for a commercial generator that runs on propane or natural gas, eliminating the need to refuel it. The size you’ll need will depend on the type of business you operate, square footage, fuel specifications, and more. A reputable generator dealer/installer will be able to help you make the proper selection.

If your business is in New Jersey, TerraSol Energies, Inc. is a local authorized Kohler dealer. All Kohler generators come with a top industry warranty – something many of their competitors do not offer. As an authorized dealer, the warranty begins when the system is turned on – not from the date of purchase.

The generator is installed outside. TerraSol will take care of any necessary permitting and prep work, which includes readying the area that will house your system. Once up and running, your generator will be equipped with an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) that will continuously monitor your electricity flow. If the power goes out, the ATS will signal the generator to start. It will remain running until power is restored, when it will automatically turn off. It’s as easy as that.

Why choose TerraSol?
If you’re looking for experience, know-how and the ultimate in professionalism, you’ll want to call TerraSol. For years, TerraSol has specialized in energy solutions for residential and commercial customers in NJ, PA and DE. We install Kohler generators because they have the best warranties in the industry and ensure that your generator and ATS are properly sized. Because we are an authorized dealer, we are able to make sure that your permitting and inspections run smoothly.

Act now before the storm hits. Contact us today for a free consultation: 888.873.9995