Helping Long Islanders save with solar energy


Will solar panels add value to my home? …..some more than others!

By Bruce Howard

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It’s one of the most popular questions I get ~  “Will solar raise my homes value?”

And the simple answer is yes! There is a growing body of third party data that confirms the addition of solar panels to your home will increase its market value.  As early as 2013 when the Appraisal Institute partnered with the Colorado Energy Office to analyze Denver homes sales and announced that “solar photovoltaic systems typically increase value and almost always decrease marketing time of single family homes in the Denver area.”

A comprehensive study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  in 2015 looked at over 22,000 home transaction. The report concludes that on average homeowners are willing to pay almost $4.00 per watt of solar power. That translates to about a $14,400 premium for 3,600 watt solar system.  The study also demonstrates that this increase applies to owned solar as opposed to leased solar. So, not all solar installations produce

Unlike granite kitchens, additional bathroom or even that high efficiency boiler, home value chartthere are no other improvements you can make to your home that will produce such an exacting and calculable increase to the market value of your house.

Why is that?   A few reasons…

First, electricity is not subject to style. You use electricity habitually. It does not come in different colors and is immune to fashion trends. In fact the only trends that are followed in the news are how much and how often the price of electricity goes up.

You use it all year round and you use about the same number of kilowatt hours each year. In fact a typical three bedroom house on Long Island uses approximately 10,000 kWh per year. And that is just the way the public utilities like LIPA, PSEG, Con Ed and others like it. Electric power is a commodity. If you could buy your 10,000 kWh of electricity cheaper elsewhere you probably would. And now you can –  it’s called solar.  This brings us to our second reason….

Homeowners  can now buy a piece of equipment that effectively eliminates their need for the electric company.  Many homes can produce all the power they will need from their own roof, and can do it all year long for 25, even 30 years. There are solar panels that have been in use for more than 30 years already. Since the price of public-utility-supplied power is known, the value and return on investment for a piece of equipment that produces a known quantity of electric power on your roof can be calculated.

If you could buy 25 years of electric power for a 65% discount, but you have to pay up front, would you?  Well the home market is speaking and it says yes. Many homeowners have stated that they are equally proud of the positive environmental impact of going solar as they are of the financial benefits.

So why some more than others…..

I think it’s the only Latin I know, Caveat Emptor ~ Buyer Beware! As it applies to solar power it would be, Let the Lessee Beware. You see, as the mainstream adoption ofsolar neighborhood solar got underway all across the United States it was fueled by large national companies that were more interested in locking homeowners into 20 year restrictive leases with annual payment increases than it was in providing savings or value.  What these companies knew that most homeowners don’t is that the greatest financial benefits come to the solar system owner in the form of a 30% Federal

Income Tax Credit (ITC). They leveraged the appeal of environmentally sound, green energy to customers that were hungry for any amount of savings on their power costs. So the large national solar companies need to lease you the system so they can reap the benefits of the Federal ITC.

The March 23rd, 2015 edition of REALTOR Magazine suggests that solar leases can be “Deal Killers” when it comes to the sale of your house.  Potential homeowners shy away from inheriting long term payment plans even if there is some proof of savings. Many sellers opt to pay the lease off at time of sale. Some mortgage lenders have even made payoff a condition of closing. It is advisable to read the fine print of the solar lease before purchasing a home with leased solar.  The lease often appears as a lien on the property and may interfere with the refinancing of the property.

So far it is safe to say that

  • There is greater financial benefit to owning your solar panels as opposed to leasing them.
  • The home buying market pays a premium for solar power production.
  • Homeowners will act on behalf of the environment if given a monetary incentive.

As more homeowners install solar systems on their homes more will be known about home buyers preferences and what solar provides for homeowners.

These are clearly sunny days for homeowners that have invested in solar energy systems.



How long does it take to get my solar electric system installed?

How long does it take to get my solar electric system installed? You couldn’t be happier right now; you’ve just signed your contract for clean, renewable energy and are ready to have a solar system installed on your home. You’re excited to get the panels up and start saving money on your electric bill… when… Continue Reading

Is Speed replacing Quality?

  Is Speed replacing Quality? By Sail Van Nostrand Since when did fast mean the same thing as quality?When did your contractor going fast improve anything other than his profits? Too often we see ads by national solar companies thumping their chest about one-day installations as if that puts money in your pocket not theirs. There’s… Continue Reading

What if they change the rules on the tax credits?

What if they change the rules on the tax credits? By Evelyn Polvere In New York we are fortunate to have two tax credits that solar owners can take advantage of:  the New York State and the Federal tax credits. New York’s Solar Tax law offers a 25% tax credit on both a solar purchase… Continue Reading

Solar is Solar, it’s all the same! Right?

Solar is Solar, it’s all the same! Right? Bruce Howard – Energy by Choice   It happens all the time. It seems to occur with more and more frequency. You’re at your kid’s soccer game or even walking by the copier at work and you hear someone say it again – “I had the guy… Continue Reading

How much will I have to pay the utility after I get solar?

How much will I have to pay the utility after I get solar? By Stephen Boscarino There is not one answer to this question. It is mathematical and the numbers involved for each house are unique.   The pertinent numbers are, of course, the amount of electricity you are consuming over the course of a… Continue Reading

How much does solar electric cost?

by Evelyn Polvere Both a solar purchase and a solar lease will cost you nothing out of pocket.   You are currently paying PSEG between 19 and 20 cents a kilowatt hour.  Our solar customers will pay an average of 8 to 9 cents effective cost per kilowatt hour.  That’s a 58% savings. How You… Continue Reading

Solar Energy for ZERO OUT-OF-POCKET – What are my Options?

by R. Sail Van Nostrand We often hear, ‘I’d rather lease because it’s Zero out-of-pocket.’ That’s a bit of a misnomer, so we’d like to set the story straight.   ZERO OUT-OF-POCKET can be achieved in one of several ways: A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) is a contract in which someone else owns the equipment… Continue Reading

What happens to my solar when it snows?

Bruce Howard – Energy by Choice Your solar panels capture light and convert that light into clean  power for your home. Even on a snowy day there is light to be captured and while there may not be as much light as a completely sunny day your system will be generating power. It is not… Continue Reading

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SunPower Introduces the Equinox Solar System

June 7, 2016June 7, 2016
EquinoxExploded2_Sunpower_FI_02-01-16SunPower is excited to announce SunPower EquinoxTM , the industry’s only home solar system  with components designed to work together for maximum design flexibility across rooftops and installation simplicity. Systems include 96-cell AC modules with built-in micro inverters, the InvisiMount mounting system, and PV Supervisor monitoring hardware, all from one company. Equinox offers a reliable 'one-stop-shop' solution that lets us provide our customers with the industry’s best solar system on the market. We're already placing orders on this best-in-class solar system.
It's sleek and powerful and intuitive.

SunEdison Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

April 29, 2016April 29, 2016

After weeks of speculation in the media, renewable energy company SunEdison Inc.

has filed for bankruptcy.

In an announcement, SunEdison says it has commenced a process to restructure its balance sheet and position the company for the future. To facilitate this restructuring, SunEdison and certain of its domestic and international subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Notably, SunEdison’s publicly traded yieldcos, TerraForm Power and TerraForm Global, are not part of the filing. “Our decision to initiate a court-supervised restructuring was a difficult but important step to address our immediate liquidity issues,” says Ahmad Chatila, SunEdison CEO. “The court process will allow us to right-size our balance sheet and reduce our debt, providing the opportunity to support the business going forward while focusing on our core strengths. “It also will facilitate our continued work toward transforming the company into a more streamlined and efficient operator, shedding non-core assets as well as taking other steps to help us get the most value out of our technological and intellectual property,” continues Chatila.  “As a result of this process, we expect that SunEdison will be in an even better position over the long term to utilize our capabilities in the renewable energy sector in service of our customers, business partners and employees.” SunEdison says it has secured commitments for new capital totaling up to $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing from a consortium of first and second lien lenders. Subject to court approval, these financial resources will be made available to the company to support its continuing business operations, minimize disruption to its worldwide projects and partnerships, and make necessary operational changes. According to the company, the new financing will support day-to-day operations during the reorganization, including the following: – Proceeding with work on ongoing projects, both in the U.S. and elsewhere; – Paying wages and benefits for employees; – Continuing to provide services to customers; – Paying vendors and suppliers in the ordinary course for goods and services provided on or after the date of the Chapter 11 filing; and – Complying with all regulatory obligations. SunEdison has hired Rothschild Inc. and McKinsey Recovery & Transformation Services U.S. LLC as advisors in connection with the company’s restructuring. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is acting as its legal advisor. Industry reaction The bankruptcy filing comes after SunEdison racked up large amounts of debt following an acquisition spree, its stock prices plummeted over the past year or so, and the company was hit with several lawsuits, including one from its TerraForm Global yeildco. A recently released internal investigation also pointed to an “overly optimistic culture” at SunEdison. Jenny Chase, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s head of solar insight, says SunEdison’s two-year, $3.1 billion acquisition binge “drove its debt to unmanageable levels and sent investors running for the exits.” “SunEdison’s bankruptcy says more about the company’s strategic decisions than about the solar industry as a whole,” notes Chase, adding, “Comparable companies SunPower and First Solar have managed a develop-and-sell business profitably over the past three years.” Dan Whitten, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association, has echoed that sentiment. “This is a highly competitive industry with a massive upside,” he says in a statement. “As with other rapidly growing and successful industries, not every company in the solar market is going to stand the test of time. SunEdison is just one company, and today’s development does not reflect a trend of the broader industry.” Chase adds, “What has distinguished SunEdison has been the relentless and unfocused pursuit of growth, in which it has invested vast amounts of borrowed money. Not all of its ventures succeeded, which is inevitable in the project development business, but SunEdison’s win-to-loss ratio was evidently insufficient.”
on April 21, 2016

Mike’s Long-Term Savings are Incredible!

December 17, 2015December 17, 2015
solar story icon for news pageOur customer Mike came to us through a referral.  He's one of a few neighbors that were looking into solar together. Massapequa Park 9810 Mazol 12 15Mike's system was installed a week ago, and it should be covering all of his PSEG bill.  His system will be producing 10,968 kilo watt hours of electricity for him yearly.  His effective cost of energy will be about 7 cents, a fraction of the 22 cents he's been paying PSEG.  And his 25-year savings number is just under $119,000 dollars.  Money not sent to the utility = money in Mike's pocket.  Awesome!

Just finished!

November 12, 2015November 12, 2015
3 guys on roofOur team just finished working on Michael and Susan's solar PV system in Levittown. solar story icon for news page The 15,369 watts that went up should produce over 16,500 kilo watt hours of electricity for them. That means they'll be saving over $3,400 yearly, that's almost $300 in their pocket every month.     Sweet.                

Carl’s system will save him $3,460 this year!

October 28, 2015October 28, 2015

Carl's system will save him $3,460 this year!

Babylon 12753 Tedeschi 8 15Babylon, NY ~ Energy By Choice installed this beautiful 12.753 kilo watt system for our customer Carl.  Carl's system will save him $3,460 this year!solar story icon for news page

Carl has chosen to finance his system, so his immediate savings are $70 a month from what he was previously paying PSEG.

Once his system is paid off, he will be saving about $300 a month.

His savings started immediately and will continue to grow over the long life of the system.

In addition to having more money in his pocket, by putting this solar system up the ecological savings are the equivalent of Carl planting 4 acres of trees.  Saving the planet....saving solar story at a time.  [view more installs]

Long Island’s Solar Energy Industry Booming ~ Newsday ~ 10/16/15

October 19, 2015October 19, 2015
imagejpeg_0Long Island’s Solar Energy Industry Booming ~Newsday, 10/16/15 Sail Van Nostrand, owner of Energy By Choice, said system prices are down 15 percent to 20 percent over the past three years, to between $30,000 and $35,000 for a 10-kilowatt system. Most residential solar installations are for systems between 5 and 10 kilowatts, or 5,000 and 10,000 watts, respectively, with the intention of reducing a PSEG energy bill to just about zero. Tax credits and other incentives cut the cost nearly in half, and low-interest loans cover the balance, greatly reducing or eliminating customers’ upfront costs…. read Newsday's feature

Commercial Project Complete

October 13, 2015October 13, 2015
Our team spent the latter part of August on the roof of Delta Computers in Farmingdale installing over 500 SunPower 327 watt panels.  The install went meticulously and the final outcome is quite spectacular. delta best crop

Energy By Choice at Fall Festival in Huntington, Oct 10-11 2015

October 13, 2015
This weekend, Energy by Choice will have a booth at Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington. We'd love to see you - October 10-11 11am-6pm. Come learn about solar for your home.  Speak with the owners. fallfestival