The decision regarding a Solar Tariff was finalized yesterday, Jan 22nd.
President Trump decided to impose the solar tariff on imported solar cells and modules. The 30% tariff pertains only to the solar cells and modules, so the increase in completely installed solar system prices will be effectively increased by 10% or less. You can read more about this decision in this message from the Solar Energy Industries Association:
“We see this as yet another speed bump in the road to the inevitable standardization of solar technologies for our country and humanity as a whole”, said Kevin Good, President and Owner of Good Energy Solutions. “The costs of fossil fuel energy sources will continue to rise, yet solar remains a viable alternative with little to no maintenance costs and abundant free fuel from the sun. Even with the slight increase in installed prices from this tariff, the prices are still leaps and bounds cheaper than even five years ago”.
Learn more going solar at your home or business with Good Energy Solutions.
Good Energy Solutions, a Kansas solar and efficiencies company, celebrated 10 years of business with a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 14, 2017.
The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce facilitated the ceremony which included presentations from CEO Larry McElwain, Mayor Leslie Soden, and Owner of Kansas Solar Company Good Energy Solutions, Kevin Good.
“I think what is really important is that renewable energy, in my opinion, is the future of the workforce in the United States manufacturing…” said Soden. Kevin Good added: “We’re in a good place right now, and in the next 10 years, who knows what’s going to happen. We’re excited about it.”
During our 10 years of business we have seen the solar industry explode. What started out as an interest of mainly “tree huggers”, has now developed into an industry in which Solar is now a household name. Although growth slowed in 2017, there was record market growth in 2016 of 95% as seen in this GreenTech Media Article. “In its biggest year to date, the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record, topping out at 14,626 megawatts of solar PV installed in 2016.” Research forecasts that “12.4 GWdc of new PV installations will come on-line in 2017, down 17% from a record-breaking 2016…Total installed U.S. solar PV capacity is expected to nearly triple over the next five years. By 2022, over 16 GW of solar PV capacity will be installed annually.”
However, Good Energy Solutions is not just a Kansas solar installation company. We also focus on reducing energy use through efficiencies so that the customer only buys the solar they actually need. We also take into consideration that future electrical needs, especially in the residential setting, will fluctuate. Energy use consumption can reduce when kids leave the nest, or increase if an Electrical Vehicle is purchased down the road. We have positioned ourselves with solar products that allow for easy expansion to fulfill an increased need.
Good Energy Solutions is able to offer SunPower, the most efficient Solar Panels on the market. Higher efficiency means you need less panels, and allows for more space on the roof if more panels should need to be added later. The use of quality products, like SunPower, means that we stand behind our products and workmanship. We develop long-term relationships with our customers as their energy partner. To help them with their current energy needs and future.
In the past ten years, the employees at Good Energy Solutions have worked diligently in Kansas, Missouri and the Central U.S. Region. We have experienced growth and have been awarded for our efforts in customer service, integrity, and business growth. Awards include:
Good Energy Solutions is committed to our customers with long warranties and quality products. As technologies, like energy storage, improve we will continue to operate as our customer’s energy partner to determine the best way to continue to reduce future energy costs. The future looks bright for Kansas Solar! Read more about Good Energy Solutions and our employees.
We will also hold a “Throw the Switch on Another 10 Years” celebration party for customers and the community on April 7th, 2018. See Press Release.
Congratulations to David Vera on his NABCEP Certification!
NABCEP Certification is the ultimate validation of experience and knowledge in the growing solar industry. It’s important to note that the NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification belongs to the person that earned the certification, not to the company that employs the person. Good Energy Solutions encourages our employees to take the test for their personal knowledge and benefit and we are fortunate that they choose to continue to work with Good Energy Solutions.
“I’m really thrilled to have completed my NABCEP PV Professional accreditation,” said David Vera. “I see it not as the culmination of my solar development, but rather as an important step for me. It will allow me to continue to grow within solar, as well as represent the industry professionally,” Vera added.
Good Energy Solutions is fortunate to employ 5 NABCEP PV Installation Professionals including David Vera, Michael Lee, Justin Palmer, Justin Browning, and Kevin Good.
Editors Note: This post was originally published Nov 26, 2014, was revised June 15, 2017 and most recently updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness November 30, 2017.
Congratulations to Mike Lee on his NABCEP Certification!
“I’m grateful to everyone who helped me along my journey to get this far,” said Mike Lee. “The training and the examination aren’t easy, so I’m happy to have accomplished this goal. From here, I plan to keep learning and riding the Solar coaster as long as possible.”
“One thing you can be assured of when hiring a NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional is that your project won’t be their first,” said Richard Lawrence, Executive Director of NABCEP. “Anyone who makes the considerable effort required to earn NABCEP certification has documented their training and experience as part of the eligibility process. They have also made a very real commitment to upholding high standards of ethical and professional practice. I am delighted to welcome Michael Lee of Good Energy Solutions to the ranks of the industry’s leading solar professionals.”
Editors Note: This post was originally published Nov 26, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
What is a NABCEP Certification?
It is a “voluntary certification that provides a set of national standards by which PV Installation Professionals with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from their competition.” Simply, those that receive this certification are distinguished individuals in the solar industry that hold a level of outstanding competency in PV Installation. The consumer can rest assured in knowing that their PV installation is done correctly because their installer has passed North America’s only renewable energy personnel certification. Accredited by the American National Standards Institute to the Internationally recognized ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission) 17024 standard. See the NABCEP Benefits Flyer for a quick visual to see how NABCEP Certifications help the solar customer and the solar industry.
How does a PV Installer become NABCEP Certified? Not easily, that’s why in the solar industry it’s considered prestigious. All candidates must:
have a minimum of 58 hours of advanced PV training; including advanced solar PV installation and design principles and practices. A minimum of forty(40) of the fifty eight (58) hours must cover advanced solar PV installation and design principles and practices addressed in the NABCEP PV Installer Job Task Analysis.
A maximum of eighteen (18) of the fifty-eight (58) prescribed hours may be obtained from non-accredited, non-certified sources such as courses covering building and electrical codes relevant to the installation of solar PV systems.
have an OSHA 10 hour construction industry card or equivalent,
have experience in the field acting as the person responsible for installing 3-5 PV systems. They must act in the role of contractor, lead installer, foreman, supervisor, or journeyman. Candidates must provide documentation of system information, permits and inspections for each project installed.
demonstrate that they posses the skills and knowledge that their peers and experts have deemed necessary to do the job well during a Job Task Analysis. The JTA is the core document of the NABCEP Solar PV Installation Certification.
Apply and be accepted to take the NABCEP exam, and pass.
Consumers who choose NABCEP Certified PV Installers are assured greater peace of mind because they can be confident that their installer has been trained, tested and has agreed to conform to a comprehensive set of demanding professional standards. NABCEP certified installers are required to install solar systems that meet the performance and reliability needs of customers in the United States and Canada by providing quality craftsmanship and complying with all applicable codes and standards. For more information please visit: www.nabcep.org
We are proud to have David, Mike, Justin, Justin, and Kevin as a part of our team at Good Energy Solutions. Congratulations, well done!
With winter coming, folks have been asking if snow is a problem for solar energy systems. No, not with micro-inverters. Also:
In our part of the country solar panels are installed at an angle and snow slides right off.
Solar modules are pointed at the sun so snow melts fast.
In our area, there really aren’t that many snowy days.
Micro-inverters avoid losses if just one module is covered in snow.
“What is a micro-inverter?”
To start, an inverter is a device used in photovoltaics (solar) that converts direct current (DC) generated by solar modules to alternating current (AC). A micro-inverter is connected to a single module (panel) and focuses on that module’s individual energy production.
The other type of inverter is the conventional string-inverter. String-inverters are connected to multiple panels of a solar pv system and converts power from groups of panels in an array. A 25 module solar array could easily consist of just one inverter. The string-inverter is usually located at the ground level of a home, in the garage, or outside with the electrical panels.
The micro-inverter offers many benefits including:
Maximized Production: Because each panel is optimized individually, each panel is ensured maximum production. This means that one underperforming panel will not bring down the performance of the entire solar energy system as a whole. The performance of a solar panel could be affected by mother nature (shade created by a fallen leaf, snow, tree shading, or even bird droppings) With conventional string-inverters the entire solar energy system’s performance is affected by the shade on one solar panel… and if that panel is at the beginning of the string it will affect the performance of every panel there after.
Longer Life Span: String-inverters, with the entire system running through them, are constantly hit with high power and high heat. This takes a toll, which makes their lifespan and warranty significantly shorter (10-15 years) than that of micro-inverters.
Easily Modified: You may want to add more solar panels to your solar energy system in the future, maybe to accommodate an electric car. If you add a new panel or panels, with micro-inverters there is no need to restring your entire system. With string-inverters, you may need to add another inverter to accommodate the additional panels, or purchase a larger inverter for your system than you currently need when considering future options.
Performance Monitoring: Micro-inverters often come with online performance monitoring systems that allow you to visually monitor the performance of every panel, and your system as a whole. The ongoing monitoring of your system allows you to make tweaks to optimize it, and gives you the capacity to know when certain panels go out or are underperforming.
Safer: In a string-inverter solar energy system setup, the solar panels are strung together in a series before the inverter. This means that there is extremely high DC voltage running through the wiring, which can be extremely dangerous, and life threatening to the homeowner. Micro-inverters eliminate this extremely high voltage current, which is safer and more efficient.
Silent: Micro-inverters produce significantly less heat, so no active cooling system is needed. No fan equals no noise.
Aesthetics: Micro-inverters completely eliminate the bulky inverter for a streamlined design that takes up less space.
Are you convinced that micro-inverters are the way to go? So are we. When searching for solar panels with attached micro-inverters remember to look for quality construction to protect your investment. SunPower factory installs their micro-inverters. Each micro-inverter is securely attached to the rail of their solar modules. A lower quality module with a micro-inverter attached to the back panel with tape can be prone to failure. In addition, if an inverter is not attached to the rail external wires may be needed for grounding. Contact Good Energy Solutions if you would like to learn more about a SunPower solar energy system for your home or business.
Every couple of weeks, Good Energy Solutions gets a phone call when a solar DIY project hits a snag.
Small projects are appropriate for do-it-yourselfers, such as Tiny Houses, RV’s, or other small off-grid systems. Grid-tied solar, battery back-up systems, and large off-grid systems should definitely be installed by professionals. While we respect that many people want to install their own PV systems (solar DIY), we advise caution whenever working with electricity.
Case in point. The phone rings and on the line is a DIY that is frustrated because they have installed their system and it just won’t turn on. “I”m not sure why, can you come out a take a look?” After the discussion regarding minimal cost to trouble shoot and/or fix, a NABCEP certified pv installer is sent out to access the job. What has been found:
A) MC4’s improperly connected or damaged
Conventional PV modules connect with MC4 or Amphenol connectors. Both types of connector require specific tools to properly make up the connections. These tools are costly, and only work for MC4 or Amphenol connectors. MC4 and Amphenol extensions can be purchased online, but they won’t be the exact length needed unless custom ordered. These are common points of failure in hastily made Solar PV installations by untrained installers.
B) Improper racking
Solar PV racking is expensive, especially when sold retail. There’s a reason for this; it’s specifically made for solar arrays and has no other purpose. Racking for PV modules is made of anodized aluminum, so it won’t corrode in the elements. It is made of the same material as the frames of the PV modules themselves. Projects done on the cheap often use strut, which is commercially available at most home improvement stores. Strut is inexpensive, and has many uses, racking for PV modules not being one of them. Because strut is made of galvanized steel, it will react negatively with the PV module frames and rust quickly. It will also fail to create a bond to the module frames, which will cause a ground-fault hazard.
C) Failure to meet code compliance
We’ve received multiple complaints from local utilities and about PV systems installed by newcomers or homeowners that fail to meet local and national codes. Only someone with an understanding of these codes and industry best practices should be installing solar PV systems.
D) Improper wiring
Perhaps the greatest hazard in PV installation is improperly wiring modules and inverters. Every inverter is manufactured to allow for specific voltages and amounts of current. Failing to properly wire the DC source circuit of a solar array to an inverter can damage the inverter, or worse, start a fire. Manufacturer’s recommendations for maximum voltage and current must be followed to maintain warranties and avoid harm to equipment, property, and life.
At Good Energy Solutions, we do not recommend that someone with minimal experience in electrical attempt to install a solar electric energy system after watching a couple of Solar DIY You Tube videos. Most professional solar installation companies have staff members who are NABCEP certified and have studied, trained, and passed the rigorous NABCEP Certification exam. And if you are working with a company that does not have NABCEP certified installers, we highly recommend you look at a different installer. The process to achieve NABCEP certification takes a minimum of 6 months to a year to achieve.
It may cost a little more to have a professional install your solar energy system, but in exchange you will have peace of mind. When you hire a professional you know that your solar energy system is installed properly guaranteeing 1) best return on investment, 2) secure warranties, 3) and most importantly, safety of you, your family, and your home. Contact Good Energy Solutions.
Solar Racking, the equipment that holds the solar panels in place on your roof, is often overlooked when deciding which solar energy system or installation company to choose.
Understandably a lot of attention is given to the cost of solar panels, their efficiency, the warranty, and even the aesthetics when choosing a solar energy system and installer. The solar racking though, is a very important part of the system – after all, it’s what holds your investment in place!
Most solar energy systems are a collection of different pieces and parts produced by different companies that are put together by the installer. Each one of those pieces and parts comes with their own warranty. Each warranty most likely comes with a different warranty expiration date. The solar installer may claim that the solar panels they install come with a 10-25 year warranty. (Read about warranty differences) Remember, that is the warranty is for the panels themselves. In addition to the solar panel, be sure to ask about the length of warranty for the inverter, and yes – the racking. A common warranty in the industry for racking is 10 years. It’s a pretty important piece of the solar energy system especially if you have a roof with a steep pitch or live in an area with strong wind. Replacing the racking could be expensive when considering the cost of removing the solar panels, replacing existing racking and reinstalling the panels, especially if you are still paying for the initial system investment.
How can SunPower cover their solar racking for 25 years when other companies only warranty for 10? SunPower designed their racking system to pair specifically with SunPower modules. That means the racking fits securely. Other manufacturers have designed their racking to adjust for panels made by different manufacturers with different dimensions. The InvisMount racking system from SunPower holds their panels securely in place with style by eliminating visible mounting hardware, rails and exterior hardware. The panels appear to “float” on the roof thanks to the hidden mid and end clamps and capped flush rails. The hardware has an adaptive design for secure installation on almost any roof type, including: shingle, flat or curved tile. Materials used include: stainless steel, black anodized aluminum, and black acetal copolymer. The InvisMount racking system can bare temperatures of -40° F to 194° F and max. loads of 3000 Pa uplift and 6000 Pa downforce.
Some racking manufacturers warranties claim different warranty expiration dates for different pieces and parts. For example: “20 years for aluminum products, and 10 years for all other products”
The Solar Awning is a great solution for residential and commercial businesses that want solar pv but do not have optimal roof space — but because solar pv awnings are not common place, we have found that they are not always easy to get approved for permit.
Here at Good Energy Solutions, we’ve been offering customers both residential and commercial, the option of installing PV modules mounted to an exterior wall (solar awning) for years. Examples of our work can be seen at Lawrence Creates, the Baker Wetlands, as well as at the Topeka Zoo (pictured above).
Vertically mounted racking solutions are a growing trend in the PV industry, and we are proud to have been early pioneers in the development of the solar awning. However, advances seldom come without roadblocks and challenges. That’s why it is important for solar consumers to choose a solar energy partner with experience to navigate the process and to offer the best integration possible.
Good Energy Solutions recently installed a vertical solar PV awning on a home in a nearby county. Though we had the appropriate engineering documentation and approval, the county was unsure how to proceed with permitting, as this was the first and only time an installer requested a permit for such an installation. As a result, the permitting office was unsure how to proceed, and classified the installation as a “ground mount” and stipulated that it must not be higher than 8’ at the most.
After lengthy conversation and many appeals, we installed the system as requested, only to have the inspector refuse to pass the final inspection because the awning was too low to be safe for the homeowner. Ultimately, the inspector convinced the planning board to allow for the awning to be installed higher up on the wall, and the authority is currently amending their codes and regulations. This change in codes will make solar awning installation in the county much easier in the future.
We frequently get complements from local authorities and utilities on our thoroughness, quality, and workmanship.
We’re not afraid to take on challenges other installers won’t. At Good Energy Solutions, we pride ourselves with our ability to exceed customer expectations, and our ability to work with authorities and utilities to bring sustainable energy to the masses. Contact Good Energy Solutions to see if your home or business could best benefit from solar roof mount, ground mount, or awning.
Commercial PACE (C-PACE) Solar Financing – Missouri
With long-established benefits on the residential side of the solar industry, Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is growing in a number of states across the nation, including Missouri, where Good Energy Solutions has aligned with Greenworks Lending to provide long-term low-cost funding for solar installations and all nature of energy savings measures.
C-PACE financing is the output of a public-private partnership with the Missouri Clean Energy District and municipalities throughout Missouri. The program provides private capital from lenders such as Greenworks Lending for commercial building upgrades, retrofits, and new construction that improve energy performance. With C-PACE repayment is made through the business’s property tax bill over the life of the upgrades, allowing most projects to be cash flow positive on day one.
“C-PACE financing allows business owners to invest in energy improvement in a manner that yields positive cash flow often on day one,” explained John Thoms, Director of Business Development for Greenworks Lending. “This means that solar projects are self-sustaining while business owners also get to address immediate concerns such as end of life roofing systems or inefficient furnaces and HVAC systems.”
C-PACE financing is available from Greenworks Lending in six states, CT, RI, MD, OH, MO, and CA as well as Washington D.C. Legislation has passed to support PACE financing in more than 20 states and there are currently 19 active commercial markets according to PaceNATION, the industry organization.
Through the program, Good Energy Solutions and Greenworks Lending can provide commercial property owners with a financing solution that offers:
100% financing, including both hard and soft costs (i.e. a new roof to support solar)
low fixed rates with tax deductible interest payments
financing secured by the property and can remain on the property upon sale
borrowing capacity (equity) is maintained and costs can be passed to tenants
financing is non-recourse and can be paired with other types of debt and equity on all types of commercial development
“Improvements in solar technology, mounting systems and installation techniques as well as tax incentives and renewable energy credits have made Good Energy Solutions installations make economic and environmental sense for a long time in the Missouri market, but the terms of C-PACE financing from Greenworks Lending now allow us to present opportunities to business owners that yield positive returns on day one,” stated Kevin Good, President of Good Energy Solutions.
The Size of a Solar PV System for your home is dependent upon many factors, including the number of kW’s of electricity needed, the available space, and the cost.
So, what size solar pv system do I need? Currently, the average 60 cell residential solar panel module is 290W and measures 65in x 39in. SunPower’s 96 cell module is 61in x 41in and makes 327W. The average need for a residential home is 8kWs (grid-tied system). With SunPower, that’s about 25 panels compared to 28 conventional solar panels. An owner would need about 10’4″ by 44′ of space for the SunPower Solar PV System vs. 11′ by 46′ for the conventional solar PV system. If a homeowner does not have enough unshaded roof space, multiple roof faces can be used, or the array can be mounted on the ground.
If an owner uses more energy than the average home, he or she will need more panels. A bigger system is needed for those who live off-grid so that the batteries store enough energy to power the home overnight. In general, solar PV systems that are customized to the owner’s needs are more beneficial.
Good Energy Solutions is an Authorized Dealer of SunPower. Contact Us to have a Good Energy Solutions representative help you determine the perfect SunPower solar pv system for your home. See our easy process, photos and customer reviews of home solar installations by Good Energy Solutions.
Basically, if a home owner installed a typical 5,000kW PV system that cost $14,000 after the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit, the home’s value would go up by $20,000. The $4/watt increase in value only applies if the system is owned by the homeowner. If a third party owns the system in the case of a lease or PPA the $4/watt valuation metric does not apply.
UPDATE: 4/21/2017: Overland Park, Kansas homeowner sells home for an additional $20,000 due to Solar Investment.
In 2015, a customer of Good Energy Solutions had us install a 5.1kW solar pv system on their residential home. The homeowner purchased the system and was able to take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax credit in the year the system was installed. (Posted pictures are not a representation of the Overland Park home)
This past month the homeowner put the home on the market. The real estate agent suggested a selling price based on comps in the neighborhood. Knowing the value of the solar array, (and since most realtors don’t understand the value of solar) the homeowner decided to increase the price of the home (5,000W X $4 = $20,000). As a result, the home sold for $20,000 more than the real-estate agent proposed. Essentially, the homeowner got all of his investment back from the solar array plus the money NOT spent on rising utility costs over the years.
Solar is a great investment in Overland Park, Kansas. Good Energy Solutions will soon be offering classes for people in the real estate industry on the value of solar.
Even in the Northeast, an area of the United States that does not have as much potential solar resource as Kansas, (see National Renewable Energy Lab) solar is proving to be a wise home investment. A recently published article, April 12 of 2017, in pv-magazine shares: “homes in the Northeast with solar panels sold for an average of nearly $99,000 more than those without them.” (See article)
Other home investments like new kitchens, bathrooms, and landscaping clearly have the reputation of helping to sell a home – as long as the buyer shares your decor choice. Turns out, Solar on your roof is a clean investment that pays off when you sell your home AND saves you money while you live there.