By Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa
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Have you been thinking about going solar? One Placerville company can help you decide whether making the change will be of benefit.
Placerville resident Luke Miller, 51, of Solar Hut, said there can be an economic advantage for those who decide to go solar.
“Once you make the purchase of solar panels, you are hedging against inflation or energy escalation,” he said. “If you look at it over the last 35 years, your public utilities go up each year. There are a lot of factors that drive that. There is the cost of the land, the power plants as well as the entitlements they owe to their employees who have retired. So if you look historically, public utilities have gone up every year consistently for the last 35 years.”
He added once a customer installs solar panels, they have fixed their cost.
“How you buy those solar panels, it has a very good return on investment if you look at paying cash,” Miller said. “That’s how most people have purchased solar in the past. It hasn’t been real popular since home equity loans have taken kind of a dive so most people have had to have the money around, so that limited who you could sell to.”
Now there is factory financing available and the opportunity to purchase a solar system is open to more people.
In addition, there are no fixed costs on systems because the size and type vary according to client needs.
Miller also said there are different types of panels that are available.
“You have monocrystalline, which is a silicon-based technology,” he said. “There is another technology called thin film and that’s more of a commercial application. “
He added that when a potential client requests information, he will conduct an onsite evaluation. During that evaluation, Miller will see whether the house has trees and shade, thereby making it difficult to access the sun.
“If they do have solar availability, we look at the best place to install the panels,” he said. “It could either be a ground mount or a roof mount. We then provide a proposal and that proposal includes cash price, lease price, loan — and they can see where they want to go with it.”
Miller added he is not there only to sell the solar but to help clients with their energy use.
“So we do an onsite consultation. We do a presentation,” he said. “We look at their electric bill. We see if it makes economic sense. I also personally look at their consumption.”
Miller added that he may suggest an energy audit so the client can see what appliance is consuming the most power.
He also said solar systems can be right sized according to the power that is being consumed in the home or office.
“There are two major factors in designing the size of the system,” said Dave Boalt of Carnahan Electric Ltd.. “No. 1 is electric usage and how much of that usage do you want to kill? Do they want to eliminate all of it or just the most expensive parts? The second factor is where can we put it. Is there room on the roof and if not the roof, the ground? Sometimes that will tell us what we can and cannot do.”
But the bottom line for those who have solar power is the savings they get and the feeling of being environmentally clean.
For more information, call 530-391-7313 or visit the store at 1378 Broadway in Placerville. Solar Hut does all the energy consulting for Carnahan Electric Ltd.