Installing Solar PV on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas and Islands Since 2003
Power Trip Energy is dedicated to improving the future of our community and our state through the use of renewable energy technologies. We specialize in the design and installation of grid-tied PV systems on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, and have installed over 2 MW of grid-tied pv on over 400 homes and small businesses since 2003. Call us for the finest renewable energy technologies to help you reduce your energy usage by harvesting the free and abundant solar energy that surrounds us.
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While there has been debate in many markets about the pros and cons of residential leasing, it has been the leasing model that has been used in the majority of the residential solar installations nationwide for the past several years, forecasted to account for 68% this year by GreenTechMedia Research. Here in Washington State this has not been the case, because of the very carefully worded, complex and limiting state incentive legislation which has prevented systems owned by third parties, ie leased systems, from qualifying for our state’s Cost Recovery Program and its annual performance incentives.
Until very recently, we had very limited financing options to suggest for potential clients. If financing was necessary, it usually seemed like the best idea for people to refinance their house, since the interest rates have been so low, and that interest is then tax deductible. To my mind it also prevented people from borrowing more money than was reasonable, based on their financial situation. If they did not have equity in their house, perhaps they should address that issue prior to installing pv. However there were many potential clients who for some reason, reasonably, did not want to create or increase mortgage debt. The other financing options at that point were typical retail revolving credit like you might get at an appliance or audio/video store with higher interest rates from distasteful entities like GE Capital, which we would never offer. We will also not accept credit card payments. So we were usually stumped at this point.
All of that changed fairly recently with the availability of Energy Efficiency loans from Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union. These loans are typically low interest (~4.5%), can cover various energy efficiency upgrades for the home including solar, and are not secured by the title of the house, but are only secured by the solar array itself. We are not involved in these loans other than helping provide information; we pay no fees nor receive any commissions.
When I speak with installers from other states, they are generally envious of the financing options we have here in Washington. Most of them are stuck offering leases that benefit the lenders more than the clients or installers, or have to pay fees to the lenders in order to offer low interest loans to clients. That’s why this article contains the “news” that new financing options in other states are now increasing their market share compared to leasing. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Better-Cheaper-Loans-Challenging-the-Solar-Leasing-Model
So far this year, nearly a third of our clients have utilized PSCCU’s low interest loans and everyone who has qualified has been very happy in their dealings with this organization. Thank you PSCCU! http://www.psccu.org/efficiency.php#energysmart
Solar leasing companies are currently lobbying hard in Olympia for our state incentives to be opened up to their leasing models. Here at Power Trip Energy we keep an open mind and will evaluate any future available programs with bias towards our client’s best interest. In the meanwhile, we are very happy with the sensible low interest loans available to our clients.
The pace of residential solar pv installation continues to grow dramatically. The growth of distributed generation is a disruptive trend and a welcome one. While some fear change, others embrace it. We are proud to be doing our small part to bring about that change.
Most pv going in right now is in utility scale projects by far. This report from SEIA states that residential installations have outpaced commercial installations, you can also gather other interesting statistics here:
On a philosophical note, while we applaud the installation of large multi-hundred mega-watt pv installations by utilities, it really only solves one aspect of the problems with our current system. Yes the utility-produced solar electricity is clean, carbon-free and better than coal, gas, nuclear, or big hydro from an environmental standpoint, however it is still the privatization of what is a universally distributed resource. “Who owns the sun?” is a question long asked. We are bathed in an abundant and beautiful resource reaching you in about 5 minutes from 93 million miles away. Just as much sunshine more or less reaches your house per square foot as anywhere else. So why should you pay someone else to turn that solar energy into useful electricity? As long as we continue to let others have control over our power resources, there will be economic injustice inherent in the system, and choices made that are not in your best interest. Without getting any more revolutionary, for you I recommend putting up your own pv array, and capturing that energy yourself without letting corporate middlemen insert themselves into your relationship with the sun. It is only through direct personal action that you can help make changes that benefit our environment and benefit your family as well.
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“To all the employees of Power Trip Energy! Thanks for the awesome solar installation, you have motivated me to save more energy and promote solar power even more.”Kevin Koski - Bremerton, WA.
“By generating our own clean electricity, our family is reducing air pollution while being energy independent. And we’re doing it now so that our children can inherit a better world.”Stuart MacRobbie - Sequim, WA
“It’s been great to work with you all, from the office support to the sales staff, all the way through the electricians and the guys on the job. We couldn’t ask for more!”Susan and Ernie Kroll