Solar energy system installers expect 2019 will be a good year... 2019

Great article with some of Patrick Altier's expert info on solar....

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By Richard Anguiano / Correspondent

Posted Feb 24, 2019 at 2:01 AM

People will be rushing to get (the tax credit) before it’s gone.’

It is one of the most tired lines in the sales profession: There’s never been a better time to buy.

However, when it comes to solar energy systems in 2019, that statement holds some truth.

This is the final year American consumers can receive a 30 percent federal tax credit for having a residential solar energy system installed. That credit will drop to 26 percent in 2020, and 22 percent in 2021, before dropping altogether for residential customers.

“That’s going to push our market,” said Barry Jacobson, president of Gainesville-based Solar Impact, Inc. “We’re expecting this to be a good year. People will be rushing to get (the tax credit) before it’s gone.”

In addition, prices for solar materials and installation have dropped dramatically.

In 2010, Patrick Altier left the banking industry to buy Solar Trek, Inc., an Ocala solar contractor, from Vincent Biel, his father-in-law. Altier recalled residential systems selling for $70,000 then.

In the meantime, more consumers have adopted solar technology, more manufacturers have gotten into the market, and 29 states and the District of Columbia have adopted “renewable portfolio standards” requiring increased production of energy from renewable sources like solar energy.

“Now, a residential system, using American-made products, is about $28,000,” Altier said.

Jacobson and his wife, Elaine, founded Solar Impact, Inc., of Gainesville in 2007, frustrated by their experiences trying to buy solar for their home, according the company’s website.

“The price has gotten to the point where it’s truly cost-effective,” Jacobson said. “Even if you have no interest in the environmental side of it, it’s just cheaper to get solar electricity than to buy from the grid.”

Nancy Myers of Dunnellon, who with her husband, Dr. Dane Myers, owns the Grumbles House Antique and Garden Shop and Cedar Street Boutique, converted to solar energy earlier this month. She said concerns over climate change influenced her decision.

“I’m concerned about the future, and I just think we have to do something about our carbon footprint,” Myers said.

According to Myers, the journey to taking her businesses solar began two years ago, on an airplane trip, when she talked with her son, Taylor, now 25, and confessed feelings of burnout.

“Taylor took an interest in the business,” Myers recalled. “He said, ‘I want healthy, happy parents again.’ He invested a bunch of young energy in showing us new ways to do things.”

One of Taylor Myers’ suggestions to his parents was to invest in solar.

“This neat old house the Grumbles is in a 110-year-old, two-story house,” Nancy Myers said. “My power bill is just outrageous. It’s probably $600 a month and it goes up to $1,100 a month sometimes.”

The Myers family interviewed several companies, asking if they could place panels on the roof of the 25-year-old Cedar Street Boutique building to relieve the power bill of the antique Grumbles House. Officials with Power Production Management of Gainesville said they could.

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