New Year’s resolutions are tough to stick to, but if your resolution is to save energy and money, we’ve got you covered in 2017. These clean energy gadgets will do all the work for you – all you have to do is enjoy your savings and congratulate yourself on a resolution well-kept.
1. Coffee Joulies
2. Solar Water Heater
3. Solar Air Conditioning
This clean energy solution is perfect for Arizona: take the energy from the hot sun and cool your house down – what’s not to love? The solar air conditioner works in the same way as the solar water heater, but is much more practical in the Arizona heat. Since they function on the same principal, you can even combine your solar water heater and solar air conditioning systems for a 2 for 1 energy-saving whammy. Check out the video here.
4. The Powerwall 2
5. Rooftop Solar Panels
Presents powered by solar energy are gifts that keep on giving, without having to spend money on expensive batteries or other less-than-sustainable components. This holiday season, give a gift that will last.
SunHarvest Solar is ready to get in the holiday spirit! With the cool weather, family, food and festivities, saving energy isn’t always the first thing on our minds. But with a few easy tips, you can conserve energy and save money this holiday season.
1. Swap your old light strands for LED decorations
It’s time to break out the decoration boxes and light up our homes, but this easy swap adds up to big savings. Choose holiday light strands with LED bulbs to save money with your festive displays this winter. LED lights use far less energy, are safer, and last longer than other lighting options. Save even more by putting your light displays on a timer. Click here to check out these Energy Star Certified light strings that use 75% less energy than conventional brands. Our favorite LED light strands are ones powered by solar!
2. Save paper and get creative with gift-wrapping
If every family in America wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields, according to the CDC. Save money and paper by using creative alternatives to wrap gifts. You can use old newspapers, funky leftover fabric or a unique reusable tin to package presents. Click here for more creative gift-wrapping ideas!
3. Feast on savings by changing kitchen habits
Is your mouth already watering for that holiday ham? For many families, the kitchen is a busy place over the holiday season. By making a few changes in the kitchen, you can save tons of energy. Avoid opening the oven door while cooking, as this can lower the temperature by 25 degrees — use the oven light to keep tabs on your food instead. Don’t waste time and money by preheating the oven for ham or turkey. These foods cook slowly and for a long time, so there is no reason to use all that extra energy.
4. Tweak your thermostat
When you’re at home and awake, keep your thermostat at a comfortable level. When you go to sleep or leave the house, turn it down by 10 or 15 degrees. Turning your thermostat down this far for eight hours can save up to 15 percent a year on your heating bills! When more people are in a room it takes less heat to stay warm, so turn down the dial when guests are over too. Make sure your windows are sealed, and if you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed unless a fire is burning.
5. Dial down the water heater
Did you know that water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy used in homes? Turn your water heater down to between 120 degrees and 130 degrees to save some cash. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heaters that are set too high can waste between $36 and $61 every year. Turning your water heating temperature down also slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.
By taking a few steps to save energy, you’ll have some extra green to go around for the things that count this holiday season!
It’s no secret that homeowners can save big on their bills with solar panels, but there are a few ways to save even bigger with solar in Arizona. If you’re thinking about choosing solar for your home, check out these incentives and credits to increase your savings.
The federal solar tax credit
If you're considering solar for your home, read up on the federal Solar Investment Tax credit (ITC). All homeowners qualify for this huge federal incentive, which can save you thousands of dollars on your solar installation investment.
The ITC lets home and business owners subtract 30 percent of the cost of installing their solar energy system from their federal taxes. The best part? There is no cap on the value of the credit.
According to a report based on EnergySage’s marketplace data, the average solar tax credit is about $9,000. Numbers like that make a big difference when you’re trying to decide how affordable going solar really is for your home.
The ITC tax credit has helped solar power explode in recent years, making it more affordable for homeowners and businesses across the country to go solar.
In 2015, Congress approved an extension for the ITC credit, allowing solar customers to claim a credit on their solar installations as long as they are operational by December 31, 2023. However, you can only receive the 30 percent credit if your solar energy system is installed by December 31, 2019. The credit will decrease in value for systems installed in 2020, and will continue to decrease until 2023 when the extension ends.
For more information on how to cash in on you solar tax credit, visit this step-by-step guide from Energy Sage.
State property tax exemptions
Arizona offers a property tax exemption for rooftop solar customers, and there is no cap on the amount of equipment you can claim on this exemption. To qualify for the exemption, you must provide documentation of your purchase and solar installation to your county assessor within six months of the installation.
Net metering credits
Arizona solar customers can also save big with net metering perks. When your solar energy system isn’t using energy, it feeds that extra power back into the grid. Your electricity company measures that unused energy and returns it to you in the form of a credit on your bill. These savings have an important catch, though. A pending APS rate case may cut these net metering credits for future solar customers. You must install your solar energy system before July 1, 2017 to take advantage of the current net metering rates! Don’t wait!
To learn more about the APS case and why it matters for the future of solar in our state, check out our latest rate case blog post.
For more incentives and loan programs, visit this solar savings resource.
Don’t miss out on these huge savings! Contact us today to find the best solar options for your home, and we’ll help you start on the path to solar savings.
In March, the Arizona Corporation Commission will cast a critical vote on the pending APS rate request case. This case is a huge deal for solar customers in our state, and will impact the future of solar in Arizona.
APS filed a request with the ACC in June of this year, proposing new demand fees on monthly bills. The proposed rate plan would reduce the amount of compensation rooftop solar customers receive for energy they send back to the grid, and the net metering credit could drop. The plan also requires solar customers to be on the two highest demand rates.
If approved, these new rate charges would only apply to new rooftop solar customers after next summer’s effective rate date (July 1, 2017).
This decision will be crucial in determining how we value solar in Arizona. APS says this change is necessary to accommodate the growth of solar in our state, but the demand for rooftop solar could take a drastic hit in the wake of a reduced net metering credit. Paired with the increased demand charge, making the choice to go solar may seem far less attractive to customers.
APS is offering a 20-year grandfathering clause to existing solar customers and customers who begin their solar installation before July 1, 2017. This clause will ensure that the existing net metering rules will apply to any systems installed before this date.
If you are considering solar for your home, start your solar installation as soon as possible to ensure this potential hike does not affect your solar energy system rates. Now is the time to take advantage of the 20-year grandfathering clause and ensure your investment aligns with more solar-friendly policies. Again, the potential rate hike would only apply to new solar customers after July 1, 2017. Contact us today to learn more about which solar options are best for your home.
Can you feel it? Stepping outside is tolerable now. September 21 marks the first day of fall, but that can be hard to tell in Arizona. Judging by these last few beautiful days, it’s time to start playing outside again. This may be a novel concept to some, but we’re here to offer you some exciting options for getting outside. From beginners to experts, here are our favorite hikes and trails to explore and to enjoy the weather.
1. Camelback Mountain
This is the quintessential hike to take in the Valley. Everyone knows Camelback Mountain. Starting at the Echo Canyon Trailhead, this hike can be strenuous. At the end you will have climbed a little over a mile. The city views make it completely worth it.
2. West Fork Trail
This is absolutely one of the most beautiful hikes you can take in Arizona. You do have to travel to Sedona, but the beauty of the West Fork Trail makes up for it. At around five miles long, the trail winds around Oak Creek. This means you’ll get wet so be sure to bring some comfortable shoes you won’t mind submerging. It is also a an extremely popular hiking destination. The earlier you arrive, the better.
3. Tom’s Thumb Trailhead
Located in the McDowell Mountains, Tom’s Thumb trailhead is one of the most beautiful hikes to take that won’t take the day to get to. At four miles in length, the trail is usually heavy with traffic. If you make it to the end, you’ll see Tom’s glorious thumb (pictured). It’s important to remember that there is no water available on this hike and that it is imperative you bring your own.
4. Horton Creek Trail
Are you ready to head to the woods? Just outside Payson is the Mogollon Rim, one of the best places to camp in Arizona. There you’ll find the Horton Creek Trail. Following Horton Creek, this trail measure at over seven miles in length. It’s beautiful. At this time of year, it’s wise to bring a jacket and perhaps some waterproof shoes.
5. Piestewa Peak
This trail is located the nearest to central Phoenix. Perfect for an after work hike, Piestewa offers stunning views of the city we call home. Piestewa is located right off the 51 and Glendale Avenue, just follow the signs from there. Unique rock formations await as you ascend the mountain.
Solar can do so much more than just power your home. There are all sorts of gadgets out there that every solar fanatic should have in their arsenal. Whether you’re hanging out by the pool, on a camping trip in the mountains, or just love collecting cutting-edge stuff, these solar innovations will help you take a step into a green — and really cool — future:
HeLi-On Charger - Portable solar chargers are nothing new, but this one is refreshingly different. With a rollout solar panel, this charger is compact and lightweight. It gives you the option of charging your device directly, or you can charge the HeLi-On’s internal battery and charge your device at a later time. You can pre-order yours from the company’s Kickstarter page.
Skylock - This is a new one for even us. We never knew we needed a solar-powered bike lock until now. The Skylock connects with your smartphone and remotely unlocks itself. It uses built-in solar panels so you don’t have worry about getting stuck somewhere if the batteries run out. Its Bluetooth capability allows for automatic unlocking when you’re near. Purchase yours here.
Sun Table - This gadget may be a bit extravagant (with a price tag to match) but we still think it’s cool. The Sun Table allows you charge your laptop outside so you never have to miss the beautiful weather while working. The tabletop even tilts to catch the most sun possible. A built-in inverter allows you charge or power any device you wish to keep outdoors with you. Learn more.
ECEEN Solar Backpack - How many times have you been hiking or camping and realized your phone is all out of juice? Sure, you don’t go out there to stare at Instagram all day but it’s always a good idea to have a charged device in case something goes wrong. The ECEEN Solar Backpack allows your to charge your smartphone on the go. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, the ECEEN is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. You can get yours on Amazon.
SolarCool Cooler - Okay, beach season may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up this badboy. The SolarCool cooler utilizes solar panels on it’s lid to keep your food and drink cold for up to 18 hours. It also allows you to charge your devices while hanging out at the beach, lake, or wherever your adventures take you. Without the need for ice, you can head to your destination without making pit stops to the gas station. Buy yours here.
Is there anything solar can’t do? These are just a few examples of cool solar tools you can purchase, but solar goes way beyond the latest gadget. Solar is the wave of the future. Click here to visit our website and learn what solar can do for you.
This week, SunHarvest Solar founder and owner Brandon Cheshire made his way to the Las Vegas strip. Not for the lights and nightlife, but for the sun. Brandon joined other solar leaders from around the country for the 2016 Top Solar Contractors Gala. This is the third year in a row SunHarvest has accepted an award from Solar Power World.
It has been incredible to be honored as one of the top solar contractors in the country for the past three years. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our team and our amazing customers for making all of this possible. We will continue to provide our community and customers with our Better Business Bureau’s A+ rated service for many years to come.
Every year the Top 500 Solar Contractors List is developed by Solar Power World to recognize the work completed by solar contractors across the U.S. and Canada. SunHarvest Solar was named number 267 on the list. We look forward to continued growth in Arizona and New Mexico. But most importantly, to continually be mentioned on that list at a better ranking every single year.
Community and sustainability goals often fall under the same umbrella. As communities strengthen, unobtainable individual objectives become attainable as a whole. Communities around the United States are investing in “community solar gardens” to ease individual financial burden and extend access to residences unsuitable for rooftop solar.
The vast majority of community solar projects were developed post-2010, when the Solar Uniting Neighborhoods Act extended existing tax credits to community solar projects in response to large numbers of residents whose homes do not support solar panels. Trees, roof size, and building codes are common impediments to homeowners who would like to install solar panels. In Arizona particularly, trees present a tradeoff between providing energy savings via shade and evapotranspiration while limiting rooftop area for solar panels.
Residents are increasingly provided solutions for these impediments, and total community solar energy production is expected to more than double in 2016. Ten states including our neighbors California, Colorado, and Utah promote community solar through policy and programs.
The SolarShares program in California allows utility customers (renters and homeowners) to buy shares of utility-owned solar panels in return for reduced energy bills.
Colorado Springs Utilities has one of the largest community solar projects in the country and provides credits for households, businesses, and municipalities.
In Utah, Artspace Solar Gardens is a net zero apartment complex and commercial space powered by rooftop and parking lot solar panels.
Community solar incentives have stimulated utilities and developers to expand solar production, but the idea can be used for any group of people.
Massachusetts passed The Green Communities Act in 2008, allowing residents in a neighborhood to pool resources to cover the cost of renewable energy installation. The residents of Brewster County formed a cooperatively funded solar garden by leasing city land for panels and forming a nonprofit corporation to pay its members. Members include individuals, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
In Arizona, Bright Tucson Community Solar also allows Tucson Electric Power customers to buy solar power from their local panels. Such programs are only the beginning of a new paradigm ushering in different scales of power systems based on the community’s needs.
We hope to see continued progress in this field and increased excitement in Arizona to help bring us up to par with our neighboring states.
“Solar power, wind power, the way forward is to collaborate with nature - it's the only way we are going to get to the other end of the 21st century.” - Bjork