When going solar makes you smile and saves money

When landscape contractor Ross McGuire was tossing around the idea of installing solar panels on his home in San Jose, Ca., a few months ago there were two reasons that tilted the decision to go ahead with the plan.
The first was environmental. “I wanted to do something good for the earth and global warming,” he said. The second was financial. He knew he would reap the rewards over a long time after installing 11 panels for $17,000.
“Last month I had only $10 on my electrical bill. I have double sized my house and I have saved $150 a month. That is a pretty good savings,” said McGuire. “I yelled ‘yahoo’ when I first saw it. You work your butt off and then you see this. All right!” For the record, his average electrical bill before going solar was an average of about $150 a month. He still gets a gas bill of between $60 and $70 a month.
The size of his home grew to 2050 sq. ft. when he added a big family room, a dining room and a master bed and master bathroom, a total of about 1000 sq. ft. The home now has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a hot tub.
With all the additions, McGuire estimated he would save between $1400 and $1500 a year on power and expects to pay off the panels in seven years. He will also receive a $2000 incentive from the federal government and is on the cusp of whether he will get a rebate from the state government.
From the time he ordered to installing the photovoltaics (PVs) the process took just six weeks and was a seamless operation. “I contacted CleanSolar.com and I found them to be twice as thorough as others and more afforbale than other estimates,” said McGuire.
While all this helped him to go solar, he said, the tipping point was what he heard while listening to the radio one day. “I heard that the housing boom had dropped and that the only houses that were selling for the right price were the ones with solar panels. They were selling quickly and for the asking price,” he said.
“In today’s price market that is a pretty good thing.” McGuire says the panels had added “a good $20,000 to the appreciation of our house.” As a new owner of solar panels he admits to getting a kick while watching the meter ticking over. “Every two seconds it goes down (which means he is saving energy) and I say all right!” he smiled.
He says he is happy with the overall decision of going green and says he will probably increase the number of panels for air conditioning if the price of the PVs comes down. That is something the experts are working on.
As a landscape contractor, McGuire tries to stay in tune with the big picture — what is happening financially, new ideas on the horizon that he can implement with his business and the impact of going green on the environment.
He researched online, looked at websites, read what was available about the selection of panels. He is now an advocate of green and solar and that it will become a booming industry. It is the only way to go, he says, “as far as the energy crisis is concerned.”
He added: “Global warming and the environment are important to us and there is a lot to pass onto our kids. Solar energy is so easy and you save money on my part and on everybody’s part. I have no complaints.”
Since McGuire installed the panels he has become something of a trailblazer in his street. “Neighbors are interested to see how it works and are asking questions,” he said and added: “I’m into recycling. I now do it at work, too. In the past I haven’t been, but now it is a conscious thing to do.”
Solar Installer


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