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Astralux Solar Energy Partners Program Flourishes in Fort Collins Community

One Fort Collins community is taking full advantage of thesubstantial group discounts offered by the Astralux Energy Partners Program. Thus far 8 households in thisneighborhood have committed to going solar.

Client services representative Osea Nelson helped build this group of solar enthusiasts. "It’s greatto see entire communities going solar – we are able to give sizablediscounts when we can install several solar systems in one area," Oseacommented, "you see an almost viral mentality – when one home installs a system, others in the neighborhood start to get interested and want tolearn more about solar – even if they haven’t considered it before."

Other solar energy group purchasing programs are offered by 3rd party companies who charge installers for collecting these groups, whichmeans extra costs to cover their fees. Astralux Solar offers the Energy Partners Program directly, so solar customers know they are getting atrue discount for gathering their community together to go green.

Astralux now has Energy Partners Groups in over a dozen Coloradocommunities including Lakewood, Boulder, Stapleton, Pueblo, Alamosa, and Denver.

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Eliminating the Risk of Solar Adoption

Thewidespread acceptance of solar energy will require the solar PV industry to mature to the level necessary for adoption amongst the entirepopulation, not just the early adopters and green enthusiasts.

There are several common concerns amongst current and potential solar buyers, more so for those population groups that are less inclined toadopt a new or unique technology (late adopters and laggards). Theseconcerns are mostly due to the lack of general information about solarenergy, including a lack of knowledge of laws and initiatives on boththe state and federal level that greatly mitigate the risk of goingsolar.

The following are some of the primary concerns commonly expressed bypotential solar adopters, excluding the most important factor in themajority of solar installations – financials.

Reliability of Solar Energy Providers

With well funded national solar integrators and well establishedlocal players, this is becoming less of a concern for potential solarbuyers. Further remedy to this issue involves better brand-buildingpractices by the major solar integrators to increase awareness andfamiliarity – establishing “brand names” that people will know andtrust.

Issues with Neighborhood Codes and Covenants

Many states now have laws prohibiting HOA’s from banning solarinstallations. However, the industry doesn’t have the resources to sueevery association who ignores this law. More importantly, solarintegrators don’t want to antagonize the very people they are trying toconvert to solar energy. Thus, integrators are reaching out to localneighborhood committees to inform, educate and quell concerns over solar in their communities.

Vulnerability of Solar to Weather Extremes

With manufacturers improving their cut sheets and marketing materials to list hail, fire, and wind ratings / capabilities – this is becomingless of an issue. Also, there are now several real-life examples ofsolar PV systems holding up in extreme weather (as with the tornado andhail storm that hit Windsor, CO in 2008).

Uncertainties about System Longevity

This is an ongoing concern, as there is no hard evidence of thelongevity or output reliability of solar energy installed today. In fact this information (outside of stress tests in laboratories) will not beavailable for a couple of decades. To address this, some solarintegrators have begun to offer production guarantees with their systems – compensating solar owners if their systems don’t perform tospecifications.

System Efficiency in Converting Sunlight to Electricity

The efficiency percentages of solar cells and panels themselves sound unimpressive to the lay person – 8%, 12%, even 20% sounds like a lowfigure. Integrators must put these numbers in perspective; they can’tlet potential customers get hung up on these percentages. Converting 12% of the sun’s energy, the cleanest and most abundant energy sourceavailable, is pretty darn good. The efficiency figures are only relevant when comparing different panels to each other, or when comparing to the efficiency of converting fossil fuels to electricity.

Health and Safety Concerns, During and After Installation

A most pressing concern is potential roof damage during systeminstallation. Nearly every potential solar homeowner expresses concernabout leaking and damage to the roof surface, especially on concrete and Spanish tile. Extended warranties on labor and reliable integratorshave been the solution to this issue.

The concern of vandalism and theft has risen drastically in light ofrecent news of stolen and defaced solar panels. There are severalcompanies with solutions for these concerns, with security systemsdesigned specifically for solar systems.

Maintenance and Warranty of a Solar Energy System

This is an issue that is being solved through comprehensive laborwarranty and maintenance programs offered through many solarintegrators. The extended solar panel and inverter warranties are alsovery comforting to solar adopters.

Technological Advancements in Solar

“With all the cool new technologies I keep hearing about, won’t mysystem become outdated technologically?” Or another one, “Won’t thesolar panel costs keep coming down? I hear that there are newtechnologies that will be 10% of the cost of what solar is today?” These are questions that come in nearly every day from people thinking ofgoing solar.

The answer to these questions vary, but center around the theme thatsolar is now – both financially and technologically. There are manypromises of better and cheaper solar panels in the near future, but thecurrent solar rebates and credits are likely much larger than thesepotential future savings on solar. The current US solar integratormarket is still in a shakeout, and still highly fragmented. This has led to solar installation prices dropping to drastically low levels. Thus,potential solar adopters can either take advantage of a subsidized,buyers market today, or gamble on the promises of ultra-cheap andultra-efficient solar of the future.

There are other concerns, but these are reoccurring issues frompotential solar adopters. With the US approaching 100,000 solarinstallations, the solar integrator industry is making great strides inaddressing these barriers for the many interested, but discerning, homeand business owners.

-Jesse Malcomb

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Adoption Characteristics of Solar Energy

Everett Rogers popularized the Diffusion of Innovations in 1962, atheory of how and why new ideas and technologies are adopted by apopulation. The adoption of solar energy can be analyzed through thefollowing intrinsic characteristics that influence a purchase decision:

Relative Advantage
Potential solar energy adopters want to know how electricity generatedby a solar system is better than electricity generated by the utility.With correct engineering and design, the electricity produced by asolar energy system is no different than the electricity delivered bythe utility grid. Solar energy can be more reliable and secure thanutility electricity when integrated with a backup system – enabling atruly uninterruptible source of energy for the building.

Solar also has a financially advantage to increasingly costlytraditional utility electricity. Solar energy both reduced the fixedcost of electricity for the building owner and hedges against furtherelectricity price increases. The environmental benefits of solar is yetanother advantage as it eliminates all of the harmful externalitiescaused by producing energy with coal or other fossil fuels.

Solar also holds a relative advantage to other available renewableenergy options. Solar energy is easier to integrate with residentialand commercial buildings than other renewable alternatives (wind,geothermal, etc.), far more effective and reliable, and now moreeconomically viable.

Compatibility
Potential solar energy adopters want solar energy to be compatible withtheir lifestyle and daily routine. Solar is highly compatible with thevalues and desires of the environmentally-conscious energy consumers.Studies have shown that increasingly more people value the reduction offossil fuel use and higher efficiency usage of energy, to which solarenergy helps achieve both these ends.

The electricity produced by a solar energy system is completelycompatible with a buildings need for the energy. There is no differencebetween the electricity produced by the utility and that produced bysolar energy.

Complexity
Potential solar energy adopters want the process to be simple andturnkey. The complexity of solar energy integration has decreaseddramatically over the past decade. The purchasing process, provided bymost solar integrators, is simple and requires only a few uncomplicatedchoices from the adopter. The plug- and-play nature of modern solarenergy systems requires no interaction or responsibility from theadopter to operate.

Trialability
Potential solar energy adopters would ideally want to "try" solarenergy before putting it on their building or land. Although solarenergy cannot be "test driven" like a car, interested adopters can"trial" solar by seeing an existing installation in work. Remotemonitors and internet interfaces can "show" how the solar energy systemproduces energy and how much electricity it is generating. Solar HomeTours around the country allow potential buyers to experience solarhands-on and talk to current solar energy homeowners.

Observability
Potential solar energy adopters want to see many systems alreadyinstalled and operating. As an exterior feature, solar energy isvisible on most buildings that have it installed. Solar is on displayin very publicly visible areas – such as major airports, commercialbuildings, and museums. With over 75,000 solar energy systems installedin the U.S., including hundreds of large and highly noticeable solarfarms, there are plenty of opportunities for potential adopters to seesolar at work.

In conclusion, it is apparent that solar energy has broken throughmany barriers to move towards adoption by several key social groups inAmerica. Nonetheless, there is still much to be done – especially inthe area of education and knowledge. The adoption process starts withthese two essentials; if someone isn’t aware of what solar energy is orwhat it can do then it renders the rest of the process irrelevant. Moreresources must be allocated by the manufacturers, distributors,integrators, and state and federal energy departments to educating thepopulation about solar energy – so we can then persuade, implement, andgrow solar into a noticeable chunk of the energy solution in the UnitedStates.

-Jesse Malcomb

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Best Time to Purchase Solar Energy in Colorado?

One of the most frequent questions we get as a solar energyintegrator is "Why should I buy now, won’t the price of solar keepcoming down?"

For the last 12 months, the price of solar has come downdrastically, as much as 30% in some cases. However, the rebates forsolar have also dropped by virtually the same amount. As you can see in the graph, the price ofresidential solar is leveling out, while the rebates continue todecrease (per the new tiered rebate program from Xcel). Thus, the costto the customer is now beginning to increase for the first time sincethe introduction of rebates in Colorado.

The price of solar will continue to slowly decrease, with supplylevels still high and with more competition than ever between solarintegrators – but it is highly unlikely we will see a drop in pricelike we saw in 2009. The solar rebates are finite, and will continue todecrease until the solar rebate fund is depleted.

There is always the possibility that solar materials will have amajor breakthrough and further decrease in price – but will it decreasemore than the current value of solar rebates in Colorado? That is thequestion to ask when you are determining whether to go solar – do itnow and get the rebates, or wait and take a chance on solar materialsprices significantly decreasing in the future.

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Astralux at the 2010 Colorado Garden and Home Show

Link: https://bit.ly/b6xdJ7

Forthe 3rd straight year, Astralux Solar will have a booth at the largestshow in the west. 60,000 people are expected to attend the 48th annualColorado Garden & Home Show. This is the LARGEST consumer show heldin the Colorado Convention Center and boasts the highest attendance.

Come visit us at Booth #530. The show runs from the 13th to the 21st of this month.

 

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Black Hills Energy Solar Rebate to Drop

Following in Xcel Energy’s footsteps, Black Hills Energy is reducingthe solar rebate for small category systems in Colorado (less than10kW). The rebate will drop from $3.50 per watt down to $2.70 per watt,a reduction of 23%.

This $0.80 per watt reduction in the Black Hills Energy solar rebate will be effective at Midnight tonight (January 15th).

The Black Hills Energy solar rebate, like Xcel Energy, is acombination of a rebate payment and a renewable energy credit (REC)payment. The REC payment of the small category incentive (currently at$1.50 per watt) will decrease to $0.70 per watt, the rebate payment ($2per watt) is fixed and thus will remain unchanged.

Xcel Energy has initiated similar reductions to their solar rewards rebates over the past several months. Xcel released a new tiered rebate system to inform solar integrators and customers exactly when and how their solar rebate would change in the future. The California Solar Initiative (CSI) has a similar method of distributing rebates.

If you are a Black Hills Energy customer in Colorado, please contactus today if you are interested in solar for your home or business.

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Vote Astralux’s Jesse Malcomb for the Upcoming CoSEIA BOD Election

Our own Jesse Malcomb is running for one of the three availableBoard of Director seats for the Colorado Solar Energy IndustriesAssociation (CoSEIA). Read his bio below and remember to vote byJanuary 13th.

Following my passion for alternative energies, I currently serve asthe VP of Business Development at Astralux Power Systems. With thisposition, I have been able to leverage my technical background inGovernment R&D with several years of renewable energy marketresearch and analysis experience. My focus has been to implementstrategies to cost]effectively identify and educate receptive marketsegments that have otherwise been neglected or ignored by the industry.As a corollary, I have developed a deep qualitative understanding ofthe local solar market. I have been involved in the Colorado solarindustry since the start of the "rebate era" in 2006.

My goals for CoSEIA would involve helping the organization focus onworking towards greater consumer awareness or "forward equity". We areat a saturation point in the Colorado solar market, and reaching outbeyond the typical solar niche markets is the key to the long termsuccess of the solar industry. The catalyst for this outreach must beCoSEIA, as this wonderful organization is the foundation of theColorado solar industry. I hope to bring my years of proven marketingand development expertise to expanding the reach and awareness ofCoSEIA.

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Astralux wins GEO NEED Grant for Alamosa Farm Solar Project

Gov. Bill Ritter announced the award of 14 New Energy EconomicDevelopment (NEED) grants to recipients across Colorado for renewableenergy and energy efficiency projects that will help create and retainjobs, strengthen local economies, and save money and energy. TheColorado Governor’s Energy Office created the grants from fundsavailable from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Astralux Power Systems was one of the 14 awarded, out of nearly 200grant applications. Astralux received $60,000 to design and install a20kW solar energy system for the Crouse Farm in Alamosa, Colorado.

A certified organic farm, currently producing 600 tons of alfalfahay annually, the electricity from this system will help offset thenearly 64,000kWh of energy needed to irrigate the farm’s crops. Locatedin Alamosa, the Crouse Farm will provide Southern Colorado a model forthe sustainable and energy efficient farm of the future. Crouse hasalready begun arrangements for school "field trips" to his farm withthe hope of creating a sustainable road map for the future farmers ofAmerica. This project will also be able to showcase solar energy in anarea of Colorado thus far neglected in renewable energy efforts.

Grant Summary – Astralux Power Systems: This Boulder-based companyreceived $59,940 to install a photovoltaic system to offset irrigationcosts at the Crouse Farm located in Alamosa, CO. Contact: JesseMalcomb, Astralux Power Systems.

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Solar Energy: A Retrospective

I set out to write a blog this week addressing the changes people makeand the attitudes they have after they get solar power in their homes.I assumed I would find a plethora of happy customers exalting there newcontribution to the environment, and I also assumed that maybe some hadbecome more lax on their energy conservation activities around the homesince their energy is now practically free. Instead, I spoke with happycustomers who had made no change in their daily routines, as theyalready were energy conscious before solar, and continued with thismindset even after solar was installed. Their opinion towards the solarpanels on their home is that it is their duty to the world. I wassurprised to not immediately find the answer I was looking for, butinstead to speak with individuals who were truly energyconservationists.

In my mind, the moment I knew I was getting free energy, I would feelno remorse in running the dryer two more times, or leaving my computeron all day. This was a response I expected from at least one of ourformer solar customers. Instead, I spoke with two of Astralux’s pastcustomers who had a completely different attitude. Most of thecustomers I spoke with replied with a "Why wouldn’t I?" sort ofattitude towards their solar arrays.

Mr. Alex Wyche, who’s system was installed in May of 2008 said "It[solar] doesn’t change anything – we consume less electricity, see ourelectricity bill cut in half, there’s no action on my part, it’sinvisible." His opinion on the matter is "Why would you not if you havea place for it? It’s just a matter of time before they pay forthemselves. We have been very pleased."

I later spoke with Mr. Richard Bluhm who shared that he installed solaron his home in September of 2008 for "altruistic reasons". "I knowthings are desperate. What I do is a drop in the bucket compared towhat really needs to be done. We’re so far behind." Although Mr. Bluhmhas a very substantial 9kW system on his home (the average is about5kW), which produces about $125 a month of electricity, he admits "I goaround turning everyone else’s lights out in my home."

Speaking with these individuals opens a new window into how we allshould see our energy usage. If we have the means, the location and theability to install solar – why not? Furthermore, even when we do beginto incorporate significant sustainable energy solutions into our lives,such as solar energy, we must still remain vigilant to maintain anoverall energy conscious lifestyle.

We would all benefit from every citizen of this tiny blue planet toadopt this same attitude. The more individuals who contribute their"drop in the bucket" adds up and eventually we will have a puddle,which then could amount to a full bucket. If you have a south facingroof, what is holding you back? If a 3kW system has the same effect onthe environment as taking one car off the road per year and 5,208pounds of coal from being burned each year, imagine the impact if even10% of Americans made that upgrade.

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Xcel Proposes Reducing its Solar Rebates by $0.50

On Tuesday, Xcel announced that they are planning to reduce thesolar energy rebates by $0.50 in the next month or two, and they wantto reduce their portion of the rebate to $0.05 by 2014. The SolarRewards program currently provides residential and commercial solarsystems with a $3.50 per watt rebate. This consists of a $2 rebate thatis required by the state, as well as a Renewable Energy Credit (REC)that can amount to up to $1.50 per watt, depending on the optimizationof the system. The REC is what Xcel is hoping to reduce.

Xcel is planning to make this reduction after the next round ofSolar Rewards reaches 500 kilowatts, which is projected to be by theend of October or by the year’s end. Before any changes can be made,this plan must be approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.Currently, Gov. Bill Ritter and CoSEIA (Colorado Solar Energy IndustryAssociation) are in full support of the proposal and Xcel. They havemade substantial efforts to fulfill the requirements for utilitycompanies to get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The solar power rebates are continuing to drop, which means the timeto act, is now. With the other discounts Astralux offers, solar poweron your home or business is very affordable, but there is very littletime to waist.

More information on Xcel’s proposal can be found at https://denver.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2009/10/26/daily29.html

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How Difficult is it to Go Solar?

It’s not! As advancements are made daily in the solar power world,it can become very confusing to the average homeowner as to how to gosolar, the steps to be taken, and why it is important. Solar power isno longer and seen as being the eyesore on the weird neighbor’s roof,it is becoming a basic necessity for every home and building in theworld, and just as easily obtainable. Although I cannot speak for everysolar company out there, I can at least explain what Astralux offersand the first steps to take to check it out for your self.

The first step in considering solar power is a free consultation. Toschedule one, you would simply call our company, in which we willtransfer you to one of our highly professional and trained salesmen.One of these gentlemen will speak with you regarding what you arelooking for in a system, how much of your energy costs you would likeit to cover, and investigate your roof so that they can takemeasurements and look for any obstructions to provide you with the bestpossible quote. The information the salesman receives from you and yourroof is then passed along to our design engineer who will map out aperfect design for your solar panels, and provide you with a SAT, or aSolar Analysis Tool. This packet of information will provide you withthe size of your system, the costs and rebates, the environmentalbenefits of your system, the electricity you will save, your return oninvestment, client testimonials, as well as a computer generatedphotograph of what your home will look like with solar panels. Fromhere, it is your choice to continue or not, but the next step would beto sign the contract, which would then lead to the install, which istypically completed by two or three months.
One of the largest concerns posed by homeowners is the upfront costs ofa system as well as the maintenance. For that reason, Astralux hascreated the SolarCare program. This program includes the SolarCareWarrantyTM, SolarCare Energy PartnersTM, and SolarCare Same-as-CashFinancingTM. The SolarCare WarrantyTM provides the longest and mostcomprehensive warranty in the industry, which includes maintenance,service, cleaning, and monitoring. SolarCare Energy PartnersTM providescommunity members a fantastic opportunity to reduce the initial costsof solar. When three or more neighbors decide to go solar, they willreceive significant Energy PartnersTM rebates which can amount to up tothousands of dollars, on top of the other state and federal taxrebates. Finally, Astralux offers Same-as-Cash FinancingTM which is forup to 12 months, no money down, no interest and no equity required.

With energy costs rising over 75% since 2002, solar power for yourhome can lock you in at energy rates 10 – 50% lower for the next 25years. With the generous rebates the state and federal governmentcurrently offer, now is the perfect time to go solar. The rebates arelimited, so now is the time to capture the power of the sun!

More information can be found at our company website: https://www.aessolarenergy.com

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Solar, A Basic Understanding

As the new Solar Energy Marketing and Analysis Intern for AstraluxPower Systems, I came into this position as a new graduate of ColoradoState University with a degree in Business Marketing and a minor inMedia Studies. As you may notice, there is nothing in that title thatis even slightly technical, and no where in my education did I learnextensively about solar power. Two weeks ago I knew barely anythingabout solar, other than it is green, and that is currently the mostcommon word in the English language. However, in these past two weeks Ihave been able to get a basic understanding of solar power, how itworks, the industry itself, the great rebates, and how easy it is.Learning about this has been riveting and exciting for me, so I want toshare that knowledge. If you have a technical background, don’t judge,if not, here is my best attempt at explaining solar power in basicterms that anyone can understand, and my way to share my enthusiasm ofsolar with you.

Let’s just dive on in! I will not go too much into how eachindividual solar panel works, more than there are three types, SingleCrystalline, Poly Crystalline, and Thin Film. Single Crystalline iscomposed of sheets of silicone, which are sliced from a single siliconecrystal. Because these crystals are cylinders, these panels arecomposed or circular pieces placed together, which creates a great dealof wasted space. Poly Crystalline is made up of thousands of tinycrystals on the panel, which allows it to be a rectangular shape. Inthe past this design has been less efficient, but that is changing astechnology advances. Thin film is the final choice which is essentiallya “sheet” that can be rolled out. This type of panel is the leastefficient and needs the most surface area, so it does not tend to be aspractical for smaller roofs.

Once a home or business has decided to look into solar, the processbegins with a sales representative visiting the location. They measurethe site, speak with the owner about what they would like, their energyneeds, and then return that information to our designer, who will thenmap out the site for the highest output system available based on whatthe customer’s preferences. The optimal system would be on a locationthat faces due south and has a 40° tilt. The more optimal the systemis, the higher the rebate will be. As the system strays away from that,the rebate will have to be calculated based on a percentage of theoptimization of the system. The size of the system will also beestablished based on the space, amount of electricity used by the home,and the homeowner’s desires. These can range anywhere from 0.5 kW to 10kW for a residential home. This can go up from there for any otherbuilding, but then the rebates would change. A typical residentialsystem is 5 kW. The solar array (which is the word for all of thepanels in a system) will then be placed however is desired, which canbe a ground mount, on the roof, etc.

As the panels are installed, so is an inverter. The inverter is thebox on your house that will invert the DC power the panels produce toAC power, which homes use. The size of the inverter is set to match thesize of the system. There are two types of inverters that can be used;the first is a basic inverter, which means all of the panels will beconnected in a series. The other kind of inverter is a micro inverter.One of these is attached to each individual panel, meaning they all actindependent of each other. The advantage of micro inverters is that itwill greatly reduce the effects of shading. When a normal inverter isused and there is shading on one or more of the panels, the system willproduce significantly less. It is a similar effect to when you unscrewa light bulb from you strand of Christmas lights. When a micro inverteris used, each panel is independent, so only the panel subject toshading will be affected.

The final pieces of a solar install are the net meter and themonitor. The net meter is a digital piece on the outside of your homethat measures the power produced by the panels, the power required bythe home or building, and keeps track of how much power is needed fromthe power company’s grid and how much is pumped back into it. At theend of the year the power company will read this and if more was pumpedback in than used, they will refund you for the number of kilowatthours your system provided them with. A solar system will only pumpwhat is needed by the house at that moment into the home; the rest ofthe power is stored on the grid. However, the power company will onlyallow a homeowner to install a system that produces up to 120% of theirusage, so don’t get your hopes up, conserving energy is not entirelyyour next income stream. The final piece is a monitor which will beplaced in the home for the owner to see what their system has produced,what they have used, and so much more. Some of the inverters even makethis information available online.

Before I explain the rebates, here are some other basic facts:

• In one minute the sun produces enough solar energy to power the world for a year.
• For every kW of solar energy, approximately 90-100 ft of unobstructed roof space is required.
• A 3 kW system produces 4500 kWh per year, 375 kWh per month. A 10 kWhsystem produces 15,000 kWh per year and 1,250 kWh per month.
• In Colorado, on average, 1 kW = $150 of annual electricity offset, or $12.50 a month.
• A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is 1,000 watts acting over a period of 1 hour.
The rebates in Colorado are one of the best parts of solar, because ittakes something that seems so out of reach and makes it possible andaffordable. This table is the best way to explain how the rebates fromyour power company, such as Xcel work.

Small Medium Large
Size 0.5 – 9.9 kW 10.0 – 500.0 kW 500.0+ kW
Rebate $2/W $2/W Request for Proposal
Renew. Energy Credit $1.50/W $0.115/kWh (for 20 yrs) Request for Proposal

Essentially the rebate is composed of two parts, the basic rebate,which will always be $2/W for a small or medium system, and the REC orRenewable Energy Credit. The REC is based on the optimization of thesystem and can be reduced, but $1.50/W is optimal. Medium systems,which are generally commercial sized, receive their REC rebate overtime, rather than upfront, like the other rebates.

The cake topper to all of this monetary assistance is the 30% taxcredit that is received at the end of the year after the system hasbeen installed. This 30% is taken off of the initial cost of thesystem, before all of the rebates come into play, which is phenomenal!
In this blog I will not even begin to go into the numbers andenvironmental impact one system can have, but just imagine, it’s prettyfantastic. Look for that in another blog, because that really is one ofthe most important reasons to go solar. It’s not just money; it’s alsoabout preserving our planet.

As I previously mentioned, solar and the rest of the renewableenergy world is interesting, exciting, and essential for our future.Feel free to check out our website, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, orcontact us to learn more about what is going on in the exciting worldof solar. Hopefully this all made sense and was as interesting to youas it is to me.

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Another $9.5 Million to Go Towards Colorado Renewable Energy Rebates

On September 30, 2009 Governor Bill Ritter held a conference callwith U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, to announce further funding forColorado’s efforts towards cleaner energy. They announced that Coloradowould receive $34 million in federal stimulus money for energyefficiency and renewable energy projects. Of that money, $9.5 millionis allocated to expand the Renewable Energy Rebates and Grants Program.It is unknown how that amount will directly alter the rebates thathomeowners and business owners receive for installing solar pannels,for now. However, with $9.5 million more being added to that pool, wecan’t be anything but hopeful and excited.

Much of the money will push Colorado’s Climate Action Plan, the goalof which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% against 2005levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Some of the rebates will be awarded tohomeowners for home improvements to make their homes more energyefficient. Furthermore, a significant amount will be used for rebatesand homeowners and businessowners that use renewable energy technology.

With $9.5 million more being pumped into the rebate fund, we canonly assume that the outcome will be beneficial to anyone choosing togo solar. As the government rebates increase, as well as otherfinancial incentives, such as the Energy Partners Program, solar is nolonger strictly for the extremely rich or the distant future, it’s hereand affordable now.

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Astralux’s Energy Partners Program Heats Up

Almost two months ago, Astralux introduced the Energy PartnersProgram™ and it has quickly become a huge hit. Part of our newlyintroduced SolarCare™ Package – the Energy Partners Program offerssubstantial rebates to Astralux customers who gather 3 or more peoplein their neighborhood or community to go solar. These group rebates canbe as high as $500 per kilowatt, meaning thousands of dollars off analready heavily subsidized solar energy system.

In just the first month of this program, dozens of homeowners havegathered “Energy Partners” in their communities to enjoy this extrasolar energy discount.

With no middleman to gather these community groups, like One Blockoff the Grid (1BOG) and other similar companies, there are no referralfees for Astralux to pay. The group discounts go directly to thecustomer. Thus, the Energy Partners Program promotes widespreadadoption by further reducing the cost of solar installation.

So what makes the Energy Partners Program so enticing?

1) Consider that solar energy system prices are at an all time low, as low as $5.50 per watt from Astralux in the Colorado area.
2) Utility Rebates and Tax Credits in Colorado pay for 75% of that cost.
3) The Energy Partners Program pays for up to another 10% of the cost.
4) This leads to solar being installed at as low as 15% of its original cost, or just under $1 per watt.
5) With an average system size of about 5000 watts, that’s a brand new solar energy system for under $5,000!
6) At that price, you’re looking at solar energy that will pay foritself in only 6 years! For a system that is warranted for 25 years.

Just think about that for a second.

These aren’t just extravagant claims, hypothetical’s that would needa miracle breakthrough to actually become tangible. These are actualfigures that Astralux customers have already experienced.

These conditions create an ROI that is truly competitive with otherinvestment opportunities, and more importantly brings the cost downenough to allow for more households to afford the upfront cost of solar.

Add in the SolarCare Same-as-Cash Financing Program, which allowsfor homeowners to go solar for no money down and without any equityrequired, and you have a recipe for a broad market with the numbersneeded to push solar pass the threshold of simply a novel technologyand into a practical financial solution for any and every homeowner.

To learn more about our Energy Partners Program or what elseAstralux is “cooking up” to break solar into the mainstream, visit ourwebsite at www.AstraluxSolar.com.

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