Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery

solar hot waterWhen the sun shines at its brightest, many of Australia’s 1.3 million homes with rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar panelsgenerate more electricity than they use. When this happens, excess electricity is exported to the grid.

In the old days (say, about 2009), most householders would be pretty happy with this, given that in Victoria, for example, it would have earned them up to 60 cents per kilowatt hour exported.

But these premium feed-in tariffs have now been slashed to as low as 6 cents or less. Meanwhile, householders might pay 30 cents per kilowatt hour or more to buy electricity from the grid when their solar panels are dormant in the evening.

 

Promise Energy: Solar Hot Water Rockstar

promise-energy-hot-water-solar

Promise Energy is a newcomer to southern California’s solar hot water market, but the company has wasted no time building a strong business.

Promise, which is just a year old, has focused on solar hot water installations for multi-family affordable housing complexes in Los Angeles and San Diego, said spokesman Andy Mannle.

“Solar hot water is five times more efficient than solar PV because it’s heat to heat instead of heat to electricity,” Mannle said. “And everyone needs hot water for showers, sinks, food preparation – everything.”

With those advantages solar hot water could have been a good business regardless of added incentives.

“It’s just not as sexy as solar PV,” Mannle said. “It’s been around longer. It’s a proven technology. There has been a lot more innovation and cost reduction in solar PV.”

But when California started offering additional rebates for solar hot water installations for affordable housing, Adam Capital decided to get into the game.

Promise Energy is a subsidiary of the green energy venture capital firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Promise has grown quickly, expanding to nine people on the management team in just a year and has completed its first round of project financing and is in the design stage on those projects as it prepares to start its next round of project financing, said Jonas Villalba, vice president of sales for Promise.

He said the company relies on contractors to do the actual “boots on the roof” work of installing, which enabled the company to ramp up quickly and install at multiple locations at once.

Promise’s rapid growth in the solar hot water industry is unique. Even with the added rebates, Mannle said Promise is ahead of its competition after just a year.

“Most of the solar hot water companies in southern California are smaller and can’t access the same kind of capital we can,” Villalba said. “They don’t have the expertise in the tax credit market. They don’t have the bandwidth or the resources.”

That’s why Promise is growing so quicky, he said.

The company just opened a new office in downtown L.A., a city Mannle said is replacing its reputation as a city of smog and traffic jams to that of one of the greenest cities in the country.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

China’s Solar Water Heating Numbers in Perspective

Two days ago the Information Office of the State Council for the People’s Republic of China published the 2012 edition of their country’s energy policy.

Two things struck me as I read the report.

The first was where is our energy policy. Do we even have one or is it just left to be summed up in campaign sound bites like “drill baby drill”?

The second was an appreciation for the sheer amount of scale possible when the world’s most populous nation decides it wants to get something done.

For instance, the report says that if you added up all of the solar water heating systems in China they would cover an area 200 million square meters in size, which is equivalent to 77.22 square miles.

To put that into perspective that is roughly equal to the kill zone in the Gulf of Mexico following BP’s oil spill. It is the more or less the amount of land that would be destroyed by the blast radius of a 1 megaton nuclear bomb. And it is nearly DOUBLE the size of Paris, France.

Original Article on No More Naked Roofs

Solar Hot Water at Intersolar America 2012

The crowds swarming this year’s Intersolar North America at San Fransicso’s Moscone Center did an unusual thing. After combing the aisles and aisles hosting the photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies’ booths, they wandered over to the two aisles dedicated to solar thermal and stayed to ask questions.

What they found was lots of sophisticated versions of a solar technology that had its first U.S. patents filed in the 1890s. There are several modern kinds of solar collectors serving several purposes and different temperatures. Some are flat-plate collectors, some are evacuated tube collectors. Some have copper tubes that carry heating fluids like glycol. Some carry plain water. Some are in closed systems; some in open-loop systems. Some have plastic pipes. Some carry pumped water, and in some, the water follows gravity.

Around the world, the industry is booming. The global cumulative installed capacity in 2010, according to the most recent numbers from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), was some 185 gigawatts-thermal. China led with 118 gigawatts-thermal installed.

Multinational heating technologies specialist Baymak’s Deputy Export Manager Tacnur Yilmaz said her company, based in Istanbul, exports solar water heating (SWH) systems to more than 50 countries. She also said Turkey and its neighbor, Israel, compose eight percent of the world market.

Yair Katz, Quality Assurance Manager for Israeli SWH system manufacturer Chromagen, explained that his fossil-fuel-poor country, in order to cut its electricity consumption, instituted a law in 1980 requiring SWH systems on all new residential buildings. As a result, Israel is the per capita global leader and has more systems installed than the U.S.

The U.S. SWH industry is growing at 6 percent annually, according to recent SEPA statistics, but had only a 2.3 gigawatts-thermal installed capacity in 2010.

Continue Reading at Greentech Media

In Focus: Arizona’s Solar Hot Water Subsidies

Free Hot Water often highlights California’s generous subsidies for solar hot water installations, but it’s not the only state committed to solar water heating.

Arizona’s utilities all offer different—but valuable—solar hot water incentives for both residential and commercial installations. Of course, these are in addition to the Federal government’s 30% Investment Tax Credit.

APS – (Arizona Public Service)

Service area: The APS service area covers large part of the state, including parts of Phoenix, parts of Flagstaff, Parker, and Yuma.

Incentive amounts:

  • Residential: $0.50/kWh estimated first-year energy savings, based on OG-300 ratings, up to 50% of the system’s cost.
  • Commercial: Up to $0.68/kWh estimated first-year energy savings based on OG-300 ratings for small systems. For large solar thermal systems, customers can receive $0.41/kWh estimated first year energy savings, or choose a 10, 15 or 20 year production based incentive (PBI). However, like the residential incentive, incentives are limited to 50% of total system cost.

SRP (Salt River Project) – EarthWise Solar Energy Incentive Program

Service area: SRP services most of Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Apache Junction, Peoria, Queen Creek, Avondale, Chandler, Town of Gilbert, Glendale, Guadalupe, and Tolleson.

Incentive amounts:

  • Residential: $0.40/kWh for 1st year estimated energy savings (based on SRCC rating)
  • Commercial: $0.40/kWh for 1st year equivalent energy savings. Maximum incentive is up to $350,000 per customer per fiscal year, and up to 60% of the individual total project cost(s)
  • Solar Pool heating, residential: Up to $350,000 per customer per fiscal year; incentive not to exceed 60% of the individual total project cost.
  • Solar pool heating, commercial: $0.25/kWh for first year metered energy savings savings (unglazed panels); $0.40/kWh for first year metered energy savings (glazed panels) up to $350,000 per customer per fiscal year. However, incentive is not to exceed 60% of the individual total project cost.

TEP (Tucson Electric Power) Renewable Energy Credit Purchase Program

Service area: City of Tucson

Incentive amounts:

  • Residential: $0.25/kWh equivalent, plus $750 up to a maximum incentive of $1,750.
  • Commercial Solar Water Heater: $0.50/kWh-equivalent, plus $750
  • The City of Tucson will also waive the permit fee for the installation of a qualifying solar system up to $1,000 for a single installation, or $5,000 for a subdivision or multiple project sites. However, plan review fees still apply.

(Note: Free Hot Water will be publishing TEP solar thermal case study next week.)

UES (UniSource Energy Services)

Service area: UNS Gas covers most of the Northern half of Arizona for natural gas service, including Flagstaff.

Incentive amount:

  • Residential solar water heating AND space heating systems: $0.50/kWh up-front incentive, up to $1,750
  • Small commercial solar water heating and space heating systems: $0.50/kWh up-front incentive, up to $200,000
  • Large commercial solar water heating systems: Performance-based incentive (unspecified)
  • Solar space cooling systems (non-residential only): The incentive for the thermal energy delivered for cooling (i.e., solar air conditioning) by a solar HVAC system is based on actual performance and ranges between $0.104/kWh-equivalent and $0.116.kWh equivalent. In addition, systems that incorporate solar thermal heating and/or solar thermal water heating are eligible for the large solar water heating PBI. Contact Free Hot Water for engineering a solar cooling system.

Note: The Trico Electric Cooperative – SunWatts Incentive Program has depleted its rebate funds for 2012.

On top of all of the above, there several Arizona state solar tax incentives for solar thermal systems:

  • All solar hot water equipment is exempt from sales tax.
  • Residential systems can receive a 25% of system cost state tax credit up to 1,000 maximum per residence.
  • Commercial systems can receive up to 10% of installed cost with a maximum tax credit of $25,000 for any one building in the same year and $50,000 per business in total credits in any year.

With all of the above incentives and rebates, it’s clear that Arizona is ripe for a solar thermal boom. The real challenge is to get the word out to consumers and business owners…as usual.

Original Article on Free Hot Water Blog

STUDY: Solar Hot Water Saves 63% Off Power Bill

A recent study shows that using a solar thermal water heater is not just an environmentally-conscious decision, but it can also save you quite a bit of cash.

Progress Energy just released a report in which it notes that customers saved upwards of $235 a year by switching to solar thermal water heaters. That’s a whopping annual savings of 63% on the water heater portion of their power bills.

The Raleigh based company reported to the North Carolina Utilities Commission as a final part of a pilot project using 150 solar water heaters to test out the efficiency of the units.

Progress claims more than 15% of electricity used in an average home is used for heating water, so the solar thermal water heater would be a solid investment over the long-term. The biggest drawback is its high initial cost. Although currently the state of North Carolina offers a 35% tax credit. And of course, there’s also the 30% federal tax incentive.

Here are some basics about solar hot water
Cut 63% Off Your Power Bill With Solar Hot Water originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the first advisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative and renewable energies.

The 5 Hottest Solar Hot Water Markets

#1. Rental Apartment Buildings.  Most apartment buildings in the U.S. are heated with central gas heating systems. Between tenant showers, washing machines, and dish washers, building owners are flushing a large portion of their rental income down the proverbial drain. If they have the roof space, insolation, and room for a solar storage tank, solar hot water is a no brainer.

 

Hotel in Spain with Solar Hot Water by Flickr/hola-amic.com

#2 Hotels. When you think of hotel hot water needs, you think of sheets, towels, table cloths, dish washing from room service, and restaurants, not to mention a pool. Margins are that much thinner without a solar thermal system that lasts 20 or more years. In addition, the hotel can promote their environmental stewardship by going solar thermal. Call a manager today and mention the benefits of Free Hot Water.

 

Laundromats- no-brainer for commercial solar hot water. Photo: Flickr/Kristine Paulus

#3 Laundry Mats. Laundry facilities are an obvious choice for installing solar hot water. Their business is based on hot water … and their water heating hills. A properly sized solar hot water system can reduce water heating bills by an average of 70% over the course of the year. And don’t forget, Free Hot Water’s new pre-engineered systems with multiple collector and tank option make proposals simple.

 

A nursing home waiting for Solar Hot Water. Photo: Flickr/PhoTones_TAKUMA

#4 Nursing Homes.  Like hotels, nursing homes have diverse needs for solar hot water. It’s a combination hotel, hospital, and restaurant, serving the food, sterilization, and bathing hot water needs of its elderly clients, 24/7. Typically, nursing homes are built on a single floor, allowing for significant area on the roof for a solar thermal system. As Medicare reimbursements continue to decrease, solar hot water savings will enable these businesses to save more of their slimming margins.

A hospital waiting for some Solar Thermal Medicine. Photo: Flickr/Mr. T in DC

#5 Hospitals. Hospitals have the same solar water heating needs as a nursing homes, but their needs are greater in every way.  The good news is that their size typically allows for a huge roof area on multiple buildings, so the logistics for installing solar thermal systems on a hospital may not have the space constraints or a tall apartment complex. While non-profit hospitals may not be eligible for solar thermal credits, the good news is that their boards may have a green-minded benefactor who may fund the upgrade along with other energy efficiency projects.

***

All of these venues–and more–are ripe for solar thermal. It’s not complicated. In fact, Free Hot Water even has pre-engineered commercial systems that can be installed in under a week’s time. Yes, it takes time to get to the decision makers to make the case, and not all will qualify. But show them the numbers first, and take it step by step. Free Hot Water is always here to help.

Original Article on Free Hot Water Blog

SEIA Report: AZ, HI, and CA Solar Hot Water Growing

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Every three months or so, SEIA (SolarEnergy Industry Association) and the good people at Greentech Media(GTM) Research put out a solar industry report, and that’s great. We’vesummed up some of the insights from the solar hot water side before,most recently for the full 2010 report.

Usually, the GTM researchers include a fewjuicy pages in the executive summary about our little solar thermal side of the industry. However, this latest 2011 quarter has few solar hotwater insights.

Not sure if that brevity is due to the lack of industry participation or the lack of vibrancy in the market, butfor what it’s worth, below is the full section from the report’sexecutive summary.

4. SOLAR HEATING AND COOLING

The solar heating and cooling (SHC)category is composed of two distinct markets: solar water and spaceheating (SWH) and solar pool heating (SPH). The domestic SWH market hasgrown on an annual basis since 2004. The SPH market hit a peak in 2006,and while it shrank significantly in the period 2007-2009, in 2010 itmade a slight recovery with indications that this upward trend willcontinue in the near term.

4.1 MARKET UPDATE

Incentive changes in major markets arehelping to drive installations. In Hawaii, which was the domestic market leader in 2008, a mandate (with loopholes) that systems must beinstalled on new homes rather than offering incentives for any systemseverely impacted installation numbers in 2009 and 2010. But in Q1 2011, the Hawaii Energy Efficiency (HEE) program doubled the incentive from$750 per installation to $1500 per installation using ARRA funds. Theamount allotted was reserved by interested participants almostimmediately. Through the end of July, HEE is offering an incentive of$1000 per installation.

In the month of March, installation rates were back to up to 2008 levels. In California, the CSI’s relatively new solar water heatingincentive of up to $1,875 per installation for residential homes and$500,000 per installation for commercial and multi-family structures ishelping to drive increased interest in solar water heating that we sawbegin in 2010.

Arizona’s market also remains quite strong, with most utilitiesoffering production incentives that can cover up to half of a system’scosts. Look for Arizona to be a leading market by the end of 2011.

So, that’s the full solar hot water Montyfor Q1. Want to read the full executive summary report with the rest ofthe Solar PV and CSP insights? Download it here.

Need more insights on state solar water heating incentives? Check out our recent blog post summarizing recent solar thermal incentive changes around the U.S. since December 2010.

Original Article on Free Hot Water Blog

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Twitter and Solar Hot Water Marketing Tips

Free Hot Water has been on Twitter for over a year now, and we’ve certainly benefited from connecting anddeveloping relationships with other solar thermal installers andplumbers and green contractors. Not only have we found new solarinstaller customers, but we’ve also been given referrals by green-minded Tweeters who like the things we Tweet.

So, Twitter is a great way to reach a solar thermal consumers, but results aren’t instantaneous, so you have to bein it for the long haul. Here are some brief tips for reaching solar hot water consumers and building your solar brand and customerrelationships using Twitter:

1) Search. After you set up a Twitter account, use the search function to find people who are talking about solar andother green related topics. Press the “follow” button and follow them.80% of the people will follow you back. Do this over and over again, and you’ll soon have a sizable Twitter following without Tweeting much, but having an audience isn’t valuable unless you spend time engaging withthem.

2) Tweet sparingly at first. As you build your following, don’t Tweet what you had for breakfast.Instead, Tweet solar-related news items or send out a solar hot waterfact of the day or some try to dispel solar hot water myths. You’ll have to write a blog post first, and then Tweet it, however. Blogging andTwitter really do go hand in hand.

3) Listen. The reason why you’re tweeting sparingly in the beginning is so that youhave some time to listen to the people that you’re following. You’reseeing what their concerns are. If you can relate to thoseconcerns, engage with them. “Wish I had more organic groceries nearme.”  You respond: “Is there a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in yourarea?” While this isn’t solar related, you’re taking the time to careabout people who are potentially interested in solar. Down the road, you can be more direct. For now, act like you’re at a friendly cocktailparty and participate in the conversations around you. Eventually, yourfollowers will also ask you about solar hot water. Why? Because theykeep seeing your good solar Tweets. (See below.)

4) Tweet good information. Don’t try to “sell” through Twitter. Just provide useful information. Asmentioned above, the best engagement strategy is to write a blog postthat gives “how to” or other useful information. Then Tweet the blogpost headline and Tweet it with a shortened URL link, such as bitly. Remember, you only have 140 characters per Tweet, so you need to shorten your URL.

5) RT other people’s info often. Once again, you’re trying to engage and build relationshops, so “Re-Tweet”or “RT” useful information that you’re reading from your followers. They will notice, and many will return the favor by RTing your usefulinformation to THEIR followers. This is how good information can goviral with Twitter.

6) Be polite. If someone RTs your Tweet, thank that person. “Thanks for the RT!” Again,they will notice and your relationship will keep building.

7) Follow people with a lot of followers. Perhaps it’s obvious, but much of the above should be applied to green peoplewho already have a large following, especially if they follow you back.Think about it: If people with a thousand followers RT your useful solar Tweet, that means that 1000 people will see that Tweet. Then, don’tforget that those 1000 people might also RT it again, and so on, and so on.

It really is amazing how many solid “cyberrelationships” I’ve built on Twitter.  They’ve been very valuable,generating both leads and sales. It hasn’t been instantaneous, but solar marketing with Twitter has been well worth it in the end. You just have to be patient and consistent.

In the meantime, follow @FreeHotWater, send a Tweet our way, and start building your own Twitter relationships.

Original Article on Free Hot Water Blog

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Why Hasn’t Solar Hot Water Caught on Yet?

I wish I had the exact answer to thatquestion. All of the research regarding consumer attitudes toward solaris generally PV related, rather than solar hot water related. At thesame time, solar hot water has some obvious challenges, especially inthe residential space.

1) Solar hot water competes with dirty (and cheap) natural gas. With the exception of Hawaii, natural gas is currently fairlyinexpensive right now. The amount of hot water that an averageresidential customer uses typically makes for a slower return oninvestment. Check out our solar hot water calculator, plug in the numbers for any state for residential, and you see for yourself.

Some solutions: Either home solar water heating systems have to become less expensiveor natural gas prices have to rise. While the latter solution may appear to be a long shot, recent news about the environmental cost and abuse of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) may add more cost pressures onnatural gas when stricter Federal regulations are enforced, but thatremains to be seen.

2) There are fewer local and federal incentives for solar hot water. While California has just passed some generous rebates that make solarthermal very attractive for commercial customers, the incentives don’tapply to pool heating and take up perhaps 25% of the cost of residential systems. The 30% Federal investment tax credit can also help reduce upfront costs, but only to non-pool heating applications. While that extra 30% is great, it generally benefits those who often owe taxes at theend of the year.

Some solutions: One solution would be to make the 30% tax credit refundable, so thatyou could get money back from the IRS if you were due a refund. As itstands now, the credit can be carried over for 5 years, but that’s adifficult sales case to make. In addition, governments could increasethe rebate amounts for solar water heating systems, making a faster ROI. Finally, local and federal governments could allow the 30% Federal ITCto apply to pool heating, opening a huge opportunity for Western andSouthern states, where pools are largely not being used due to coldweather and the high cost of heating them during the non-summer months.

3) Solar hot water has fewer marketing resources. While I genuinely appreciate the money and time that SEIA put into its solar generations videos and PSAs, solar water heating was barely mentioned throughout theseries. Most of the images and statements were all PV related.

Some solutions: It would be great if SEIA and other solar organizations would dedicate a campaign or three or four to solar water heating for homes andbusinesses. In addition, it would be great if solar water heatingmanufacturers could increase their marketing budgets. Given the lukewarm demand in the residential sector, it’s understandable why manufacturers are tightly holding the purse strings for now.

4) More financing options for solar hot water. It’s wonderful how there are so many solar leasing and PPA (a.k.a. home solar agreement) options for solar PV today. The same cannot be saidfor solar thermal. These arrangements take the sting out of the upfrontcost of solar PV and would do the same for solar hot water consumers.

Some solutions: Obviously, solar PPA companies and venture capitalists could designmore programs for solar thermal, but banks and venture capitalists haveto find the right financial formula. Reviving PACE programs could help,as well, but that appears to still be in recovery mode. Additionally,solar PV companies that currently only offer solar leases and solarPPA’s of PV could expand into solar water heating.

The good news is that even without highsubsidies, solar water heating does make financial sense for largecommercial applications, such as apartment buildings, hotels, hospitals, etc. The disconcerting news is that these venues are still largelyunaware of solar hot water and solar thermal financial benefits. Evenwhen they are aware of the cost savings, they must find the courage andthe financing to move forward.

Those are my general observations.Admittedly, they’re not based on hardcore market research data, but just my experience hear at Free Hot Water, and talking with other solarthermal installers.

Got more challenges or solutions? By all means, please add to them here in the comments section below.

Original Article on Free Hot Water Blog

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Largest Solar Hot Water Project in the NW Nears Completion

At 117 thermal collectors, this system in downtown Portland Oregon willproduce an annual energy savings of over 187,000kWh. In it’s 35 yearlife cycle it will generate savings of:

6,480,950 kWh
6,320 Therms
2,920 Tons of CO2
119,320 Trees
523,400 Gallons of Gasoline

Installed by Advanced Energy Systems (AES) of Eugene Oregon, this facility forsolar hot water is on the 9th floor of the Resource Access Center, a low income housing project by the Housing Authority of Portland (HAP).

For more information on this or any other solar projects, contact Advanced Energy Systems.

Source

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ZenithSolar Touting New CPV/solar Hot Water System

Seder Boqer, Israel — It’s like a concentrating solar PV system on growth hormones.

ZenithSolar has begun to tout a CPV/solar hot water system that it says will produce over 2 kilowattsof electricity and the equivalent of 5 kilowatts of solar hot water.

The system consists of a mirrored dish that concentrates the equivalent of 1,000 suns onto a III-V solar cell, according to David Faiman,director of the National Solar Energy Center and chair of the department of solar energy and environmental physics department at Ben-GurionUniversity here.

The high temperatures created by the solar dish necessitate cooling the solar cell with water instead of with passive metal heat sinks. Thewater is then run through heat exchangers to provide hot water to anindustrial or commercial site.

Continue Reading at Greentech Media

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How to Generate Residential Solar Hot Water Leads

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Despite solar water heating being a 100year, plus, solar technology, it still plays second fiddle to PV, whichis more expensive and less efficient on a per watt basis.

Better, more aggressive marketing, ofcourse, is the solution to getting more attention for residential solarhot water. As a distributor, your success is our success, so Free HotWater would like to offer a few tips to generate more residential solarhot water leads.

1. Have a great looking web site. A good web designer costs money, and yet, the investment is worth it.You can only make one first impression, and if your website looksrinky-dink and home made, then that makes you and your service lookrinky-dink and home made. So, spend the money for a professional webdesigner. Make sure there are attractive photos of your installs, brief descriptions of how solar water heating works, FAQs, the blog, and an“about us” page with the smiling faces of your team. Residentialcustomers want to trust and connect with people more than a brand, sohighlight who you are and why you care about solar hot water and yourcustomers.

2. Start a blog. Next toWikipedia, the rest of the internet is America’s default source forsolar hot water information. The yellow pages are essentially kaput.Whether you’re marketing solar hot water for pools or homes, become anauthority by writing an informative blog post at least once a week.Sprinkle in  “solar hot water” and other key words, like your city andstate, and Google and other search engines will reward your websitewith more web traffic. Keep in mind that when people search for thosekey words, they’re researching solar hot water for their home. Becomeyour local authority through a well-written and informative blog.

3. Use Google Adwords and/or banner ads. Google Adwords is paid, targeted advertising. Once again, when people click on those little ads next to their web searches, Google (and you) knowthere’s a great chance they’re looking for “solar hot water” or whatever search term you’ve purchased.  Hopefully, you have an informative andattractive website that captures those Google visitors and encouragesthem to contact you for more information. Here’s the link to Google Adwords. Google has great people who will guide you through all the steps and costs.

4. Run a local solar hot water give-away contest. Sometimes, you have to yell “Free!” to get people’s attention. Irecommend a Utility Independence Day contest for July 4th. Put thisannouncement on your home page with a link to a form. Have people fillout that form with contact info, and follow up with a phone call toverify the information and start a conversation about if solar hot water is right for this customer and the benefits. On July 4thweek, do the drawing and give away that system, as promised. Make sureyou tell the local press about it. In fact, in June, a month before thecontest ends, tell the local press the contest is almost over. Includethe potential savings over 20 years and emphasize the utilityindependence. There will of course be a cost, but all advertising costssomething, and this is an interactive way to educate the public andgenerate leads. If you want to be cheap about it, don’t include theinstallation, but I don’t recommend this.

5. Contribute articles to local newspapers and web sites. More than the green benefits and technology, residents want to know first,“How much?” Don’t hide it. Write a case study article based on a recentclient and be honest about the costs. If you have a local rebateprogram, explain that program, as well as the Federal 30% tax credit for homes (not pools.) People want to do the right thing by going solar, but they want to be assured about its costs. As a professional, you can be an honest guide and show them solar’slong-term financial benefits, as well as the costs. If no one publishesyour article, you can always use the material for your blog or as aWhite Paper.

6. Co-Market with local businesses. Roofers, hardware stores, pool designers, architects, general contractors,plumbers, electricians, landscape architects, HVAC. All of thesebusinesses are related to solar hot water. Call them up, cater a lunchor coffee and donuts with the owner and sales staff. Give them a solarhot water demonstration and explain the financial benefits. In addition, be sure to ask them for a presentation so that you can be areferral source for them, as well. Exchange brochures, pamphlets, andwhere appropriate, co-advertise on the radio or in magazines and homeshows. Of course, you can offer a referral fee, as well. Don’t be shy.If you believe in your services and product, these relationships willsee that and you both will prosper.

Hope that helped. Now, go sell some solar.

Photo:Flickr/loop_oh

Original Article on Free Hot Water Blog

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Massachusetts Launches New Rebate for Solar Hot Water Systems

Solar hot water heaters should be flying off the shelves inMassachusetts next week, as the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center(MassCEC) will implement a new solar rebate program that will cut the cost of installing a solar hot water heater on a home in half.

The amount of rebate money you can receive from the program forinstalling a residential solar hot water heater varies according tosize. Here’s how it breaks down:

A four-person household would require about 81 square feet of solarhot water panels atop their home. The homeowner would receive a $1,000rebate for such a system. Another $200 would be available if thehomeowner’s system used equipment that’s made in Massachusetts. By nowI’m sure you’ve realized that $1,200 doesn’t cover half the cost of theinstallation. But it does when you combine this new rebate with a30-percent tax credit.

Unlike a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which produces electricity, a solar hot water system uses the sun’s heat to warm the water used inyour house. How much energy you’ll save with a solar water heaterdepends on the amount of sunlight you get and how many solar collectorsyou install. Generally speaking, a system can meet somewhere in therange of 50 percent to 75 percent of a home’s hot water needs.

If you’re thinking about installing a solar hot water system inMassachusetts, make sure you’re a customer of a utility thatparticipates in MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trustfund. You’ll be able to figure this out by simply looking at your utilitybill. Participating utility companies charge their utility customers asmall monthly fee so that they can participate in MassCEC’s clean energy programs. As far as we know, the following utilities are participatingin the program: NSTAR, National Grid, Unitil, Western MassachusettsElectric Co. and municipal power companies in Ashburnham, Templeton,Holden, Holyoke and Russell.

MassCEC is already accepting early applications for the rebate, soact now and take full advantage of this latest offer. To learn moreabout the new program and how you can benefit from installing a solarhot water system, check out MassCEC’s webinar and rebate information guide.

Massachusetts Launches New Rebate for Solar Hot Water Systems

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