Harmony Cottages: Namasté Solar Partners with Habitat for Humanity

Harmony Cottages: Namasté Solar Partners with Habitat for Humanity in Fort Collins, CO

 

Namasté Solar is not business as usual. We’re an employee-owned B Corp that believes in using our business to create a positive impact in our communities. That is why Namasté Solar began a partnership with Habitat for Humanity in 2017 as a solar sponsor for the new Harmony Cottages community in Fort Collins, CO. Namasté will be donating up to $10,000 to the project each year, and our crews will be installing solar on each of the 48 new homes in this community. Solar will help make these homes even more affordable by lowering residents’ utility bills for years to come.

Additionally, Namasté Solar has organized two employee volunteer days at Harmony Cottages so far, logging over 170 volunteer hours. Our volunteers were put to work building a porch, painting the outside of homes, finishing siding work, and completing other projects.

“Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity is super fun! It’s great to see tangible results after a day of volunteering and to be involved with projects that touch on different aspects of affordable housing,” said Emily Bedenkop, Namasté Solar’s volunteer coordinator. “Their utility bills will be reduced with solar, so it helps make these homes affordable in addition to being more sustainable.”

We’ve made it our business to be an engaged member of our communities, and our volunteer and sponsorship efforts are just one piece of that effort. Taylor Ryan, Namasté Solar’s Utility Coordinator was part of the volunteer crew at Harmony Cottages this spring. “Our charitable efforts are a vital part of why I love working here. I can proudly say I work at a company that strives to improve our surrounding communities and views volunteering as an obligation of a conscientious business,” she said. “I feel grateful to support the effort to make houses into a “home” for our neighbors in Colorado.”

As part of Namasté Solar’s mission to make solar easy and accessible, Namasté is taking it one step further by offering a discount to Habitat for Humanity residents, staff, and volunteers who want to install solar on their homes. Solar is a better way to power our lives, and we want more people to be able to access the cost savings benefits of solar.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers at Harmony Cottages in Fort Collins Harmony Cottages in Fort Collins with volunteers from Namasté Solar Harmony Cottages volunteers from Namasté Solar

Find Your Colorado Solar Incentives & Rebates

Find Your Colorado Solar Incentives & Rebates

 

Colorado homeowners are in luck when they go solar because there are many solar incentives and rebates available, making solar panel systems an even better deal. Colorado consistently ranks in the top 10 for the most solar installed per capita, and the state has one of the nation’s strongest Renewable Energy Standards (RESs). By 2020, electricity providers must generate 30% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. This is why there are so many Colorado solar incentives and rebates for residential and commercial solar. Plus, the federal solar tax credit is still in place (for a limited time) to give you 30% off the price of your system!

We’ve gathered information on the solar incentive programs available in Colorado to help you navigate these opportunities and to help you get the best deal on your home solar panel system. Which Colorado solar incentive program are you eligible for?

Fort Collins Utilities Solar Rebates

Customers of City of Fort Collins Utilities can receive up to $1,500 for a residential solar system installation or $100,000 for a commercial solar system installation. The rebate amount is calculated based on the amount of electricity the new system generates ($0.50 per watt). Homeowners who go solar in Fort Collins can also receive credit for the extra electricity generated through net metering and Fort Collins Utilities’ new Time of Use rate.

Colorado Springs Utilities Renewable Energy Rebates

Customers of Colorado Springs Utilities can receive a rebate of $0.25 per AC watt that their new solar system generates. A system that generates 5,000 watts (an average size for residential solar), for example, would qualify for a $1,250 rebate (5,000 AC watts x $0.25 per watt = $1,250). This rebate applies to both residential and commercial-scale systems. Depending on the installation, up to 40 percent of the total system cost would be covered by rebates and tax credits. Colorado Springs solar customers can also receive credit for the excess energy their systems produce through net metering.

City of Boulder Solar Grant Programs

The City of Boulder offers solar incentives for both homeowners and businesses. Those who install solar energy systems may be eligible for solar rebates on city taxes. The city also offers solar grants to residents based on income and to nonprofit organizations who install new solar systems. Grant applications are accepted every fall and spring.

Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards® Program

Xcel Energy customers may be eligible to receive payments in exchange for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), paid in cents per kilowatt hour (¢ per kWh). Note that not many of our customers enroll in this program, but our home solar advisors can help you determine if this solar incentive program is a good option for you.

Energy Smart Solar Rebates

You can apply for a cash rebate up to $3,000 for your home solar installation if you are a resident in Eagle Valley, Gunnison County, Lake County, Roaring Fork Valley, Summit County, Routt County, or Moffat County.

Holy Cross Energy Renewable Energy Rebates

Residents who install renewable energy systems, including solar, are eligible for a rebate from Holy Cross Energy. They offer an incentive up to $8,100 for private solar systems and 40% of the installed cost (up to $1,500 per kW for the first 25 kW installed) for non-taxable entities that install solar.

And the BIG one: The Federal Solar Tax Credit

In addition to the local Colorado solar incentives, all homeowners can also take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit for solar. This applies to all new solar installations and is available for a limited time. If you are thinking of going solar, don’t miss out! The credit is currently set to decrease at the end of 2019 and fully expire in 2022.

Have Questions about Colorado Solar Incentives?

Are you wondering how to get the best deal on your home solar panel system with Colorado solar incentives and rebates? Or perhaps you have questions about solar financing? Our non-commissioned solar advisors and utility coordinators are here to answer your questions and discuss your financing options. We take care of all the details for going solar, and our team can even help you navigate the applications for your solar incentives and rebates, so you get the best deal.

 

Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get you free home solar quote! Your free quote will include: a roof assessment, a customized system design, and a calculation of your savings and return on investment.

Online Solar System Calculators: What You Should Know

Online Solar System Calculators: What You Should Know

 

Many home and business owners begin their solar journey by consulting an online solar system calculator to find out how much a solar system might cost and how much they could save on their utility bills by going solar. These online calculators are a great way to start the solar research process; you’ll get a quick estimate in minutes. But, for reasons we’ll explain below, if you are seriously considering solar then the best way to get an accurate calculation of your potential solar savings is to contact a local solar installer.

So when are online solar savings calculators helpful and when are they helpless?

When Online Solar System Calculators Are Helpful

Online solar system calculators help those considering investing in solar energy — especially homeowners — get a glimpse of what going solar will mean for them financially. These online calculators have grown into fairly robust tools that take into account a wide variety of factors to deliver your solar estimate. You’ll be prompted to provide your address and your average monthly electricity bill. Some calculators will also ask about your roofing material, roof pitch, and shading to attempt more accurate estimates.

With this information, the calculator will provide a rough estimate for how many solar panels you would need to offset your electricity usage. Most online calculators will also show your net solar savings over the life of your system and how long it would take for your savings to pay off the cost of the solar system. Though of course it would be impossible for an online calculator to deliver 100% accurate information, they can offer a great first glimpse at your property’s solar potential and how you can benefit from going solar.

What Online Solar System Calculators Are Leaving Out

Online calculators do have their limitations, as they leave out many key factors you need to consider when going solar. Online calculators do not consider the usable square footage of your roof or roof configuration (including dormers, chimneys, etc.). These characteristics can greatly impact the design of your system and may change the number of panels and equipment recommended by a solar specialist.

Online solar system calculators generally don’t ask you about your budget or your goals for going solar, either. There are factors such as financing and solar equipment to consider. Both how you finance your solar energy system and what equipment you install have an influence on the cost of your new system and expected solar savings. You’ll miss out on these personalized details if you rely solely on online calculator tools.

Tip: Get a Free Quote for the Most Accurate Information

While an online solar system calculator can offer an initial estimate to get you started, these estimates are approximations based on averages and limited information. You’ll want to work with accurate and complete numbers, not an approximation, when you are ready to explore the true potential of solar for your home. The best way to obtain accurate information is to get a free custom quote from a local solar installer.

Along the way you’ll likely reach out to a few solar installers for competitive quotes. Read up on kilowatts and kilowatt hours so you can better understand how to compare solar proposals from different solar companies.

If you have solar questions and are looking for honest answers, please feel free to utilize Namasté Solar’s non-commissioned home solar advisors as a resource. We’re the #1 solar installer in the Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins areas in part because we honestly assess your home’s solar potential. Our goal is to equip you with the necessary information so you can decide whether solar is right for you.

 

Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free home solar quote! Your free quote will include: a roof assessment, a customized system design, and a calculation of your savings and return on investment.

Pros and Cons of Installing Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles

The Tesla Solar Roof: Pros and Cons of Installing Solar Roof Tiles

 

Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles have been creating plenty of buzz in the world of solar power, and some people want to know more about these tiles and if Namaste Solar installs them. Namaste Solar does not currently install Solar Roof tiles, but we can help you cut through some of the media hype to decide whether solar roof tiles are a good option for you. In this post we’ll look at the pros and cons of the Tesla Solar Roof for your residential solar energy system.

Tesla Solar Roof: What You Need to Know

Tesla began Solar Roof installations for customers on their waitlist earlier this year. The Solar Roof has been installed only in California thus far, and experts are unsure as to when Tesla will begin installing their roof product on a national scale. The wait may be worth it for some who value the differentiating elements of the product. Other homeowners may want to begin getting the benefits of clean solar energy now, including solar savings.

Pros of Tesla Roof Tiles

Design: The most noticeable difference between solar panels and the Solar Roof is design. Tesla offers four different styles to choose from; textured, smooth, Tuscan, or slate styled solar roof tiles. The tiles mimic the look of a traditional roof so your neighbors won’t even know you have solar on your house (though many of our customers enjoy being solar trendsetters). If you want to maintain the aesthetics of your rooftop, the Solar Roof tiles are a great option for adding solar energy to your home.

Warranty and durability: Tesla roof tiles are made with tempered glass that is more durable than standard roofing tiles. Tesla stands behind the durability of their product with an infinite warranty (or the lifetime of your house). We don’t know the full details of their warranty, but that’s quite a bold offer.

Cons of Tesla Roof Tiles

Cost: To install Tesla’s Solar Roof, you’re required to replace your whole roof – even if you don’t need a new roof right now. That means you’re paying for the cost of both a solar energy system and a new roof. And you’re only getting the 30% Federal Tax Credit on the solar portion of the cost. According to EnergySage, on an apples-to-apples comparison: “Tesla’s solar roof will cost nearly $25,000 more than installing solar panels, and yet will only deliver 77 percent as much solar electricity (due to it being a smaller system size).”

Unknown Maintenance Costs: Since the Tesla roof tiles are a new product, the maintenance costs and processes are an unknown. If you have a roof leak, for example, how complex would it be to fix the leak? Could you call a roofer in your area or would Tesla be the only company able to perform the fix – and how much more would that cost than a regular roof repair? There is also the question of how Tesla will deliver on the infinite warranty for required maintenance. Will the company have the financial strength and longevity to deliver on that guarantee?

Unknown Return on Investment: When you crunch the numbers (like this Forbes contributor did), solar panels still offer a significantly higher return on investment. According to their head-to-head comparison of the Tesla Solar Roof vs. solar panels for the same house, the Tesla Solar Roof cost 48.9% more and yielded just 2.79% of the savings that the solar panels delivered. In other words, with the Solar Roof you pay almost 50% more and get 97% less in savings. Ouch.

Are Solar Roof Tiles for You?

The Tesla Solar Roof is a great option for homeowners who are concerned about the aesthetics of their rooftop. The tiles look like a traditional rooftop. The tiles do come with a high price tag, though, and will make a Tesla Solar Roof cost prohibitive for many homeowners. Solar panels are still a reliable, tested, and durable option for homeowners who are looking for a great return on investment.

 

Want to learn about your home’s solar potential? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Hail & Solar Panels: How Much Hail Can Solar Panels Handle?

Hail & Solar Panels: How Much Hail Can Solar Panels Handle?

 

With hail such a frequent concern here in Colorado’s Front Range, our customers often ask us how their new solar energy system will hold up to hail over its 25-plus year lifespan.

Today’s solar panels are designed to withstand even the harshest of outdoor elements. Whether you are considering a rooftop system for your home or a roof or ground-mounted solar array for your commercial property, you can rest assured that your solar PV system will continue to convert clean, renewable solar energy into electricity for decades.

Solar Panel Resilience Against Extreme Weather Conditions

The solar industry’s top solar panel manufacturers have long understood the need for solar panels that can withstand extreme weather conditions like high winds and hail. In fact, most manufacturers test and certify their solar panels to withstand hail up to one inch in diameter falling at 50 miles per hour.

Today’s solar panels are also extremely resilient against high winds and heavy rain. Most solar panels are certified to withstand hurricane force winds. In addition, the aluminum and glass casings that hold a solar panel’s solar cells are highly waterproof, even during extreme rain.

How 3,000 Solar Panels Measured Up Against a Massive Hail Storm

The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, can attest to the resilience of solar panels against extreme weather. The NREL is home to an enormous solar energy system consisting of 3,168 rooftop- and ground-mounted solar panels. In 2017, a severe hail storm that hit the greater Denver area had some people worried about all of those solar panels on the NREL campus.

Despite hailstones up to 2.75 inches in diameter being reported in the area — and the countless cars and windows that were damaged — only one of the facility’s 3,168 solar panels sustained damage. That’s a major testament to the resilience of renewable solar energy systems.

Ensure a Long Life for Your System with Expert Installation

Though today’s solar products are built to withstand the extreme weather conditions that can affect the Denver and Boulder areas, you need expert system installation from an experienced contractor if you want to ensure a long life for your solar energy system.

Having installed over 5,000 solar energy systems here in Colorado, Namasté Solar can help you achieve years of solar benefits like lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint. Because of our superior workmanship and high quality of materials used, you can expect decades of free electricity from your solar PV system.

 

Considering making the switch to solar here in Colorado? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Are Solar Panels a Good Investment?

Are Solar Panels a Good Investment?

 

When considering solar energy for a home, many people begin by asking “how much does it cost to go solar?”. This makes sense – after all, it’s important to find out what kind of financial resources are required and whether going solar is a possibility given your financial situation. Fortunately, there are very attractive financing choices, including no upfront cost options, that make solar affordable and accessible to many more people.

In addition to looking at solar as a purchase that has a cost, solar panels can also be looked at as an investment. This is because switching to clean solar energy can generate attractive financial benefits that rival the returns of other places you can put your money – like savings accounts, money market or bond funds.*

So, let’s look at how you can go about evaluating residential solar energy as an investment.

Calculating and Comparing Solar ROI

The return on investment (“ROI”) for solar panels can be looked at in several ways. No approach is perfect, so people tend to look at a few different ROI calculations. A simpler method is payback period, which we’ll discuss in the next section. One of the more complex approaches is a calculation called internal rate of return, or IRR, which calculates the discount rate (or rate of return) that makes net present value of all the cash flows (including annual electric savings, in this case) equal to zero. If that last sentence makes your eyes glaze over, read on.

Payback Period

A simpler way to look at the return on investment of solar panels is to ask “How many years will it take for my solar panels to pay me back for the cost I paid?” This is often referred to the “payback period”. To calculate your payback period, you simply divide your net cost of your solar electric system by the annual savings on your electricity bill.

For example, if you purchase a $21,000 solar electric system for your house, 30% of that will be offset by a Federal tax credit, leaving you with the net cost of $14,700. If your resulting annual electric bill savings is $1,200 ($100/month), then $14,700/$1,200 gives you a preliminary payback period of 12.25 years. Why “preliminary”? Because we haven’t factored in a few other sources of solar ROI yet.

Utility Cost Increases

The next step in calculating your payback period is factoring in the additional savings from future higher electric rates. How much have electric utility rates risen historically? It can be confusing to calculate the historical rate increases because the utility companies can charge more in a number of different ways including tariff rates, transportation costs, and commodity costs. One thing we can all agree on is that electricity costs do go up over time.

However, if you switch to 100% clean solar power, you won’t be subject to increasing electric usage rates, further enhancing the potential of your solar panel investment. And remember, the more utility electric rates increase over time, the more value you’re getting from your rooftop solar system – meaning your payback period decreases while ROI increases each year.

In this example, if we assume rates rise annually at an average of 4.8%, then by year 10 the annual savings will grow from $1,200 to $1,918. Summing up the annual savings starting in year one, including the yearly increase in utility rates, drops the payback period in this example to just under 10 years (we’ll round up to 10 for simplicity).

Converting Payback to a Simple ROI

There’s one issue with looking at payback period: how do you put a 10-year payback period into context? Is 10 good or not? One way to answer that question is to translate payback period into a simple ROI calculation of cash savings per invested cash. This will allow you to more easily compare it to other investment options. In this example, if it takes 10 years to pay something back, that means that you’re getting 1/10th of your investment back each year, or a 10% annual return.

Comparing Alternatives

Now we can look at a 10% solar return on investment in comparison to other possible ways to invest your money. One common option is bonds, or more practically, a bond fund. Bonds seem to be an appropriate comparison in this case because they offer lower risk that’s more similar to solar panels compared to, say, stock funds.

Looking at the Vanguard Intermediate Term Bond Index fund, we see that as of December 31, 2017 the 5-year average annual return is 2.15%. Therefore, at a 10% return, solar panels are the clear winner here. This is especially likely when you consider that interest rates are currently near all-time lows, and if they do increase then the value of the bond fund will fall, decreasing the total bond fund ROI.

Adjusting ROI for Income Taxes

When you also consider income taxes, your solar panel invesment takes another step ahead. This is because when you invest in a bond fund like the one above, the dividends you receive are taxed (we’re assuming this fund is not in a retirement account), so you don’t get to put them all in your pocket.

In contrast, the “dividends” you receive from solar panels come in the form of cost savings, and those savings are not taxed, which means you get to immediately pocket 100% of them.

Therefore, to compare solar return on investment and bond fund return on investment on an apples-to-apples, pre-tax basis, you need to adjust your solar savings to pre-tax dollars. In this example if your marginal income tax rate (federal plus state) is 30%, then your solar ROI goes from 10% to 14.28% on a pre-tax basis. To check this math, take $14.28 and charge a 30% tax rate, you’ll get $10 left over after taxes.

This means that in the example illustrated here, the ROI on solar – on an apples to apples pretax basis – is more than 6x the historical ROI of an intermediate term bond fund. It’s worth noting that this example assumes no reinvestment of the solar savings. If you invest your pocketed savings, you’d boost your solar returns even more while also speeding up your payback period quite a bit.

Non-Financial ROI

Last, but certainly not least, when thinking about solar energy as an investment, it’s important to consider the environmental benefits of powering your house with a clean, renewable source of energy. Electricity production by traditional means (like coal and natural gas) emits large amounts of carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming. These dirty energy sources pollute our air and water supplies, linking them with a number of health problems. By going solar, you’re benefiting your whole community and the future generations who are counting on us to leave our planet clean and safe.

A Win-Win

Clean solar energy is a stable investment that can provide an attractive financial return. Plus, solar energy offers the added benefits of protection from increased utility charges, favorable tax treatment, and very important environmental benefits. That’s why many people say that solar is a win-win: it’s good for your family’s finances and good for our planet. All together it’s easy to see why thousands of Colorado homeowners are going solar every year: because investing in solar panels for your home is often a very smart choice.

Are Solar Panels a Good Investment Opportunity for You?

As we’ve illustrated above, solar ROI is based on a variety of variables and therefore will be unique to each home and energy usage profile. If you’d like to know what your solar ROI would be, simply gather your most recent 12 months of electricity usage and give us a call (or complete the free quote form). One of our non-commissioned home solar consultants would be happy to create a customized solar savings ROI analysis for you. Or learn more about solar energy costs and financing options that make solar energy affordable for a variety of households.

 

*Please note that we are solar experts, not tax or investment advisors, and this is not intended to provide any investment advice whatsoever, so please consult your tax and investment advisor for guidance on all things tax and investment-related!

 

Want to learn about your home’s solar potential? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Questions About Fort Collins Utilities’ New Time of Use Rate Structure?

Questions About Fort Collins Utilities’ New Time of Use Rate Structure?

 

Starting October 1st, 2018, Fort Collins Utilities will transition to a different rate structure than what they currently offer. Instead of paying the same amount of money for all of the energy that you use, you will now pay different rates of energy depending on what time of day you use that energy. This rate will be called the Time of Use rate. The amount you pay for your energy will change depending on the time of day, the day of the week and the season. Fort Collins Utilities is transitioning to this rate in order to charge customers what Fort Collins Utilities believes is the correct price of energy, as the cost to provide energy at different times of the day varies.

You can save money by moving your energy usage away from the hours of 2-7pm during weekdays, also known as the “peak” times. These rates change based on the seasons. Weekends and holidays have a lower rate of energy. Although we do not have enough data to say for sure, the Time of Use rate is normally a good thing for solar customers. Your solar system will be producing the most energy during the peak hours, so it can offset the more expensive energy that you may use during those peak hours. For this reason, we have heard from a number of our customers that they see their utility bills decrease on a Time of Use rate.

This helpful chart shows the rates that Fort Collins Utilities will be charging at different times of day, different days of the week, and different seasons.

Fort Collins Utilities Rate Structures

The Fort Collins Utilities website helps explain the rate a bit more, and the Utilities can be reached with questions about this change at 970.221.6700.

If you have questions for Namasté Solar, please reach out to Taylor Ryan, our Utility Coordinator; she can be reached at 303.447.0300 ext. 234, or at taylor.ryan@namastesolar.com.

 

Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free home solar quote! Your free quote will include: a roof assessment, a customized system design, and a calculation of your savings and return on investment.

What Does It Mean to Work for a B Corp?

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What Does It Mean to Work for a B Corp?

 

Namasté Solar has a long history of doing business differently and working to build a company that is about more than just maximizing our profits. Even the name of our company, a Sanskrit word of greeting, was chosen because it recognizes the interdependence of all things. It should be no surprise then that Namasté Solar committed to becoming a Certified B Corporation in January 2011.

To become a B Corp, companies must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Unlike traditional corporations, B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, communities, consumers, and environment. You can consider B Corp to be the business equivalent of a Fair Trade certification or LEED certification; it’s proof that we are walking the walk.

What is it like to work for a B Corp? To celebrate B Corp Month, we gathered the answer to this question from a handful of the people of Namasté Solar so you can hear, in their own words, what it means to them to come to work at a place that is doing business differently.

 


 

To me there is so much value and motivation that comes from focusing on the triple bottom line because it means that not only are we working hard to ensure the financial health of our company, but that our collective hard work also greatly benefits the environment and our community. The more success we have on all three of these fronts, the more holistic reward I receive. The notion of carving out a career that has so many positive impacts including socially, environmentally, and financially, causes me to feely truly of proud of what it was we are doing here at Namasté Solar. – David Henry, Director of O&M Services

Our B Corp status reassures me that our co-op is focused on holistic practices that benefit many within our chain of supply, rather than driving our decisions based on profit margins. We put people over profits, and we’re committed to that being the right way to do business. – Alyssa Soares, DC Installer

When our country’s leaders aren’t leading, others must. Business is a powerful source of action in our culture. B Corps take this obligation seriously. While I am active as an independent citizen, joining with others who share my values is both energizing and adds a bit of a megaphone effect to my efforts. B Corps are uniquely positioned to affect change and provide leadership. I’m proud to be a part of one. – Rick Coen, Commercial System Designer

It’s incredibly rewarding to work for a company that consistently makes responsible business decisions based on long-term and holistic thinking. After years in traditional corporate jobs, I’m so grateful to be part of a business community that’s making a positive impact on our community at large and redefining what it means to be successful in business. – Shamera Sandoski, Operations & Maintenance Account Manager

Working for a B Corp means I’m working for something greater than myself – that my job benefits not just the financial bottom line but society and the environment as well. It is my opportunity to be the change I wish to see in the world and that makes me exceedingly proud to play a part. – Juan Blohm, PV Installer / Apprentice Electrician

The B Corp certification is the proof point. At Namasté Solar we like to “walk our talk,” and being a Benefit Corporation is a way to prove to ourselves and to the world we’re doing just that; we’re legally required to consider the impact of decisions on employees, suppliers, communities, consumers, and the environment. Being a B Corp pushes us to constantly improve (even beyond the recertification process). Plus, how could a co-op pass up a declaration of interdependence? – Emily Bedenkop, Marketing Coordinator

Working for a B Corp means that I get to work for a company that aligns with my personal mission to promote positive social and environmental change within the organization, community, and world. – Rachel Mountain, Inside Commercial Sales Coordinator

It means I get to work at something I believe in all the time instead of after work. It means caring for each other, doing what is right, improving quality of life for all. It means I can join with many having shared values, goals, vision to better the world. It means becoming one by way of being the many, a movement that is looking beyond oneself but rather looking towards the whole, the now, the future, putting forth the energy to become a game changer for the better. It means my beliefs have impact. – Jane Allo, Operations & Maintenance Service Coordinator

Learn more about what a B Corp is or see Namasté Solar’s score.

 

Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free home solar quote! Your free quote will include: a roof assessment, a customized system design, and a calculation of your savings and return on investment.

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How the New Tax Bill Improves the Financial Performance of Commercial Solar PV

How the New Tax Bill Improves the Financial Performance of Commercial Solar PV

 

The final draft of the new tax bill delivered some unexpected benefits to the solar industry and to commercial entities interested in going solar. The tax bill changes the risk and rewards calculations involved in commercial solar energy and moves the needle further into the reward territory. The two provisions at play are the reduced corporate tax rate and the changes to depreciation allowances that greatly increase the potential value of solar PV projects. These tax changes are great news for anyone who has been on the fence about investing in a commercial solar project and will make many more projects financially feasible.

Reduced Corporate Tax Rate

The first provision in the new tax bill that makes solar PV more profitable is the reduced corporate tax rate. When commercial entities add solar PV systems, the immediate impact is a reduced utility bill. Less money going out to cover operating expenses means more profits, and these profits are a tax liability. Under the new tax plan, the federal corporate tax rate has been reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent. This reduced tax rate now makes your solar profits more profitable.

Bonus Depreciation

The second provision in the new tax bill that will give commercial solar a boost are the revised depreciation allowances. Depreciation is a deduction that allows corporations to reduce their taxable profits by claiming wear and tear of certain assets, like solar PV systems. In the past, tax law allowed corporations a 50% bonus depreciation of a new asset’s value during the first year and the remaining value over five and a half years. Under the new tax bill, 100% of an asset’s value can be deducted as depreciation in the first year.

As depreciation is calculated as an expense, it lowers the company’s net profit that must be reported and taxed. The tax bill will allow the full cost of equipment to be written off immediately rather than depreciated over time. Most companies like the idea of lowering their tax liability as quickly as they can as this means keeping more of the money that was earned.

More Solar Rewards

The effects of these two provisions will dramatically change the cost and benefit analysis of these projects. Commercial solar PV projects will see higher return on investments (ROI), increase net present values (NPV), and shorter payback periods.

To see the effects the tax bill will have on ROI and NPV, take a look at Greentech Media’s analysis. They look at a 366-kilowatt commercial solar project in California and estimate the economic benefits of reducing tax rates and doubling the bonus depreciation. In this specific example, they see ROI increase by 6.7% and NPV increase by 27%.

Here’s another sample project. Below is the financial analysis for a 1,342.32 kW (DC) solar PV project for a manufacturing facility. This is a ballasted roof-mounted array priced at $2,769,000 or $2.06/w. All financial indicators show an attractive bump as a result of the reduced corporate tax rate and the higher bonus depreciation.

If you’re a business owner considering solar, these examples show the dramatic impact of the new tax bill on commercial solar PV projects and how your investment in solar energy will pay for itself in a shorter amount of time. Take advantage of these unexpected benefits of the new tax bill and find out how much your business could earn with clean solar energy.

 

Want to learn about your home’s solar potential? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

The Solar Panel Tariff: Our View on the Impacts

The Solar Panel Tariff: Our View on the Impacts

 

On January 22nd, President Trump announced a 30% solar panel tariff on imported solar panels. See the details of the decision here. What does this mean for the solar industry, for Namasté Solar, and, most importantly, for solar customers?

Solar Tariff Impact on the Solar Industry

This is by no means good news if you support the shift to clean energy. It will slow progress and the growth of the solar industry. However, because solar still offers very attractive economics for customers, progress will continue – even if at a slower pace.

It is important to note that the solar tariff is only on the price of solar panels. The whole cost of going solar isn’t going up, only the cost of panels. Because of this, the tariff will disproportionately impact large utility-scale solar projects because solar panels are a bigger percentage of the overall cost of those projects. Prices for homeowners and commercial property owners will be impacted much less because solar panels make up a smaller percentage of the total cost for those smaller projects.

Impact on Namasté Solar

This trade case has been pending for many months, and Namasté Solar took that time to plan ahead and prepare. Our forecasts were based on a 30% solar panel tariff, so we prepared for and took action based on this scenario. The solar panel tariff is not the decision we wanted, but we were ready nonetheless.

We have been in business since 2005 and have seen many ups and downs in the solar industry during that time. This storm, like others before it, will pass. We are confident that the growth of solar will continue, and Namasté Solar will continue to be a part of that growth. Long-term thinking is one of the core values of our company, and we remain committed to making solar energy easy and accessible.

Impact on Residential Customers

The economics of solar energy have made it a good financial investment for many years now, and though this tariff is a setback, solar remains a fantastic deal for many homeowners. The 30% federal tax credit is still in place, solar still insulates you from rising utility costs, and solar panels still pay for themselves over time. These factors haven’t changed.

The impact of the solar panel tariff on homeowners is minimized in part because we planned ahead for this outcome. Namasté took steps to procure additional solar panels in advance of the tariff and wrote our business plans for the coming year with the tariff in mind. In the past, we have weathered pricing pressures from utilities, reductions in rebates, and other challenges. This is just one more challenge that we are ready to face while still offering clean solar savings to our customers.

Impact on Commercial Customers

The solar tariff will have the most impact on our commercial customers with large installations, but they will also see additional savings from the new tax bill. The tax bill delivered some unexpected benefits in the form of the reduced corporate tax rate and the changes to allow 100% of an asset’s value to be depreciated in the first year. Both will have a significant positive impact on the financial feasibility of commercial solar projects. Because of these tax changes, commercial solar energy will pay for itself in a shorter amount of time, see higher return on investment, and see increased net present values. Read Greentech Media’s assessment of the economic impacts the tax bill will have on commercial solar projects.

The Bottom Line

The movement to clean solar may be slowed by this solar panel tariff, but it will not be stopped. Solar still offers significant cost savings for homeowners and commercial property owners alike and will continue to grow as source of clean, independent energy for our country. It’s one more challenge to face, but Namasté Solar and the solar industry are both here to stay.

 

Considering making the switch to solar here in Colorado? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

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