In Less than a Year Solarize Atlanta Nearly Doubles Residential Solar in Atlanta: Program will bring 143 more solar roofs to Atlanta

Atlanta, GA- The organizers of Solarize Atlanta celebrated more than just the New Year last week as the deadline to sign a residential solar contract with the program came and went. After the dust settled more than 143 homeowners had signed contracts to install over 855 kW of photovoltaic (PV) solar and 534 kWh of battery capacity that will help homeowners store their solar power and use it later. The installed solar will cut over 1.6 million pounds of global warming pollution annually. 

“We wanted to put Atlanta on strong footing as it begins to transition to 100% clean electricity,” explained Jennette Gayer, Director of Environment Georgia. “And, we wanted to make solar something that you could see regularly as you walked around Atlanta’s great neighborhoods, I think we’ve accomplished both our goals and made Atlanta a real clean energy leader in the southeast.”

Solarize Atlanta launched in April of 2018 and is a project of Central Atlanta Progress, Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, Georgia Sierra Club, Livable Buckhead, Solar Crowdsource, Southface, US Green Building Council and the Atlanta Office of Resiliency. The group chose Creative Solar to manage residential solar installs and Hannah Solar to manage commercial installs for the program. Solarize programs are designed to make going solar more affordable and straightforward for a short period of time in a defined community. In Atlanta organizers calculate they’ve saved participants over $540,000 because of the savings a Community Solarize program is able to pass along.

“We are thrilled with our Solarize Atlanta system - in the three not-very-sunny-months that we've been up and running our power bills have dropped by about 30%,” said Jesse Cannon a Solarize Atlanta participant in Midtown. “We also found out pretty quickly the benefits of battery storage when we were the only house on the street with continued power during an outage!”

Solarize Atlanta is also the largest Solarize program to be run in Georgia, besting the second closest, Solarize Decatur-DeKalb by around 75 kW. Before the start of the program Atlanta had roughly 925kW of residential rooftop solar installed on 172 roofs and very little battery capacity.  

“Our success is a real sign of the times,” explained Russel Seifert, CEO of Creative Solar, “The falling cost of solar panels and energy storage options, especially in a community Solarize program, makes going solar a smart financial and energy independence decision for homeowners.”  

Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and Solar Crowdsource also have ongoing Solarize programs with a variety of local partners in Middle Georgia and Newton-Morgan Counties.

"We couldn't be more impressed with the response from the residents of Atlanta,” said Don Moreland the CEO of Solar Crowdsource whose company helps to facilitate Solarize programs. “Solarize Atlanta broke all the previous records for Georgia Solarize programs in terms of participation, added solar capacity, and added battery storage capacity making it the most successful programs of its kind in Georgia."

For more information, please visit: evniromentgeorgia.org

Get Ready for Tax Returns - Improve the Value of Your Home with Solar Energy

Why you should take advantage of that extra cash to improve your home with solar energy.

Tax season is quickly approaching and with that, people tend to start planning what they’d like to do with their tax returns. Even though some people like to take advantage of this extra cash and go on vacation or a shopping spree, this TurboTax article explains that there are 12 smart things you could do with your tax refund, and one of them is focusing on making home improvements including energy efficiency measures such as solar power.

What is Solar Energy?

The Solar Energy Industries Association defines solar energy (also referred to as solar power) as “energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy.” Their website explains that “is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available, and the U.S. has some of the richest solar resources in the world. Solar technologies can harness this energy for a variety of uses, including generating electricity, providing light or a comfortable interior environment, and heating water for domestic, commercial, or industrial use.”

How Much Will It Cost?

When it comes to solar energy panels, there really isn’t a “one size fits all,” as final pricing will be determined by multiple factors. A few things that will affect how much you invest are:

●     Location, as sunlight exposure where you live and the amount of shade you get each day can make a big difference

●     How much energy you regularly consume and what size system will generate the amount you need

●     Installation costs depending on the company you choose

●     Available Incentives: Some local governments and utilities offer incentives, but the IRS offers an investment tax credit to everyone. 2019 is the last year to install solar and qualify for the credit that is 30% of the total costs of installing a system.

●     In addition to the 30% IRS tax credit, businesses can qualify for depreciation incentives


This NerdWallet.com article explains why solar panels will help you save money


Generally speaking, it’s important to know that solar panels will continue to generate and save money on your energy bills for more than 20 years, as homeowners start saving on utility bills almost immediately after installation. Further, like other home improvements, solar power systems increase the value of the home, thereby adding an additional element towards return on the investment even if you sell the home before the end of the system’s lifespan.

Click here to learn more about tax incentives, rebates, discounts and savings with solar energy at your house.

Can I Do it Myself?

Even though you might save a few dollars by installing solar panels yourself, the Georgia Solar Energy Association explains that a professional assessment will examine:

●        The age of the roof (the newer the better).

●        How the house is situated (a south-facing rooftop is best).

●        Shading of the rooftop from trees or surrounding buildings.

●        Options for a ground-mounted system.

●        Zoning codes or homeowners’ association rules that do not restrict or prohibit solar option

By having a professional do the work, you are not only making the process much easier for yourself, but you are ensuring safety for your family and the entire neighborhood, as well as having the installer’s warrantees for additional peace of mind.

If you’re thinking about using your tax refund to improve your home with solar panels, contact us today to get a free evaluation and estimate!

 

 

 

Interview with Creative Solar USA’s CEO, Russell Seifert: Our Company’s New Year’s Resolutions will take us to the next level

With 2019 approaching, what are some resolutions CSUSA wants to accomplish in the new year?

We want to cut down on the time frame from the time a customer buys a system to the time it is installed. Our residential sales have doubled and our energy storage demand has tripled. We need to really focus on creating a more consumer focused organization, because without our customers, we wouldn’t exist. We want to put their needs and wants first. Being customer centric is key.

Are there any new challenges that await the solar industry ahead? How will we face them?

The new challenges are how many consumers are inquiring about energy storage and making sure the energy storage systems they plan on purchasing are going to fulfill their needs. In late 2018 we experienced a supply shortfall with a well-known manufacturer and it put our relationship with clients in a very uncomfortable position, even though it was out of our control. Clients rely on us to “Be the source” and have the foresight to prepare for these events. We will conquer this challenge by ensuring that we are dealing with reliable and predictable manufacturers who are going to be around for the long hall. Energy storage is becoming a core point in our business, so we will make sure our providers are the most reliable manufactures available to us and our customers.

What can consumers expect to see from CSUSA in 2019? Any big news?

With our residential and small business market share being our dominant core, we have realized this has created a strong and established “Grass Roots” foundation for solar in Georgia and is making a greater impact. By “Impact”, I mean more people are directly connected to solar and we plan on impacting consumers on a more granular level – and our customer base can expect to see us focus on this in the new year. In 2019, we plan on expanding. In the last 30 days, we’ve already implemented multiple interviews with people to expand our quality installation crew. We’re also looking to increase our market share in the commercial sector, as we have had many inquiries from commercial businesses who wish to go solar in the new year. This is so exciting to us, because it creates a stronger business base and the whole purpose of CSUSA was to create new jobs, new technology, new thinking and that’s what we are going to achieve in 2019. 

What are you looking forward to most in the new year as founder and CEO?

When anyone thinks about Solar energy and energy storage in Georgia, they think of CSUSA. That’s our goal – To provide the best possible value, and service in the industry. We want to be the solar power resource long after the installation is complete because we don't just build PV systems for our clients – we build relationships. I look forward to meeting all of the new faces who join the Creative Solar family and implementing a more sustainable business model. That’s probably the most exciting thing for me as a CEO – watching our company grow, creating new jobs in the fastest growing global industries and making an impact at the community level.  

Why should consumers make solar energy a part of their new year’s resolution?

First of all, this is the last year to take advantage of the tax credit (30%) when they install solar in their home or business. Secondly, prices are better than they’ve ever been before, making it a great time to invest in solar energy and the value it brings to our homes. And last but not least, solar is viable, real and here to stay.

What is solar energy? How does it work and is it viable for me?

Find out how solar energy works and why people are choosing it for their homes.

 If you’re in the process of buying a house, or looking for new energy-saving and eco-friendly trends to update your property, solar energy is something you may have came across. But what is it and how does it work? We’ve gathered the main details for you.

The Solar Energy Industries Association defines solar energy (also referred to as solar power) as “energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy.” Their website explains that “is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available, and the U.S. has some of the richest solar resources in the world. Solar technologies can harness this energy for a variety of uses, including generating electricity, providing light or a comfortable interior environment, and heating water for domestic, commercial, or industrial use.”

So How Does It Work?
The Climate Reality Project explains that solar photo-voltaics (PV) works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity.

 A few other facts regarding solar energy are:

  • Solar energy is a completely free source of energy and it is found in abundance

  • Installing solar power can increase your home’s value. It’s 21st Century home improvement.

  • By coupling solar PV with battery/energy storage, solar energy can even provide electricity 24×7, even on cloudy days and at night

  • Solar energy is being recognized as the future of alternative energy sources due to its abundance, capability of deployment in most places and falling costs in recent years. This is making it cost competitive with traditional fossil fuel sourced energy.

  • Federal tax credits are still available to further reduce ownership costs

    Click here to read 40 facts on solar energy by Conserve Energy Future!

The Difference Between Solar Energy and Traditional Electricity

When trying to decide between solar energy and traditional sources of electricity, people tend to look at pricing as a deciding factor. While there can be a significant upfront cost, solar power systems can be financed and generally pay for themselves within a few years. With a maintenance free lifespan of 30+ years, solar power remains a positive investment when compared to relying solely on the utility over the same time period.

  • Solar panels create no fumes, noise, waste or emissions. They only need the sun to produce energy, while traditional methods require large amounts of water, as well as mining, transportation and combustion of fossil fuels or uranium.

  • Unlike traditional energy, solar energy is renewable, meaning that no matter what, we cannot run out of solar energy as long as the sun is alive. And according to NASA, the sun will be around for another 6.5 billion years.

  • Solar power requires little to no maintenance. Solar panels have no moving parts to wear out, so they typically require at most an annual cleaning and come with a 25 year warranty.

Are you ready to learn how solar power can benefit you directly? Contact us today for a free consultation and quotes on solar energy for your home or business!

Southwire to Install Solar Panel Array as Part of Solarize Carrollton-Carroll

Creative Solar USA is proud to announce that we have contracted with Southwire in Carrollton, GA for a 124.1 KW roof-mounted PV solar array. This project is through the Solarize Carrollton-Carroll campaign where Creative Solar USA is the vetted contractor for both the residential and commercial sectors. The array will offset approximately 25 percent of the site’s electricity consumption and projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 92 tons of CO2 – the same result as planting over 85,000 trees or removing almost 700 vehicles from the road.

When asked about partnering with the Solarize Carrollton-Carroll campaign, Rich Stinson, President and CEO of Southwire, said “This partnership is another way we are strengthening our commitment to sustainability”. “As we work toward being generationally-sustainable, two very important pieces of that future are our environmental focus and our commitment to our community. This partnership aligns with both.”

Jeff Herrin, Senior Vice President of Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) and Quality for Southwire added, “The project will reduce Southwire’s CO2 emissions and demonstrates a solar energy solution for our many customer and partners that visit the Thorn Center”. “In addition, our commitment to this project will lower the cost for the participants of the Solarize Carrollton-Carroll program.”

Solarize Carrollton-Carroll is a grass roots, community-driven, bulk-buy purchasing program that decreases the costs for both residential and commercial participants. The more households and businesses that sign up, the lower the rate for everyone involved.

Russell Seifert, CEO of Creative Solar USA, said he and his colleagues “are thrilled and honored to be part of this and we look forward to working with Southwire and the other participants in the campaign as we move forward with these projects”.

Founded in 2008, Creative Solar USA, Inc. is based in Kennesaw, GA and is a turn-key installer of solar power and energy management systems for the residential, commercial and utility sectors for the Southeastern US.

A leader in technology and innovation, Southwire Company, LLC is one of North America’s largest wire and cable producers. Southwire and its subsidiaries manufacture building wire and cable, metal-clad cable, portable and electronic cord products, utility cable products, OEM wire products and engineered products. In addition, Southwire supplies assembled products, contractor equipment and hand tools. For more on Southwire’s products, its community involvement and its vision of sustainability, visit www.southwiresustainability.com.

Interview with Creative Solar USA’s CEO, Russell Seifert: The Here and Now of Solar

What challenges do we face in the solar industry as a company? How do we overcome them?

The biggest challenge is outreaching to the general consumer to allow them to see for themselves how solar is of much value today. We overcome that by having workshops, grassroots campaigns like Solarize programs (that create a buzz) and exposes the truth behind solar and how it can benefit the home owner and the small business owner. Solar is a reliable long-term investment that allows our consumers to control their personal finances. In addition, it helps increase the value of their home should they ever decide to put it on the market.

What do you see for the future of solar?

I don’t think it’s necessary to mandate solar energy like California, but I do think you’ll see it become more and more common as time goes on. Take microwave ovens for example. How many people had a microwave oven in the 1970’s? Now look how many we have! It’s a convenience to consumers so it caught on and became a house-hold must have. So, with that, I believe the control the consumer gains (and the convenience this offers them) will increase their likeliness to install solar in the future.

Some say if the cost of your energy bills is low, so is your solar savings. Is this true? Do you think this will change?

It just depends on how much the utility company is charging you per KWH. It’s not how much energy you use, it’s how much the energy company is charging you per KWH.

How do you feel about our recent success with the Solarize campaigns? Will there be more in the future?

I think our success with the Solarize campaigns proves that if solar is brought to the public level along with the education it takes to inform people about solar, they’ll get it. The writing is on the wall with our recent success! There will be more Solarize Campaigns in the future. It is needed in order for solar to become more of a mainstream trend in GA. Here’s why: Other states have embraced solar, but the state of Georgia has not yet. It needs to come from the grassroots and up because we are a regulated state. With that being said, the more we educate the public on solar energy and the benefits that it brings, the more solar we will see in the future.

In your experience, when does solar pay off? Is there a rhyme or reason?

Years ago, everyone had to look hard at the numbers, like ROI (return on investment). I think that was used as an excuse to “get it” and sell themselves on solar even though they already thought it was cool and innovative. Nowadays, people’s motivation is limitless. Some look at the ROI, resale value of their home, or how they can set an environmentally- friendly example. Some who own electric vehicles find it imperative that they get solar to be environmentally conscious. Some people buy solar because they hold a grudge against the utility companies and want independence. You find all kinds of reasons.

Being in this innovative and cutting-edge industry, if you had one hour to sit down and meet one person (dead or alive) to seek advice from, who would it be?

Steve Jobs. He was a man who thought outside the box and was a non-conformist. He had the guts to do what most people did not. He changed the world. He did what Thomas Edison and Henry Ford did – they impacted people’s lives for hundreds of years. And like Steve, I am also a fan of Albert Einstein.

Knowing what you know now and being the successful man you are, if you could go back and give your 18-year-old self advice, what would it be?

If you have a dream, don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do it. Dig your heels in and fight for what you believe in until you achieve that goal. Just know that you will receive and hit many set backs, but how you conquer these trials will determine your resiliency and your dedication to accomplish what you believe in. 

“Solarize Middle Georgia” Workshop and Information Session – Tuesday, November 13th

Gray, GA – Middle Georgia residents will soon have a new option to power their homes and businesses.  The coalition for Solarize Middle Georgia is holding its second workshop and information session in Jones County on Tuesday, November 13th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.  The workshop will take place at the Jones County Government Center, 166 Industrial Boulevard, Gray, Georgia 31032.  Residents of Gray, Griswoldville, Haddock, Round Oak, as well as residents in surrounding counties, are invited to attend.  Solarize Middle Georgia runs for six months, through April 30, 2019.

Solarize Middle Georgia is a public awareness campaign to learn about solar opportunities that didn’t exist until recently.  This includes an opportunity for a free solar assessment on your home and a way to potentially save money on your utility bills.  There is absolutely no financial obligation or requirement to purchase a solar system.  Should a family or business decide to go solar, what Solarize Middle Georgia offers is bulk-purchasing power, in addition to the 30% federal tax credit, that will begin to phase out after 2019.  The bulk-purchase model offers residents additional savings over those who install outside of the solarize program.

Solarize Middle Georgia will be the first Solarize campaign in Georgia to span an entire region, including eleven counties, and 31 municipalities surrounding Macon and Warner Robins. Prior campaigns have reached out to one city and/or one city and county.

According to Chris Weidner, Chairman of the Jones County Board of Commissioners, “The Solarize Middle Georgia campaign is a good way to learn and spread the word about solar, and work to improve our state’s already good ranking of 10th in the nation.” Chairman Weidner continued, “We have citizens and businesses that may find solar a good fit for reducing their overall cost of energy. The cost of solar has dropped dramatically since 2008, and bulk purchasing, as well as the 30% federal tax credit, create even more incentive for our residents to check it out.”

Ray Clark, Senior Advisor to the elected officials of the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition (MGCAC) adds, “Solarize Middle Georgia is an important partner to MGCAC. While counties and municipalities in the coalition make significant contributions to improving air quality in the region, Solarize Middle Georgia is unique in that it offers every single household in Middle Georgia an opportunity to play a role in reducing air pollution.

Georgia ranks 10th in the nation for installed solar capacity but most of the energy we use in our homes still comes from coal, gas and nuclear power plants. Community Solarize programs are working to change that. Prior Solarize programs include Tybee Island, Savannah, Athens, Decatur/DeKalb, Dunwoody, Atlanta, Carroll-Carrollton, and  Newton-Morgan. Over half of the rooftop solar capacity in Georgia has been generated through Solarize programs. Solarize campaigns are supported by the U. S. Department of Energy.

Additional public meetings, workshops and lunch and learn opportunities will be held throughout the campaign.  The schedule of meetings and workshops is being developed and will be publicized at the Solarize Middle Georgia website:  https://bit.ly/2CxutBo and through social & traditional media channels. 

Creative Solar USA, Inc. (Creative Solar), based in Kennesaw, Georgia was selected to be the solar installer by the Solarize coalition, including the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition.  Founded in 2008, Creative Solar is a turn-key provider of solar power and related energy management services for the residential and commercial sectors. Creative Solar begins with a feasibility assessment and ends with interconnection to the grid. Creative Solar was the chosen residential installer for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb, Atlanta and Carrollton-Carroll.  Creative Solar has completed over 400 residential installations totaling almost 2,900 KW (2.9 MW), and 47 commercial installations totaling over 6,500 KW (6.5 MW) with more being installed daily.

The coalition for Solarize Middle Georgia includes the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition (MGCAC), Jones County, Georgia, Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, U.S. Green Building Council and Solar Crowdsource.

Additional partners or “Ambassadors” for Solarize Middle Georgia include Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful, NewTown Macon, Altamaha Riverkeeper, Redeeming Hope Center, a ministry of Awakening Fires Church (Macon), Georgia House of Representative Patty Bentley (Dist. 139), The Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, the Hawkinsville – Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, The Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce, Perry Area Chamber of Commerce, Roberta- Crawford County Chamber of Commerce and Twiggs County Chamber of Commerce.

Solarize Middle Georgia:  https://bit.ly/2CxutBo

Solarize Active Campaigns:  https://bit.ly/2OdA1mK

Solarize Inactive Campaigns:   https://bit.ly/2NBZXLL

 

A look into the future: Interview with Creative Solar USA’s CEO, Russell Seifert

On Friday, October 5th, our team sat down with Founder and CEO, Russell Seifert. We talked about what’s in store for Creative Solar USA, how we compete in the solar industry, and what homeowners should consider before making the transition to solar. 

What lies ahead for CS USA?

“Our company focus is to optimize and maintain the quality of customer service we offer our clients with the most up-to-date and quality products. Secondly, we are striving to expand and serve a larger area in the southeast U.S. for both residential and commercial properties. Next, solar has come so far in just the last 10 years. Now with energy storage (for load shaving and back-up) becoming a more prominent piece, the desire and need for an “energy management” solution as part of the overall pie has arisen. Manufacturers recognized and worked to resolve this need. Hence, we now offer options which give our clients even more control of how and when they choose to use their self-generated energy.”

What makes us different from the other solar companies out there?

“We are more of an organic-based organization. Grassroots, if you will. We provide more of an educational service to consumers rather than focus on heavy sales. We guide consumers and let them make their decisions with the education given to them. What really sets us apart from the competition is our commitment to our clients, by using the best long-term products that are built to last. In addition, we listen to the client’s needs rather than telling them what they need, and that is why our company has had so much success.”

How’d you get your start in the solar industry?

“The primary reason I started in the solar industry, was to penetrate the job market in a more diverse way to construct a more sustainable industry. Secondly, it was an up-and-coming technology that is now ready for the general market, and I felt that now is the opportune time where solar will become more of a norm. Just like HVAC systems and cell phones are today. Solar energy and storage are changing like the communications industry. Everyone has a cell phone, but how many people still have a landline in their home? Renewables provide homeowners independence from the grid and a cleaner, more sustainable form of energy. It is the ultimate of natural resources. That is why I embarked on this journey. I knew solar energy was the future.”

Message from the founder: If you had one piece of advice for homeowners looking to go solar, what would it be?

“My advice is to make sure you ask as many questions as it takes until you feel you are 100% informed to make the right decision that’s best for you and your home. Because this is a long-term investment, it’s critical that you know the ins-and-outs of solar. Be sure to look into alternative ways to make your home more energy efficient aside from solar such as making sure your home is adequately insulated, making sure you have energy efficient windows (double pane windows), and making sure that your HVAC is reasonably up-to-date. After those steps have been taken, a solar installation would be the end cap to your energy efficiency and sustainability.”

What about business owners? From one business owner to the next, why do you think businesses should go solar?

“Aside from the plethora of incentives, ‘going solar’ is a way to have a controlled measure to your bottom line of monthly expenses for the next 30+ years. Plus, it is an investment to enhance your business with better appeal should you ever choose to sell the structure or company. Marketability and standing-out from the crowd among other competitors is also a great benefit. Going solar commercially will ultimately raise your business to the next level – making you a cut above the rest.”

Have questions about going solar? Our team would love to speak with you. Click here to sign up for a free consultation today.