Santa Rosa, California Small Business Solar Installation - Arnie's Story
Arnie C. of Santa Rosa, California, discusses installing solar panels on his local business, World of Carpet One. The installation was completed by local installer, Steele Energy Solutions. In short? “I couldn't be happier with Steele.”
What went into the decision to install a PV solar system? “There are 2 things that go into a decision to go solar,” Arnie explained – economics and the environment. The most import factor to Arnie was that installing solar panels would decrease the amount of oil burned by thousands of tons per year, “so we don't have to rely on oil from other parts of the world holding us hostage.”
How Arnie chose a solar installer. Arnie talked with 4 installers before deciding to go with Steele Energy. He found the process of interviewing installers was a good experience that helped him learn a lot about solar technology and the installation process. He was impressed by all of them and the estimates were relatively similar. He chose Steele to support local business and because he knew they were near by if he were to have any problems with the system.
What was the installation process like? The installation process was less than 2 weeks for the large 49 kilowatt system. The company was able to stay open for business during the installation.
How were the rebates handled? “Steele did everything – all of the applications, and they got the money to me quickly and efficiently.” After state and federal rebates, the out-of-pocket installation cost was roughly $190k.
The energy savings. Arnie's system was installed almost a year prior to our interview. When balanced over the course of the year, Arnie has essentially produced enough energy to independently power his showroom. His energy bill should “zero-out” for the year.
Arnie’s recommendations for Going Solar. “Talk to 3-4 different companies. Ask lots of questions too understand the technology. Call references. In the long run you are going to save money, in the short run you'll break even.
“If you're doing it for money, that's okay. But if you're doing it so PG&E doesn't have to burn thousands of gallons of gas each year, that's really the right thing to do.”