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Sacramento Solar Installation: Solar-E-City

In many states with larger solar markets (such as California and New Jersey), choosing someone to do the job can be tough. Solar-E-City Electric is one company to check out if you are pondering solar installation in the Sacramento, California area. Solar-E-City Electric is a local, family owned Sacramento solar installation company.  Unlike many larger installers in the area, Solar-E-City Electric prides itself on building strong relationships with customers, so you don't just become a job number on a computer screen. They are able to guarantee the quality of their work because they never subcontract out - this means they know exactly what is going on with your project at any given time down to every last detail. Better yet, they will help you through the confusing process of handling state and federal tax credits and connecting to the PG&E grid. With almost 10 years of solar installation experience, you can trust David and Erika Schweickert with the future of your home.... read more

State Solar Loans


State Solar Loans

Many states in the beautiful U.S. Of A. offer “solar loans” which allow you to finance your solar installation at a low- or no- interest rate. If you're like me, you don't have $30k lying around for your solar project, but the time is right with all of the state and national incentives out there.

With the exception of West Virginia and Utah every state in the nation offers some sort of solar loan program. Some are offered at the state level (woohoo), some at the local level, and others bu the major utilities. Sixteen (16) actual states (plus the Virgin Islands) provide resources for these super loans which allow us regular folks to afford to go solar.... read more

Solar Power Definitions/ Glossary


Solar Power Glossary

Active Solar Energy: using mechanical devices to collect, store, and distribute solar energy.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP): a type of solar thermal energy used to create solar thermal energy (heat) on a large scale using series of mirrors in order to concentrate a large amount of solar energy. Read more...

Feed-In Tariff (FiT): the ability to sell unused solar electricity (or that from other renewable sources such as wind) back to your local utility. Many states require FiTs. You will sign a contract with your utility for a set rate over a certain time period (usually 20 years).

Green Tag: see “Solar Renewable Energy Credit.”

Grid: the connection of cables in a region that distributes electricity to homes, businesses, and other buildings. Residential solar systems are often connected to the local “grid,” and in some states are required to connect.... read more

What is a Solar Feed In Tariff (FiT)?

A Feed In Tariff (Fit) is a one of many financial incentives that can be offered in order to promote the use of renewable energy. It was first seen in Germany in 2000 and has since spread to countries such as China, Australia, and Ireland and several US states including Hawaii and Michigan.

Regions that mandate FiTs require utilities to purchase each kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy from individual residential and commercial producers of renewable energy (usually solar or wind). In essence this makes the producer a small-scale utility, selling ALL of the power you produce back to “the grid.” The person or business will sign an initial contract with the utility, locking in a certain rate for a set period of time (usually 15-25 years).... read more

Solar Panel Installation: REC Solar, Inc. Company Profile

When considering installing solar panels on your home, choosing an installer can be a daunting task. There can be hundreds of local and larger installers in your area. One of the growing companies you may want to check out is REC Solar, Inc. REC started out in 1997 in San Luis Obispo, California and has since become one of the largest installers in the nation, serving California, Hawaii, Oregon, New Jersey and Arizona.

While REC is a big company, they have a local feel. There are locations in each of their areas served so that you have a direct relationship with the company instead of just being a number on a page. They work on projects ranging from large scale commercial projects to residential projects and hold your hands a long the way to help you with financing options to make solar a reality for many who thought it was out of reach.... read more

Earth Day 2011: Habitat for Humanity Earth Day Build-a-Thon

Volunteers in East Oakland, California celebrated Earth Day this year by pulling out their hammers and doing some green building. Once a year, Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay holds their “Earth Day Build-a-Thon.” Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization which links low-income families with affordable homeownserhip opportunities. 

habitat for humanity - oakland

The 5-day Build-a-Thon is a fundraiser where hundreds of volunteers (about 75-110 people per day!) dust off their hammers and hard hats to build homes for low and very low income individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Volunteers are sponsored (much in the way walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon participants are) in order to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay.... read more

Celebrity Solar: Who's Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is (...and who's not...)

Many celebrities hopped on the Prius bandwagon a few years back. But, let's face it: with the type of money many of them are making, celeb environmental efforts should go further than a few gallons of gas per year. So, who's walking the walk by installing solar on their 7-bedroom-6-bath-2-pool Hollywood hills home?

Johnny Depp: Johnny Depp's private island (yes, island) is completely solar powered.... read more

New York Solar Tax Credits, Rebates, and Incentives

NY Solar Incentives and Rebates

Currently New York state is, financially speaking, one of the best places to “go solar.” The New York State Renewable Portfolio Standard has mandated that 82 megawatts (or 93,806 MW-hours) of solar electric power system be installed by the end of 2015. In order to meet this goal they have enacted the Electric Incentive Program.... read more

DIY Solar Thermal Water Heaters

Installing solar panels seems like a great idea, but finding that spare $30k can be rough. Solar Thermal Water Heaters are a great alternative to installing a full photovoltaic solar panel system.

These water heaters will help greatly reduce your energy use. They are much smaller than a PV system, making them much cheaper. Also, converting the sun's energy into heat is much simpler than turning it into electricity. To have a solar thermal water heater installed, you will likely spend about $.... read more

Solar Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentive Programs by State


Across the nation, legislation is being passed to make investing in renewable energy more affordable to homeowners and small business owners. In addition to the 30% federal tax credit, many states offer a variety of programs via tax credits, rebates, and incentives. Click on your state for more detailed information.... read more

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