Solarize Decatur-DeKalb Exclusive Campaign Features - Deep Dive

Posted by: Don Moreland

 

The following is a deeper dive on the special features available only through Solarize Decatur-DeKalb. Campaign organizers sought competitive bids from the solar community outlining things we are looking for in a great campaign. Yes, were we looking for the best quality materials at the lowest price, but that's not all. We were also looking for things like fast Installation times, great warranties, additional clean energy technologies, and exclusive extras to name a few.  Other bidding contractors were able to offer one or some of these features but only one company, Summit Solar, is able offer all of these features and help make this the best Solarize program possible. Thus, we are proud to offer the following special features of the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb campaign.

Group Discount Pricing

One of the fundamental features of a Solarize program is the ability to get solar at a discount by group purchasing materials and installations for a limited time. Organizers of the program received competitive bids from several solar companies and chose Summit Solar for the reasons you will see throughout this post, not the least of which is the pricing they offered, the lowest price ever seen in a Solarize program!

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The average cost for a residential solar energy system with comparable equipment and services offered through this program can be as much as $3.50/watt.[1] As you can see in the chart above, Tier 1 pricing ($2.75/watt) is already well below the average cost. As of the time of this writing, we are already in Tier 3 ($2.65/watt). If we reach our goal of Tier 8 pricing ($2.45/watt), participants can save up to 30% which is the lowest pricing ever in a Solarize program. Additional savings are available with battery storage and other clean energy technologies. For commercial pricing, go to solarizedecatur-dekalb.com

 

No Mark-ups for Roof Type

Es2-1All installations are not created equal with some being more complicated and expensive than others. A steep roof can require more equipment and safety gear. A high roof can require a lift or lull to hoist the panels and workers to the roof safely. And installing on multiple roof pitches increases complexity and labor to complete the job. Each of these scenarios can bump up the cost of an installation by as much as 10 cents per watt. Suddenly, a $3.00/watt installation becomes a $3.30/watt installation, or more.

With Solarize Decatur-DeKalb, you can forget about all of that. Summit Solar has made the installation process simple and easy by eliminating extra fees for roof pitch, roof height, and using one or more roof pitches.

 

Free Extras Standard with all Projects

All residential systems come standard with consumption monitoring, solar skirt, and professional installations with no rooftop conduit unless necessary.

Consumption Monitoring

All solar energy systems come with production monitoring, i.e., track the amount of solar energy generated. Production monitoring is built into the inverter and the data can be accessed with an app and an internet connection. Inverters do not monitor what your house consumes only giving you one side of the picture.

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With consumption monitoring offered standard with every system (a $600 value) participants can see the whole picture and make smart energy decisions as a result. When you can see what you generate and consume at the same time, you can adjust your energy use accordingly to get the most out of your solar energy system. This is particularly important when going to a TOU, EV, or Nights and Weekends rate plan. The more transparency you have, the more money you can save, and the more valuable your solar energy system becomes. 

Solar Skirt

skirWe love the solar skirt at Solarize Decatur-DeKalb. When Summit’s bid came in with this feature standard with all systems, we knew we were dealing with a pro. A solar skirt is neither expensive nor sophisticated. It’s simple strip of material affixed to the bottom row of the array that helps improve the look of the solar modules on the roof. It simply helps blend the transition from the array to the roof that has a big impact on the overall aesthetics of the system. It’s a very nice touch and even nicer when included standard with every system.

No Roof Conduit

conduitLooks are important when it comes to solar. A clean, crisp installation is not only something to be proud of but each installation also serves as a continuous ambassador for solar generally and solar development in the future. Running cable from the solar panels on the roof to the main distribution panel and meter can make or break the look of solar. Unless otherwise impossible due to interior of roof being a vaulted ceiling, for example, Summit Solar will always run the cable inside the attic space of the home rather than through a conduit that is exposed on the roof and outdoor elements. It’s more expensive to do this way, but taking that extra step as part of every installation enhances the overall look of the installation while not detracting from the beauty of the home. > Read More: Solar Enhances Property Values

 

More Clean Energy Technology

In the request for proposal for bids from solar contractors, Solarize Decatur-DeKalb was looking for a company that can offer more than just solar. Battery storage, electric vehicle charging stations, and energy efficiency upgrades are complementing technologies that when combined with solar can help close the loop to a carbon free future. This is one area where Summit Solar comes out on top (see what we did there?).

Battery Storage

powerwall_pwsonnen_eco_no_screen__92390.1574400885Telsa and sonnen are featured battery storage technologies for the program. The Tesla Powerwall is the most sought after battery storage system in all the Solarize programs in Georgia and generally considered to provide the biggest bang for the buck. With 13.5kWh of storage capacity at a competitive price, participants love the easy to use interface and interoperability of the software. But if you’re interested in the crème-del-a crème of battery storage technologies then consider the industry best-in-class sonnenBattery eco. It can be more expensive than the Tesla product but with it’s versatility and reliability sonnen is considered the Cadillac, er, the Mercedes Benz of battery storage technology (note: sonnen is a German company). Ask your Summit Solar rep for more information about EV charging stations and energy efficiency upgrades available.

Roofing

But in addition to the many battery, EV charging, and energy efficiency offerings from Summit Solar, perhaps their most intriguing additional product that Summit Solar offers is roofing. Yes, roofing! Think about it. You’re putting the solar panels on the roof, right? Solar panels come with a 25-year production warranty and are known to keep cranking out electricity for decades. You don’t want to put solar panels on an old roof because when it comes time to replace it, you will have to pay to take the solar panels down, re-roof, and put the solar panels back up. Summit Solar is also a roofing expert so they can help you match the life of the roof with the solar panels. Plus, dealing with just one contractor that knows both roofing and solar makes things easier and ensures both products will be installed correctly and professionally.

 

Exclusive Financing Options

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb features several financing options not available anywhere else. With zero down options, rates as low as 2.99%, and the low pricing offered through this program, for the first time ever in Georgia, a true “bill swap” is possible.

Instead of paying the utility company a never-ending bill with zero return on investment, now you can finance 100% of the cost for a brand new state-of-the-art renewable energy system and save money on day one. There is no lien placed on the home and approval takes only a few minutes. Here’s some sample financing scenarios:

Financing Samples 2 Cropped

Note: terms above assume no money down @ 2.99%

Now you can save more on your monthly electricity bill than your loan payment — a true bill swap. Only instead of paying the utility, you’re paying yourself, investing in your property, and investing in our future. Financing plans start at a 600 credit score. Ask your Summit Solar representative for more details.

 

Installations in 60 days or Less

It’s a busy time for solar. With the federal tax credit phasing out and limitations on the Georgia Power monthly netting program, now is the time to go solar (Read more about Why Solar Now). As a result, most solar contractors are backed up with customers having to wait 120+ days for installation. One of the many compelling reasons why Summit Solar won the bid for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is their ability to install in 60 days or less.

Summit Solar has a stated goal to schedule installations within 14 days of contract signature and perform installations within 60 days or less and, so far, they are meeting that goal. Several participant installations are complete and a dozen more are already on the books. Summit can meet this goal because they have two installation crews dedicated to this program with the capacity to bring in a third if needed.

A fast installation time is important for this program so participants can start saving money sooner in the summer-time when we use the most electiricty, get the full amount of the 26% tax credit available this year, and be sure to get in the monthly netting program before it’s too late.

 

Best-in-class Warranties

Product Warranties

OfficeImages_6The major components selected for this program, i.e., solar panels, inverters, and racking, all come with 25-year warranties. Participants no longer have to keep track of what component has what warranty and worry about replacing expensive equipment along the way. It is important for campaign organizers that product warranties match up because we want to make this program as simple and easy as possible. Solar already requires very little operating and maintenance so having 25-year warranties across the board reduces uncertainty and adds additional peace of mind for participants of the program.

Workmanship and Roof Leak Warranties

Summit Solar’s 10‐year workmanship warranty covers EVERYTHING for the system. If a microinverter goes down 9 years down the road, not only is the new microinverter free, the labor and installation are free. If a panel falls under the production warranty and needs to be replaced, Summit Solar will provide the labor, truck roll and panel swap for free. And Summit Solar provides a 5-year roof leak warranty. In the rare case one occurs, it will be identified and fixed well before that time period runs out.

 

Virtual and Safe -COVID-19 Social Distancing Protocols

Proposals and Contracting 

For customers considering solar at their home, social distancing practices are important as ever. Summit Solar is performing virtual site visits and is submitting proposals electronically with video conferencing through Zoom, if desired. Summit Solar has electronic signature capabilities for contracts and checks can be photographed and deposited electronically. Please ask your solar consultant for more details.

Installation Services - Safety of Employees and Participants

Because solar is considered "construction of housing" and "electricity", permitting and installations will continue as planned and remain on schedule. Summit Solar employees are required to stay home if feeling unwell or if job responsibilities can be performed from home. Although the bulk of installation work is done outdoors, field technicians are required to keep a safe distance from clients when working on site and performing inside work at a home or business.

All field crews have access to hand sanitizer and are encouraged to use it as frequently as possible. Company truck interiors and office spaces are cleaned frequently while all employees practice good personal hygiene throughout the day.  Summit Solar recognizes this is a stressful time for everyone and wants to ensure clients and associates will continue to maintain operations with as minimum amount of disruption possible.

 

Community Support

Not to get lost in all this is a reminder that this is a community-based program. Program organizers are comprised of organizations and individuals engaged in the community and solar experts dedicated to making your transition to clean energy as smooth as possible. Community support means participants are not going it alone when it comes to making an important long-term investment for their home or business. Whether it be permitting, historic district, HOA, or utility interconnection, the vast experience and commitment from Solarize Decatur-DeKalb coalition partners will be there every step of the way to ensure yours is the most pleasurable experience possible. Should you have a question or issue that requires a helping hand, please feel free to reach out to us anytime: email: admin@solarizedecatur-dekalb.com or call 770-288-0440. Sign up at solarizedecatur-dekalb.com and qualify for discount pricing and a free evaluation. 

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[1] For the reasons set forth in this post, the quality of the standard solar energy systems offered through Solarize Decatur-DeKalb program exceeds the value of the average system outside of this program. 


About Solarize Decatur-DeKalb:
Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is a comprehensive grassroots initiative to strategically expand the penetration and breadth of solar and battery installations across all property types and demographic profiles in Decatur and DeKalb County. Solarize Decatur-DeKalb launched in April and works in support local clean energy advocats and nonprofit organizations via Solar Crowdsource. Solarize is a national movement that started in Portland, Ore., in 2009, and Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is the 12th such program in Georgia. Solarize programs are designed to make going solar more affordable and straightforward for a short campaign period in defined communities that adopt the program.