Thinking about PV Solar for your Home or Business?

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of a hou...

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Good idea … now, consider these additional ticklers.

If you have been following this industry you know that solar PV component prices are down 60% in the last two years.  Never has there been a more compelling time to consider a grid-tied PV system for your home or business.

PV systems are an affordable and economic investment now — yes now!  In addition to perfect timing, consider these additional benefits for grid-tied PV systems:

Avoided costs . . . a tax benefit for homeowners.  As a homeowner with a grid-tied PV system, you will purchase less electricity from your utility.  You will avoid that additional cost.  OK.  Since you pay for electricity with after tax income, your PV benefit, for investment comparison purposes, is properly measured in before tax income.

For instance, if you save $30 a month with your PV system and you are in a 28% marginal tax bracket, your before tax equivalent savings is $30/(1-.28) or $41.66.  It takes $41.6 of before tax income to pay $30 to an electric utility.  This is the proper monetary measure of the PV benefit for a homeowner.  Caution: this does not apply if your lease your PV system.

No increase is property taxes.  In most jurisdictions, the capital investment of a PV system for your house will not increase the assessed value of your home or you annual property taxes.  Quite the opposite for a kitchen remodel or swimming pool!

Grid-tied PV systems are scalable.  2kW is as efficient as 5kW or 20kW.  So start small.  You can always add to your PV system at a later date.  A PV system equal to 15% to 20% of your electricity consumption is perfect and costs well less than $10k.  You do not need 25 panels or a $25k investment.  For home or business . . . go small.

A grid-tied PV system will increase the value of your home or business.  Of course it will; your PV system is virtually maintenance free and lowers the cost of operation.

For a home, a recent Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report affirms a 20:1 value ratio: that is, the value of your home increases 20 times the first year savings.  Spend $6,000 to save $300 a year: 20 x $300 = $6,000.  Payback?  It’s done!  Caution: this does not apply if your lease your PV system.

For a business, reduced operating expenses equal increased NOI.  Business are valued at a multiple of NOI . . . the increase in value is automatic.

PV systems are a very long term investment!  Most PV panels are warranted to 80% of rated power performance after 25 years, but these panels can last for 40 years or more!  Think about it.  2051 and you still are producing a lot of electricity.  Can you imagine?  A grid-tied PV system of any size is a terrific hedge against rising electricity costs.

Environmental attributes . . . Light from light.  PV systems are sustainable and renewable . . . no fuels, no water, no emissions, and no noise.  How do you measure the value of clean air over 40 years or more?  Ask your children, not your politicians!

Chet Boortz, CEO


[The comments, positions, and opinions stated above are my own and may or may not represent those of SES 21 USA and its affiliate companies.]


13 Residential Solar Systems for Habitat for Humanity Houses in Dallas

September 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

To demonstrate the power of the Texas sun and the potential of solar energy as a big part of our energy supply, SES 21 USA has joined with Habitat for Humanity, Bosch Solar Energy, and Schletter Mounting Systems to make a great charity project come true.

13 Habitat for Humanity houses in Dallas are going to receive free solar energy systems on their roofs. The complete solar energy system consists of four panels and are estimated to produce about 1291 kWh of free electricity annually. Customers of SES 21 USA who have used Bosch Solar Energy panels on their installs in the Dallas / Fort Worth area told us that the power output is quite likely to be 10 to 20 percent higher than the estimation.

During a first educational evening 13 families were provided information about solar energy in general and how solar systems could help reduce their electricity bills.

The installation is scheduled to take place shortly.

Chet Boortz, CEO of SES 21 USA, commented

It’s a privilege to work in cooperation with an organization the stature of Habitat for Humanity.  Dallas Habitat does such outstanding work and builds these homes to exacting efficiency standards.  The addition of even small-scale grid-tied PV systems provides meaningful savings to homeowners that often pay the highest electricity rates in deregulated retail markets.   It’s a perfect fit.

Get started with NABCEP certification

August 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

We are really excited that registration has opened its doors for our next solar training event: Fundamentals of solar PV installation course

This training is geared towards electrical contractors and industry-related professionals. The course starts out with a general overview about the solar industry and how you can jump on the train of USA’s fastest growing industry. Furthermore, attendants will learn about how to select equipment and get to know the different parts of a solar installation. The class includes hands-on sessions where participants can get close to all parts involved in a solar energy installation.

The course is going to be conducted by ImagineSolar, the first and best-known solar training institution in Texas. Attendants will receive a certificate of completion with NABCEP-eligible hours toward NABCEP Certification Program. In addition to that, participants in this solar training course will be eligible to take ImagineSolar NABCEP eligible courses in Solar Design & Installation and Solar PV Technical Sales at a 25% Discount!

On top of that, attendants receive $100 off their first purchase with SES 21 USA. Sounds like a pretty good deal, eh?

Course Details


Thu Sept 15, 2011 at 7:45 AM
Fri Sept 16, 2011 at 5:30 PM


Hilton Garden Inn Dallas Lewisville
785 State Highway 121 Byp
Lewisville, TX 75067

Registration Price Deadline
Early registration $275.00 Aug 31st
Registration $295.00 Sep 12st
Late registration $325.00 Sep 14th

For more information and contact details click here…

Texas grid operator ERCOT ‘at war’ with hot temperatures. Really . . . it’s a Texas summer!

August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Deregulated utilities open the door for distributive solar PV generation.

OK, it’s very hot in July & August, but why is Texas always on the cusp of rolling blackouts? Can it be that our deregulated utilities respond to profit better than public signals? Should we rename the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) the Profit Utility Commission of Texas ($$UCT)?

Electricity demand and high temperature in Texas, August 2011

Electricity demand and high temperature in Texas, August 2011 - Greentech media - EIA

Remember the three R’s of regulated utilities: Resilient, Reliable, and Redundant. When an electric utility needed more generation, it simply built a new power plant with state of the art technology. The cost was included in the utility’s rate base, the return on capital was set by authentic public utility commissioners, and capital was abundant. Perfect.

But, not good enough for Texas. Now, the lobbyists and politicians have dismembered our proud electric utilities and chunked the pieces to the ‘competitive’ markets and private equity guys in the case of Dallas’ Energy Future Holdings (EFH).

Now it’s not so simple to build a power plant. Who is going to purchase the electricity and at what price? The retail bone has been disconnected from the power generation bone. Without assurance of a steady source of repayment, who is going to provide the capital for a free-standing power plant? Apparently, no one.

So, with temperatures soaring and the inadequacies of our deregulated and stand alone T&D grid in full view; what do you think will happen next? Electricity rates going down . . . probably not! This is a perfect time to invest in distributive solar PV electricity as a partial solution to this country’s unabated electricity demand. Electricity from light energy . . . how cool is that!

Grid-tied solar PV is an ideal energy resource to offset peak electricity demand on the grid. If you are a business or homeowner consider just 20% of your electrical load from solar PV. PV system prices are down 40% since 2009. It’s a long-term economic investment that will add to the value of your home or business now!

A PV system may produce power for 40 years or more. It uses no water, uses no fuel, no moving parts, no emissions, no noise, it does not eat anything, it does not need a college fund . . . it just sits there generating electricity day in and day out. When it’s over someday . . . just recycle.

AMERICA . . . it’s time to take some positive and independent steps. Do not wait on your politicians for anything. They are busy with lobbyists. They have work to do.

Distributive PV generation is a ground swell, bottom up movement; get onboard and make a difference for yourself and your community. It’s time.

Chet Boortz, CEO


[The comments, positions, and opinions stated above are my own and may or may not represent those of

SES21USA, LLC and its affiliate companies.]

Another scorcher in the Southwest. . . hot and dry . . . no problem!

July 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Crank up the AC . . . but what about the water?

heat wave in USA

heat wave in the USA

It’s July in America, and we expect it to be hot . . . but, it is so dry. How about an occasional afternoon thunder shower . . . not a tornado please, just a peaceful summer shower. The Texas governor chides Texans to pray for rain (and the nation). Good idea, but then what

about the water? Is this a drought or a longer period of aridification? To be sure, we will need to visit the issue again in 50 or 100 years, but in the meanwhile, it should make perfectly good sense to be mindful of water usage and conservation. Let’s throw the kids a bone.
What about energy and water usage . . . does it matter? Of course it does.
According to a USGS Study on water use in the U.S. (2005 data), thermoelectric (steam electricity generation) accounted for 201M gallons or 49% of U.S. daily water withdrawals:

U.S. water withdrawals by category

Public Supply 11%
Domestic 1%
Irrigation 31%
Livestock 1%
Aquaculture 2%
Industrial 4%
Mining 1%
Thermoelectric power 49%
A March, 2011 study by the non-partisan, World Policy Institute, The Water-Energy Nexus, Adding Water to the Energy Agenda, takes a water centric look at the impact of water consumption, withdrawal, and quality on energy production for transportation fuels and
electricity generation.
The study offers findings in language we understand in Texas. Comparing different fuel sources, how much water is consumed to operate an 18,000 Btu room air conditioner 12 hours/day for one week? [In Texas, think 24 hours/day!]
Fuel source Gallons of water
Hydroelectric 2,000
Geothermal 700
Solar Thermal 400
Nuclear 300
Thermoelectric, coal 200
Thermoelectric, oil 200
Coal, IGCC 100
Wind minimal
Solar PV minimal minimal
SOLAR PV wins!  This is not a surprise.  A home solar system uses light energy as a source fuel.We do not need water to produce light. A home solar system is distributive; the electricity isproduced where the electricity is consumed: on the load side of your electricity meter. No T&D!
So, think about your energy future; think about your water future, and pray for rain too.  Remember, a home solar system is scalable, you do not need to cover your rooftop with solar panels – maybe just enough to equal your AC electricity consumption! PV solar electricity is agrassroots, bottom-up movement. That’s perfect – one home and one business at a time.
Let’s get started today.
Chet Boortz,
[The comments, positions, and opinions stated above are my own and may or may not representthose of SES 21 USA and its affiliate companies.]

Solar Carport by Schletter Inc

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ever come back to your car and felt like you are taking a seat in the Sahara desert? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your car parked in the shade while you are at work? Schletter, our preferred manufacturer of mounting systems for solar PV systems designs and produces standardized as well as customized carport structures for commercial application.

Harvesting the energy from the sun, while having cars parked in the shade, just sounds like another one of solar’s various synergy effects.

Here is a great video telling the story of the installation of Schletter’s Solar Carport Park@Sol.

More info on Schletter click here

Park@Sol is a commercially available carport structure designed to mount solar arrays. Complete with an optional charging stations, Park@Sol is the perfect solution to power EV automobiles and provide a power consumption offset during the high-demand hours.



Click here to start a live chat about Schletter Racking Systems:

PV economics . . . Step one to calculating your return . . . how much electricity will your PV system produce?

April 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

Calculating the rate of return for you PV system does not need to be so mysterious.  Forget the calculators, let’s do some simple math.

We need to determine the benefit or income stream from the PV system over a certain period of time (25 to 40 years) and then calculate a present value rate of return (Internal Rate of Return) which includes the initial capital investment.  This is the way investment decisions are made, so why not do the same for your PV system?

Remember, payback is a misplaced metric!  What if your PV system has a payback of 7 years but an economic life of only 8 years?  Oops . . . not good thinking!  PV is a long term investment, and so is the economic return.

So, the very first step is to determine how much electricity your PV system is likely to produce.

Your best resource is PV Watts

PV Watts logo

PV Watts is a performance database developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to provide performance estimates for grid-tied PV systems.  It is incredibility easy to use:

  • Click on your state
  • Click on a nearby city with similar topography
  • Under PV System Specifications . . .
    • Enter the system size (DC Rating), and
    • Enter variables for the AC to DC Derate Factor, Array Tilt, and Array Azimuth Factor only if different than the default settings
  • If you like, enter your Cost of Electricity
  • Click Calculate!

In one second, you will have a first year monthly calculation of estimated AC energy produced by your system and its corresponding Energy Value.  How easy is that?  Do not be concerned if the site location is not an exact address.  This is an estimate, and if your location is close to the chosen city the difference is not material.

OK, now you have a very credible estimate of your first year’s electricity generation from your PV System.  Let’s convert this into a 40 years projection.

The place to start is your module warranty.  Reduce your power production in accordance with the warranty specifications.

I will use Schott as my example.  The Schott warranty specifies 97% of rated power at the end of the first year, and for years 2 through 25 the power will degrade no more than .7% per annum of the original rated output.  Actual field data has been considerably better.


Estimated power output of a high quality PV system over 40 years

Estimated power output of a high quality PV system over 40 years

Your PV system will not disappear after 25 years.  A high quality system will keep on keeping on!  For my calculation, I apply the .7% power derate factor until year 40.  At that time, the system output is approximately 70% of the original rated power.  Now I have a 40 year projection of power produced.


Year Annual power reduction
1 3%
2 – 25 .7%




Next, how do I convert this 40 year power projection to a monetary income stream?

Chet Boortz, CEO

Total Solar Direct

[The comments, positions, and opinions stated above are my own and may or may not represent those of Total Solar Direct and its affiliate companies.]

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