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Advertorial by SCGH
Be the change you wish to see in the world—Brandon can help.
ARIZONA – If you didn’t think you were ready for solar, think again. Brandon Cheshire, Owner & Chief Technical Officer at Arizona-based SunHarvest Solar, recently spoke with us about his own experience going solar and explained why now is the time to transition to the bright side.
Between the incentives, the savings, and the environmental benefits, an investment in a solar system is a smart one. Take it from Brandon: he doesn’t just do solar—he lives it.
Q: You founded SunHarvest Solar in 2009, but didn’t install a solar system until December 2011. What made you “go for it” and why is now the time for other people to do the same?
A: Initially, I was more focused on my customers than my own energy independence. But once I sat down and went through all the numbers, I was ecstatic that I could easily afford the products I had been raving about, and then a little upset with myself I hadn’t considered it sooner!
There are so many diverse ways to go solar today that don’t require any money up front. There are great leasing and financing options available, but the best option is the purchase of your own solar system. Think about it this way: Buying a solar system can be like buying a car, only the solar system actually saves you money every day, doesn’t pollute the air, generates your electricity, requires almost zero maintenance, and will run for a guaranteed 25 years!
Everyone buys a car; why doesn’t everyone buy a solar system? Seems like a much better investment to me. Plus with what you save on energy, you can afford that car too! Now is the time, now will always be the time. The incentives are disappearing, and energy costs will continue to rise. There is a transition going on, why wait?
Q: Can you explain the incentives you’re referring to?
A: The state of Arizona is offering a one-time tax credit of $1,000 for installing a solar system.
Plus, the Federal government is offering a 30% tax credit, set to expire at the end of 2016. The Federal credit even includes additional home improvements to accommodate the solar system install—like a new roof, a new electrical panel upgrade, or even moving an air conditioner!
Utility companies also offer incentives. Arizona Public Service (APS) is currently offering a rebate incentive of $0.10/dc watt of solar installed, and Salt River Project (SRP) is currently offering a rebate incentive of $0.10. These incentives have already been reduced in just the past few weeks—don’t miss out!
Q: What are the steps involved in taking advantage of these local incentives and rebates?
A: The local incentives through the utility company require an application which can only be submitted after the engineering has been completed. It is a very simple process that we work through directly with the customer. Typically, we handle the entire process for our customers; we just require their authorization to submit paperwork on their behalf.
Clients can claim the tax credits when filing their taxes at the end of the installed year. We always advise our customers to verify that they have the appropriate tax liability to receive the tax credits.
Q: What are the costs involved in getting initial consultations and/or quotations?
A: SunHarvest offers truly free quotations. If any customer is genuinely interested, all they need to do is provide us with 1) Home address, and 2) Annual energy consumption in Kilowatt hours (Kwh) provided by utility company. We are very clear, honest, and transparent with our consultations and analyses. Every quotation comes with a financial return on investment (ROI) analyses, and shows you exactly what you can expect with either a purchased, financed, or leased solar system.
Q: What sort of ROI are you enjoying? And what can your customers expect?
A: Because I capitalized early when the utility rebates were higher, and benefited from being able to install the solar system myself, my solar system paid for itself within nine months! I will never worry about my energy costs again, and that is guaranteed for 25 years.
Our customers can expect to see a return on investment within five years, and an annual return of 16-20% over 20 years.
Q: How long did it take you to go solar?
A: It took me six weeks from start to finish. I had to wait a few weeks to get my reservation approved from APS, but they have since expedited the application process. We are now getting these systems installed within one month from the date customers sign the contract to go green with SunHarvest.
Q: How does your business reflect your confidence in solar technology and your commitment to a more sustainable future?
A: We truly practice what we preach here at SunHarvest. Both owners are committed to solar energy, sustainability, and ethical progress. Both owners have solar powered homes that will produce clean energy into the foreseeable future.
We have seen many companies come and go over the last four years, including the corporations that provided my solar education and cemented my commitment to the renewable industry. SunHarvest has never sought out capital or outside investment; we have just grown from within. No debt, no loans, no outside influence, or corporate meddling here. SunHarvest will continue to grow in a sustainable manner, continuing our altruistic agenda and promoting clean, green energy.
Q: Finally, can you explain your passion for conserving energy?
A: It comes down to what I value most in this life, and my ultimate mission to attain happiness versus wealth. I am fortunate to be able to make an honest living doing something I love, something that is beneficial to everyone, something that is admirable and virtuous, something my family can be proud of, and something that improves the quality of life for everyone involved.
Getting into the solar industry seemed like the most productive way I could harness my skills, benefit others, love what I do, and live up to my mantra: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That is my real passion—a progressive voice and body, actively aggregating change for the better.
To read more about the energy efficiency upgrades Brandon made to his now net zero home, check out his “9 Simple Steps to a Carbon Neutral Home.”
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