City of Richmond Press Release: Richmond top-rated for solar access, advances clean energy in the region


Media Advisory
Monday, June 21, 2021
Contact: Sam Schwartzkopf
Phone: 804-418-2056
Sam.Schwartzkopf@richmondgov.com

Richmond top-rated for solar access, advances clean energy in the region

City is one of four Virginia localities to receive SolSmart Gold designation

Richmond, VA — The City of Richmond was recently recognized as a SolSmart GOLD community for its efforts to make it faster, easier and less expensive for Richmonders to put solar on their homes and businesses.

The city’s solar power initiative is championed by the Office of Sustainability, in furtherance of RVAgreen 2050, the City’s equity-centered climate action and resilience initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and help the community adapt to Richmond’s climate impacts of extreme heat, precipitation and flooding.

The city received the GOLD designation after the Office of Sustainability worked with the Permits & Inspections Division of the Planning Department to verify that permits for small residential rooftop solar PV systems can be processed in three days.

Richmond is one of only four localities in Virginia that have received the GOLD level designation from SolSmart, a national program that assists and recognizes localities that foster the growth of strong solar markets in their communities by reducing barriers to going solar.

In 2018, Richmond received a SILVER designation for making changes to become more solar friendly, including clarifying solar related zoning issues and creating a one-stop resource to make it easier and quicker for residents to find information on solar related permits. The city was also a Special Recognition Award winner in Inspections for going above and beyond and earning at least 60% of the total points available in at least one of the eight SolSmart categories.

The city’s efforts to advance clean energy and support its RVAgreen 2050 initiative also include partnering with Henrico County and local non-profit Viridiant in the SolarizeRVA program to offer free one-stop, unbiased guidance for Richmond area residents to explore their solar and clean energy options and understand the costs and benefits of solar power systems for their homes.

Local non-profit Viridiant leads the effort to engage residents through community events, webinars, digital and direct engagement in order to provide information and resources about the value, technology and logistics of home solar arrays to ensure that potential solar adopters are fully equipped to make smart decisions for their households. To maximize the value and savings of solar energy, Viridiant also helps residents implement energy efficient strategies in their homes through home energy audits and community education events.

Over the long term, SolarizeRVA aims to bring 1,000 solar roofs to the Richmond region, reduce dependency on nonrenewable resources and provide real savings for area residents. Solar energy saves money and reduces energy dependency, and the switch is more appealing than ever, as the federal tax credit of 26% is set to expire at the end of 2022.

Free SolarizeRVA informational webinars for residents are hosted monthly. The next virtual events are June 24 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. Learn more here.

Learn more about SolarizeRVA at www.viridiant.org/solar or by contacting Andrew Grigsby, Viridiant Energy Services Director, at energy@viridiant.org.

Find Richmond’s online solar resources at https://www.rva.gov/sustainability/initiatives.

Learn more about Richmond’s SolSmart designation and SolSmart at www.solsmart.org/communities/richmond-va.

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Mitsubishi Electric Project Feature: Dahlgren Home

Dahlgren Home

Project Completed: April 2019


Edgewood, Georgia, a neighborhood on the east side of downtown Atlanta, is home to many craftsman-style bungalows. Originally developed for blue-collar workers in the early 1900s, today’s contractors and developers are finding new life for these homes, modernizing them while still keeping their original charm. That’s what local builder Joe Thomas decided to do when he came across a home with potential on Dahlgren Street.

“The home was built in 1925. I wanted to take the existing structure and do a high-quality renovation to a green building standard,” explained Thomas, owner, Elemental Green Homes. With plans to achieve certification from EarthCraft, a green building program, Thomas wanted to take energy efficiency and whole-home building design to the next level. Working with Mitsubishi Electric’s Performance Construction Team, he selected Zoned Comfort Solutions® for the project.


Challenge: A green builder wanted to renovate a 1925-built home for energy savings and high indoor air quality


The Set-Up for High Performance

After buying the lot in July 2018, Thomas immediately got to work changing the structure of the home for a more seamless and spacious design. “The home is a ranch style, originally 1,000 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom. We added on a master suite, bumping it up to 1,600-square feet,” said Thomas.

Next up, his team focused on securing a tight thermal envelope for the home to reduce loads for the mechanical systems. “We gutted the house to the studs. We left the original siding on and insulated everything from the inside,” said Thomas. “We created an air barrier inside the existing wall cavities and then we insulated them as well as the foundation walls with closed cell spray foam. The roof line was insulated with open cell spray foam.”

When it came time to design the HVAC system, Thomas had a few options. As a spec property without a homeowner attached yet, he could install either centralized heating and cooling or install a variable-capacity, split-ductless system. After running into Performance Construction team member Rob Howard at an industry event, Thomas was sold on the technology and efficiency of Zoned Comfort Solutions.

Diving into Ductless

“I had limited experience with Mitsubishi Electric HVAC equipment and had never designed a whole home around ductless systems,” explained Thomas. “That said, the Mitsubishi Electric brand has been around the longest in the ductless space. Between Rob and the sales rep, Ryan Burrell, I trusted their expertise. They both made a visit to the home and reviewed the space on a 1:1 scale. Even though the home was already ducted, they knew mini-splits would be practical for the project.”

The mechanical contractor, Canton Heating & Air (Canton), was also excited about partnering with Elemental Green on the HVAC selection and installation. As an Elite Diamond Contractor®, Canton is specially-trained to design, install and maintain Mitsubishi Electric HVAC systems. “We exclusively sell Mitsubishi Electric. When we started selling variable systems years ago, I knew Mitsubishi Electric was going to be a high-demand product,” said Richard Poag, president, Canton. “Now, we’re installing them in commercial buildings, houses, every single day.”

For this home, the HVAC layout came from the Performance Construction team, incorporating a hybrid ductless and ducted design featuring the SEZ Horizontal-Ducted Indoor Unit and one of Mitsubishi Electric’s latest products, the EZ Fit™ Recessed Ceiling Cassette.


Solution: Mitsubishi Electric Zoned Comfort Solutions®


The EZ Fit™ Recessed Ceiling Cassette

“The EZ Fit is a ductless ceiling cassette that sits flat on the ceiling of a room,” explained Poag. “Canton installed the first EZ Fit in the state of Georgia. We are selling more by the week; they are getting very popular because they don’t disturb the look of the room and they work really well. Our clients love the air vane feature that allows you to swing the airflow from left to right.”

Thomas agreed. “I think the EZ Fit is brilliant. It’s safe to say that one of the deciding factors for choosing mini-splits for this home was the aesthetic of the EZ Fit units. As a spec home, we’re always trying to appeal to potential buyers,” expressed Thomas.  With the house divided into three heating and cooling zones, Canton installed an EZ Fit on each end of the home and an SEZ to condition the center of the home. The result is an energy-efficient, comfortable atmosphere.


Result: A comfortable, energy-efficient home earning the EarthCraft Certification’s Health Badge


Hybrid HVAC Design and Savings

“In this project, the hybrid approach was ideal. The two EZ Fits do most of the cooling and air is circulated through the SEZ,” explained Poag. “The units work together and that’s best for the occupants. For example, a couple could use the EZ Fit to condition their bedroom while they sleep while the other units are adjusted down since the other zones aren’t in use. There are so many advantages of a hybrid system.”

The Mitsubishi Electric Performance Construction team also specified a third-party ventilation and dehumidification system to help bring in fresh, outside air, providing healthier indoor air quality for future residents. Another benefit for the future homeowners: a quality warranty.

“Since Canton is a Diamond Contractor, the homeowner gets a 12-year warranty on the compressor and parts for the registered HVAC system,” said Poag. “It’s a win-win for all parties involved whether they be the contractor, installers or the customer. That’s why we enjoy working with Mitsubishi Electric.”

The house went on the market in April 2019 and Thomas is confident the home is a solid representation of what Elemental Green Homes stands for: comfortable, energy efficient and healthy. The home met his goal of being EarthCraft certified and even achieved one of their newest honors: the Health Badge, recognizing outstanding indoor air quality. Because of the measures Thomas took to ensure low energy loads and savings, Elemental Green is also projected to receive two rebates through Georgia Power: $1,100 through their Home Energy Improvement Program and $750 for the HVAC systems since the outdoor unit is over 16 SEER.

Through a conscious effort to renovate the Dahlgren Home, the future homeowner is sure to reap the benefits of Thomas’ work.

Click here to access the Dahlgren Case Study and learn more about the products installed.


Mitsubishi Electric is a Principal Sponsor of Viridiant. Thank you, Mitsubishi Electric, for allowing Viridiant to share the important work you do!

DHCD invites Viridiant’s Executive Director to the table for Partners for Better Communities podcast 

In recognition of Building Safety Month in May, Viridiant’s Executive Director KC Bleile joined the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development’s Richard Potts to discuss collaborative innovations in the building industry to drive better energy efficiency on their Partners for Better Communities podcast. “We’re collaboratively working within an industry to make things better,” said KC on entering the energy efficient construction industry, “and there are some very low cost, very easy to implement solutions that result in better, high performing buildings that are better for our communities.” Listen to the full podcast below.

Solar is More Accessible Than You Might Think

Solar is More Accessible Than You Might Think

If you want to reduce your carbon footprint for the environment and your wallet, going solar is one of the most effective ways to do this. Solar is the world’s most abundant energy source available and can reduce our dependency on non-renewable resources such as oil, coal and natural gas. As the price of solar equipment has dropped and installers are ready to serve any community in Virginia, a solar array for your home may be more accessible than you might think!

Viridiant’s SolarizeRVA program offers free solar consultations helping address your goals, your home, your economics and other ways to reduce your energy consumption. We don’t sell solar panels. We’re a non-profit dedicated to helping our neighbors make smart decisions about their homes. If you have a good site, a solar array might be a terrific investment for you. Even so, you might want a pro on your side as you start to explore the options.

So what makes a good solar site? First, it’s sunshine. Lots of sunshine. The area should be unshaded most of the day. You want your solar panels to produce as much electricity as possible. They produce the most when the sun’s rays hit them straight on, so a roof in good shape facing generally south is best. Did you know panels and racking only add 3-4 pounds per square foot? Most roofs are designed to accommodate 20 pounds of snow load per square foot, so weight isn’t typically a concern. Good installers are used to evaluating roof framing and will call in an engineer if there’s any question about the structure.

Here’s how SolarizeRVA works:

  1. Complete the solar interest form at viridiant.org/solar, email energy@viridiant.org or call 804-252-1486
  2. One-on-one consultation with energy specialist (best when part of a home energy audit!)
  3. Viridiant connects you with vetted contractors for bids (and helps you choose the right one for you)
  4. Installation is quick and easy!

It’s a great time to go solar. The federal tax credit of 26% is set to go down to 22% at the end of 2022.

Viridiant is a mission-driven non-profit that has led the charge for cleaner, greener building in Virginia since 2006. Our experts are always available to explain the technology, financing options, installation process, calculating your ROI, and logistics of solar, as well as insulation, HVAC, water heaters, appliances, electric vehicles, and more. If you want to lower costs, improve indoor air quality and comfort, or reduce your carbon footprint, we’re here to help you make the most cost-effective choices.

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” link=”viridiant.org/solar” popup=”no”]Learn more about SolarizeRVA[/trx_button]

 

The 2021 SolarizeRVA campaign is made stronger by our partnerships with the City of Richmond Office of Sustainability, Henrico County’s Energy Management Division, and Solar United Neighbors of Virginia.

 

Viridiant Launches New Brand for SolarizeRVA Campaign (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 26, 2021
Stacy Mitchell, Director of Communications & Outreach

Viridiant Launches New Brand for SolarizeRVA Campaign
Local non-profit campaign to advance clean energy in the Richmond region

(Richmond, VA) In partnership with Henrico County and the City of Richmond, Viridiant has launched a new SolarizeRVA campaign brand to advance clean energy in the Richmond region.

SolarizeRVA is a public education campaign to help Richmond-area residents understand the costs and benefits of solar power systems for their homes. Local non-profit Viridiant leads this effort to engage residents who have questions about the value, technology, and logistics of home solar arrays and to connect them with vetted local contractors for bids. Through community events, webinars, digital and direct engagement, Viridiant’s expert staff seek to ensure that potential solar customers are fully equipped to make smart decisions for their households.

The campaign is made even more effective by the engagement of community partners. Viridiant is proud to partner with Henrico County and the City of Richmond to spread the word about the opportunity of solar and efficiency while connecting constituents to Viridiant’s free and low-cost services. Clean energy starts with energy efficiency and Viridiant offers home energy audits to help campaign participants find energy-smart solutions that make solar power go farther.

Viridiant’s Executive Director KC Bleile shared, “The SolarizeRVA campaign offers one-stop, unbiased guidance for Richmond area residents to explore their solar and clean energy options. Working with our county and city partners, the SolarizeRVA campaign provides clean energy solutions to meet Virginia’s Clean Economy Act commitment to the Commonwealth supporting 100% clean energy by 2050.”

Over the long term, we aim to bring 1,000 solar roofs to the Richmond Region, reduce dependency on nonrenewable resources, and provide real savings for area residents. Solar evaluations are easy, free and unbiased as we work to meet your home’s energy efficiency goals under the mission of our non-profit. Learn more at www.viridiant.org/solar.

About Viridiant: Since 2006, Viridiant has partnered to advance energy efficient buildings across the Southeast and has delivered over 30,000 high performance homes and buildings. In 2020, Viridiant introduced the Community Energy Services Division focusing on energy audits, solar and consultation.

About Henrico County: The Henrico County Energy Management program works to reduce energy use and cost in government, public schools, and public utilities operations for both economic and environmental benefit. The county has recently completed its first rooftop solar systems and has several more projects planned for municipal buildings and schools.  Henrico County also strives to set a good example and be a resource for county residents, businesses, and employees interested in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental sustainability.

About City of Richmond: RVAgreen 2050 is the City of Richmond’s equity-centered climate action and resilience planning initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and help the community adapt to Richmond’s climate impacts of extreme heat, precipitation, and flooding.

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Earth Day: Think Globally, Act Locally

Guest post by Kenin Sharku, University of Richmond Bonner Scholar with Viridiant

More than a billion people worldwide recognize and demonstrate support for environmental protection on Earth Day. Climate change has greatly impacted our daily lives and the future of our planet and Earth Day provides an opportunity to call for bold, creative and innovative solutions globally to rising challenges.

According to the EPA, “greenhouse gases from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century”. To address the climate crisis, we should reduce our carbon footprint in our everyday lives by using less energy and water. Even small efforts can make a change, and they start right at home.

Not sure where to start? Viridiant recommends a few easy-to-implement tips for reducing your energy usage immediately, especially as we enter warm summer months.

  • Turning off all lights and electronics when not in use
  • Unplugging all electronics or use a power strip when not in use
  • Changing air filters on schedule
  • Using blinds/curtains to keep heat and light out as needed
  • Setting the water heater not higher than 120°
  • Washing full loads of laundry and dishes
  • Air-dry clothes and dishes
  • Tracking your energy usage
  • Setting thermostat settings at heating: 68° and cooling: 75°

A step towards sustainability is a step towards a safer future. Viridiant works every day to advocate for more affordable, sustainable and energy-efficient construction. With the most skilled building science experts on our team, Viridiant strives to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment and educate the community on energy saving strategies for a better future.

Are you interested in taking the next steps to make your home more energy efficient? The best first step is to schedule a home energy audit (starting at just $45!) with Viridiant. We will inspect your home to identify energy saving potential, health and safety issues, durability concerns, solar potential, and more.

Over the last year, we have installed more than 1,400 LED lightbulbs and more than 1,800 feet of pipe insulation during our energy audits – all free to the client. This has reduced annual energy use in greater Richmond by almost 90 megawatt hours while saving our clients an average $123 a year on their energy bills. That’s a typical month’s electricity bill gone! And that’s just from the LED lights and pipe insulation. You will also be provided with a comprehensive report outlining a prioritized list of improvements that can further increase energy-saving in your home, lower your energy bills, and improve the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” link=”https://www.viridiant.org/home-energy-audit/” popup=”no”]Yes, I want a home energy audit![/trx_button]

 

Change starts at home. Viridiant offers a variety of services from energy audits, solar consultations, financial tools (EEMs) and design solutions for new homes and renovations. Visit our Community Energy Services webpage to learn more and begin your journey to a more sustainable lifestyle.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with Viridiant’s Energy Director, contact energy@viridiant.org or call 804-252-1486.

Celebrating One Year of Viridiant’s Community Energy Services Division

We’re celebrating!

It’s been one year since Viridiant launched our Community Energy Services Division to provide home energy audits, solar consultation, and more to the Richmond region.

Over the last year, we have installed more than 1,400 LED lightbulbs and more than 1,800 feet of pipe insulation during our energy audits. This  has reduced annual energy use in greater Richmond by almost 90 megawatt hours while saving our clients an average $123 a year on their energy bills. That’s a typical month’s electricity bill gone! And that’s just from the LED lights and pipe insulation.

We also have alerted our clients to leaking hot water pipes, disconnected ductwork, un-secured windows, carbon monoxide risks, underperforming insulation, massive air leaks, and more. We’ve given detailed advice on how to make low-cost but high-impact improvements, provided solar production numbers, and connected folks with quality contractors for HVAC work.

Learn more about what our Community Energy Services Division offers:

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” link=”https://www.viridiant.org/home-energy-audit/” popup=”no”]Home Energy Audits[/trx_button]

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” bg_color=”#dfc822″ link=”https://www.viridiant.org/homeowners-2/solar/” popup=”no”]Solar Consultations[/trx_button]

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” bg_color=”#5db6cd” link=”https://www.viridiant.org/home-energy-consulting/” popup=”no”]Consulting, Design & Referrals[/trx_button]

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” bg_color=”#77797a” link=”viridiant.org/events” popup=”no”]Community Educational Programming[/trx_button]

Thanks for being part of a great first year for Viridiant’s Community Energy Services Division. Want to learn more? Visit the Community Energy Services webpage, attend an upcoming free informational webinar or email energy@viridiant.org.

Kicking Off SolarizeRVA 2021

Kicking Off SolarizeRVA 2021

By: Andrew Grigsby, Energy Services Director

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” link=”https://www.viridiant.org/event/solarizerva-2021-kick-off-webinar/” popup=”no”]Register to join us for our kickoff webinar on 3/25 at 7pm![/trx_button]

Do you have one of these? I bought this solar-powered calculator in 1996, and it still works just fine. That’s right, 25 years old, and those tiny solar panels still power out trigonometry and lots other things I still don’t quite understand.

But my point is not to date myself, rather, it’s to demonstrate how durable and reliable solar panels are. Here we have cheap, quarter-century-old equipment that keeps chugging along. Of course today’s panels are as much improved as this year’s smart phones compared to the flip phone (or was it a car phone?) of 1996. They pack way more electricity-producing technology into each panel such that many homes can now produce 50%, 75%, even 100% of their annual electricity needs with rooftop solar.

If you’ve been curious about solar for a while, Viridiant is launching the 2021 edition of our campaign to help our neighbors understand the technology, the logistics of an installation, tax credits, financing options, and the overall opportunity. We call it SolarizeRVA. And our goal is 1000 new solar homes in the Richmond region. This campaign is a continuation of a long-time project of the Richmond Region Energy Alliance, with whom Viridiant merged a year ago.

Here’s how SolarizeRVA works: You call us, email us, fill out our on-line form, or join one of our webinars or community meetings. Our staff take a look at your roof (or yard/field) and your electric bill and talk you through how much solar electricity you could generate and how that could work for you financially. We’ll also discuss other energy-smart technologies and offer you an in-home energy analysis for as little as $45. Basically, you get easy access to some of Virginia’s most experienced residential energy and construction professionals to provide un-biased expertise without a sales pitch.

Over the coming months we’ll offer numerous public events where area residents can join in the conversation and have their specific questions answered. Our first is a webinar on Thursday, March 25 at 7PM. Register for free at https://www.viridiant.org/event/solarizerva-2021-kick-off-webinar. In addition to providing education, SolarizeRVA includes access to vetted installers to whom we can refer you.

It’s a great time to go solar. The federal tax credit of 26% is set to go down to 22% at the end of 2022 (details at https://www.seia.org/initiatives/solar-investment-tax-credit-itc). Installation on your roof takes just 1-3 days depending on the complexity of the operation, and 99% of the work is outside, so it really is a safe undertaking during social distancing. Our re-design of the Solarize model offers both consumers and industry partners more flexibility to get to the best solutions and best prices on a customer-by-customer basis.

There are no free panels. The utilities are not “paying you” to go solar. There is one simple federal tax rebate. We can explain all of that – without a sales pitch. Viridiant is a mission-driven non-profit that has led the charge for cleaner, greener building in Virginia since 2006. Our experts are always available to explain the technology, financing options, installation process, calculating your ROI, and logistics of solar, insulation, HVAC, water heaters, appliances, electric vehicles, and more. If you want to lower costs, improve indoor air quality and comfort, or reduce your carbon footprint, we’re here to help you make the most cost-effective choices.

Here’s my family’s solar story. We’ve had solar panels on the roof of our house for almost exactly 4 years. St. Patrick’s day is our “solarversary”… appropriately green. In that time, the only problem we’ve ever had is with my router dropping its connection with the equipment. Meantime, the panels have produced over 32,867 kilowatthours of electricity. At 11-12 cents per kilowatthour, that’s $3665. After the federal tax credit, we paid $10,400 for this 6KW array (20 panels). Using the simple payback method, we’re in the clear in around 11 years – at today’s electricity prices. Where else are you going to get a guaranteed 9% return on an investment?

But we pay for this array as part of our mortgage. We did a rehab mortgage and borrowed a little extra to pay for the solar. So, I look at it from a cashflow point of view. I pay about $53/month to have the array there. That’s the cost of applying $10,400 to my mortgage. But it makes an average $76/month worth of electricity. I call that making money – from day one. If you’re considering refinancing your mortgage or buying a new home, this could be as good a deal for you.

So what makes a good solar site? First, it’s sunshine. Lots of sunshine. The area should be unshaded most of the day. And if it’s a roof, it should be facing generally south. You want your solar panels to produce as much electricity as possible. They produce the most when the sun’s rays hit them straight on. You also should have a roof that’s in very good shape. You don’t want to install a solar array on shingles that need replacing in less than 10 years.

But you don’t have to figure all of this out on your own. Just reach out to us and we’ll save you hours of research. Not every home has a good site for solar panels. That’s why we encourage everyone to get a home energy inspection as part of the process.

[trx_button type=”square” style=”default” size=”medium” bg_style=”custom” link=”https://www.viridiant.org/event/solarizerva-2021-kick-off-webinar/” popup=”no”]Register to join us for our webinar on March 25th at 7pm![/trx_button]

 

Solar Appreciation Day

On the second Friday of March each year, people celebrate Solar Appreciation Day globally to learn more about solar technology. Solar Appreciation Day marks a fantastic opportunity to discuss the value of solar energy and celebrate sustainability and energy independence on a global scale.

The value of renewable energy is soaring during this time of climate crisis uncertainty. Common energy commodities can come at a premium, and when we have access to an everlasting source of power in solar, making the switch to save money and reduce our carbon footprint is more appealing than ever.

If you’ve been curious about solar for a while, Viridiant is launching the 2021 edition of our SolarizeRVA campaign to help our neighbors understand the technology, the logistics of an installation, tax credits, financing options, and the overall opportunity. This campaign is a continuation of a long-time project of the Richmond Region Energy Alliance, with whom Viridiant merged a year ago. SolarizeRVA 2021 is kicking-off with an informational webinar on Thursday, March 25, 7:00-8:00pm with Viridiant’s Energy Services Director, Andrew Grigsby.

Here is Andrew’s family’s solar story.

We’ve had solar panels on the roof of our house for almost exactly 4 years. St. Patrick’s day is our “solarversary”… appropriately green. In that time, the only problem we’ve ever had is with my router dropping its connection with the equipment. Meantime, they panels have produced over 32,867 kilowatthours of electricity. At 11-12 cents per kilowatthour, that’s $3665. After the federal tax credit, we paid $10,400 for this 6KW array (20 panels). Using the simple payback method, we’re in the clear in around 11 years – at today’s electricity prices. Where else are you going to get a guaranteed 9% return on an investment?

But we pay for this array as part of our mortgage. We did a rehab mortgage and borrowed a little extra to pay for the solar. So, I look at it from a cashflow point of view. I pay about $53/month to have the array there. That’s the cost of applying $10,400 to my mortgage. But it makes an average $76/month worth of electricity. I call that making money – from day one. If you’re considering refinancing your mortgage or buying a new home, this could be as good a deal for you.

So what makes a good solar site? First, it’s sunshine. Lots of sunshine. The area should be unshaded most of the day. And if it’s a roof, it should be facing generally south and in very good shape. You want your solar panels to produce as much electricity as possible. They produce the most when the sun’s rays hit them straight on.Reach out to our team today to learn more about solar viability at your home.

Here’s how SolarizeRVA works: You call us, email us, fill out our on-line form, or join one of our webinars or community meetings. Our staff take a look at your roof (or yard/field) and your electric bill and talk you through how much solar electricity you could generate and how that could work for you financially. We’ll also discuss other energy-smart technologies and offer you an in-home energy analysis for as little as $45. Basically, you get easy access to some of Virginia’s most experienced residential energy and construction professionals to provide un-biased expertise without a sales pitch. In addition to providing education, SolarizeRVA includes access to vetted installers to whom we can refer you.

It’s a great time to go solar. The federal tax credit of 26% is set to go down to 22% at the end of 2022 (details at https://www.seia.org/initiatives/solar-investment-tax-credit-itc). Installation on your roof takes just 1-3 days depending on the complexity of the operation, and 99% of the work is outside, so it really is a safe undertaking during social distancing. Our re-design of the Solarize model offers both consumers and industry partners more flexibility to get to the best solutions and best prices on a customer-by-customer basis.

Don’t forget to sign up for our SolarizeRVA 2021 kick-off webinar on Thursday, March 25, from 7:00-8:00pm. Register here.

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America Recycles Day

The Keep America Beautiful America Recycles Day is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Held on and around Nov. 15, America Recycles Day educates and encourages individuals on how to be more mindful of what they consume, where and how to properly recycle, and to pledge to recycle more and recycle right in their everyday lives.

The recycling rate has increased from less than 7 percent in 1960 to the current rate of over 35 percent. An EPA Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study in 2016 study found that in a single year, recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for:

  • 757,000 jobs
  • $36.6 billion in wages; and
  • $6.7 billion in tax revenues.

America Recycles Day is one day a year reserved for the education of recycling and how to be more mindful of what we consume, to reuse as much as possible, repurpose items, and where and how to properly recycle. EPA’s listed benefits of recycling:

  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals
  • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials
  • Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
  • Saves energy
  • Supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources
  • Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States

Whether you’re at home, on the go, or in the office, there are many opportunities to go green by reducing, reusing and recycling. Not sure how to recycle common items? Visit this link published by the EPA to learn how to recycle items such as batteries, used oil, tires and more.

Are you located in the greater Richmond area and not sure how to recycle common items? Visit the CVWMA’s Recycling Wizard online for specific locations to recycle common items such as electronics, paints, lawnmowers, and more.

 

 

 

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