If you have been considering using solar energy at home, there is no reason to put it off. Take a little time to research how much money you can save by using renewable solar energy at your home or office.

Solar electricity can save you money, because any extra solar power that the panels on the top of your house generate will be sold to the local utility company, saving you money on your overall bills. You can feel great about reducing your carbon footprint and enjoy the financial benefits as well.

2016 is a great year to start your solar installation project, because the 30% federal tax benefit that is currently in place is set to expire in 2017. There is a chance the tax benefits will be renewed, which would be great for our country, our economy and clean energy industry and jobs. However, the only way to be absolutely certain that you will receive the 30% tax credit is to finish your solar installation in 2016.

The tax benefits that exist right now make this the perfect time to add solar energy to your home. The savings provided through the tax credit right now bring your initial costs down, and then you will see the long-term benefits of solar energy for years to come. You will even see a return on your investment if you sell your home eventually, because home buyers are excited about the option of solar energy.

If you are in the California area and considering adding solar energy to your home, please contact us.

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Everyone knows The Bay Area is a great place to live- we’ve got perfect weather, some of the best beaches and parks in the world, good schools and jobs, melting pots of culture, and the best dinning around! Did you also know that the sunny Bay Area was rated as a “Solar Star” by Environment America’s 2014 study? They found that The Bay Area was the #2 area in the nation with more than 50 watts of installed solar PV capacity per person and the #4 area in America for total installed solar PV capacity!

As one of the leading solar companies in the Bay Area, Fidelity Home Energy isn’t surprised by the news. We’re headquartered in San Leandro and our staff installed over 500 residential solar projects in 2015 alone.

In addition to the 263 days a year of sunshine the Bay Area enjoys, the key reasons for this phenomenal industry growth include the energy cost savings for homeowners, improvements in property values (an average of a $20,194 premium to the sales price), and qualification for several government programs. The 30% IRS solar tax credit is unlimited and currently available until 2017. Lucky citizens of the surrounding Bay Area have access to financing at attractive rates and terms through the Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE program.

While some home owners are hesitant to buy solar now, fearing that prices will continue to go down in coming years, energy costs are only rising and crunching the numbers on a solar calculator show that your family will be recouping costs more quickly than ever. Another reason solar power is becoming so popular in the Bay Area and across America is the ability for a solar systems to be designed specifically to maximize your energy harvest. A solar solution can now be installed that powers your home, Jacuzzi and pool, and that can be placed on a wide variety of rooftops- from concrete to Spanish tile.

If you’re a Bay Area resident ready to join your neighbors in saving money, living more sustainability and investing in your home, contact us to find out how easy it is to go from a free in-home energy analysis to power on!

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Stanford University recently released a new alternative energy plan that outlines how the state of California can switch to wind, geothermal, water, and solar power by 2050. According to the study’s lead author, Mark Z. Jacobson, the plan “will eliminate air pollution mortality and global warming emissions from California, stabilize prices, and create jobs.”

Although there is an initial capital investment required to build the new power plants and other structures, the study predicts that overall energy use would be reduced by 44%. In addition, 220,000 net jobs would be created and deaths associated with air pollution would drop by 12,500 a year. The plan would also help California avoid the costly environmental effects of climate change, such as coastal erosion. All told, the savings to the state would pay for the cost of the plan in only seven years.

Solar energy plays a big role in the plan, accounting for 55.5% of the state’s energy. Although much of this comes from the 1,200 solar power plants that the plan calls for, homeowners and businesses would contribute as well with 15 million 5-kilowatt rooftop solar panel systems.

Installing rooftop solar panels doesn’t just benefit the state of California, however: between the California Solar Initiative, tax credits, and payments for unused electricity, homeowners can get both an immediate return on their investment and a long-term boost to energy savings. If you’re interested in saving money on your energy bills, get a head start on the plan now and get a free solar energy analysis. And for more information about solar energy and how you can reduce your energy costs, please contact us.

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Soccer isn’t the only thing that Germany is getting right these days. Recently the country set two new solar records – promising news for the future of solar energy.

During the first two months of June, Germany produced 50.6% of its total energy via solar (Science Alert). That’s right, over half of its energy came from solar! What’s more, the country set a world record in May by producing 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour. To put that in perspective, it would be the equivalent of running 20 nuclear power plants at full capacity – that is a lot of power!

What is remarkable about these breakthroughs in solar energy is that 90% of Germany’s solar panels are installed on the roof tops of private individuals – not solar energy farms. Since deciding to move away from nuclear energy in 2011, the country has had success in promoting solar energy to its citizens. Scientists also point to the excellent weather that occurred in June as a reason for how the country was able to produce over half of its energy this way.

Which begs the question – why isn’t the United States, and sunny Southern California in particular, producing more solar energy? Under 1% of energy produced in the United States is solar.  But in California, we’re doing a lot better than that at 18%, leading the nation in solar energy production and doubling solar power generation in the state over the last two years (Reuters). Fidelity Home Energy has been a leader in fostering this trend in California. If you are thinking about solar energy as an option for your home, please contact us today.

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When people think of California, they think of sunny California. The Golden State is doing more than its fair share of promoting the sun as the best energy source. The State Assembly is attempting to make it easier for residents to apply for solar panels by creating a standardized application process through Bill 2188. The legislation, which will be debated and voted upon in the State Senate in August, calls for “cities to process permits for small, residential solar installations within five business days. It also would reduce the review process to just one inspection after the installation is complete.” While on the surface, the bill looks promising, it has created divisions among solar companies in California. One owner of a solar company says the application process is not a cookie cutter situation. It can take up to three weeks to process a permit, install the solar modules and complete the inspection. Different cities have different standards for solar, the con side insists. Others insist that residential solar panels have become more uniform and a check list can be completed in an hour. Meanwhile, fire departments complain that solar panels inhibit access, create electrical fires and expose firemen to electric shock and there needs to be a balance between safety and ecological advancements. Another area gaining attention, and for which California is becoming a “guinea pig,” is energy storage. The ability to harness reserves of solar energy would benefit residents, who would not have to worry about wasting energy during times they are not at home. Solar energy could be used in the evening and blackouts would be more tolerable. People would gain more control of their energy usage, and subsequently, the costs. SunPower, which used to make panels and is now an energy service provider, has entered into an agreement with builder KB Home to offer buyers in El Dorado Hills, Irvine and San Diego free lithium-ion battery systems to be installed by the end of 2014. The goal would be to start selling the systems in 2015. The project will aide SunPower in determining the best ways to manage solar energy production and the charge and discharge of electricity from storage. They will also be testing batteries from different companies, including California’s Sunverge Energy. Another factor pushing energy storage in the state is that the three investor-owned utilities in California are under obligation to purchase 1,325 megawatts of energy storage services by 2020. We at Fidelity Home Energy are absolutely in favor of anything that speeds up the solar installation process for us or our customers. Different areas throughout California have long waiting times for permitting solar, and it would be nice to have a more streamlined approach. We have offices in San Diego, Torrance (Los Angeles), Hayward (San Francisco Bay Area) and Sacramento, Ventura and Fresno. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, before solar was fashionable. You will receive a free, extensive In-Home Energy Analysis, with a quote that is good for six months. Small job or big, we will work with you, providing a fully customized and “made for you” solar array system. We handle all paperwork and permits for you. Full installation is completed by highly trained and certified solar electric technicians using industry leading, top quality products. You are assigned a dedicated project manager throughout your installation process, and an Energy Specialis t for follow-up visits post installation, to make sure you know how to properly and safely operate your system. When you’re ready for solar in California, contact us, the solar company in California.

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Use These Energy Reducing Tips For Appliances to Boost Your New Solar Panel Savings

 

We are all looking for ways to save money as energy prices continue to soar, and solar energy is proving to do just that. If you want to boost your savings even more, consider these ideas for your home appliances.

Refrigerators

If your fridge model is older than 1990, think about replacing it. Anything newer had to be designed more energy efficient. If that isn’t feasible for you there are cost free steps you can take. The next time you do some serious spring cleaning, move out your refrigerator and dust the coils. Keep the cold settings at 37-40 degrees and the freezer at 5 degrees. Anything colder is unnecessary. If your freezer isn’t full, stock it full, even if it is only gallon jugs full of water. It takes less energy that way. An obscure tip you may never have heard is to keep all food covered as the escaping moisture makes the refrigerator compressor work harder to keep the right temperature.

Washers and Dryers

If you can afford it, a washer made after 1994 requires 5.8 gallons or less of water. Older ones use up to 10 gallons. Plus the moisture sensor setting on many models will shut off the dryer once clothes are dry, saving time and money. If you have a block of time, washing and drying your laundry loads all at one time will save as well. That way the dryer doesn’t completely cool off between loads. Two other ideas are to use the cool down cycle on your dryer to finish drying with the remaining heat and wash using cold water. It really does work just as well.

Dishwashers

Did you know the rinse-hold cycle uses 3-7 gallons of hot water? Also, using economy mode will reduce the amount of hot water and energy your dishwasher consumes.  If you are nearby, try turning it off after the wash cycle, crack the door and let the dishes air dry.

Stoves

There are some things you can do during cooking to save energy as well. Turning off the heat to the burners when food is almost done will allow the residual heat to finish the cook time. Copper bottomed pans are much more energy efficient, as are heavier duty pans. You can also move heat back to pans better if your burner reflectors are clean. Plus every time you open your oven door you lose almost 25 degrees of oven heat.

Water Heaters

Try turning off your unit when you are on vacation. A water heater will actually heat to the set temperature within an hour of being turned back on. Insulating the first six feet of pipe connected to the water heater will help it run more efficiently, and insulating wrap will make a huge difference on the tank itself. Also, check your owner’s manual to see what temperature it recommends the model be set at. Many can be set much lower than you might think and still keep your shower toasty. Tankless water heaters may seem efficient, but often the initial cost isn’t cost effective over all.

We at Fidelity Home Energy are passionate about the benefits of solar energy to save you money and contribute to a better environment. These simple ideas will only enhance what a solar system can do. Please feel free to contact us for more info.

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Unless they’re appearing in fictional entertainment like Twilight or True Blood, having vampires in your home (or business) is bad news, especially not for your energy bill. The vampires I’m talking about are energy vampires (or if you prefer a different paranormal reference, phantom energy users). These energy suckers up your energy usage – and your bill – on average 15%. With electric company rates increasing regularly, you can lower your monthly power bill by implementing some simple energy saving measures.

Here are 5 tips on slaying energy vampires from Fidelity Home Energy

1. The Right Light Bulbs?

Not all light bulbs are created equal and not all light fixtures need the same light bulb. Even if you are still using traditional light bulbs, make sure you are using no more than the wattage your lamp requires. Higher than necessary wattage not only costs more, it will damage the lamp socket and is a fire hazard. Of course, you’ll save a lot more money if you switch to energy efficient compact fluorescents (CFL’s) or LED lighting. Today, there are a variety of CFL light bulbs available so that you can select
the most appropriate bulb for your needs. They come in different wattages, sizes, shapes, and tints (I use a pink tint for my bedside lamps to create a more restful atmosphere), as well as bulbs for dimmable fixtures and multiple setting fixtures (such as 3-way lamps).

2. Unplug Chargers

Chargers for laptops, tablets, cell phones, music players, and even simple rechargeable items such as shavers and toothbrushes, continue to suck energy even when there are no electronics being recharged. Unplugging chargers when not in use will conserve energy and lower your bill. If you have more than a few rechargeable electronics you might even lower your energy usage down to a lower rate energy profile. If you plug in a few items overnight, for convenience’s sake you can use an energy strip you can turn off in the morning and turn back on when you need it.

3. Appliances and Electronics Not In Use

Other electronics and appliances stay plugged in all the time when not in use may be drawing energy. This includes any item with a clock – such as a DVR, DVD player, stereo system, game system, or even a VCR (hey, some of us still have those for our old movies that aren’t available on DVD!). It also includes our big screen TV’s, calculators, coffee makers, programmable room heaters, and air conditioners, and pretty much anything else the stays plugged in when it’s not in use. Think about what items really need to stay plugged in, such as alarm clocks, and which do not. Think about how many clocks you really need in the family room and use energy saving settings, such as sleep mode, when you can.

4. The Importance of Insulation

It may be old-school, but insulation is still an effective way to save energy. Windows, doors, and even electrical outlets can allow cold air into a house in the winter and leak cool, air conditioned air in the summer requiring using more heating and cooling than is necessary. Make sure these fixtures are installed and insulated properly. Insulate your water heater to lower the energy it uses to keep the water heated. You can also save energy by making sure your attic or crawl space is adequately insulated.

5. Could It Be More Energy Efficient?

Look at the energy efficiency rating of your major appliances. If they are older and getting near their replacement date or are too old to even have an energy efficiency rating, replacing them with energy efficient models will lower your energy bills and they will work better. With a water heater that is 8 years or older, you are not only saving energy usage, you will prevent an untimely leak that could cause significant damage and inconvenience.

Simple Steps to Saving Money

These deceptively simple ways to save energy add up fast and you can save up to 15% or more on your energy bill. If you’re interested in saving consider switching to renewable solar energy installed by Fidelity Home Energy.

Call now at (855) Solar 4 U to schedule an in-home consultation and learn how much you can save on future energy bills by installing solar. Fidelity Home Energy will even perform a FREE in-home energy analysis to help you save on your energy bill even if you don’t purchase a solar power installation.

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