SolarReviews names ARiES Solar to Top 100 Residential Solar Installers

ARiES Solar has again been recognized by SolarReviews as one of the site’s top residential installers. A big part of that is due to reviews from our fabulous customers — we thank you! You may recall this summer we received a Top 500 award from Solar Power — but Solar Reviews is a bit different in a GOOD way for small, local businesses like us! Here’s what they have to say about the Top 100 program: For a couple of years now SolarReviews has provided data to the Solar Power World Top Installers List and we will continue to do so. However, we thought that because reviews score is only one thing considered in these lists … some of the small and medium sized installers that were recording much higher levels of customer satisfaction were being overlooked. We congratulate these companies and the contribution they are making to the solar industry. ARiES was one of only two Tennessee companies to be ranked nationally on the list and we ranked second in Tennessee. Again – many thanks to our customers who’ve taken the time to leave us a review. Haven’t reviewed us yet? You can leave your review at the ARiES Solar  SolarReviews profile page....

Is Sense the smart home monitor you need? We tried it out!

As smart homes, smart devices and the Internet of Things become a reality, several manufacturers are offering tools to track the energy use for all those devices as well as standard equipment you may already own. One of those is Sense, a startup company whose founders developed voice recognition software. The company is betting its home energy monitor system ($299) can take over the niche by appealing to energy-conscious homeowners through its simplicity, ease of use and clean design. Sense emphasizes the value of knowing where, when and how you use power by having a “conversation” with your home — your home talks, Sense “listens.” Sense uses current sensors on the main breakers in your electric panel to monitor all electricity use in your home.  Each device uses power differently, and the key to Sense is its proprietary algorithm that is able to analyze that electric use and detect individual devices based on their electric signature over time. Since ARiES is based in a residential home that was converted to commercial office space, we decided to test it on ourselves (commercial monitoring is not available for Sense currently due to power differences). We installed the monitor November 1, 2016. It was pretty easy; we recommend you hire an electrician to install the system since you’ll need to work in your home’s electric panel.  Sense fits inside most panels and connects current sensors to the main breakers.  For our ARiES pros, it took less than 30 minutes. The Good Ease of installation Simple, attractive App interface Several heavily used appliances (Fridge, microwave) detected in the first week or so Alerts moved us to do...

South Carolina legislature looks at two renewable energy bills early in 122nd session

Update:  The C-PACE legislation was approved by Senate subcommittee on Feb. 15! The legislation was changed to remove an option to allow county governments to issue bonds to finance C-PACE improvements. S.261 went to the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, which “carried over the bill to do additional work,” according to the South Carolina Association of Counties. The Renewable Energy Property Tax Act was approved by the Senate! It is now being considered by the House Ways and Means Committee. ——————————————- South Carolina legislators this week took a look at two bills covering renewable energy property tax incentives and financing. –The Renewable Energy Property Tax Act, introduced by Sen. Chauncey ‘Greg’ Gregory, R-Lancaster, was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on Jan. 17. The bill would give an 80 percent property tax abatement to commercial renewable energy projects. Residential projects would receive a full exemption. It heads to the full Senate next week. –Bills addressing the popular Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, referred to as C-PACE or simply PACE, financing method for renewable energy projects have been introduced in the House and Senate.  The SC Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy Act, by Reps. Dwight Loftis, R-Greenville and Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, would allow commercial property owners to finance clean energy improvements using their property taxes — where local governments allowed it. From the bill: ‘Clean energy improvement’ means a water efficiency measure, energy efficiency measure, or a fixture, product, device, or interacting group of fixtures, products, or devices on the customer’s side of the meter that use one or more clean energy resources or renewable energy resources to generate electricity or create heat or cooling. Clean energy improvements...

Duke Energy customers in South Carolina received $12M in solar rebates in 2016

In only one year, more than 1,800 residential customers and 125 business customers in have applied to participate in Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program. The program paid nearly $12 million in rebates to South Carolina customers by the end of 2016. That’s more than double what the utility reported just three months ago. The rebates help with the upfront cost of installing solar panels for customers – making the technology more accessible to the company’s 730,000 customers in the state. “Our customers have responded very positively to our solar rebate program,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “It’s expanded the choices our customers have in meeting their energy needs by helping to lower the upfront costs associated with building solar installations.” Act 236, an omnibus solar bill passed by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014, opened the door for Duke Energy to offer a variety of solar programs to customers. The rebate program provides $1 per watt for qualified residential customers who install systems up to 20 kilowatts on their property; and for business customers who install systems up to 1 megawatt on their property. Nonprofit and governmental entities may be eligible to receive a rebate of $1.50 per watt for systems up to 20 kilowatts on their property. More than 40 megawatts-ac of solar power is scheduled to come online already, putting Duke Energy more than halfway to the 53-megawatt goal cited by the act. With the rebate program nearing capacity, a waiting list has been established for some of the offerings associated with this program. All applications for the rebate program must be...

Appalachian Electric powers up TN’s first utility scale community solar array!

Update: See a timelapse video of the entire Appalachian Electric array construction in New Market, TN   After months of work, ARiES partner Appalachian Electric Cooperative today officially powered on its 1.37 megawatt community solar installation in New Market, Tennessee. It’s the first utility-scale community solar project in the state. “Today is a milestone in the life of our co-op – completion of its first renewable generation resource,” said Robert Drinnon, president of AEC’s board of directors. “Careful planning and oversight brought us here. Resources were leveraged for the good of the AEC membership.” More than 200 of the cooperative’s members have already subscribed to some 700 of the array’s solar panels. Subscriptions to the panels are through the Co-Op Community Solar Program and are open to residential and commercial members of the cooperative. AEC members subscribe to the generation output of individual solar panels, rated at 145 watts each, for a one-time cost of $125. John and Joan Barnhill were the first AEC members to subscribe through the program. The couple had planned to put solar on their home, but did not want to sacrifice the decades-old shade trees that blocked significant sunlight from reaching their roof. Individuals like the Barnhills, as well as those who rent or otherwise cannot own their own solar are some of the greatest beneficiaries of a community solar program. In addition, by leveraging the economies of scale, members reap all the environmental and sustainability benefits of solar generation at a much lower cost than the typical home install. For more details on the project, see our Utility Community Solar page. You can also follow...