Review for Exact Solar
Proud of our Panels
As a Designer/Builder of Passive Solar Homes since the late 1970’s I have had professional experience in building solar oriented, well insulated homes and additions for a long time. All were “Photovoltaic Ready” waiting for the price of solar electric to become feasible.
In 2002 we bought our own home (a contemporary built in the mid-sixties). Key among the things we were looking for were solar orientation, the potential for a passive solar addition, and a whole house renovation with photovoltaics to create a net zero home. I designed and built a passive solar addition with south facing vertical glazing and a metal roof ready for photovoltaics. I then interviewed several reputable companies for the photovoltaic subcontract and all were capable of providing the system, which was sized to provide our annual electric needs of about 5K. This includes our house loads (with oil heat/DHW and electric cooking) and my home based design office with computers, printers and office equipment.
EXACT SOLAR was my choice for several reasons. Mark Bortman was personable, professional, and knowledgeable. He discussed the issues for our potential installation which does include seasonal shading. He suggested technologies to minimize the impact of localized shading and was familiar with all the options I was interested in. This included options for making the system grid connected now and allowing for seamless updating to a battery backup so it could serve as a backup “generator” in case of power outages in the future. He obviously had spent plenty of time on roofs and had done his share of installations. Working with a company with “hands-on” experience in ownership is my preference.
EXACT SOLAR was patient as I vacillated and budgeted around the timing for the installation, and when I finally decided the time was right to go ahead, they handled all the permitting and technical issues with JCP&L, guiding me through all forms and applications. Their service was professional, on the scheduled dates, and neat. All the installers and electricians were courteous, personable, informative, and did an excellent job.
Our system went on-line in December of 2015 and has worked flawlessly since then. It has only been down one time due to major utility accident when a nearby High Tension wire fell on the local power lines causing a major surge to the local system blowing utility equipment and breakers. This surge resulted in a low voltage (milliamp) fuse in the Solar Inverter blowing. (The same surge destroyed an air condition in our house and blew breakers.) When I checked the solar system and found it not operational, Mark came out the next day, trouble shot the problem, commented he had never seen that fuse go before. Contacted the manufacturer, arranged for replacement fuses from them and put in a slightly differently rated fuse from Radio Shack to get the system online right away. The fuse replacement set the system working flawlessly again. I cannot say the same for the air-conditioner which has now been recycled since it was not repairable after the surge.
My long time commitment to solar energy as part of the necessary and logical renewable future, made it a certainty that the photovoltaics would go on our roof, and the economics of the decision were secondary. On the other hand when thinking about it—especially in these times of very low interest rates--I could not think of a better way to invest the money I used to pay for the system given the potential savings on our utility bills. This logic has paid off and proven correct. The approximate cost of the system, less the 30% Federal tax credit, was about $12,000. The first full year of system operation my electric bill with net-metering was $2.98 a month for 10 months (the minimum service charge for being hooked up to the grid) and a total of about $50 for the other two months. The total annual bill was about $80.
Prior to the system being installed, I was paying about $100 per month for electric service. (This included an upcharge for solar generated power rather than JCP&L’s basically non-renewable portfolio.) That is to say over the course of one year the photovoltaic system saved us just under $1200, which is about 1/10 of the net cost of the system. Looked at one way, this is a 10 year payback period (at 2015 electric costs.) A more gratifying way to look at it is that the $12,000 investment we made in photovoltaics is making almost 10% annually and will continue to do so for decades, guaranteed. If electric rates go up, the actual savings and effective interest on our investment will also increase.
All in all it is the best investment I can think of, combining real financial savings while saving the environment from tons of pollution.
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