What could be a smarter option than using your own environment to generate free electricity? Absolute Solar, a new solar panel company based in Lakewood, and formed about a year ago, has a mission of providing residential solar energy systems that will result in cost-savings for consumers. Panels installed on the roof of a house turn the sun’s rays into energy, eliminating or significantly reducing customers’ electric bills.
Josh Rabinowitz, founder of Absolute Solar, spoke to The Jewish Link about his new business. His enthusiasm for solar was infectious, and he said government incentives, such as 30% federal tax credits and NJ SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) certificates make solar a great investment.
“The sun is providing free energy, the government is paying for a big chunk of your system; overall it really is an excellent investment,” said Rabinowitz.
There are two ways to benefit from installing solar panels, with differing degrees of commitment or outlay: One can purchase and own a solar system outright, and the energy it produces belongs to the homeowner, thus eliminating or significantly reducing electric bills. Purchase of the system can be 100% financed, or with cash up front.
A great benefit of this option is utilization of the NJ SREC market, which gives certificates to customers for producing solar energy. For every 1,000 kWh produced, a customer is awarded one SREC certificate, which he can then sell on the open market, and instantly receive the proceeds via direct deposit. New Jersey’s SREC market is the largest in the nation, according to SRECTrade, a national transaction management firm for SREC.
Rabinowitz said a common misconception many people have is that one can either use the energy produced to offset their electric usage or sell the certificates produced. This, however, is not the case. One can use all the energy produced to offset their electric usage and sell certificates.
The second option is for customers to enter a solar panel system lease. A solar lease means a third party company buys and owns the system, and then sells the energy it produces back to the customer at a discount of 30-40%. Absolute Solar has partnered with SunPower Corporation, which, according to Rabinowitz, is “the best in the business and makes very efficient, high- quality systems, with the best warranty out there.”
On speaking about the option for a system lease, Rabinowitz said, “Here, you’re not purchasing anything; no need to add to your home insurance policy. It’s just more straightforward. This is a great way to ‘go green’ if you don’t want that financing or outlay, or don’t want to take on the risk of the SREC marketplace.”
More people (depending on demographics and tax liability) choose to buy the system, with 100% financing being the most popular choice. “Right off the bat, your monthly electric bill savings plus your NJ SREC income is greater than your monthly payments, making it a fantastic investment,” said Rabinowitz.
Being a smaller company allows Absolute Solar to provide more and better customer service when it comes to monitoring systems and treating everybody with specialized attention. For example, the company offers free services with tracking and selling of NJ SREC certificates. They also continuously monitor all systems’ production amounts so they can know immediately when an issue arises, and address it in a timely manner. “Being small does have advantages because we do focus more on every client,” said Rabinowitz.
Rabinowitz, a former accountant, said the idea of a solar panel company came to him after he saw the growth of residential solar systems and the opportunities it brought. “I personally put solar on my roof four years ago,” said Rabinowitz. “I am very happy with the results and see how the savings really add up.”
“Everybody around me has been doing it...a lot of my neighbors and friends had been installing solar panels. It looked like a good opportunity.” Rabinowitz said putting solar on roofs is “something that makes so much sense” and that “everyone benefits from it.”
There are a few key components to be an ideal candidate for solar panels:
*It is recommended to put solar panels on newer roofs.
*There should be no significant shading, such as trees, or nearby taller buildings obstructing the sun’s rays toward the roof.
*There should be enough roof space to fit the amount of panels necessary for an ample-size system.
*It is important to have an angled roof facing the right direction: South-facing roofs are ideal positions for solar panels since the sun in the Northern Hemisphere hits the south side of the roof most strongly and generates more electricity. East and/or west sides of a roof are fine to place panels on as well. Flat roofs work especially well, as one can position the panels in an optimal direction and benefit from maximum sun exposure.
To find out if you qualify for solar, text your address and/or recent electric bill to (732) 267-4329 and for more information, call (732) 963-6700.
Of course, you have to be a homeowner living in your home to get a solar panel system, as incentives are not applicable for renters.
By Ally Scharf