“A lot of people in this area have a reaction to solar that it’s not practical,” said Jeff Mayer, CEO of Soluxe Solar.
The relatively new company just started marketing its solar energy services a year ago in Westchester County, New York and in Connecticut. Mayer said he was surprised by the wide misconception that New England doesn’t get enough sun to merit solar panel installations. “They think it’s something for Florida,” Mayer said.
So, he’s trying to educate potential customers that not only is solar a good idea in New England, but that it’s actually a better idea in New England than it is in Florida. It’s not just about how many hot sunny days the area gets, he said. It’s about economics.
New England states have better net-metering programs to start, which means the utility company credit people with solar energy systems for their overproduction and allow them to use those credits to pay for grid power during less productive times of the year. And power prices are much higher in New England than they are in the south.
“Energy in New England is 18 to 20 cents a kilowatt hour,” Mayer said. “It’s closer to 12 cents a kilowatt hour in the South. That’s a big difference.” That price difference makes solar panels a better idea in New England than in Florida, Mayer said. “That’s significantly more than 15 percent higher in cost and you lose about 15 percent of the productivity from Florida to here.”
He said the average New England homeowner who invests in solar will save $1,000 to $1,200 a year. That’s a great return on investment, Mayer said. “You put the equivalent cost of a solar installation in the bank and you’d be lucky to get a couple hundred dollars a year in interest."
Soluxe was created by a group of energy industry experts from different fields. They advocate owned solar installations over leased ones. “A lot of people wonder how it can work in New England,” Mayer said. “But it does.”