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How to go solar K-12 School Districts, Colleges and Universities!!!

A brief how to guide on producing solar green energy on site.  The cost saving, some green footprint facts, and reason over 5,489 institutions have already made the switch…

With a 70% decline in solar installation costs leading to rapid and steady growth of the solar industry over the last decade.

Over 5,489 K-12 schools have already gone solar across the United States.

Schools and solar are a perfect match. This is no longer just a theory either, with 5,489 K-12 schools in the United States now using solar energy — a number nearly double the total solar capacity that was installed at schools in 2014, according to a major new report by The Solar Foundation, Generation 180, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Exciting news for K-12 school boards and districts seeking to provide a multitudes of benefits of solar to their students, secure short and long-term energy savings through on-site solar energy system installation.

Why are School districts are going solar?

Tens of thousands of dollars in annual electricity cost savings helping stretch constrained budgets

True example of good environmental stewardship for their students

Valuable STEM “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” learning opportunities enhancing school curriculums for students with a solar energy array systems on site as an example project

Guide information about the installation process, savings, financing options and other benefits of school solar projects for school administrators, board members, and facility managers.

How much can a school or higher learning institution save by going solar?

Your school’s electricity cost savings will depend on several factors. Solar will typically offset between 60% and 85% of a school’s electric load. For a standard 1000-student school, this equates to annual savings ranging from $20,000 – $28,000. For multiple schools in a district, the size of the system and the savings are, of course, much greater.

Long-term financing for solar, with fixed energy rates that are less expensive than their local utility’s rates provide consistent utility savings over the next 20 to 25 years also factor into the $28,000 example given above.

How to finance solar projects in your school district or higher learning institutions.

The elephant in the room for Non-Profits and tax-exempt customers is they do not pay taxes and therefore do not qualify for the federal government’s solar tax credits and other tax incentives.

The majority of school solar projects are financed through a “PPA” or solar power-purchase agreement allowing a third-party financier to own and manage the solar system, the for-profit company funds the installation allowing them to take advantage available tax incentives. Schools indirectly take advantage available tax incentives, with this model.

Win-win, the PPA company recoups its investment over a 20 to 25-year energy contract with the school. The finance company pays for the entire installation and design of the solar renewable energy system with little or no upfront costs to the school. The school gets immediate savings on its electric bill by paying the PPA company a lower solar kilowatt-hour electric rate than its normal utility rate.

Schools may also decide to own their system through municipal bonds or capital improvement budgets instead of the PPA model. Ownership typically provides greater long-term energy savings than a PPA, but the school will have to fund the upfront costs along maintenance for 20 to 25 years. Upside is solar is rather low maintenance and most of the equipment is backed with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Instead of a PPA, school districts may decide to own their system through municipal bonds or capital improvement budgets. While ownership can typically provide greater long-term energy savings than a PPA, the district will need to be able to fund the upfront costs along with 20 to 25 years of maintenance.

Schools may also decide to own their system through municipal bonds or capital improvement budgets instead of the PPA model. Ownership typically provides greater long-term energy savings than a PPA, but the school will have to fund the upfront costs along with 20 to 25 years of maintenance. Upside is solar is rather low maintenance and most of the equipment is backed with a manufacturer’s warranty.

State-specific incentives and grants may also be available for solar projects, and SREC programs. Consult with KW Solar Solutions, Inc on cost of installation and the types of financing that is best for your budget. We work with four lenders that offer a PPA, if the school decides to own the system, we can calculate the payback time and ROI. We provide NABCEP certified solar system design and installation. The NABCEP certification is tied to qualifying for grants. We give estimates on solar energy cost savings based on the school’s previous energy consumption. We can calculate the payback time, ROI and provide data on the positive environmental impact by offsetting CO2 emissions by switching to renewable energy rather than burning fossil fuels to produce energy. 

What is the process of installing solar at schools?

The Process of installing solar at your K-12 Public or Private School, College or University.

Over the past sixteen years KW Solar has streamlined the installation process and changed with the times when it comes to equipment and best practices. Working with an experienced school solar contractor we have helped in the development and installations of several projects. We explain the solar equipment, provide guidance on financing options, and help seek grants that are available in your state or region.

We help schools determine the best site location for the solar arrays factoring in roof space or open land for school that have enough land available?

If a school roof will be considered, what is the status of the roof warranty? Is the roof structurally able to hold the weight of a solar system? In some instances you can use the footprint of the solar array in conjunction with a grant, some financial institutions will work with the school or university and pay for some or all of the cost associated with a new roof or repairs as an incentive to go solar as well as the school’s electrical infrastructure if it require an upgrades to support solar.

Vetting these issues early in the process can streamline the solar feasibility process.

Some of the local projects we have been involved with schools & higher learning institutions.

Washington College Chestertown, MD 89.16 kW College

Hockessin Library Hockessin, DE 50.04 kW Municipal

Relay Elementary School Halethorpe, MD 17.01 kW School

Del Tech Community College Stanton, DE 14.4 kW College

DE Center for Horticulture Wilmington, DE 10.542 kW Non-Profit

Brandywine School Wilmington, DE 10.00 kW School

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KW Solar Solutions Work with Habitat for Humanity

AUGUST 1, 2017

The staff at KW Solar Solutions was proud to work with Habitat for Humanity to install a 3.75kW Solar Array on a home in Aberdeen, MD. Our crew volunteered their time to install the 15-panel system and micro inverters.

The homeowner was thrilled about this solar installation as it will significantly reduce her electric bill each month. It was a wonderful experience and it brings great satisfaction to know we helped make a difference in someone’s life.

President of KW Solar Solutions, Inc Dale Wolf on the far right of Photo . Solar PV system install with Habitat for Humanity.
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New Solar Financing Option for Delaware Residents

JUNE 27, 2017

The State of Delaware continues to support renewable energy for our citizens.  Starting in June a new low interest solar loan is available through the Energize Delaware program.  The interest rate is only 3.9% for qualifying homeowners and can cover up to 70% of project cost.  Other solar incentives, such as the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit, Green Energy Grant, and selling your Solar Renewable Energy Credits are all still available too.  Of course, the biggest savings for adding solar comes from drastically reduced electric utility bills you’ll have throughout the year.

The first step to see if you qualify is to contact us at KW Solar Solutions by calling 302-838-8400, or by submitting your information on our contact form here.  We can help answer your questions about solar and schedule a time to visit your home to conduct a site assessment and provide you a written proposal and price quote.  We can also help you apply for the Energize Delaware Solar Loan.

For additional information visit https://www.energizedelaware.org/residential-solar-loan.

Going solar is a great investment for your family and the environment!

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How Does the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Solar Work?

DECEMBER 7, 2016

A great way to help off-set the cost of your solar installation is the 30% federal tax credit.  It’s one way our country is supporting clean, renewable electricity generation.  We at KW Solar Solutions are solar experts, not tax experts so it would be wise to consult with a tax professional.  Here’s some information on how it works for residences:

The federal investment tax credit (ITC) is a tax credit that can be claimed on your federal income taxes for 30% of the cost of solar PV systems. Use IRS form 5695 with your Form 1040.

The amount of the tax credit is equal to 30% of the cost of all equipment, labor, permitting and inspection fees. For example, if your system from KW Solar Solutions was $20,000 than your tax credit would be [.3 * $20,000 = $6,000].

Utility provided rebates and grants generally decrease your basis in the solar renewable property. The Green Energy Grant in Delaware is a utility provided grant.  For example, if your solar PV system cost $20,000 and you receive a $3,000 Green Energy Grant from Delmarva than your basis in the property for tax credit purposes is [$20,000 – $3,000 = $17,000].  Your federal ITC amount would be [.3 * $17,000 = $5,100].

There is no cap on the amount of the ITC.

You need to have a federal income tax liability to take advantage of this incentive. If your employer withholds payroll taxes, you may receive much of that back since the ITC can offset what you owe in income tax.  So, if you owe $6,000 in federal income taxes after you’ve taken all your deductions you could use the $5,100 ITC (from above example) to reduce your tax liability to only $900.   If your employer withholding is more than $900, you’d get the remainder back as tax return check.

Any unused portion of the tax credit can carry forward to the next tax year. So, if your income tax liability is $4,000 and your ITC is $5,100 you can carry forward $1,100 to next year.

The tax credit can be used against the federal income tax or the alternative minimum tax.

Payments you receive for Solar Energy Renewable Credits (SRECs) is taxable income and does not impact your ITC. KW Solar can help you determine how valuable your SRECs are.

Your solar PV system must be ‘placed in service’ in order to qualify for the ITC. This means that installation is complete, and the utility company has inspected the system and has given you permission to operate.  KW Solar Solutions helps expedite the process with our customers.

You can get the ITC on both your primary home and a vacation home (not a rental home).

If you expand an existing solar PV array you can qualify for the ITC on the cost of the expansion.

Commercial ITC is a little more complex, but still equals 30% of the basis in solar PV with no capped amount.  KW Solar works with commercial, non-profit and agriculture organizations to help sort through how the economics of solar can help them meet their goals.  Again, it’s always best to consult a tax expert to confirm how the tax credit applies in a given situations.

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Solar Home Valuations

Home Valuations

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016

Solar Homes and Increased Property Value

Ever wonder if your home’s value would increase if solar panels were installed to generate it’s electricity.  According to real estate studies, the answer is yes.  Solar homes have increased value compared to non-solar homes.  See the below information by the Department of Energy SunShot program:

“Buying a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value. A recent study found that solar panels are viewed as upgrades, just like a renovated kitchen or a finished basement, and home buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array. Additionally, there is evidence homes with solar panels sell faster than those without. In 2008, California homes with energy efficient features and PV were found to sell faster than homes that consume more energy. Keep in mind, these studies focused on homeowner-owned solar arrays.

When it comes to third-party owned (TPO) systems, data shows that while they add some complexity to the real estate transaction, the overall impacts in terms of sales price, time on market, agreement transfers, and customer satisfaction are mostly neutral. In some cases, TPO systems can even add value.

The PV Value® tool is helpful for both home sellers and homebuyers. It calculates the energy production value for a PV system and is compliant with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and has been endorsed by the Appraisal Institute for the income approach method. Make sure your appraiser uses this tool to get the most accurate estimate of your PV system’s value.”

In addition, check out this New York Times article that discusses the home value impact.  Like the above, the valuation is only increased if the installed solar PV system is owned by the homeowner.  Leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) by companies like SolarCity and other third-party owned systems do not increase home values.

Contact KW Solar Solutions, Inc to find out if your home or business is a good site for a solar installation and start investing in your future and a cleaner environment now!

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ATTENTION: BEWARE OF SCAM

DECEMBER 22, 2015

We want to make it clear that we DO NOT make any cold calls to any of our customers. If you do receive any kind of phone call claiming to be calling from our company asking for credit card information or any other kind of personal information you do not wish to disclose, please know that this is not our company contacting you and that this is a scam. Please contact your telephone provider right away to block their phone calls. We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences this may cause and we are working hard to determine who it is that is doing this.

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Local Fire Stations Choose KW Solar

SEPTEMBER 13, 2013

KW Solar Solutions has become the premier installer of solar systems for fire stations in the state of Delaware.

Since our first fire station installation of a 72kW system on the Delaware City Fire Station in the summer of 2008 (with an additional 5.04kW added in 2011) we have gone on to install a total of five PV systems on fire stations throughout Delaware ,and one in Maryland, averaging one each year.

In 2009 kW Solar was commissioned to install a 58.6kW PV system on the fire station at the Delaware Air National Guard, as well as two other military buildings at the New Castle site. The following year we installed a 51.66kW PV system on the Leipsic Fire Station, and in 2011, a 49.9kW PV system on the Belvedere Fire Station.

At the Townsend Fire Station we installed a 124.8kW “ground mounted” PV system in September 0f 2012. In August of 2013, we completed installation of a 43.1kW PV system for the Hacks Point Fire Station in Earlville, Maryland.

KW Solar Solutions owners Jim Kelley and Dale Wolf have done seminars for fire station members on solar. “We are proud to help fire stations save money on their utilities that will allow those savings to be redirected towards life-saving equipment” says Kelley.

The KW Solar Solutions staff looks forward to working with many more of the area fire companies in the future.

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KW Solar Solutions has been commissioned to install a 6.11kW PV System on the Village Improvement Center in Rehoboth Beach.

JULY 19, 2012

Village Improvement Association officers, dignitaries, members and guests gathered May 31 for the groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of the expansion and renovation of the VIA Clubhouse at Grenoble Place and the Boardwalk.

VIA Building and Planning Committee Chair and President Carolyn Billingsley and Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper, sank their shovels into the ground amid the cheering crowd while the crew of Schell Bros. Builders stood in the wings waiting to get started on the actual excavation and expansion of the little building.

Billingsley said, “It is a very poignant time…so many memories of the talented and dedicated ladies and their work of the past 103 years and so much excitement about the things yet to be accomplished in our time and in our new building.”

Sussex County Councilwoman Joan Deaver said, “I am very supportive of this group because of all the things they do for the town. This is a proud moment. I am happy to participate in the VIA’s historic groundbreaking ceremony.” The councilwoman and Sussex County Councilman George Cole each granted funds to help with the VIA Capital Campaign.

The ladies of the Village Improvement Association have the delightful dilemma of growing pains. Their little clubhouse was built in 1926 at the cost of $2,644.88. At that time, VIA membership was small, the women fit comfortably in their new surroundings and held meetings, art classes, art shows and fundraising parties there.

Theda Blackwelder, the VIA’s Capital Campaign chair, who has been charged with raising the funds necessary to support the project, looked upon this as a banner day. She said, “I am so grateful to our membership who have diligently and untiringly worked to raise the funds to go forward with this expansion. We still have work to do and look to the continued support of the community and our Village Improvement Association women to complete this project.”

Today VIA has an active membership of over 200 and that number is steadily increasing month by month. Although it was expanded after the devastating Storm of 1962, today, the cubhouse is limited in its seating and not all of the members are able to attend programs. Many fundraising efforts are severely curtailed by the lack of space.

While the VIA Capital Campaign Committee has worked diligently for the needed funds, there is still a considerable amount left to be raised. Many successful events have provided needed money for this critical cause. DNREC has provided a generous grant for environmentally friendly use. However, the VIA ladies just cannot bake enough cookies to raise the balance of the money needed. They are seeking funds from foundations, corporations, members, city, county and state officials and the generous donations of individuals. The Village Improvement Association is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax deductible.

To help, donate, or get more information, contact Theda Blackwelder 302-945-2775 or go towww.rehobothbeachvia.org.

Ground Mounted System for the Townsend Fire Company in Townsend, DE.