Nationwide Home Solar Power Contractors and Information
SolarMax: Guillermo Santomauro
CalFinder sits down with Guillermo Santomauro of SolarMax to talk rebates, government incentives and the hottest solar deals of 2010.
SolarMax Technology is an industry veteran. Having spent the first decade of the new millennium growing from a small-scale solar company in Pasadena to an international industry competitor, SolarMax specializes in seamless turnkey installations. They know solar, and they know it well. And if there’s one thing homeowners should be aware of in the coming months, says Santomauro, it’s that solar rebates are higher than ever.
The financial picture for solar power is consistently improving. Solar panel prices are dropping, demand is soaring and rebates have never been better. But that may not last long, notes Santomauro. “Rebates are projected to drop faster than we've ever seen before. To help people save the most money, we want to make sure that we can lock in the highest rebates possible for them.”
The fact that panel prices are dropping is driving governments and utilities to decrease their rebates and incentives. “Prices have come down from $8 to 10 per watt to $6.50 to $8.00 per watt, depending on the product.” Santomauro adds that, logically, “it makes sense for people to get a quote and see where they stand for solar purchases.” In other words, now is the time to lock in rebates, as most utilities will be reigning in on the money available for those purchases.
Rebates have likely peaked, but that's not the only good reason to consider home solar power in 2010. Remember that while solar prices have dropped, standard electricity costs continue to rise. “Edison charges the most. Over this past summer, their utility rates went up 15 percent. To add insult to injury Edsion is pushing for 30 percent rate increase through 2011,” explains Santomauro, adding this important fact: “With solar, if you install now, you lock in your current utility cost. So, if there is inflation, you're able to offset that with your own energy production. Your payback comes even faster.”
“People are really understanding the financial side of solar, and it isn't just for the sake of going green. People put solar up for the green in their wallet. It makes financial sense. Rebates are strong. Combine that with Obama's tax credit of 30 percent uncapped, and we've taken a 20-year payback and gotten it down below 10 years, which is what most people hoped for when they initially looked into solar a couple years ago."
SolarMax has seen steady business in the last few years, especially from homeowners that come to realize they can now afford to take charge of their energy independence. “We talked to our older customers from four to five years ago. They weren't ready then because the payback wasn't there,” said Santomauro. But that was then. Many have made the switch. “We were able to convert about two-thirds of those homeowners into our existing customer base.”
“If you're even thinking about doing it in the next year,” he advises, “lock in that rebate money today versus six months from now, when it's probably going to decrease.” Regardless of where you live, SolarMax's advice to homeowners is to “do as much research as you can. Find a good company, make sure they use quality components and get it while it's hot.”
“2010 will be the boom year for solar. Right now, solar is half off whatever the base price is.” With an automatic 50 percent off for most American homeowners, it's hard to argue with the pro on this one. As Santomauro emphasized, today's homeowner is more educated about solar power. Many of the myths and misnomers are falling to the wayside - and just in time, as 2010 is poised to be a good year for solar. So lock in these rebates while they last and cap current utility rates while you still can by generating clean energy for many years to come.
SolarMax specializes in comprehensive customer service and start-to-finish solar installations. Manufacturing, installation, consulting and maintenance of residential, commercial, government and tribal solar power systems are all part of the SolarMax portfolio. They were the first solar partner for Home Depot, helping to set up and inaugurate the Home Depot Solar Division, and long-term partnerships are in place with BP Solar, and China Sunergy . SolarMax also has an enviable vendor contract with SunPower; they are to this day one of about 25 companies to sell the elite solar products in California. These partnerships, coupled with experience and dedication to service are the main drivers of SolarMax Technology, and as Guillermo Santomauro so confidently iterated, now is the time to take advantage of that service.
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He did exactly what he said he was going to do, his preperation for the project was excellent & kept us informed every step of the way.
Did an excellent job. It was an unusual project and they were able to meet the unique requirements with no problems.