Affordable option for solar energy

Teresa Wright
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Solar Island Electric Inc. company president Steve Howard is offering customers the opportunity to lease solar panels.

Solar Island Electric Inc. is offering the ability to lease solar panels to customers so they can have more ready access to green energy

Islanders who have wanted to install solar panels on their homes or businesses, but balked at the costs, now have an affordable new option.

Solar Island Electric Inc. is offering the ability to lease solar panels to customers so they can have more ready access to green energy.

Company president Steve Howard says after installation, he anticipates the savings realized on the customer’s energy bills would amount to the same or more than the lease

payments for the solar panels.

“They should be able to just divert whatever they were paying for their bill to paying for (the panels) and, as long as the sun shines like it has historically, they should be able to save more than those payments total.”

Howard said surveys of Islanders have shown that a large number of residents and businesses owners in P.E.I. would like to use greener energy and would explore solar panels to achieve this.

The biggest obstacle has been the upfront installation costs, which start at around $13,000.

“This really removes the largest hurdle that’s been identified by all of our customers,” Howard said.

“People want to go green, they want to save money on their power bills and they want to do it for all the right reasons, they just can’t come up with that initial payment.”

Howard said his company is offering more than just smaller energy bills. With more residents and business owners turning to solar power, this creates all kinds of positive environmental benefits for Prince Edward Island.

“Since it’s distributed energy it will reduce transmission losses and make the grid that much more efficient,” Howard said.

“It also has eco-tourism benefits, if we can get these solar panels on hotels and restaurants where a lot of tourists would be seeing them.”

Solar Island Electric Inc. has also just been approved as one of only two Community Economic Development Businesses by the provincial government.

This means Islanders can invest in the company and receive a 35 per cent provincial tax credit, in addition to qualifying as an RRSP eligible investment.

“This allows Solar Island Electric to raise money from the general public on Prince Edward Island and raise enough capital to start rolling out these renewable energy installations, and then everybody shares in the profits of the leasing company,” Howard said.

He said he is excited to build the company and help spread affordable green energy in Prince Edward Island.

“I’m hoping to be able to green up the grid, including making the transmission system more efficient, distributing the energy generation more evenly across the Island and just overall reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Organizations: Solar Island Electric

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • ben
    January 22, 2014 - 08:18

    having been in solar manny years ago, i find that the biggest problem was people feeling that their neighbors would laugh at them if they put them up. hope times have changed.

  • Ray Boggs
    January 21, 2014 - 01:01

    In the U.S. solar leases are the biggest rip off on the planet. For example, you can buy a 4.75 kW grid tie solar system for only $9,642 after the federal 30% tax credit. That same 4.75 kW grid tie solar system will cost you $28,080 if you lease it. Yet, homeowners across America are signing up for solar leases at a record pace. As Forrest Gump would say, "Stupid is as stupid does" It all boils down to who has the most marketing dollars.

    • Steve Howard
      January 21, 2014 - 16:55

      An option that can save more dollars than it costs and helps you transition to green energy is an attractive option to many consumers. That is why the trend is towards leases in the USA, not because "stupid is as stupid does". Solar Island's leases are for 12 year terms and have purchase options so your $$$ are going towards being able to make the bulk purchase when the time suits you.

  • Steve Howard
    January 20, 2014 - 22:14

    The leasing offered by Solar Island Electric Inc will cost $1200 per year for a system that could save you more than that in year one and lock your payments in at that rate adjusted only for inflation for the term of the lease.. If you read the offering document for the business you will find an example of how cash flow for a potential client would go. Also this is a Community Economic Development Development Business (CEDB) and as such offers a potential investor an RRSP eligible investment that should also qualify for and ADDITIONAL 35% provincial tax credit. The details are on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SolarIslandElectric Inc the contact info for the potential investment is also in the offering document and in the brochure.

    • What?
      January 21, 2014 - 08:39

      How do you expect people to know what an offering document is or how to find it? This article does not present well. Even the facebook address is not right.

    • UPWESTER
      January 21, 2014 - 11:30

      So what you are selling is a tax deferred vehicle. When I make an investment, I look only at what my return will be, and if there is a tax benefit,that's OK, but the investment itself has to make sense. I have seen many tax deferred investments, and I don't know of many that ever had a return on them. MURBs and movie credits are two that come to mind, neither which panned out. Sell the products return, not the tax benefits.

  • Stew
    January 20, 2014 - 18:45

    Agreed, Lloyd Kerry. This article needs a little more detail re dollars saved, and the cost to lease one these units for the average homeowner. Website info?

  • UPWESTER
    January 20, 2014 - 17:41

    I think that's about the stupidest thing I ever heard. If were talking about the savings, what can they possibly be, say even at the high end that could be $20.00 a month, so therefore the lease payment is $20.00 per mth. or $240.00 per year. Now at a capital cost of $13,000.00, you want me to invest in your company? Does Wes Sheridan have anything to do with this? Or perhaps Inovation Minister Al Roach? Only they could have come up with this scenario.I would add more but I am laughing so hard I can't.

    • Steve Howard
      January 20, 2014 - 22:16

      Where are you grabbing these savings numbers from? Have a look at the offering document it contains an example of a client side cash flow.

    • UPWESTER
      January 21, 2014 - 11:21

      Then why don't you say what the lease costs are,then we can make our own judgement.As an investor in your company, how can I make a return when the initial cost is $13,000. per solar panel? If the leasing cost is equivalent to the savings, what would make me want to install one? I assume the company would have operating expenses as well as the Original cost and installation, and I'm sure you would like to make a salary, what is left for the investors? If you are using this article to get investors, you had better paint a rosier picture than what you have. Don't forget the recent revelations about all the sports arenas who bought windmills and were told they would cut their utilities in half, and as we know, that didn't happen. I commend you on trying to solve energy problems, but you need to be more upfront.

    • Steve Howard
      January 21, 2014 - 17:22

      www.facebook.com/SolarIslandElectricInc is the correct Facebook address, there was an additional space in the previous post.

  • financial cents
    January 20, 2014 - 09:29

    If they don't save more than the cost of the lease they are costing you money. If it cost more to use renewable it'll be a tough sell to get people to make the switch.

  • Lloyd Kerry
    January 20, 2014 - 09:07

    Great article. It would generate much more interest if you had put the actual lease price in as well.