Why rent your electricity when you can make your own?
That’s a question being asked by Steve Hansen, who goes by the moniker of Captain Solar. Hansen is the regional sales director with the Loomis-based franchise of Solar Universe, an installer of both ground- and roof-mounted solar panels.
“Solar allows people to take control of their power needs and help the environment,” Hansen said.
Recently, Hansen and his crew installed a ground-mounted solar system for Cuong Vu, who has lived in his rural Loomis home for 25 years. Vu said the tax credit of 30 percent offered by the federal government, along with a 10 percent rebate from the state, prompted him to choose solar panels. The tax credit and rebate cut the $82,000 cost of the solar installation almost in half for Vu.
“Solar is a better investment than stocks or the bank right now,” Vu said.
Vu said that his average monthly electric bill was $550, and more than $700 in the summer. Hansen estimates that the system will have paid for itself in six years.
Hansen said those with electric bills over $200 to $300 per month are good candidates for solar installation. He also said those who have two-plus acres of land are usually able to have ground-mounted solar panels.
According to Hansen, ground panels are cheaper to install and more effective than roof-mounted panels because they can be positioned to face due south.
Hansen explained that solar panels work on a system of “sell high, buy low” because the panels create an abundance of electricity during summer daylight hours. He called summer “solar harvest season.”