NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
108 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | SEP. 14 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
> AS WITH MANY LONG-TERM investments, the upfront cost of implementation is one of solar power’s biggest challenges. Many companies offer assistance
to energy consumers, but the latest is a
joint effort to get photovoltaics (PVs)
PSEG Long Island, a subsidiary of
energy company Public Service Enterprise
Group Inc., recently announced a joint
venture with New York State Energy
Research and Development Authority
(NYSERDA) to launch two programs
intended to help residential customers
implement solar PV systems in their homes.
Through the Smart Energy Loans
program, PSEG Long Island offers two
loan options. Both offer up to $13,000,
but customers can qualify for up to
$25,000. Repayment periods of 5, 10 or
15 years are available.
Through PSEG Long Island’s other
program, On-Bill Recovery, the company
offers customers the convenience of re-
paying the loan on their utility bill.
Dan Eichhorn, vice president of customer services for PSEG Long Island, said
these programs demonstrate the company’s commitment to promoting energy-efficiency and alternative energies. Eichhorn said the loans provide affordable
options for residential customers seeking
to implement solar PV technology.
However, there are some notes for
buyers to be aware of. PSEG Long Island
reports that it will charge interest. Rates
could be as low as 3. 49 percent, but it
includes the disclaimer that the rate is
subject to change.
For repayment, PSEG Long Island also
does not allow its customers to exceed the
estimated cost savings from the energy up-
grades. PSEG Long Island states, with this
limitation, the energy savings will pay for
the loan payment. However, the argument
could also be made that it could mean
longer repayment periods, which nets
more profit in interest. In other words,
while customers pay for the loans in the
money they save in energy expenditure,
the overall loan payment could be higher,
and it could be longer before customers
realize actual energy savings.
Regardless, the programs will make
installing solar PV systems more feasible
in the PSEG Long Island service area, so
local contractors that are invested in that
market could stand to benefit.
> IT’S BEEN SAID BEFORE that all politics are local. Recently,
local leaders took that adage and applied it to the
pursuit for a new energy society.
In a June meeting, city leaders from
across the country renewed and expanded
a 10-year-old pledge to increase the role
of renewable power, reduce reliance on
fossil fuels and minimize greenhouse
gas emissions. At its 82nd annual
gathering in Dallas, the U.S. Conference of Mayors renewed its Climate
Protection Agreement, a pledge which
was first signed in February 2005.
Much has transpired in those 10
PSEG Long Island Offers Options to Ease Solar PV Upfront Cost
years, and the renewed pledge has many
changes to reflect a more aggressive ap-
proach to the issue. Conference president
and Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson
summed up the collective intelligence by saying,
“Mayors are getting smart about sustainability.”
Their pledge calls on cities to do a number of things to address
climate change and encourage sustainable-energy practices by
using their various powers of government. These include energy
and land-use planning, promotion of alternative transportation
options, development of renewable resources, prioritizing en-
ergy efficiency, and investment in green infrastructure,
public education and awareness.
Bill Finch, mayor of Bridgeport, Conn.,
chaired the task force. He said the issue
“is not a cause for mayors. This is a
pragmatic problem that requires prag-
Along those lines, the pledge also
encourages federal and state coopera-
tion with local governments to help
achieve the goals. It calls on all three
levels of government to work together
on such objectives as promoting greater
energy independence, accelerating energy
efficiency, adapting government buildings,
and using federal policies and programs to
reduce greenhouse emissions.
The conference also highlighted some successful
examples of local action, such as a wastewater treatment system
that is 100 percent powered by on-site renewable power in
Gresham, Ore., and the city of Las Vegas adopting the goal to
become the first net-zero city for energy, water and waste.
Cities Take on Greenhouse Gases