Newsletter of the Arizona Solar Energy Association Fall,
State of Solar in Arizona - Coming Soon!
Expo Comes to Phoenix: Nov. 11-13th, 2009
U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International
Conference & Expo convenes the industry’s largest
gathering of representatives from all sectors of the
green building movement. Three days of extensive educational
programming, workshops, a vast exhibition floor and
ample networking events provide unrivaled opportunities
to learn about the latest technological innovations,
explore new products, and exchange ideas with other
professionals. Greenbuild 2009 will be held on Nov.
11-13, 2009, in Phoenix, Ariz. This past year’s conference
in Boston, Mass. drew more than 28,000 attendees and
featured more than 800 exhibit booths. Visit www.greenbuildexpo.org
for more information. To view last year’s Greenbuild
show, go to www.greenbuild365.org.
Hiring the Right Company and Assuring a Quality Solar
By Vivian Harte, ASEA Past Chair
The solar industry has been attracting
a lot of attention these days. There is a lot of buzz
about solar all over Arizona. With the rapid growth and
interest in the solar equipment industry, renewable energy
and green products, there has also been a corresponding
growth of marginal and fraudulent people and companies
who misrepresent the facts, exaggerate solar's return
on investment, and tell half-truths.
It is important for consumers to be very
careful when considering what some so-called "experts"
are saying as well as when hiring a contractor to install
In order to estimate the size and calculate
the approximate cost to install a solar energy system
for your home or building, go to our home page at arizonasolarenergy.org
and click on "My Solar Estimator" on the bottom
left-hand side of the page. You can get information for
solar electric (PV), solar water heating, pool or spa
heating, and space heating and cooling systems. The financial
analysis provided is based upon energy bill savings you
can expect and the net system cost, after tax credits
and other incentives are applied.
Note: The results you receive are based
on many assumptions and the limited data you enter. Every
"solar cost-estimator" algorithm is based on
a set of assumptions, and as a savvy consumer, you should
research those assumptions to assure that they apply to
your situation before accepting the numbers. With "My
Solar Estimator," there are PDFs at the bottom of
the final page that explain in detail what assumptions
are used in their estimation of payback times.
You can also check out our brochures on
solar PV systems and water heaters on our "Publications"
page before you contact any solar companies to educate
yourself on the equipment you want.
An actual site assessment by a qualified
solar professional will be needed to determine the costs
and benefits of installing a solar energy system. You
can get several suggestions for being a smart solar consumer
from the Arizona Solar Center website at azsolarcenter.org.
The following are the most important:
- Before you contact any solar companies,
look at which direction your roof faces, observe where
any shading is, and gather relevant utility and water
bills to show current usage.
- Get quotes from at least three solar
equipment companies and make sure that you give them
all the same information and that you are provided with
an equivalent response so you can compare apples to
apples. Have each company do a site visit before providing
you with a contract. Get a written estimate and terms
of the contract with a clear definition of who will
do the installations and appropriate protections, insurance,
warranties and guarantees, etc.
- If they are bonded, request a copy
of their bond, and also request their Registrar of Contractor's
license number and a copy of their insurance. Ask them
how many solar installations their company has successfully
completed in the past year. You might also ask if they
have a registered Professional Engineer on staff and
where their installation staff got their training.
- Ask for at least three references from
each company, with at least one of them being a customer
of long standing - over two or three years or longer.
Contact each reference and ask them about their satisfaction
with the product they purchased and with the service
There are several state agencies and organizations
you can contact for information about the companies you
- The Registrar of Contractors can tell
you about licensing, both the company you are contracting
with as well as any subcontractors they may use for
installation. Some companies do both sales and installation,
and some prefer to sub-contract out the installation
work. In either case, there must be appropriate licensing.
Also, ask the Registrar of Contractors if there have
been any complaints or litigation. (Note: These days,
everybody is lawsuit happy, so the important thing is
not whether there was a complaint but how the complaint
was dealt with.)
- The Arizona Corporation Commission
can tell you whether the company is a registered Arizona
- The Secretary of State can ascertain
if the company is a legal Arizona entity.
- The Better Business Bureau has information
on whether the company has had any complaints and how
those were resolved.
Also, check with the city the company
is based in to ascertain the business integrity of the
company and whether it has a city business license.
After you select the company you want
and before signing a contract, be sure there is a clear
completion date and language that protects your interest
should the date be unable to be met. It's also important
to have language in the contract that protects you from
ancillary building damage, i.e. roofing, piping, wiring.
If you want to know how much money you
need to invest to save money on utility bills, go to the
Arizona Solar Energy Industries' website at arizonasolarindustry.org/consumer.html
to calculate the solar return on your investment. That
page will also tell you about the solar rebates from your
utility company, federal and state tax credits, and property
The key is to learn everything you can
about solar before you attend any talks or before you
contact an installer. That way, you can ask intelligent
questions and know when someone is being truthful.
Election Report - Preliminary Report
ASEA ELECTION COMMITTEE
2009-2010 ASEA BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION
a meeting convened at 4:15 p.m., 10 August 2009, the
ASEA Elections Committee met to verify and count ballots
submitted for the ASEA election. Attending/participating
were Ferrell Anderson (meeting Chair), Dan Aiello, Carole
Mars, Thomas Timmons, and Geoff Sutton
were 64 ballots received and counted.
Chair: Chuck Skidmore
Vice Chair: Lane Garrett
Treasurer: Dan Aiello
Secretary: Carole Mars
DIRECTORS (2 YEAR TERMS)
Northern Region Director: Michael Bower
Central Region Director: * Tie Vote* Paul McClernon
and Jim Stack
Southern Region Director: Marcylene Holler
Election materials, ballots, and vote compilation worksheets
are in the hands of the elected Secretary Carole Mars,
to be a part of the ASEA files and records, and are
available for review, upon formal request to the Secretary.
Tie - There is no policy nor provision in the ASEA ByLaws
for this event. The elected Chair, with the new Board,
shall address resolution of this issue.
Election Committee wishes to thank all of the candidates
for their participation, and to encourage all to participate
in the ASEA Committees and activities.
11 August 2009
Solar Building Tour Update
With the Sun - Arizona Style 2009 Tour of Solar and
The Arizona component of the American
Solar Energy Association's National Solar Tour.
Dates & Times: Tours will be occurring in
an Az. community, throughout the State, every weekend
from the end of September to the beginning of November
Community: Currently tour Communities include
Flagstaff, Williams, Winslow, Lake Havasu, Prescott,
Taylor/Snowflake, Verde Valley/Sedona, Phoenix metro
area (October 24-25), Fountain Hills, Florence, Tucson
metro area, Yuma, and Sierra Vista.
Presented by: Arizona Solar Energy Association
- state chapter of ASES, and the Arizona Solar Center,
Inc., an Arizona non-profit collaborative.
Description: Tours will vary in type and operation:
guided or self-guided; fee or free; some will provide
transport; 1 day or entire weekend. Pre and post tour
activities may occur in some communities. Please check
site for information and updates.
Fee: Some tours will have a fee and some will
be at no cost. Fees will vary depending on the conditions
provided in the local effort.
Instructions for taking this tour: Tour(s) information
will be posted and updated on the News section and calendar
of the Az. Solar Center website at www.azsolarcenter.com.
People interested in participating in the tour, either
as a site owner or in tour planning or implementation
should contact Tour Coordinator Dan
Peter Aiello, or 602-952-8192, for more details.
For information on ASES's National Solar Tour, visit:
Solar Center Creates Local Meet-Up Group
Solar Job Bank
Solar Job Website
Thin-Film Firm Promises Low Cost Solar Panels
billion solar plant planned for Kingman area
Updates Solar Tax Credit Info
Solar Events List
Power at Phoenix Data Center
Reduces Solar Incentives
Solar Project Proposed in NE Arizona
Solar Thermal Plant Planned Near Phoenix
October 9, 2009