Solar Energy Central Oregon

A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started

Many Central Oregon residents are switching to solar power systems, which convert energy from sunlight into electricity. Families and businesses who are able to make the initial investment are offered many incentives such as reduced power costs, carbon offsets that help the environment, increased home values, a 26-percent solar investment tax credit in 2020, and even new income-qualified incentives. Bend-based National Solar, USA opened for business in 2009 led by Janelle Lancaster and John Harley. Janelle and John both worked at a large construction company that went out of business during the recession. Janelle brought marketing and sales experience, while John’s background was in construction management. Together they assembled a team and brought the region solar energy options. We spoke with National Solar, USA to learn more about getting started.

Q: Who is switching to solar?

A: “We see customers from all walks of life, but most of them are homeowners, who are concerned about the environment or who want security should the grid go down. We also serve many farms that want a cheaper solutions for long-term energy. With current incentives and tax credits, the cost of solar has never been more affordable.”

Q: How have you seen solar energy improve business or people’s lives? 

A: “In terms of impacting customers’ lives, I think what we see most and hear most is that people feel that they are making an important statement about caring for the environment and that one household can truly make a difference. It is empowering.”

Q: What else can we look forward to in solar energy? 

A: “I think the biggest change on the horizon are storage batteries. Currently they will not run your whole home for very long and they are pretty expensive, but we are seeing prices come down and technology improve and we are getting more calls and interest in this product.”

So how does someone get started with switching to solar energy?  Every home and business is different so it’s important that a solar expert come to your location to assess your energy needs, survey your property, and estimate your solar system cost, which will vary home to home. This is also an opportunity to educate yourself on the benefits of solar, ask questions, and find out whether switching to solar is a good option for your budget, your home or business, and your lifestyle. A solar plan from a professional should include applications for permitting, rebates and other incentives so that you can claim your solar deductions come tax time and feel good about reducing your carbon footprint. NationalSolarUSA.com

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