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CPBJ Extra Blog

Sunny news for solar

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Last week's blog on solar energy cast a wide shadow.

I talked about how, if you have the money up front, solar power could pay off for you in the long run. Not long after the blog hit the Web, I received a glowing email from Marcus Beiler, business development and sales management for Paradise Energy Solutions in Gap, Lancaster County.

The business, run by him and his three brothers, covers all of Pennsylvania, particularly the midstate, but also has spots in Ohio, New York, Maryland and New Jersey.

"Through some proprietary and innovative financing solutions, we are able to do systems without requiring any capital from the customer," he wrote me.

I talked with his brother, Tim, the CEO, a few days later to shed some light on the subject. Paradise has a few financing options. The most popular is one the company has piloted, where the only security to pay for the system is the system itself.

Paradise gives the purchaser a 10-year loan to pay for the system. The loan is paid back from the difference the purchaser saves on his or her power bill, a federal tax credit, Solar Renewable Energy Credits or other incentives.

"We have customers who have never had to invest money," Tim Beiler said. "They just redirected funds they would have paid as taxes or their electric bill. Then, after a while, they quit paying it."

Keep in mind I said last week the average warranty on a solar power system is 25 years, meaning this option could lead to 15 years of not paying a power bill.

• • •

The Beilers are an interesting story themselves. The brothers started off with a construction business that focused on stone masonry.

"Stone walls, stone sidewalks, patios, kind of artistic," Tim Beiler said.

Then, after a dark period in the business in 2008, Marcus suggested the brothers refocus on solar power.

It seems he could see the light.

A market report from Transparency Market Research projects the global green energy market — that includes solar, wind, hydropower, biofuels and geothermal — will be worth $831.99 billion by 2019. This growth is estimated to come at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3 percent over the next five years, according to a news release from Transparency Market Research.

The predicted big winner will be solar, which is estimated to have a compound annual growth rate of 14.6 percent. (The report starts with last year and goes through 2019.)

"This growth is mainly spurred by a fall in prices, which has increased consumer interest in solar energy," the release states.

Hydropower had been the largest green energy segment in 2012. But much of that was because of pre-existing projects. As we noted a few weeks ago, hydro's business has sunk because of regulation, upfront cost issues and competition from natural gas.

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