By Jason DeMoe
Just a few short years ago, people wondered whether solar power actually worked. Now, they wonder just how much they can save by using it.
“Solar is actually cheaper than the power you buy from the utility,” said Michael Allen, president of All Energy Solar. “On a per kilowatt hour basis, solar is beating both nuclear power and fossil fuels.”
Allen, a solar customer himself, started All Energy Solar with his brother Brian more than a decade ago and they have been building the St. Paul company ever since. The brothers and their team currently boast industry-leading certifications and full electrical and building licenses. The company is headquartered in the Merriam Park neighborhood.
Allen makes a case for solar energy that few can argue. Potential clients may be able to eliminate their electric bills and find some extra money in their pockets.
“In many instances, solar power can save you as much or more than what you are already paying for electricity,” he said. “Also, with Xcel Energy, we are allowed to install 20 percent more than what your home needs and so you could, essentially, get a rebate check every month.”
One of the main concerns that people have is the upfront cost of installing solar panels on a property. All Energy Solar has recently begun working with finance companies to fund new systems.
“The thing that hits people hard sometimes is the fact that you are literally buying 20 to 25 years of electricity upfront,” Allen said. “With the finance option, however, the payment can be less than what you have been paying for traditional electric. Also, once you pay it off, you are done and you can start putting some money into your own pocket as opposed to basically renting electricity from Xcel.”
Another concern is whether their home is a good candidate for solar.
“More often than not we can find a way to make solar work on almost any property,” he said. “My advice would be to give us a call or go to our website. We can do a quick online assessment of your property and ask a few questions about trees or other obstructions and get a pretty clear picture of what options are available.”
Now may be a good time to look at solar, as Xcel Energy launched its Solar Rewards program Jan. 1, which could save customers 15 to 30 percent off the total cost of their project. The program is first-come, first-served with a limited number of discounts available, so consumers should take advantage of the program, Allen said. The program is available to anyone in the Xcel Energy coverage area. Interested parties can learn more about the rebate program and All Energy Solar at goo.gl/mLTtZ7.
“Paying a monthly electric bill is something we have gotten used to over the last 20 to 30 years,” Allen said. “I can tell you from experience though that there is no better feeling than getting an electric bill and seeing that you have a credit or that they are cutting you a check. We have customers call all the time wondering about the rebate they are receiving. They can’t believe it is real.”
All Energy Solar is located at 1642 Carroll Ave. and can be reached at 1-800-620-3370 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AllEnergySolar1.
“Energy costs are rising on average 3 to 8 percent a year, but wages are not rising to compensate,” Allen said. “Going solar is betting on costs continuing to rise, and that is a pretty safe bet.”
Jason DeMoe’s works as a news reporter in Forest Lake, Minn., but in his off time he enjoys the outdoors and occasionally writing for the Bugle.