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Clean Energy USA installs solar on 1,000th Del. home

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Clean Energy USA of Rehoboth Beach recently installed solar panels on their 1,000th Delaware residence. Lyn Cattaffi built a new Schell Brothers house in Rehoboth Beach and had Clean Energy USA install solar during the construction process.

The system will save Cataffi over 90 percent on her electric bills versus what she would pay without solar. "I am in the mortgage business and I look at how much my house will cost not just in terms of a mortgage and taxes, but also how much will I realistically have to pay to maintain and operate the house. When I researched Schell Brothers, I saw that their houses were both stylish and surprisingly efficient. Solar made the decision even easier, "said Cattaffi.

Clean Energy USA was founded in 2007 and has grown as solar has become more affordable, and as local residents realize the advantages of having solar on their homes and businesses. Clean Energy USA has installed over 50 percent of the residential solar electric panels in Sussex County, many on new homes while under construction. In addition, incentives typically cover over two-thirds of the price of the system, depending on system details and location. "I could not believe how inexpensive solar was, especially with all of the builder, state, and government incentives," added Cattaffi.

"Our customers tell us time and time again how happy they are to have installed solar. Some of them are hesitant until they receive their first electric bill. When they do, they become our biggest advocates. The exciting thing is that it works! You can actually eliminate paying for your electricity with solar," said John Sertich, president of Clean Energy USA.

Clean Energy USA also installs solar on businesses and nonprofits. When combining the savings for all of the systems they have installed to date, the estimated savings on electric bills will be well over $100,000,000. Those numbers only include the savings during the 25-year warranty of the solar panels, not any additional savings that will be generated during their expected useful lifetime.

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. A house or business uses that electricity, reducing the amount needed to be bought from the utility companies. When a property cannot use all of the power that is being created by the solar panels, the excess goes through the electric meter, spinning it backward at the same rate as it spins forward. If at the end of a billing period, the meter shows that more power has gone out through the meter than into the meter, a credit will show on that customer's electric bill. This concept is called "net metering."

Clean Energy USA partnered with local homebuilder Schell Brothers to install solar on new homes built in the region. Schell Brothers homeowners account for nearly half of all residential installations for Clean Energy USA, with over 400 installations to date."

State and federal incentives have helped drive growth in solar, and in turn have made the price of solar lower through increased efficiencies and competition. "The State of Delaware and the large power companies have been great partners in solar electricity. It benefits the utilities by providing relief for the grid during peak sunshine hours in the summer," said Sertich.

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Original Publication Date: July 8, 2016

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