Inside the Sunrise Solar Solutions Newsletter
oneWhen New Yorkers Go Solar, They Want Affordable Prices, Local Installers 
We conducted our own online survey of households throughout Westchester and Rockland counties and throughout the Hudson Valley, and learned that 77 percent of homeowners who want to install a solar energy system would either prefer a local company (42 percent), or one that was recommended by a friend (35 percent). Only 26 percent said they would consider a national installer.
Friend recommendations also topped the list of most helpful resources for researching and choosing a solar installer (57 percent), followed by online reviews (55 percent) and face-to-face conversations with a solar company (47 percent).

That's not surprising, says Douglas Hertz, president and CEO of Sunrise Solar Solutions LLC. "Installing a rooftop solar energy system is a significant decision, and homeowners and business owners recognize that it's vital to choose an installer that they know, live in close proximity to, and can trust," Mr. Hertz says. "That's why, as the premier installer of hundreds of solar energy systems in the area, the overwhelming majority of our business comes from customer referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations."
Some 76 percent ranked financial considerations, such as installation and maintenance costs and return on investment, as the number one factor in their decisions.
"We now understand that educating homeowners --  who believe that they can't afford to switch to solar energy because it's too expensive -- is so important.  Too many people don't understand how affordable and easy it is to go solar.   With our No-Money-Down financing plan combined with federal and state tax credits, we can guarantee that our customers save money from day one,"  says Hertz.
Those tax credits, which were set to expire this year, have been extended -- but the clock is ticking, with some credits scheduled to be reduced and then phased out. "For the greatest return on your investment, make that investment as small as possible by taking advantage of the federal tax credit before it gets reduced," Mr. Hertz advises. "By combining that credit with New York State's 25 percent tax credit, plus a NYSERDA upfront incentive of about 20 percent of the cost of your system, you can offset more than 65 percent of your costs. The economics right now are fantastic."
The survey, which received responses from residents of Westchester, Rockland and Orange Counties, and upstate New York, also found:
  • More than three-quarters, 77 percent of respondents, said they had considered installing a solar energy system on their homes.
  • The top reason cited for considering solar energy was to reduce energy costs, with 43 percent, while 25 percent said environmental responsibility was most important.
  • The biggest barrier to going solar was that homeowners thought it seemed too expensive, according to 42 percent of respondents. Some 24 percent felt their homes had too much shade.
  • 48 percent of homeowners said the costs of installing and maintaining a solar energy system would be the biggest factor in their decisions, and 44 percent said getting a return on their investment was their top consideration.
  • In terms of aesthetics, 45 percent said the appearance of solar panels would not be a factor in their decision, while 42 percent said it was a possible factor.
  • When asked what kind of pricing would encourage them to go solar, 66 percent said tax credits, and 48 percent said a period of free system maintenance. 
Solar technology has undergone a complete transformation within the past decade, essentially eliminating all the downsides associated with older technologies, as Sunrise Solar Solutions CEO Douglas Hertz explains:
"The single biggest change in the solar industry came about because of micro-inverters. Almost any concern that a home or business owner may have had about solar was eliminated with the introduction of this breakthrough technology."
Here's a breakdown:
Before: Solar panels with outdated string inverter technology could be likened to a string of Christmas lights -- when one stopped working, due to a malfunction or even just shade, they all stopped.
After: Today, by installing a tiny inverter behind every panel, we effectively make each panel its own individual solar system, able to function independently of the others."
Before: Older systems had a single box, and a single point of failure, so we could only get an aggregate view of how the system was functioning. And most didn't have online monitoring so you had to go down to your basement and interpret an unfamiliar LED readout.
After: New smart technology enables us to see what's happening at the level of each individual panel -- in real time, all the time.
Safety and aesthetics
Before: Older technology required high-voltage DC wiring, a large, noisy inverter and a metal conduit down the side of the house.
After: Microinverter equipment is sleek and often hidden and eliminates the need for high-voltage DC wiring, making solar a safer and more attractive option. 
threeEnergy News
New York State officials recently announced historic reforms designed to change the way energy is delivered, creating more choices for consumers and more opportunities to save.

Energy distribution traditionally has been a one-way street from a centralized source - the utilities. While individual solar energy systems supply more than a million U.S. homes and businesses with clean energy while protecting the owners against rate hikes, the conventional energy distribution model offered little incentive for utilities to embrace these new technologies.

In New York, utilities and these alternative producers of energy will now be part of the same team. The new model is designed to reward utilities by making it profitable to create value for the consumer, with a cleaner, more efficient grid that incorporates distributed energy sources - such as rooftop solar systems.

Individual solar customers already had much to be proud of - after all, they made a smart financial choice while helping the environment. Now, they're an active part of something much bigger: Solar customers are literally helping to bring power to the people.