The United States may still be chafing under a slow economic recovery, but the solar energy industry–at least in the eyes of Solargaines, a leading regional installer of solar panel systems–is seeing nothing but sunny skies ahead.
"Our volume has doubled since this time last year," says Hans Wittich, president of the Baltimore-based solar energy firm. "That's a lot of installations. People are really beginning to understand the advantages that solar energy provides, both in terms of doing good for the planet and helping shrink their electric bill. It's a win/win situation."
Tom Kimbis, vice-president of strategic and external affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, recently announced in a speech at the fourth annual GW Solar Institute Symposium that the solar industry is growing at an unprecedented rate. "By 2012, the U.S. is projected to become one of the world's largest solar markets, alongside China and possibly Japan," he said.Hans Wittich believes that Solargaines' strong growth is being fueled by government grants and tax credits, plus incentives offered by utility companies. "Installation costs have never been lower, and government incentives–while they last–are getting people moving. The train for renewable energy has left the station, and people are climbing aboard in record numbers."
Wittich also believes that as people become more educated about the benefits of green homes, savvy investors are using solar energy as a marketing incentive. "A good example is the rental industry," he says. "Multi-family developments are installing solar and using it as a marketing tool when they go to lease their apartments. Potential renters like the feeling of doing good that clean energy provides. It's a powerful enticement and continues to be a compelling investment for the property owner."
Whatever the reason for Solargaines' phenomenal growth, Wittich doesn't see volume slowing any time soon. "There's never been a better time to enter the solar market than right now," he says. "Solargaines will be staying busy for some time to come."
Solargaines is one of Maryland's leading installers of solar panel systems. They are green building experts backed by 30 years of experience in the construction industry–a background that's earned them a reputation for excellence in the rapidly growing solar energy field. They are NABCEP-certified installers (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners), which is considered the gold standard for PV and solar installation certification in the U.S. Their average solar installation pays for itself in under three years for commercial properties (residential, under five) and achieves returns of 20% or more.