1. Do you have experience installing solar in my area?
Every community is different. The permits, building and fire codes are different from community to community, you want to make sure that your installer has the experience and knowledge about your area before installing. If your installation doesn’t meet the local building code you could be required to make modifications to your system that could become very costly.
2. Is my roof solar ready?
If you are planning on installing rooftop solar you will want to make sure you have at least 10 years of life left in it. Your solar company should do an inspection of your roof prior to installation, if they feel it doesn’t have enough life left in it you may be asked to replace it prior to installation.
3. How many systems has your company installed?
Since solar prices have dropped, installations have soared. You want to make sure that you are hiring a reputable dealer/installation team. Treat this the same way you would any other home improvement project in your home.
4. Is there a warranty?
Most solar panels on the market are high quality and guarantee an output of no less than 90% after 10 years and 80% after 25 years of use.
5. How many kilowatt hours should the system produce in the first year?
This is one of the more important questions you should be asking when comparing solar power systems. You want to know what you should expect from the panels. When you are comparing brands, look at the warranty’s first and the output next. The one with the best warranty and greatest output of energy is the one you want to go with.
6. Are their rebates or incentives in my area?
Ask about rebates or incentives that are offered by the utility company, see if it can help reduce the out of pocket costs for your solar system installation. Don’t forget to see if there are any tax breaks.
Thunder Valley CDC is an organization that was founded by young people with young families. They started out by taking youth to sacred sites, creating engaging activities and educating them on how to run their own businesses. Thunder Valley has now evolved their organization into designing and building a Regenerative Community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Their mission is to launch a program to ensure that they are not only building a community, but are building the capacity and opportunities to be available to the people that live within the new community.
Part of Thunder Valley’s plan is to build affordable, energy efficient homes and to work with families to help them navigate the process of home ownership. “The goal of this development is to produce one hundred percent of the energy needed for the community,” said Thunder Valley Executive Director Nick Tilsen. “And if we’re going to walk our talk and if we’re going to live our indigenous values, then we need to be creating energy systems that have less of a negative impact on the environment.”
GenPro was fortunate to partner with Thunder Valley on the implementation of solar panels into the new community. The renewable energy experts from GenPro taught roughly 20 individuals with Thunder Valley how to install solar panels so that not only are they on the right track to producing clean energy, they are also learning a valuable trade that they can use in future solar installations in the new community.
“This solar installation is kind of like the cross–section of everything that Thunder Valley is about,” said Tilsen. “It helps reduce energy costs for families. It helps create some training opportunities and potentially some jobs for local people here in the community and this is a way to not just talk about our relationship to the earth and protecting Mother Earth but it's a way to take action.”
GenPro looks forward to continuing an ongoing partnership with Thunder Valley CDC.
Huntington, Stewart. “Thunder Valley making big move into solar energy.” Article. Kota TV. 19 April 2017.
The 70-unit Ridgeline Terrace housing project, set to be completed this month, will include 84 solar thermal panels and 325 photovoltaic panels incorporated into the architecture of nine buildings in the complex. The thermal panels will heat water, reducing natural gas use. The photovoltaic panels will generate electricity, reducing overall power demand and cutting utility costs.
“There has always been this idea that solar power is possible only in places with a lot of bright sunshine,” said Tim Teeslink, GenPro’s Solar Energy Technical Specialist. “But Anchorage is fairly cloudy -- just 126 sunny or partly sunny days, compared with 164 days in Seattle -- and we are able to show that solar is a viable source of heat and electricity here.”
The photovoltaic panels will generate up to 88 kilowatts of power, or nearly 63,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, Teeslink estimates. The thermal panels will produce nearly 2.8 million Btu to heat the housing units.
Tyler Loken, owner of Loken Construction in Anchorage, a subcontractor on this project, said Ridgeline Terrace is one of a couple of GenPro Energy projects he has been involved in either as a contractor or a subcontractor.
Loken said solar energy is popular in Anchorage. In fact, a recent story in the Mountain View Post, the neighborhood newspaper, called the move toward solar a “roofline revolution.” More than 500 solar panels dot the walls and roofs of the neighborhood, the story said.
One reason that developers are opting for solar now is the Solar Investment Tax Credit, a 30 percent federal tax credit that is set to expire at the end of 2016. The credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal taxes. It has been in place since 2006, and it has helped support the solar energy industry as it innovates and becomes more competitive with non-renewal energy sources.
GenPro Energy Solutions was founded in 2003 by Dwight Patterson. In the early days, the company provided solar-powered livestock watering systems to area farms and ranches. Today, GenPro is one of the largest distributors and integrators of renewable energy systems in the Midwest.
Besides solar energy solutions, GenPro Energy specializes in energy efficient lighting technologies and controls, solar irrigation, power generation and backup systems. GenPro consults with municipalities and utilities companies throughout North America on how to integrate renewable energy and energy efficient technologies into their current systems.
For two years running, GenPro Energy Solutions, based out of Piedmont, SD, has been named as one of the nation's top solar contractors by Solar Power World, a leading publication and educational resource for the solar industry. GenPro Energy Solutions is the only company in SD, ND and NE to make the list.
"We've been very fortunate in the last year to be able to design solar installations for locations that may not be traditionally thought of as solar friendly," says Tim Teeslink, GenPro Energy's Solar System Specialist. "Besides installations here at home in South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska; we're currently working on installations in Alaska. The myth is that Northern climates do not have great solar resources when in truth our solar radiation here in Western South Dakota is on par with most of Florida."
GenPro Energy Solutions was founded in Rapid City, South Dakota by Dwight Patterson in early 2003 to service the agriculture market with solar-powered remote livestock watering systems. From there GenPro has grown to be one of the largest distributors and integrators of renewable energy systems in the Mid-west. The GenPro team consists of NABCEP, ASES and SEI certified designers and installation professionals. Besides solar energy solutions, GenPro Energy specializes in energy efficient lighting technologies and controls, solar irrigation, power generation and back-up systems. GenPro consults with Municipalities and Utilities throughout North America on how to integrate renewable energy and energy efficient technologies into their current systems.
Members of the GenPro Energy Solutions Solar and Water Pumping teams will be headed to eManzana Mpumalanga, South Africa to install a solar (PV) energy system and solar irrigation system at an orphanage and macadamia nut farm. Spark Foundation South Africa was founded in 2010 by Mitch and Charlotte Hildebrant of Rapid City, South Dakota to help feed South African children while providing skills training to the local workforce.
“The generosity and kindness of GenPro will impact generations to come.” Explains Mitch Hildebrant one of the organizers of Hills Alive and former President of Bethesda Christian Broadcasting. “The government has many problems with their power grid and has now implemented rolling and mandatory power outages for two to three hours each day. The system allows our dreams of operating a 1600 macadamia tree farm and 5 acre vegetable garden in a sustainable fashion. The farm is also used for long term missionary housing, short term volunteer housing, laborers, skills training and the financial output needed to feed 1800 children in the region each day.”
Donating renewable energy systems to those in need is not something that is new to GenPro Energy Solutions. “After the earthquake in Haiti we saw a dire need for a water purification system that could be easily transported in disaster relief areas.” Says Dwight Patterson, GenPro’s CEO. “We designed a system that could be carried by two people and that could purify 720 gallons of drinking water per day. Now these systems are used after natural disasters around the world.” In the past year, GenPro has donated systems and equipment to the Thunder Valley Development on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on Pine Ridge and The House of Hope Orphanage in Haiti.