Friday, July 16, 2010


The state of OHIO is one of the few states in the US that allows excellent “ net metering” options for it’s residents. Net metering is a process that allows anyone to produce their own electricity, there are a few criterion that need to be fulfilled first though, like the primary reason for producing the electricity must be for personal usage. Secondly only renewable energy sources should be used for producing the electricity for example; solar, wind, hydro, landfill gas etc.Your system must be installed along with the regular electricity supplier grid. Lastly the generation system, like the solar panels or wind mills etc., must be located on the property that you own.

Net metering basically is a billing system that allows the customers generating their own electricity to receive a credit from their utility company for the surplus electricity their solar systems produce. Net metering is a very favorable option for any customer, it allows the customer to produce electricity at a very low cost, the electricity that the customer would otherwise be buying from the utility company. Another benefit is that the surplus electricity is credited with the utility provider and is subsequently adjusted in the monthly bills, further lowering the cost of the consumed electricity. If the surplus electricity is not used by the customer than the electric utility supplier buys the surplus from the customer making it profitable to the consumer. Furthermore, the whole process is extremely environment friendly.

The working of net metering is very interesting, the solar system installed on your property is connected parallel to the electric utility provider’s grid. The solar system is set in a way that it is the primary provider of all the electric needs of your premises but in case of a shortfall the electric company takes over thus ensuring a constant uninterrupted power supply. Similarly, in case your solar system produces more electricity than you can use than the surplus electricity flows back into the utility meter installed by your local electricity provider, thus reversing the meter reading. This reverse in your meter reading results in ensuring a lower monthly bill. If the meter runs more backwards than forwards meaning that you produce so much electricity that you do not need to use any from your local supplier but instead supply them with extra too, than the current meter reading will be less than the last meter reading and will show up as a credit on your bill. The credit can be used in the future months when your system is not producing enough, like during snowy or rainy weather etc.

Further details depend on the utility company you use as many companies offer different kinds of credits thus before making any final decision talk to the Yellowlite‘s team of solar installers and to your utility suppliers. But generally speaking, Ohio is one of the two states that allows unlimited wattage power limit for each subscriber. The state of Ohio gives the annual compensation at the generation rate of the electricity produced by you. This means that the utility company will buy the surplus electricity at the rate that it costs you to make it. And the monthly roll over is accredited at the end of each billing year.

Overall net metering is a win win situation for everyone involved and it ensures that not a single unit of electricity produced by your solar system is wasted, whether you use it right away or not.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Power Purchase Agreement

Power Purchase Agreement sounds serious, but it really is a simple, legal contract between the company that generates power and consumer of the power. In general terms the power producer is also known as the “provider” and the buyer of energy is generally referred to as a“host”. Power Purchase Agreement is also known as PPA.

A solar PPA is a contract between a specific provider of solar energy and the consumer. Generally a solar system is purchased, installed and than the energy produced from it is used to light up businesses and homes, and all the cost is borne by the consumer. But in case of a PPA, the solar system is bought, installed and subsequently maintained by the provider, and the host (consumer) just pays for the energy used. It is similar to other utilities we use, we just pay for energy we use, not the equipment used for producing it. The only difference in the Solar system energy equipment is that it is installed on the property, usually a rooftop, of the host(consumer) but is owned and maintained by the provider.

Solar panels are made up of many small solar cells that produce energy when sunlight hits them. It is very important to keep these panels clean to ensure maximum production of solar energy. If the consumer buys or leases the solar system than the total responsibility of the maintenance falls on him. But in case of PPA, the owner of the system is the provider thus the host(consumer) just enjoys the benefits of the energy produced, while the responsibility of maintaining the solar system falls totally on the provider. Thus making it hassle free and viable for the host.

The usual term of a PPA is twenty years or more, that way it is more feasible, practical and effective. The longer the PPA, the cheaper the energy is for the host (consumer) in most cases. In most PPAs, generally, there is a provision that at the end of the agreement the host can renew it(PPA) or can buy the solar system installed on their property from the provider. Also, as it is a long standing agreement, it is more practical for people who own the properties on which they want to have the solar systems installed or if they plan to occupy the rented or leased building for a long stretch of time, to go into a PPA.

Similarly, the larger the installation the more beneficial the PPA. PPAs are more feasible in the commercial sector rather then in private sector. Apartment blocks, universities, factories and other businesses are a few apt examples. Property owners who want to provide cheap energy for their tenants are also good candidates for PPAs.
It is a known fact that everyone wants to “go Green” and everyone wants to go SOLAR but most can’t just afford it. But with PPAs this problem has been overcome, now to go solar the consumers just have to sign an agreement and pay the monthly bill for the solar energy they use, the rest will be taken care of by the provider. Now, because of PPAs anybody and everybody can go SOLAR.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NABCEP Certification

NABCEP is the abbreviation for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. As the name refers to it, NABCEP is a certification that the board gives to eligible energy providers in North America.

Certification generally means that a certifying organization gives recognition to professionals who meet a certain standard and have a certain level of qualification. The whole point of getting or giving a certification is that the general public gets to know, for sure, that the professional helping them is for certain capable of doing what his degrees and certificates say he can. To top it all off getting certified is not mandatory but a voluntary process. This further cements the fact that the professional who spends his time, energy and money on getting certified is a very dedicated and a genuine professional. Certification is available for all sorts of professionals in the United States, from doctors to bus drivers, from crane operators to energy providers.

There are numerous benefits to getting certified. Certification distinguishes the person who gets certified from his competitions in his specific field. Besides that the general public benefits by being better able to trust the people they hire, and can better judge their skill levels. Last but not the least is that certification improves the general perception of the public in favor of any profession helping bring professions to the fore front.

Keeping all these in mind the NABCEP certification has been designed by keeping professional credentials, testing standards developed by experts, valid stakeholder’s point of views and general eligibility in mind. It is a transparent yet challenging certification, designed to judge and gauge the skill levels of energy providers in general. It lists all the abilities and skills that a PV Installer should have. There are a certain set requirements that need to be met to be able to get NABCEP Certification. There are less than 40 NABCEP certified professionals in the state of Ohio. Ali Buttar is one of the 40 and works in YellowLite as a PV Installer.

The basic candidate for getting certified through NABCEP is the person responsible for installing energy systems like solar panels or PV systems. It can be a contractor, a foreman, a supervisor or other professionals directly or indirectly involved in the energy providers business.

NABCEP is a very beneficial to both the consumer and installers, it identifies qualified installers. It gives the consumer a choice between certified and uncertified practitioners. It validates the effort of the professional getting certified deeming him sincere and qualified. YellowLite has certified and trained professionals that ensure quality work and installations for their customers.

Monday, April 5, 2010

SREC: Solar Renewable Energy Certificates

Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) or Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are known by numerous names. Sometimes called Green Tags, they are also known as Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs). These are tradable certificates that represent that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was produced from an eligible renewable energy resource like Solar Panels or Wind Mills etc. These are only available in the States where Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) exists.

SRECs are created on behalf of the solar panel’s owner, to be sold to the utility companies, to meet the requirement of the RPS. The electric companies are bound to follow the states incentives. Thus the electric companies buy SREC from the consumer of solar panels. SRECs are a part of financial incentives designed to encourage the use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity, for homes or businesses. Instead of waiting for direct, up-front payments from the government the owners of solar panels can sell their SRECs to the utility providers and reap the financial benefits.

To qualify for receiving SRECs you must have Solar panels installed to produce electricity for your business or house. Other renewable sources that qualify get RECs instead of SRECs, for example wind, geothermal sources, biomass etc.

There are two main markets for the SRECs, the Compliance market and the Voluntary market. The differences between the two are discussed below:

• COMPLIANCE MARKET: Compliance market exists in those 29 states which require that their utility providers provide a certain number of their energy from renewable power sources. Such companies buy the SREC from the private consumer and show the state that they have provided that house or business electricity from a renewable source, like solar panels. Thus the utility providers are buying the SRECs to comply with the laws and requirements of that specific state.
• VOLUNTARY MARKET: Like its name a voluntary market exists where customers choose to use a renewable power supply for their businesses or houses for the production of electricity. Such markets usually exist in states where there is no RPS, thus voluntary buyers buy the SRECs at cheaper rates.

The prices of SRECs are greatly dependent on the law of supply and demand. Thus they keep fluctuating. In the states where a lot of people selling SRECs the utility companies pay less compared to the states where fewer people are using renewable energy. Thus, the more SRECs in the market the cheaper it is and vice versa.

To add to the thrill of the SRECs buying and selling game universities and numerous other organizations also sometimes buy SRECs. Nowadays the Duke University is advertising that they may be interested in buying your SRECs. So act quick and contact YellowLite as soon as possible to get your own SOLAR PANELS installed today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Does Adding Solar Add to the Value of a House?

The ultimate American dream is to get married, buy a house, get a family van, a Lab and than have a few kids. Pretty clichéd but true for most of us. And another fact is that a lot of hard work, planning and investment go into making this dream a reality.

Buying a house is a big deal. As all the owners of houses know that it is just always a beginning once you do own a house. A house is constant work and needs to be regularly upgraded to stay a profitable investment in case it needs to be sold. Some people have their houses appraised every few years just to know the resale value.

There are numerous things one can do to add to the value of a house, add a patio, upgrade the kitchen, have a master bath added, maybe replace all the windows with vinyl ones, plant a herb garden, have a pool built even. All these changes do add to the value of a house but so do professionally added Solar Panels. Intelligent buyers and agents know the value of Solar Panels; they are greener and are a long term source of cheaper energy.

In the current economic down times any house that boasts lower overhead charges, like electricity costs or water charges etc. are definitely more popular with buyers. Buyers readily pay more for houses with lower utility costs. According to Appraisal Journal, a resource for appraisers, a dollar’s worth saving annually leads to twenty dollars increase in the price of the house. This reflects a ratio if 1:20. Thus a saving of $50 means an increase of $12,000 in the value of the property. It is common knowledge that electricity produced by Solar Panels is cheaper leading to an overall lower utility costs.

Money matters, true, but so does the environment. A lot of conscientious buyers definitely look for houses that produce smaller Carbon Footprints. Solar Energy is the most environments friendly electricity source in the world today. Coal and petroleum produce huge amounts of Carbon dioxide when they burn. But the use of Solar Panels to produce electricity leaves behind zero amounts of CO2.

Besides that it is the latest and the trendiest addition to houses and what ever is in fashion is definitely a value adder. And knowing ones house is greener and trendier than the neighbor’s house adds to the feel good value of the house also.

There are still numerous things that home owners, who have invested in Solar Panels for their home, can do to ensure that it proves profitable for them:

1. Make sure the installations are done by a professional team like YellowLite.
2. Save and catalogue all the information regarding the system you have
3. Save and catalogue all the bills, warranties and instructions that come with
the system.
4. Find a professional and trained real estate agent, who knows and understands
the value of your Solar Panel additions and can in turn better market your
house to the buyers.
5. Make sure to highlight all the features of your Solar System to the buyers.

6. Ensure that the appraiser knows about all the special features and addition
to your house, including the Solar Panels.

In the end it is a win-win situation for everybody the buyer, the seller and the EARTH. What can be better than an economically viable solution to earth’s problems and yours too? The rewards are numerous and very tangible so decide soon to help the earth and add to the value of your house!!

A Public Awareness Message by:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


As Technology evolves new terminology emerges, along with it comes a need to learn more about new concepts that get introduced almost daily. There is but another dilemma too, mostly a term gets thrown about in articles and media, it becomes common and general but little is known of its working or technical meaning. One such terminology is “Solar Energy”, the general public knows what the term means, energy produced by using sunlight, but not everyone knows how such energy is produced.

Solar means of the sun, any thing of or from the sun is termed solar. Energy means, the ability to do something. So, the ability to do something with the help of sunlight is Solar Energy. The core thesis of this article is the general know how of harvesting and using Solar Energy.

Usually, a Photovoltaic (PV) Cell is employed to harvest the sunlight to produce electricity. The PV Cell or tile uses a negative and a positive slice of silicone, fitted under thin glass sheets, to produce electric current. The protons from the sunlight hit the PV Cell they knock off the neutrons from the silicon. Small wires that are attached to the silicon plates then catch these free neutrons, theses wires when connected to a circuit then produce electric current. The construction of PV Cell is such that it has no moving parts, requires no oil changes or repairs etc. and it has a long life of approximately 40 years.

Most PV systems are made up of individual square cells approximately measuring 4 by 4 inches. Solely such cells produce very little energy so they are grouped together into modules. Such modules can then be grouped into large panels, encased in plastic or glass coating to be protected from the environment, weather and natural elements. These panels are then either used individually or in groups to produce electricity for house and/or businesses. Usually, these panels are attached to the existing grids provided by the electric companies, installed in most houses and businesses. Thus making the house or business hybrid.

There are three types of PV Cells:

• Single-Crystal Cells are made in shape of long cylinders of and than sliced into round or hexagonal wafers. This type of cell is the most expensive to make but its efficiency is the most also.

• Polycrystalline Cells are made of molten silicone into pieces or thin sheets which are then sliced into squares. This kind of cell is although less expensive to create but it is also not very efficiency is lower too.

• Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) employs a totally different approach. It is made by spraying silicon directly onto the glass or metal surface, making the whole module into a single step. But this is the least expensive and the least effective of all cell varieties.

It is a fact that the usage of solar energy produces no pollution, meaning it leaves behind no Carbon Footprints. It is the most probable, popular and viable future of energy generation. All of the earth’s fossil fuel reserves can be matched, energy production wise, by harvesting 20 straight days of sunlight all over the world. It is true that the production of PV cells is expensive and invasive but once a cell is produced its life span is up to 40- 60 years. All in all solar energy is the way to go for the benefit of all humanity and the protection and survival of the earth’s atmosphere. It is also very cheap and useful for the consumer too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tips on Leaving Smaller Carbon Footprints

The earth is sighing. It is overburdened, old and tired. It needs our help. A lot of us are all ready and eager to help but most of us don’t know how. It is true that a quick change in our lifestyles is required to reverse and correct the damage that has already been done. Drastic measure can only be taken at higher Governmental levels, true, but we can contribute in our small ways to reduce our Carbon Footprints, and we can start today. Every drop counts when measuring the Oceans. You can help.


• Install Solar Panels to provide electricity for your house and business,
which will insure that you will leave behind a smaller Carbon Footprint, as your electric needs will be fulfilled but by burning less fossil fuel.
• Replace all bulbs with the mercury bulbs.
• Buy only enough food that you know you will eat, don’t hoard today only to throw away tomorrow.
• Eat more fresh foods, the less processed food you eat, the better for your health and the environment.
• Wear less darker clothes to work boys, yes, the black suits absorb the heat towards the office buildings, making them warm and consequently making the cooling work overtime.
• Wear warm clothes inside the house instead of turning up the heating every time it gets colder. Socks and sweaters are the friends of environment.
• Try helping the trees by using both sides of paper.
• Have your monthly bills e-mailed to you.
• Plant more trees.
• Only run the washing machine on a full load of clothes.
• Only use the dishwasher when it is full.
• Only vacuum the house when needed, like once every week or every other week.
• Plan your car trips to town in advance so that you can do all your chores in one go; so that you don’t have to run to the store just for a gallon of milk, make lists ladies.
• Use natural sunlight wherever possible in the mornings, open the blinds and turn off the lights. Set up work desks near windows.
• Turn off all extra lights.
• Unplug electronics when not in use. Don’t leave you PCs on forever.
• Turn off the TV when no one is watching.
• Do not throw away used electronic batteries (laptop, cell phone batteries etc.) and other electronics, into the trash; take them back to the electronic stores they will recycle them properly. You can also try finding Electronic Recycling Centers in your yellow pages.
• Do not throw away old printer cartridges in trash also, these too can be taken or mailed to sellers for proper disposal.
• Recycle glass, tin, paper and old clothes.
• Use e-bay and Craig’s list to buy stuff whenever possible, it is recycling when you buy used stuff and re-use it.
• Sell your old stuff or give it away rather than throwing it away.
• Use car pools to and from work, and for kids’ school pick and drops.
• Ride your bike to work, if it not freezing outside and you live near your work place.
• Do not use plastic bags!!!!! Get cloth shopping bags today.
• Use less paper towels, buy some dish cloths and don’t throw away the dirty ones, wash them and reuse them.
• Try using as less of plastic stuff as you can. Plastic bottles, containers and pots etc. are harmful for you and the environment.
• Use detergents and bathroom cleaners that do not have ammonia in them.
• Take smaller showers.
• Use soaps, shampoos and other grooming products economically.
• Try using deodorant sticks rather than sprays.
• Do not flush empty toilets.
• Fix the water leaks or have them fixed. Yes, the dripping shower is also a water leak.
• Use filtered water rather than buying a bottle, drinking a sip from it and throwing it away.
• Have things fixed, whenever possible, instead of replacing them.
• Support the harvesting of solar and other natural energy sources like wind and water.

It is a fact that nothing written above is new for us. We’ve heard it all before but the question is, are we practicing it? We must keep our minds open and adopt positive changes regarding the environment. We must start practicing what we are hearing and learning everyday. It sounds pretty clichéd but it is all true so:

Change your attitude towards earth today.
Start living green.
Start living in a way that you leave smaller and smaller “Carbon Footprints” behind every single day.
Start today for a better tomorrow.

A Public Awareness Message by,
Yellow Lite