A Bright Solar Powered Future For Energy Solar Systems of Cumming, Georgia

It may be a while before everyone catches on to a solar roof to offset their homes' energy costs, but some in the community believe the future is bright for solar energy. Energy Solar Systems in Cumming, Georgia has become committed to the cause of going green as a business model.

"Our dependency on foreign oil has got to stop," said Burnette, Owner of Energy Roofing Systems, Inc., the parent company of Energy Solar Systems.


Burnette said shingles, a petroleum-based product, don't breakdown in a landfill. He recommends metal roofs that have a longer life expectancy and could be recycled.

"I've been in construction for 30 years, and I've seen what goes into landfills," he said.

Burnette also said tax incentives for businesses to go green have helped to increase sales of his solar panels. There are about six proposals he submitted in the past week.

A Federal Clean Energy Grant takes care of about 30 percent of the total installation price tag once the solar panels are installed.

And on the state level, a 35 percent tax credit is given to businesses and homeowners - Georgia Clean Energy Tax Credit - said Michael Chance, the roofing company's spokesman.

There's also various incentives from local utility providers including a $3,000 Sawnee EMC incentive to install solar panels.

Chance said over the weekend, when businesses usually close up shop, there's even potential that utility companies cut a customer a check for the excess power the generate - a process called net metering.

"Power can be sold back to the utility company," Chance said. "But you would have to generate more than you are using."

One of their recent undertakings was at an automotive warehouse in Dawsonville. Energy Solar Systems hired Alpharetta-based Solar Energy USA to install a 20kW photovoltaic system - or about 91 solar modules.

Photovoltaic panels are an interconnected assembly of solar cells, and a group of panels is collectively called a solar array.

Burnette said the warehouse project is not yet completed. He said the completed project will be installed in phases and calls for 90kW when completely finished.

The clean energy push makes sense, said Chance.

"Based on how the sun hits the state, Georgia has just as much peak sun hours as certain parts of California," he said.

The way the solar panels work is by converting the sun's energy, known as direct current, into alternating current through micro-inverters.

Burnette said the lifespan of the solar panels is roughly 35 years.

For a business, the payback period or amount of time before the system pays for itself, is five years. For a homeowner, the payback period is about 10 years.

"Due to the economic conditions, people may stay home longer and we see this as an opportunity," Chance said. "People just see the upfront cost, but in the long run this is definitely the way to go."

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