2021 SunCommon Community Service Day
For over a year now, much of the SunCommon team has been working remotely, and all-staff gatherings have been suspended. But graced with good weather and increased access to vaccines amongst our staff, we paused operations for a day to give each other the opportunity to reconnect after a year apart, provide service to our community, and expand our mission impact by planting carbon-sequestering trees.
On May 14th, 130 SunCommoners spread out across 8 different sites across Vermont and New York and worked with local conservation groups on a range of projects to expand sustainable ecosystems and clean water systems.
From planting pollinators at a CSA site to planting trees along riverbanks, our efforts allowed us to connect with the land and with each other. Below are some of the stories we captured.
Pollinator Planting in Kingston, NY
In 2019 and 2020, SunCommon installed two Community Solar Arrays at the Pointe of Praise church in Kingston to provide affordable, clean energy to the church and its parishioners. As part of our service day, we planted a pollinator garden at the newer array for the bees and butterflies, and to beautify the area.
Flood Plain Reforestation & Carbon Sequestration in Jericho, VT
Planting trees not only helps with flood resilience, it is also the biggest and easiest way to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change — so, a natural fit for SunCommon! Between three sites in Vermont, we planted over 3,100 trees (obliterating our previous tally of 1,200 in 2019) through our partnerships with Friends of the Winooski River and the Vermont Land Trust.
Tree and Shrub Planting at Esopus Creek, NY
In partnership with The Kingston Land Trust, we tackled a variety of conservation projects along the Esopus creek! Our efforts will help address climate change through carbon sequestration as well as mitigate flooding. The team also connected with their work on a deeper level by recognizing the indigenous history of the land.
Tree Planting in South Burlington, VT
We planted trees on a parcel of land conserved by the Vermont Land Trust to create “functional buffers.” These areas help protect wetlands and floodplains from further erosion, improve fish and bird habitats, along with so many more benefits. Learn more here.
When it comes to going solar, customer experience matters.
There are a lot of factors to weigh when deciding to go solar. From whether your property has a good solar profile, to the monthly cost, to your return on investment, it’s a decision that requires a thoughtful process.
But once you decide to go for it, there’s one more essential step: choosing the best solar company to handle the job. That means getting to know your potential solar providers before you sign the contract so you can be sure they’ll be a good partner from day 1 and for years to come.
Here’s where SunCommon shines like a bright and cloudless sunny day: as a locally owned and operated company, we’ve built our business model on being not just a great installer of solar, but also a good neighbor, dedicated to the satisfaction of our clients.
So what does it take to give our customers an amazing solar experience?
Good communication is our first priority
At SunCommon, we never underestimate the critical role that good communication plays in ensuring that your project goes smoothly — and also in making it an exciting (and dare we say fun?) customer experience!
We set expectations upfront so that the sometimes-complex process of going solar is as clear as possible. At every stage of the project, we want our customers to know what has been completed and what’s coming next. (In fact, we hire our staff not just for their techie know-how, but also for their people skills!)
Coming soon for new SunCommon Customers:
Bodhi is a platform that gives solar customers critical updates during their permitting, installation, and project commissioning phases.
Problem solving for the best answer
When you’re as passionate about your company’s mission as we are, everyone in the organization is committed to rolling up their sleeves to work for their customers. And it’s not always a cut-and-dry solution. Sometimes our technical knowledge and experience with financial incentives will do the trick, and other times we tap our ingenuity and perseverance to come up with the best solution.
Integrity matters. Big time.
At SunCommon, we know our clients make decisions based on our expertise and the quality of the information we provide. That’s why we take our estimates very seriously and build our pricing models based only on historically relevant and geographically specific data. Some national companies use national data—but are utility rates in Texas relevant in New York or Vermont? Not likely!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“I have been with this company for three years. I just reviewed the original estimates they gave me with my three years of bills. The estimates were right on target.”
SunCommon Customer | Delmar
Commitment that doesn’t quit
Lastly, you want to work with a solar company that will help you out beyond “flipping the switch.” If a problem arises after your solar is up and running, SunCommon will be there for you. And whenever you want to expand your solar capacity or add battery backup, you’ll already have a great relationship with a responsive, helpful, friendly local business you trust.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“We started with an 8kWh system in 2012 that took about 4 weeks and expanded it with a 5kWh system just finished in early 2014. The expansion took only 2 weeks because all of the wiring was already there, and the newer system was joined to the old system.”
Karen F. | Hudson
Here’s another great way to get a feel for who we are:
Talk to one of our expert Solar Advisors! We’re always happy to answer your toughest questions and work hard to achieve your solar aspirations. Ready, set, go solar!
5 Easy Ways Toward More Sustainable Living in Saratoga
Let’s face it: thinking about climate change can get overwhelming really quickly. The world is an enormous place, and the degree to which humans (especially industry) negatively impact the environment can feel beyond our control.
If you’re thinking, “How can one person make any kind of difference, even if I really want to?” It’s true, you personally probably won’t. But once you shift the mindset from “I” to “we,” everything changes.
Take this blog, for instance. You’re not the only person reading it, and as the headline suggests, we’re going to give you some simple but useful ideas for more sustainable living in Saratoga. If you then share those ideas, they’ll spread further into the community. And if enough people embrace them, and share them again and again, we can truly help build a brighter future all together.
Top 5 Ways Toward More Sustainable Living in Saratoga:
1. Get on Board with Bikes
Have you heard about the CDPHP bicycle sharing program in the Capital Region? There are more than 400 bikes available at over 80 stations across Saratoga Springs, Albany, Schenectady, Cohoes and Troy. It’s a fun, earth-friendly, convenient way to get around, and it’s earth-friendly!
2. Tap Our Springs
We all know that Saratoga is known for its amazing spring water. Why not enjoy it at home by bringing empty bottles to Saratoga Spa State Park’s filling station? Kicking store-bought water to the curb saves you money, not to mention major energy costs and plastic waste. Different springs contain different minerals (and, some say, healing properties!), so do a little research ahead of time to find one that appeals to you.
3. Dig into a CSA
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) isn’t just good for you and your family, it’s a great way to sustain our local farmers. Pitney Meadows Community Farm offers a Pick-Your-Own CSA that gives you hands-on access to great produce all growing season long.
5. All Hail the Hybrid Cab
Sometimes you just need a lift, so when cab service is required, opt for a cleaner, greener fleet. Saratoga Hybrid Cab serves the Capital Region with local taxi and airport service using fuel-efficient, gas-electric hybrid vehicles.
Small changes (like composting) and bigger changes (like going solar) are both important, even if they seem like small drops compared to the tidal wave we need to address climate change. Not only do all these small drops add up, they also make a statement to others that the time is now to pool our efforts and make a bigger impact.
Looking to make an even bigger impact? Chat with SunCommon — Your go-to residential solar company!
We’re pretty sure you know some of the advantages of green energy, like breaking up with fossil fuels, but did you know that going solar could reduce your electricity bill by as much as 90%? Or that you could be eligible for New York State and Federal incentives to help cover the cost? (Heads up though, some of New York’s best incentives are being reduced soon, so don’t wait.)
Looking for the Best Solar Company?
Hi There. We’re Here for You.
OK, so you’ve done your research: solar power is the most cost effective renewable energy source that saves you money, raises your property value, works reliably, and is better for the environment. It’s decided — you’re ready to switch to solar! (Cue parade music and ticker tape ribbons!)
Tap Our Sunny Disposition… and Our Expertise!
Getting ready to join the clean energy family is an exciting time, and we’ve got a few feathers in our cap we can share so you know you’ll be working with the best solar company out there. We’ve won a few awards (check out our accolades here) and have been recognized by NYSERDA as a Quality Installer with Gold Status (which means we rank super high on their faves list). We’re a preferred partner with New York villages and cities for the development, installation, and financing of Community Solar Arrays.
We’re also thrilled to offer more than 15 years of installation expertise in New York, and we’re committed to giving you an incredibly positive experience, just like we did for thousands of other solarized New Yorkers — some probably right in your neighborhood.
More Reasons Why SunCommon is the Best Solar Company
Perhaps most significant to our customers is the fact that we’re locally-owned and operated. We live and work in the communities we serve, which means we have better insight into our customers’ particular needs. We’re not sure the same can be said about providers headquartered in Texas or California — in fact, we’ve heard stories of cost-savings estimates based on national stats that had no bearing on local conditions, which can be pretty misleading!
“Wow, SunCommon, sign me up!”
Smart plan! Spring is the ideal time to plan your solar project with us (find out why here), so if you’re ready to commit, here are a few things you can do to help get the ball rolling:
- Make sure your roof is in good shape and not in need of repair or replacement.
- Determine what direction the slope of your roof faces. You’ll want plenty of exposure to the sun, but that doesn’t always mean your roof needs to face south. Or, make sure there’s a sunny spot on your property where a ground-mounted system could go.
- Find out what financial incentives are available to you. In New York, there may be state incentives in addition to federal tax credits.
- Locate your most recent electric bill so we can estimate your power needs.
If you’ve decided that SunCommon is the best solar company to handle your project, give us a shout! We’ll answer any questions and then start rolling up our sleeves for you right away.
The NYSERDA Solar Incentive is Decreasing — Get the most out of solar while you can!
If this spring weather has you thinking about going solar, you aren’t alone! Spring is a great time to capture the sun’s rays because the days are finally long enough to bank credits for next winter. Another reason this spring is a good time to go or solar is that a major New York incentive is about to decrease, resulting in around $1650 of lost savings for the average solar system.
New York has the best solar incentives in the country
When you go solar at home in New York state, you’re eligible for several incentives that make solar more affordable. They include the federal tax credit, the New York state tax credit, and the NYSERDA solar incentive. This NYSERDA incentive will be decreasing sometime this spring. Read more about all New York incentives here.
What’s happening with the NYSERDA solar incentive?
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, better known as NYSERDA, allocates funding for residential solar projects in “blocks.” Each block has a different incentive rate, and they step down gradually over time. The current block is set at 35¢ per watt — which means for an average sized home solar system, the state will cover $3,850 of the purchase price, paying it directly to the installer for you.
But this current funding block is nearly depleted and will run out sometime this spring. Once it’s gone, the next funding block only provides 20¢ per watt, or about $2200 for an average sized system. Which means that waiting to go solar until summer could cost you $1650 in lost incentives.
Are all solar incentives going down?
It’s true that, by design, most incentives decrease over time and eventually go away. For example, the 26% federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar was scheduled to drop down to zero by the end of 2021, but in an unexpected move by congress, it received a 2-year extension as part of the recent stimulus bill. It is now scheduled to phase out entirely by the end of 2023.
The New York state solar tax credit covers 25% (up to $5000) of the cost of your system and does not currently have a scheduled end date.
Go solar before April 30th to lock in NYSERDA’s current rate
With long days and home improvement season officially upon us, now is the perfect time to look into solar (and even energy storage!) for your home. And to sweeten the deal, SunCommon will guarantee NYSERDA’s current incentive rate for anyone who signs up for solar before the end of April 2021.
Schedule a time to chat with one of our expert Solar Advisors before this incentive drops!
Our team is available for virtual home visits to explain the various options and programs that are available to your home, so that you can go solar, save money, and do good by the planet all at the same time.
Want to Go Solar in New York?
Make Hay (And Energy) While The Sun Shines!
Some things are just better in a particular season. Like wool socks. Fresh tomatoes. Pumpkin Spice everything. It’s true, too, if you want to go solar. While adding solar to your home or business is a smart and potentially cost saving decision at any time, spring is actually the IDEAL season to go solar and save money.
Here’s a fun fact: on average, there’s 15-20% more sunshine in March than in February. Plus, the amount of daylight increases by two minutes each day. More sunshine plus more daylight means more energy fueling your solar array. And that’s not just for immediate use. In New York, your utility allows you to “bank” the unused energy you produce as credits toward your energy bill in the off-season. (It’s true, check it out.)
That means that solar’s goodness keeps on giving throughout the year (unlike a Pumpkin Spice latte that only lasts you a few minutes). Installing a solar system this spring will pay back dividends next winter and every winter after that.
The Warm Fuzzies
Thinking about solar, but wondering if it’s the right direction for you? Allow us to go a little deeper…
The advantages of green energy are many, not the least of which is making a break from fossil fuels and using the sun’s clean energy to power your life. And that’s huge for our communities and for the world.
But we get it. Sometimes, you need a little more “What’s in it for me?” than simply saving the world. To that we say, how about reducing your electricity bill, possibly by as much as 90%? Win-win, right?!
Not to mention, you can also get over 50% of the cost of your solar installation covered if you’re eligible for New York State and Federal incentives! (P.S. This spring, one of New York State’s best incentives is going to drop, making now the absolute best time to go solar!)
Or how about the fact that installing residential solar will actually raise the value of your home? Or that solar plus the addition of a Tesla Powerwall energy storage system will allow you to sail through power outages without the use of a generator? Finally, did you know that going solar with SunCommon means you’re getting a custom installation from one of only nine NYSERDA Quality Installers with Gold Status?
So. Much. Winning.
Spring Into Action
If you’re ready to go solar, don’t wait until Pumpkin Spice Season. Or even the amazing Farmer’s Market fresh tomato season. NOW is the time to maximize your investment, bank as many solar credits as you can, and cut your energy bill and carbon footprint to boot. Let’s talk!
Ready to speak with a Solar Expert?
Strong New Yorkers Make Strong Investments.
The SunCommon team is finally back to work safely installing solar, and we’re excited that New York State is supporting the renewable industry with an amazing new offer: NYSERDA is offering zero-percent interest solar financing for homes and small businesses! At SunCommon, we believe that a brighter future starts with sustainable, homegrown power. We call it “Powering with a Purpose,” and we’re encouraged that our leaders are promoting this better way forward for New Yorkers. So, if you’ve been thinking about going solar, this could be your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time.
New York State’s zero percent solar financing is a limited program, offered on a first come, first served basis. We’re even offering Virtual Home Visits so we can start rebuilding… Safely, together.
This program is now full.
Great Solar Financing. High Quality Installation.
Our installation team was recently awarded with the 2020 NYSERDA Quality Solar Installer Award. Hiring a NYSERDA Quality Solar Installer means you’re choosing an installer who exceeds annual quality assurance criteria backed by NYS and consistently provides top tier performance and quality.
Why Else Should I Go Solar Now?
In addition to great solar financing, did you know that NYS will reimburse you $0.35 per solar watt you install? This monetary reward for going solar is part of a “block grant”. As more solar is installed throughout New York, the faster incentive money disappears from the block. Once an incentive block reaches capacity, the incentive drops. Right now, the incentive is $0.35 per watt and will decrease to $0.20 once remaining capacity is reached.
Click here to maximize the NYS incentive and sign up for zero interest solar financing today!
Did you know that only 15% of clothing is recycled or donated? That means 85% ends up in landfills. Besides all that waste, the clothing industry has a laundry list of damaging effects on the environment. The most noteworthy offenders: carbon emissions, water consumption and water pollution.
Clothing is made out of two materials: Synthetic (like polyester) or Natural Fiber (like cotton). However, each material comes with its own set of baggage.
Synthetics are made from crude oil, which releases two to three times more carbon emissions than cotton. The World Resources Institute has revealed that polyester production in 2015 accounted for 1.5 trillion pounds of CO2. That is equivalent to the annual emissions from 185 coal-fired power plants. Yikes. Plus, since polyester is essentially plastic, it takes hundreds to thousands of years to break down, and each time the garment is washed, hundreds of pieces of microplastic are released.
Cotton, on the other hand, is biodegradable… But that doesn’t outweigh its drawbacks. Cotton farming uses an enormous amount of water. The United Nations Environment Programme has calculated that it takes approximately 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans. That’s enough water for one person to drink for 10 years! As a whole, the fashion industry is the second-largest water consumer AND second-largest water polluter on the planet. On top of the water consumption, the chemicals used in textile dyeing are rarely disposed of properly and often end up in streams and rivers.
Did You Know?
It takes approximately 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans… That’s enough water for one person to drink for 10 years! Recycling clothing can help reduce water waste.
Over the past 18 months the world has started to make some real progress for the planet: several municipalities have enacted laws to limit disposable plastic use, NYC now requires all new construction to include solar or a green roof, and plant-based foods like Beyond Meat are becoming mainstream. However, the clothing industry has yet to have its climate-saving moment.
That’s why we created our Climate Action Film Festival shirts using pre-worn garments from our friends at Helpsy in White Plains, NY. Helpsy is a fellow B Corp with an environmental mission, committed to keeping clothes out of the trash, and supporting their community. During their hard work in 2018, they produced a net negative carbon footprint and avoided the use of 3 billion gallons of water. They have offset 320 Million pounds of CO2—that’s equivalent to the annual output of 31 wind turbines! Helpsy is not only committed to the planet, but also to our communities and our people. This past winter they provided over 120,000 high-quality used winter jackets to those in need in the NYC area.
Check out our recycled shirts from Helpsy being printed at New Duds!
In short, reusing and recycling clothing is a big deal. It reduces the environmental burden of the second-most polluting industry in the world. So next time you need a new piece of clothing, check out your local thrift shop.
How do I go solar?
The process for going solar is simple. It starts with filling out our get started form. You can do so by clicking the get started button. If you want to know more details about the process and the steps involved between signing up and turning on the power, click the button below to find out more.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Tivoli, New York, Mead Orchards grows a delicious crop of fruits and vegetables all year round. They’ve engineered each row of trees to soak up maximum sunlight, much like the SunCommon solar modules on their barn roof.
Now, Joe grows his produce with sunlight, and uses energy from the sun to keep it fresh.
Watch: Joe Nuciforo describes how we aligned energy needs with his core values and his lifelong pursuit of growing great apples.
“The way you lay out a modern apple orchard is actually all about light interception; how much sun you’re catching…. You talk about light interception harnessing the sun, this is what we’re already doing.”
Solar is more accessible than ever
Solar isn’t just for big business, we’ve installed our fair share of small businesses too!
With all the tax incentives, savings, and (let’s be honest) brownie points you’ll get, commercial solar is a no brainer.
Want to learn more about solar?
If you want to go solar at your home, but your property is heavily shaded or your roof is incompatible, buying a share of clean power from a community solar array (CSA) is the next best solar solution.
There are two different ways to become a CSA member: Ownership and Subscription.
But what’s the difference?
Community Solar Ownership – Maximum Savings and a lot of good.
If saving the most money with your solar is important to you, ownership is your best option.
Save 2-3 times more money on your utility bill with community solar ownership than with a subscription. Exact savings depend on how you pay for the system.
Become eligible for a 30% federal tax credit.
Enjoy consistent savings. Our rates don’t go up over time. You lock in your solar cost when you buy.
Own your solar panels and your power.
Increase the value of your home. When you move, either sell your solar panels with your home, or if you move within the same utility, take them with you to your next place.
Support a local company, local jobs, and keep your energy dollars local.
*All our arrays are small and well-sited, with minimal impact on the landscape. We support local pollinators by planting native wildflower species on site.
Community Solar Subscription — the Other Guys’ Option
If long term savings aren’t as important to you, this is an accessible option.
Immediate savings. Pay a little less on your utility bill each month than you would without the program.
Your monthly payment is similar to a cable bill, prices are tied to utility rates and are subject to rate increases (typically around 2 – 4%)
If your circumstances change and you need to exit the CSA, a cancellation fee will apply.
Most of the solar companies installing subscription CSAs aren’t local. They don’t live and work here. Your energy dollars go to a national company.
Even if you can’t go solar at home, solar is still accessible!
We believe everyone should be able to benefit from the savings renewable energy provides. Owning panels in a community solar array is the next best thing to having them directly on your roof and the most cost-efficient way to participate in a CSA.
If you live in Orange County, you shouldn’t need to worry about where your energy comes from. You, personally, can divest from dirty energy and lock in lower rates for cleaner power by joining a community solar array.
Learn more about our Community Solar options near you!
We currently have a CSA option for Central Hudson and Orange & Rockland electric customers.
We only have a limited number of new member spots left available, and this is the last year to claim the full 30% federal solar tax credit.
Here’s How Community Solar Works
Members of a CSA use solar credits produced by that array to reduce or eliminate their utility bill. The only requirement to become a member of a Community Solar Array is that you must live within the same utility load zone as the array. Since most utility load zones span counties, towns, and zip codes, our Solar Advisors can help determine which array you would belong to.
Want to learn more?
For information on how community solar works in general, you can visit our Community Solar page by clicking on the button below. There you will find helpful information on how to become a CSA member, how CSAs actually work, and more. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us directly.