Solar power is sweeping across Delmarva like a wave of clean, low-cost energy, and Green Street Solar is leading the way
WRITTEN BY: NICK BRANDI | PHOTOGRAPHER: LAURA NAVARRE
Not so long ago, solar power was the hot, new trend, something upscale homeowners could do to be forward-thinking yet environmentally responsible. But today, solar power as an alternative-energy source has genuine momentum, making it an inevitable wave not of the future but of today.
Green Street Solar in Selbyville has been on the cutting edge of this technology and the industry’s leading purveyor of residential and commercial solar-energy systems in the region. They recently set up homeowner Dale Wilson with a 44-panel roof-mounted system on his 3,600 sq. ft. Rehoboth Beach residence.
“Green Street Solar and [sales/installation manager] Russell Pfaller were extremely polite, professional and patient, walking us through the entire process one step at a time,” shared Wilson, a retired engineering manager in the aerospace industry. “I actually spoke with three different providers before choosing Green Street, because I felt they were the most professional and made the process so friendly. My system was installed about six months ago, and I know now more than ever that I made the right decision letting Green Street install my home’s system.”
Wilson, who said he was motivated to go solar in large part due to his two new grandchildren, who had caused him to start thinking more about the future of the planet, also offered that the Green Street Solar technicians had the job done in just two and a half days. He also praised the financial prudence of the conversion, stating that his $30K job was reduced to about $12,000 once grants and tax incentives were applied, and that at the rate he’s going, his system will likely have paid for itself in less than six years. “Right now, I’m producing more energy than I’m consuming,” Wilson shared, “and in Delaware you can sell that excess energy to utility companies, which further reduces the cost of the system.”
That’s what Salisbury resident Walter Conway did, too, for his 3,300 sq. ft. home. Conway had Green Street Solar install 84 solar panels on his roof, which now supply more than 100% of his power needs. “My system cost approximately $40,000,” said Conway, a former electrician, “and between the 30 percent credit I received from the federal government and what Delmarva Power pays me for my excess energy production, my system will have paid for itself in seven years or less. Now, if you think that I really like having Delmarva Power pay me instead of me paying them, you’re absolutely right. All I pay now is $8.30 per month for the meter.”
Conway went on to say that he thinks the state of Maryland needs to step up its game when it comes to providing tax incentives to homeowners (the state currently offers only a $1,000 rebate, whereas Delaware offers $3,000), adding that it has fallen woefully behind places like Massachusetts and Washington, DC. His feelings about Green Street Solar, however, couldn’t be more to the contrary.
“Our Green Street rep was Russell Pfaller, and he was just excellent from beginning to end. Not only is he a really nice guy, he is a straight shooter, which I really respect. There’s no salesmanship with him, just good old customer service and integrity. Great bunch of guys… I used to bring them pizza and sodas while they were installing my system, which only took about a week.”
A big reason Pfaller is such a hit with the clients is because his background is on the tech-and-installation side, not sales. This makes him not only more knowledgeable but low-pressure, as well. “Russell is our guy at Green Street — not just before the sale but also during the installation and after the job was complete,” said Gary Smith, a retired economic-development executive who had Green Street install an array of 80 solar panels in the backyard of his home in the Lewes area. Having gone solar in September of 2015, Smith hasn’t paid an electric bill since April, saving about $6K a year, and now sells some of his energy back to the Delaware Electric Cooperative.
“I consulted with about ten solar-energy companies before picking Green Street,” said Smith, “and it was definitely because of their knowledge base and low-stress approach. I recommend them to everyone.”
Though some have expressed concern that the new presidential administration may attempt to repeal the federal solar-energy tax incentive for homeowners, Pfaller says the current 30% rebate is set to remain in effect for at least the next couple of years, then gradually decline thereafter.