RINCON — The opportunity to save money on energy costs has dawned in Effingham County and beyond.
GOL Solar of Rincon, which opened in November 2020, installs solar panels throughout Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina — a region that is experiencing a solar boom.
“It is predicted that more solar (panels are) going to be installed this year than the last forty years combined,” said Brian Van Ness, who owns GOL Solar with his wife, Jody. They also own and operate GOL Security, which has two decades of experience in home protection services.
“We decided to offer an additional product line because we are already in so many homes,” Van Ness said. “We have so many customers who already know us. They know who we are so it was a perfect fit to have a GOL Solar company to offer solar (power) to our customers as well.”
The interest in solar power has been spurred by rising electricity rates. Utility companies are subject to inflation and rising costs each year.
“Any home that gets a utility bill is a candidate for solar,” Van Ness said. “We are doing about six or seven proposals per day.”
The timing for switching is optimum for customers, he added.
“There is a zero up-front cost (for residential units) to switch to solar power because there is a federal government tax credit. It is not a rebate,” Van Ness explained. “We also have special financing available to finance solar projects. Our monthly payments with our special financing on a solar system is usually lower than the typical utility bill.”
Another benefit is that the payments on solar panels don’t change from month to month like utility bills do.
“And eventually, you won’t have a solar payment so you will eliminate that portion of your bill,” Van Ness said. “Not only that, you are gaining equity. Instead of renting your utility, you are owning a certain percentage of your utility.”
Georgia Power customers are eligible to participate in its Solar Buy Back program. Participating customers who are connected to the grid and generate electricity from home solar systems can sell their excess to Georgia Power in exchange for bill credits.
Any excess solar energy generated in a month will carry over to the next month. If your panels produce more energy than you use in a month, that extra energy is carried over to the months residents need more electricity.
“If your panels produce more energy than you consume today, then your meter is running backward and you are getting credits for that,” he said.
Many other utilty companies have similar programs.
Solar panels generate direct current electricity (DC) which is sent to an inverter. The inverter converts the DC into alternating current (AC), the type of electricity required for household use.
GOL Solar also offers AC solar panels which do not require a central inverter because they feature a microinverter that’s factory integrated into each panel. The AC power is delivered directly to a home’s main electrical service panel.
“In our security company, we also do energy management solutions through some of our products — smart thermostats and smart lighting — so this goes along with that,” Van Ness said. “It was a good fit (to be in the solar panel business and security business).”
To learn more about GOL Solar and solar power, visit golsolar.com.
“It’s a very simple process,” Van Ness said. “All we need to make a proposal is the copy of a current power bill. Anyone who plans to live in their current home for at least the next four or five years can benefit from solar.”