April 18, 2011




Kendra Bonnett
kendra (at) blackplatinumsolar (dot) com

Toni Black
toni (at) blackplatinumsolar (dot) com




Phoenix, April 18, 2011—What’s a homeowner to do? On March 25th, Arizona Public Service (APS) announced a further step-down in its Renewable Energy Incentive Program to $1.45 per watt for residential, grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) solar installations. With incentives down $1.55 per watt from a year ago (when homeowners received $3 per watt) your readers are probably wondering if solar still makes sense.

The fact is, incentives are only one variable in the equation. And now you can help equip your readers with the information they need to make an educated decision about solar energy. Meet John and Toni Black—owners of Black Platinum Solar & Electric—who have faithfully served the solar needs of homeowners in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area since 2008.

When Vice President and COO John Black first talks with prospective customers, he takes the time to answer their questions and educate them on the important difference between covering electrical usage and covering the electric bill. Understanding this is the difference between a satisfied homeowner and one who is stuck with a system that doesn’t perform to their expectations.

“When I finish talking with a prospect,” John admits, “they usually thank me for the mini-course in solar energy. Yeah, I’m that thorough. And while they are joking with me, in part, I know that I have given them the tools to be educated consumers in a technology-intensive industry. That’s critical.”

So, with incentives down, does a PV system make sense in 2011? Well consider, for example:

  • How appealing it would be to never pay another electric bill. That translates into protection going forward…no matter how high the costs of electricity rise.
  • That the Federal tax credit still allows homeowners to take a direct dollar-for-dollar credit for 30 percent of their system costs and carry that credit forward, as needed and until used up, all the way through 2016. Add, too, the Arizona state tax credit of 25 percent (capped at $1,000 per residence).
  • There is no sales tax on residential PV solar systems. And while installing a solar energy system can add as much as $25,000 to the value of one’s home, it won’t raise property taxes.
  • The price of solar panels has come down, even as the technology has gotten better and more efficient. Equipment costs have dropped between $1 and $2 per watt in the last two years alone, which translates into savings of $10,000 to $20,000—and that’s before incentives and tax credits are factored in.
  • And that there are only a limited number (360 as of this writing) of APS incentive reservations available for the 4th quarter (starting October 2011).

Here’s the bottom line: Residential customers will still pay only about 50 percent of their system costs out of pocket, and that’s not far from where it was 2 or 3 years ago.

Black Platinum Solar is ready to answer the questions your readers are asking now:

Can I really eliminate my electric bill?

How long is the payoff on a solar system?

Should I wait for better technology and prices to drop further?

Can I find an honest contractor to do my installation?

“If we could give homeowners only one piece of advice,” adds President and CEO Toni Black, “it would be this: Ask your questions, no matter how insignificant or silly you might think they are. Understand the process thoroughly…because not all systems are created equal…and neither are all solar contractors.”

About Black Platinum Solar

Since its founding in 2007, Black Platinum Solar has been custom designing and installing photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential customers. As of June 9, 2011, their 60 grid-tied Enphase Energy microinverter PV systems have produced in excess of 1.24 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity. Although BPSE has also installed 3 central inverter systems, they have no production statistics for these, as there was no remote monitoring system for them. Black Platinum Solar is committed to understanding customers’ needs and delivering on the promise; they don’t walk away from the complicated install. John and Toni Black are well known to Phoenix residents for their construction business established in 2003, Black Platinum Custom Homes.

Customer service translates into communication and ensuring that 1) the customer has all the information needed to make an educated decision, and 2) Black Platinum Solar fully understands what the customer wants and their usage requirements. Black Platinum Solar is a turnkey service provider, which means we will handle everything required to install and activate your PV system. Black Platinum Solar is a certified installer of Enphase Energy microinverter systems and an Arizona Public Service Qualified Solar Installer (QSI).


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