Business: Ocean Solar LLC
Location: Fifield Avenue, Northfield
Owner: Bill Dris-coll, of Northfield
Employees: Ow-ner operated, with subcontractors
I graduated with a degree in philosophy and education from Harvard University in 2001. Shortly afterward, I realized educating people about the use of energy would be appropriate, so I decided to try to tackle some of our environmental and political issues.
I was motivated by the possibility of saving people money with some moral positives to it.
In 2007 I began installing photovoltaic systems on roofs for a company in Egg Harbor Township. Then in 2009 I began working for another company as a project manager and lead project developer on projects up to five megawatts. I've installed projects from a 10kw ground-based system to a 170kw roof-mounted solar system.
My goal at Ocean Solar is to make solar affordable for everyone.
We think the solar energy credit has hit its bottom. With Gov. Christie's initiatives, we're going to see payback periods on installations of five to six years, not the seven or eight right now.
I expect the value of solar renewable energy credits to be back at $150 per SREC by late summer.
We use all American-made products: solar panels, inverters, racking. That's very important to us. Part of the reason we got into this field is we're getting energy from dangerous parts of the world, so we thought it important to source materials and energy from home.
We're not looking to make a killing on jobs, just to install as much solar as possible and make enough money to keep doing what we like to do. A typical home system would be five or six kilowatts, and cost from $15,000 to $18,000. A third of that is returned to the homeowner through a federal tax credit in place until 2016.
Utility rates are never going down, so by installing a solar energy system, you're locking in your cost of energy. And you can still earn money from SRECs, which are good for 15 years. I give free estimates for solar energy systems. Homeowners just supply a copy of their electric bill.
Financing is available for larger, commercial projects.
The future: I'd like to add solar hot water to the business, which would lower customers' bills further.