Originally published in Enchanted Homes
Teresa Dovalpage: PPC Solar is known for its involvement with the community. Recently, you announced the donation of a 2kW photovoltaic (solar electric) system to Community against Violence. Do you plan to offer a similar donation to other organizations in the future?
Dan Weinman: We definitely are planning to offer another donation system in the future. This is the first time we’ve been able to do something like this and it has shown us that there are so many deserving non-profits in our community. After this system donation, we made a decision to actively look for grants and funding to help other interested non-profits secure photovoltaic systems. We call it the “Solar Fund Seeker” program. It’s working! Our two runner-up non-profits have both applied for grants.
Teresa Dovalpage: What makes PPC Solar different among the other renewable energy companies in New Mexico?
Dan Weinman: Our first off-grid installation was at Lama Foundation in 1979. We’ve been in this industry since solar electricity has become available to the general public. Also, we are second generation family owned and operated. Micha Weinman, my father, started the company as Paradise Power Company and now I’ve transitioned it into PPC Solar. But what really sets us apart is our involvement in our community. Our commitment to subcontracting locally (DeLapp, Group 3, All Around Fence Company), hiring local crew and labor, supporting our community through events, fundraisers, and donations (2011 Solarbration w/ KTAO, Taos Sun Run 5k fundraiser for Anansi, 2 kW Solar Electric System Donation to CAV, providing PV power for the Angelfire Freeride Festival) and our dedication to educating the community in solar electricity (Intro to PV UNM course with Micha Weinman and October 2011 Solar Tour planned). We are also always willing to teach or advise anyone who walks in the door to help them understand solar electricity.
Teresa Dovalpage: What is the most popular type of system that you sell?
Dan Weinman: Our residential grid-tie systems are really taking off right now. With the federal and state incentives that are in place and people looking for a good investment there has not been a better time to go solar. And people are environmentally aware, they care about their carbon footprint and how it affects future generations.
Teresa Dovalpage: What has helped your business survive in these times of economic downturn?
Dan Weinman: People are ready to make a value minded investment. We help our clients to attain a system through incentives and financing options. Also, on a global scale, renewable energy is booming. Now more than ever, people are embracing solar and its technology. All these factors have worked together to help us during the economic downturn.
Teresa Dovalpage: Which are some of the incentives, like tax rebates, to get solar powered now?
Dan Weinman: Currently there is 10% State incentive and a 30% Federal incentive, which means that you see the investment returned to you at the end of the year via tax returns. And, there is NO sales tax on solar energy equipment in NM. There are other incentives and grant opportunities available for commercial, institutional and non-profit organizations that cannot take advantage of tax credits. Financing is also available for residential and commercial systems through various lending agencies.
Teresa Dovalpage: How exactly does Kit Carson reimburse people for producing energy at home?
Dan Weinman: New Mexico utilizes net-metering to incentivize solar electric. Basically, this is a straight trade for kilowatt-hour production. Net-metered customers (with a grid-tie photovoltaic system) are credited generation during daytime hours which offsets the electricity used at night. Often times, more solar electricity is produced in the summer than consumed. This excess can be “rolled over” to the winter months to offset reduced winter productions.
Teresa Dovalpage: You focus on PV for residential, business, education, government and utilities. Could you describe a specific project of which you are particularly proud of?
Dan Weinman: I am extremely proud of ourTaosHigh School 50kW PV array. To have been a student there and now having completed this installation means I’ve come full circle. In the spring I had the opportunity to lecture at my father’s UNM Introduction to Photovoltaics course. The class was held at TaosHigh School…and I felt honored to have built the very system being used to educate the students.
Teresa Dovalpage: What is the best thing about being a renewable energy company in Taos?
Dan Weinman: The best thing about being a renewable energy company ANYWHERE is the fact that we are contributing to making a better world for future generations. But to do it inTaos…this is the community I grew up in and I want to have a positive impact. I look at my children growing up here and I’m motivated and inspired to continue to utilize renewable energy to makeTaos a better place for all of us.
Teresa Dovalpage: What do you think about the future of renewable energy, particularly in New Mexico?
Dan Weinman: There is great potential for renewable energy in this state –New Mexico is a hotbed for solar energy – we have an abundant resource for sunlight plus the climate characteristics are perfect for the production of solar energy. With all this in mind, it is crucial to support renewable energy legislation in our state. Getting rid of the current energy conservation code would be detrimental to its future inNew Mexico. With the programs that are currently in place, it provides for a stable market, but in order for New Mexicans to fully adopt renewable energy there needs to be better incentives.
Paradise Power Company Inc. | PPC Solar
1036 Reed LnUnit 1