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Solar energy company opening this week
Many homeowners who decide to install solar panels do so on the roofs of their homes. - photo by Stock photo

Coastal Solar Power Company will have its grand opening from Monday through Friday this week, with a ribbon cutting set for 4 p.m. Thursday.

Bill Johnston, site systems analyst for Coastal Solar and a military retiree, noted that the business is located next to Fort Stewart, which he described as one of the Army’s most decorated installations.

“We respect and want to show our appreciation for what the veterans do today. They serve in the military, sacrifice so much for our county, and we want to show our appreciation for them,” he said. “That’s part of the reason why we came up with a means to discount systems, to be able to put it in their hands.”

Johnston said Coastal Solar wants to give back to veterans.

This week, company will offer a special discount on the installation of solar system this week to all veterans, active-duty service members and retired military. Non-military customers will receive a lower discount.

The company has also partnered with local real-estate agent Lisa Scales, who works with Homes for Heroes, in providing discounts for service members. Earlier in April, President Barack Obama announced an initiative to encourage the training veterans for jobs in the solar-power industry. Johnston said Coastal Solar seeks to hire veterans and civilian personnel.

Coastal Solar, owned by Clay Sikes, has been in business for about eight years. It started in Savannah and moved to Hinesville this past summer. Coastal Solar services all the buildings on which solar panels are installed, including those belonging to government agencies, schools, businesses and homes. Johnston said that Coastal Solar is looking into additional renewable-energy areas, such as solar thermal — for hot-water and pool heaters — and solar lighting.

“You have this thing that comes out every day called the sun, and it provides energy for us. It’s kind of neat how God made that and it’s there every day, and it doesn’t cost us anything. So you can take that asset that is there on a continual basis and provide power,” Johnston said.

Johnston gave an example of one customer who recently had solar panels installed on her home. He said that within one week, she generated more than 200 kilowatts of power despite her home not being optimal for solar power because of how it faces the sun.

“It’s reducing or actually giving her credit. Her utility bill actually went negative. She generated more power than she was using, so that was sold back to her utility company. Then she got a credit on her bill,” Johnston said.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 provided a federal tax credit of 30 percent for residential energy property, and The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 extended the tax credit to Dec. 31, 2016. If a customer spends $30,000 on installation, the tax credit would reduce the cost by $9,000 plus any additional credits received on the utility bill, Johnston said.

Coastal Solar also provides customers a return on investment analysis. Johnston said the average has been between eight and nine years for the system to start paying for itself.

“Solar is a very viable option today. It makes sense as far as an investment goes,” Johnston said. “Of all the things you can install in a person’s home, solar is the only thing that generates income back to them.”

Coastal Solar is located at 229 W. Gen. Screven Way, Suite O. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers may schedule an in-home appointment with a consultant after hours.

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