Preserving the Planet
Aztec Solar Power sheds light on our environmental impact
by Phil Gianficaro

When it comes to our environmental impact, all eyes are on the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that occurred after a British Petroleum Co. oil rig exploded in April. Some experts estimate the amount of oil spilling into the ocean is almost 20,000 barrels per day, destroying the health of marine life and the coastal inhabitants for miles around.

“Just look what’s going on down there,” says Nick Baker, regional sales manager for King of Prussia-based Aztec Solar Power, the leader in residential and commercial solar applications in the Philadelphia area. “We’ve got to clean up this planet. If you treat our planet like garbage, it will eventually turn into garbage. Going to an alternate energy source, like solar power, is one way to help clean up and preserve the planet.”

For consumers looking to help save the environment and also cut their bills at home, solar power is the way to go, Baker says.

Solar energy currently provides less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. But a report by the research and publishing firm Clean Edge and the non-profit Co-op America finds that solar power’s contribution could grow to 10 percent of the nation’s power needs by 2025. The reports also state that solar photovoltaic, or solar panel, systems could provide more than 8 percent of the electricity in the U.S. in 15 years.

All in the hope of lessening dependence on costly fossil fuel-based energy sources that create pollution and wreak havoc on wildlife, sea life and mankind.

Most of the world’s electricity is made by utilizing coal or oil, which creates harmful carbon dioxide that damages the ozone layer. Consider this worrisome fact: 98 percent of the amount of US power comes from non-renewable sources. Troubling.

Solar power is one of many ways people can help reduce the carbon footprint on the environment and save money on their energy bills.

Other steps that fit under the Going Green Initiative umbrella are devices and fixtures for residential and commercial use that can conserve the amount of water used daily; Web-based energy monitoring programs that provide homeowners a detailed account of energy use and personalized energy-saving recommendations; super-efficient thermal windows; and zero-energy homes designed to use up to 90 percent less energy than a standard home.

It is abundantly clear: We’re dirtying up our world, and we need to change our energy-consuming away.

That’s the primary reason one Bucks County resident decided to go solar with Aztec Solar Power.

“I called Aztec to convert to solar power because I’ve always had a desire to do something that was more environmentally friendly,” says Dr. Ganesh Pai, a consulting engineer from Jamison, who converted his home to solar power this year.

“I do a lot of work from home, and I don’t detect any difference in anything power-wise from before we had the solar panels installed. Aztec did a wonderful job.”

Another reason Dr. Pai works from home is to reduce automobile emissions that would occur by him driving to work every day.

The federal government is now offering a 30 percent federal income tax credit for residences and businesses. Nick Baker, regional sales manager at Aztec Solar Power, further explains that business owners can take advantage of a 30-percent Business Energy Investment Tax Credit or receive a cash Treasury Grant for 30 percent of the system cost.

Business owners can also take advantage of a six-year Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System deprecation of the system. This can mean a write-off of almost 85 percent of the total system cost.

“Going solar will save me money in the long run, but it’s really about saving the environment,” says Dr. Pai. “Everyone needs to think about this because it affects everyone.”

Dr. Pai got the message, and he’s doing something about it. So, too, are plenty of other Americans. In 15 years, as much as 10 percent of US energy could be solar driven. Also, a new study by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory predicts the eastern power grid could get 20 percent of energy needed to power homes and businesses from wind.

The environment is suffocating, and we need to take better care of it before it’s too late.

Aztec Solar Power, 701 Lee Road, Suite 200, Wayne


Phil Gianficaro is an award-winning writer based in Doylestown.