Photovoltaic (PV) systems use semiconductor materials to convert sunlight directly to electricity. PV systems can be configured in different ways, including hot water solar panels, flexible sheets, and roofing shingles. They can be fixed in place, allowed to track the movement of the sun, or put into a mobile power generation system. They work anywhere there is direct or indirect sunlight, and produce no noise or pollution.
Federal and local incentives and Renewable Energy Credits have made solar power for homes much more affordable than even a few years ago. Because solar generates the most electricity during the highest rate periods, a PV system can also drop commercial users into a lower tariff class. Typical systems have payback periods of between 5 and 10 years (a no-risk double-digit return on investment), and we have proposed systems with payback periods as low as three years!
When projects are sufficiently large, Switch can offer your business or organization two interesting options, in addition to outright purchase of a turnkey solar electricity system.
With Build-Own-Operate, Switch builds, owns, and operates the system, while you benefit from lower energy costs and a long-term power purchase agreement that makes your energy costs predictable and continues to save you money for 20 years or more. This arrangement requires no up-front investment on the buyer's part, but it does require that the buyer be credit-worthy.
The "Monetize Your Roof" option lets you turn your roof (or unused grounds) into a money-making asset. You can either become an electricity provider by selling energy to a third party or lease the space to Switch for solar electric production.
Switch is unique among D.C.-area renewable energy companies in having a founder with project management and financing experience in very large-scale energy projects. Over the course of his career, Chris Graves has been responsible for a total of almost $3 billion in energy development. So whether your project is big for you ($10,000) or just plain big ($10,000,000), Switch can help – from justifying a project to your CEO or board, to financing, to ensuring successful implementation.
Solar installers vary in experience, but in reality, no one has more experience than the manufacturers' designers and installers. So our philosophy is to call on these experts to customize installations to each client's needs and each site's idiosyncracies. And because we can choose from different manufacturers, we can provide you with the best thinking in the industry – in addition to the best product lines.
Some solar installers are distributors for only one brand of solar panel and equipment. By dealing with one of the largest distributors in the U.S., Switch can offer you the very best technology for your needs.
For example, while some believe solar panels have become a commodity, there are incremental differences in efficiency between brands, as well as other factors that might be important to you. For example, we can offer you the panel with the lowest embodied energy or a U.S.-made panel with the guaranteed lowest variation in energy output.
And, of course, whenever improvements are made or a new technology appears, we'll be ready and able to assess it and install it for you.
Most solar companies rely on internal staff, certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Switch believes NABCEP is a step in the right direction, but instead has established relationships with some of the area's highest- rated electricians, plumbers, and roofers. We use their Master Electricians, Master Plumbers, and Certified Roofers to install our systems – far exceeding the in-house expertise of competitors in these critical areas.
With this in-depth experience behind our work, we're able to extend the industry's typical labor guarantee from one year to five. If anything goes wrong with your system during the first five years, we will fix it. (The usual legal caveats about bad behavior on your part apply, of course.)
Industry-standard guarantees apply to the equipment we use: inverters are guaranteed for 10 years and solar panels for 25.