Saturday, September 3, 2016

How much are you really paying for Electricity in NJ : JCPL PSEG ACE Bill

"I pay just 10 cents per kWh for electricity." This is something I hear quite often from homeowners in New Jersey. Happy and content because they are paying such a low rate for power. But are you really paying 10 cents. The answer is "NO". So, How much are your playing for electricity ?  Read on for answers.

 The 10 cents is the price of  the Supply or Generation of electricity. What is conveniently forgotten is that you also have to pay for Delivery of electricity. The delivery charge is another 5 to 12 cents. New Jersey home owners pay between 15 and 22 cents per KWH of electricity. YES your electric rate is between 15 cents and 22 cents. Utility companies tend to charge you higher during summer when you use more electricity. That ensures maximum revenues during the peak months.

Every electric bill has two charges - 1) Delivery charge and 2) Generation or Supply charge. Utility companies often refer to the Generation or Supply charge on their bills and refer to the rate they charge for this part. That is usually around 10 cents in NJ.

Lets look at the delivery and generation/supply charges in actual electric bills. Here is a PSEG bill followed by a JCPL bill.

JCPL Electric bill

The items circled in red show you the Delivery and Supply/Generation charges in each bill. JCPL calls it Generation and PSEG calls it Supply.  The items circled in blue show total electric charges for the month in $ and the total amount of electricity consumed in the month in KWH. The amount you pay every month is the the total of the Delivery charges + the Supply/Generation charges.

The JCPL bill shows they charged a total of $139.45 for 718KWH of electricity ( items in blue). So the actual rate of electricity for this month was 139.45 / 718 =  19.4 cents

The PSEG bill shows an electric rate of $88.74 / 489kwh = 18.4 cents

Solar can help you reduce your rate to around 10 - 11 cents per KWH down from the 15 - 22 cents that you might be paying today. 

Switching to solar eliminates both the Delivery and the Supply/Generation charges from PSEG and JCPL. A properly designed solar system will reduce your utility bill from JCPL or PSEG to an average of $5 or less per month in total. You will get a new electric bill from the solar company which will be lower by 40% or more than your JCPL or PSEG bill. 

See the example below :

Read my blog on the solar lease and see how we have helped homeowners save 40 to 50% off their electric bills by switching to solar power. The switch is easy and does not cost you anything; you just move to much lower electric bills.

A Note on third party providers

Utility companies allow you to choose a third party for your Supply/Generation service.  Viridian Energy is the third party on the JCPL bill shown above and BGS Energy is the third party on the PSEG bill.  Using a third party gives you short term savings but they usually tend to charge more after the initial honeymoon period.  Keep a close watch on what the third party is charging you.  If you are not careful, you might end up paying more what JCPL or PSEG would charge for Supply/Generation. If you don't want the aggravation of looking at your bill every month, it is best to just have JCPL or PSEG be the provider for both Delivery and Supply/Generation, or better still make the switch to solar.

Anjan Saikia
Keeping Solar Simple

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Purchasing a Solar System : Sungage financing or Cash

Solar Systems are becoming ubiquitous in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, there are very few websites which provide information about the different ways you can go solar.  If you are like many thousands of New Jersey homeowners who  are thinking about going solar the Ampericon blog is a good resource.

Today,  we will explore the purchase option for a solar system.  Homeowner who want to own their solar system can either purchase their solar systems outright by paying cash or they can get their system financed.  Financed systems are usually more expensive than cash systems as there are additional fees and interest costs.

Ampericon partners with Sungage to offer a financed solar system.  Most homeowners are able to finance a 100% of the systems cost.  Interest rates start at 5.4% for a 10 year loan. There are 15 year and 20 year options as well with slightly higher interest rates.

Lets look at an example.   A home with an average monthly electric bill of $163 per month could get their new solar system installed and financed through Sungage and end up paying just $19 per month for their new solar system.

The monthly loan payments for the solar system are $206 a month.  This is offset every month by the amount your earn from your SREC's. At todays market prices you would earn $192 per month for your SREC's.  Thus your net monthly payment would work out to just $19 a month.

A couple of things to keep in mind while considering the solar financing option.  The monthly earnings from SREC's are not guaranteed since SREC pricing is market driven.  You could earn more or less each month from your SREC's.  Additionally, you get a 30% tax credit when you purchase your solar system.  If your annual household income is below $75,000 per annum you may not be able to take advantage of the tax credit and that would lower your savings.

If you like what you see, you can give us a call at 609 945 2591 x 101  or email us and we could work out a custom proposal for you.

So for those of you who want other options, you can look at  the solar lease or PPA. There are some excellent purchase program from the utility companies as well like the  PSEG Solar Loan and the JCPL Sungage program.  See my other articles on these programs to compare and contrast your solar options. Its time to go solar.

Anjan Saikia
Keeping Solar Simple

The good and bad about the Solar Lease and the Solar PPA

Lets start with the basics. What is a solar lease or PPA ?

The solar lease and the power purchase agreement (PPA) are very similar products and are used interchangeably.  Large Solar companies like Solar City as well as local New Jersey Solar Installers like Ampericon have this product in their solar portfolio.

In simple terms homeowners who avail of a solar lease/ppa  are basically changing their electric utility company. Once you go solar via the lease or the ppa, you will start to pay the solar company every month for power instead of the electric utility company.  Your electric expenses reduce dramatically once you go solar.  There are no upfront costs for the lease or the PPA.  The cost of installation, permits, design and construction are all taken care of by the solar company. Your only obligation is to buy the power produced by the solar system.

Local installers like Ampericon reduce your monthly bill by 40% or more and offer you 6 months of free electricity.  Larger solar companies like Solar City have much higher overheads and costs and are able to offer saving of around 20% and have no free months of electricity.

Lets look at an example :  Marguerite Kerr  and  her son Hunter of Hamilton New Jersey went solar in June of 2015.  Prior to going solar their PSEG electric bills used to be peak in summer around $325 per month and settle at about $150 during the cooler winter months.  They paid PSEG a total of $2,520 during the last 12 months.  Thus, their average electric bill was $2520 / 12 = $210 per month.

Once Marguerite and Hunter went solar in June 2015 their electric bill reduced to $127 per month. Switching to the solar lease saved them $997 during the year. That is 40% lower than their earlier electric bills.  Ampericon even paid for their first 6 months of solar power.

Hunter and Marguerite in Hamilton NJ leased their solar system from Ampericon
Hunter and Marguerite decided to go with Ampericon as the savings were significantly higher than Solar City (50% off vs 25% off).  Ampericon used German solar panels and American micro-inverters and the Kerr's thought this combination of  value and excellent product quality made them the better choice.

Now,  for the difference between the Solar Lease and the PPA. The solar lease is an equal payment plan with the same payment amount every month. For example the Kerr lease had an equal monthly payment of $127 a month. The  PPA is a monthly payment based on actual usage.  Over a year you end up paying the same amount for the PPA and the lease. That is why most people use the terms interchangeably.

Homeowners never have to worry about the maintenance, insurance or warranty of the solar system as all that is taken care of by the solar company during the lease term (20 to 25 years). The solar lease or PPA is an excellent option for homeowners who want to go solar without spending anything out of pocket.  If you want to save money without making any out of pocket investments, the lease/PPA is your best choice.

So what about the bad ?

As a homeowner you don't receive any of the incentives associated with the solar system. The tax credit, the renewable energy certificates etc are all taken by the solar company.  And the lease term is usually 20 to 25 years, a very long time. The good news  though is that it is easily transferable if you sell or move from your home.

So for those of you who want other options, you can look at  purchasing your solar system by paying cash or through financing. There are some excellent purchase program from the utility companies as well like the  PSEG Solar Loan and the JCPL Sungage program.  See my other articles on these programs to compare and contrast your solar options.

Anjan Saikia
Keeping Solar Simple

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Don't like the Solar Lease or PPA : Welcome to $60 solar : JCPL Sungage Solar Program

So you are not sure if the solar lease / PPA is for you.  Perhaps you want to buy a system but you don't want spend a lot of money. This JCPL ACE Sungage Program might be your answer. Its inexpensive and ends in just 10 years.

If you are an homeowner with  JCPL or ACE  as your electric utility and your household income is $75,000 or more you can get your solar system at $ 60 per month or lower.


You earn a guaranteed income every month from JCPL  as they buy your SREC's. Your monthly loan payments for the solar system are thus reduced to $60 or less.  Here is an example - see how your $200 electric bill goes down to just $50 per month.

No other costs. No hidden charges. Its the best way to go solar if you are a JCPL or ACE utility customer. The only qualification criterion are a household income of $75,000 or more per month. Give us a call at 609 945 2591 x 101 and ask about the JCPL or ACE solar program.

Ampericon will apply for and get you approved for this program. You will have no out of pocket costs. You will only pay $50 a month ( for the example above) once the system is installed for 10 years.  Interested give me a call at 609 945 2591 x 101 or email me at

Anjan Saikia
Keeping Solar Simple

Helpful Links :  

JCPL ACE Solar Program



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

PSE&G Solar Loan

The PSE&G Solar Loan program is designed to help homeowners buy their solar system at a substantial discount. It is open only to PSE&G customer and is available a few times during the year.
You can purchase your solar system at a whopping 70% discount with this program.

PSEG gives you a loan for 40% of the systems cost. However, this is not an ordinary loan: there are no monthly payments to be made. PSE&G accepts your Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC's) in lieu of monthly payments.  You don't have to pay a penny for the loan.

In addition, you get 30% of your solar systems cost back from the federal government as a tax refund.
This is the 30% federal tax credit.  The 40% from PSEG and the 30% from the federal government adds up to 70% of your solar systems cost. You net out of pocket is just 30%.

The loan approval is based on a competitive bidding process and Ampericon's track record is a 100% approval for all applicants. Look for the dates for the next round of the solar loan program on the PSEG website.  PSEG usually opens solar loan once every 3 months, so you can avail of this offer year round.

If you have any questions or would like to be guided through the process, just give us a call at 609 945 2591  or email or visit our website. We will be happy to bring you closer to your solar system and the freedom from paying for electricity.

Anjan Saikia
Keeping Solar Simple

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nano Dots meets Solar Cells

Researchers at National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, have demonstrated the use of nanodots to increase the efficiency of solar cells. In today's commercial solar cells between 17% to 19% of the photons hitting the cells get converted into electricity. With the advent of large giga scale solar projects an increase in efficiency of a few percentage points could lead to huge gains for the industry.  The team from Singapore attacked the problem using an effect known as upconversion. Our sun generates an enormous amount of energy in the form of photons of light. Solar Cells absorb the energy from photons which have a certain threshold of energy and create electrons or electricity from them. However, not all photons coming from our sun have the same energy. The lower energy photons are not absorbed by the solar cells and are lost. Researchers were able to combine two low energy photons to produce a single high energy photons which could then be absorbed by the solar cell to generate electricity. Solar Panels NJ The team used a structure made of titanium oxide called an inverse opal (see above). The inverse opal frame is filled with an arrangement of air pores roughly half a micrometer across. Nanospheres, about 30 nanometers in diameter converted lower energy photons (NIR - near infrared radiation)  to higher energy photons of visible light. The opal frame is coated with light sensitive cadmium selenide quantum dots which absorb the photons to release electrons which are then transmitted through the titanium oxide frame. The researchers tested the device using laser light with a wavelength of 980 nanometers. This wavelength is not normally absorbed by cadmium selenide quantum dots. The experiment yielded much higher electric current as compare to devices not using the upconversion material. The researchers believe their upconversion based device could yield a significant competitive advantage over conventional silicon solar cells. More on this is available on the Lab's website. Visit our website at to know more about solar and other renewable energy products and to check out a wide selection of white papers. You could also mail us at

Anjan Saikia
Keeping Solar Simple

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Solar and the Global Energy Storage Race

The widely distributed nature of renewable energy sources has led to a burgeoning demand for grid scale energy storage technology.  Such technology enables electricity to be fed easily and efficiently into centralized power grids. SolarReserve, a California based, private equity backed startup is  planning to leap ahead of the competition with its molten salt storage technique.
SolarReserve's 110-megawatt concentrated solar power (CSP) project known as Crescent Dunes launches in mid 2014 in the Nevada desert. SolarReserve licensed its technology from the aerospace firm Rocketdyne. They use thousands of mirrors mounted on a tower to focus sunlight onto a single point creating enormous heat. This heat is used to generate steam that causes the electricity producing turbine to spin.
SolarReserve has a 25 year PPA (power purchase agreement) with the local utility company Nevada Energy.  Even though competitor's like BrightSource use tower based designs, they don't have an energy storage component in their projects.  The SolarReserve project will be the first commercial-scale CSP project with storage.
However, BrightSource Ivanpah CSP project in California will be the world’s largest CSP plant, toppling the current title holder the Shams 1 CSP plant in Abu Dhabhi.
The race to commercialize grid scale energy storage technology is highly competitive with companies working out of Spain, Germany, China and Israel,  but US technology is leading the race.  The alternative to molten salt based storage is PV with battery storage. However, that technology is not very feasible for large scale storage. So far in the energy storage wars, molten salt and SolarReserve are leading the charge.

Visit our website at to know more about solar and other renewable energy products and to check out a wide selection of white papers. You could also mail us at
Anjan Saikia
Keeping Solar Simple