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New Geostellar Solar Energy Index Reveals ‘Solar-coaster’ Effect

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts now outrank California, Arizona
and New Mexico in the amount of money each ray of sunlight can generate
for homeowners, according to the Geostellar
Solar Index
, a new scientific and economic analysis of Americans’
savings through rooftop solar.

The new quarterly index, released today by Geostellar,
shows the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states offer the highest Internal
Rate of Return on residential solar energy, an economic analysis that
measures and compares the profitability of investments, with profits as
high as 24 percent per year over the 25-year life of the solar array. By
comparison, the S&P 500 has shown an 9.9 percent Compounded Annual
Growth Rate over the last 50 years, 30-year U.S. Treasuries have a
current yield of 3.7 percent, and five-year certificates of deposit
(CDs) typically return just 0.75 percent annually.

Surprisingly, California, Arizona and New Jersey, 2012’s top three solar
states by installed capacity, are not among the top five states in the
index. Tax credits and other incentives in New York and Connecticut have
helped propel those states toward the top of the Geostellar Solar Index,
which is calculated using sophisticated economics, energy and
environmental factors to rank all 50 states and the District of
Columbia, and more than 3,000 counties nationwide, in order of
profitability for residential solar installments.

Conversely, only Mississippi residents would pay more for solar energy
than they would for the conventional electricity provided by the power
grid, according to the index.

The index criteria includes a detailed analysis of individual rooftops
and their solar intensity, county-by-county tax credits, rebates,
renewable energy credits and other incentives, local utility rates,
installed costs of solar, and other variables.

“In much of the country, the Geostellar Solar Index shows that
homeowners can actually generate more wealth with solar panels than
stocks, bonds, CDs or other investments,” said David Levine, founder and
CEO of Geostellar, the nation’s first and largest online solar energy
marketplace. “The index’s findings show residential solar power is not
only viable, it’s a wise investment.”

The factors that determine the profitability of solar energy at a
particular location include the cost to generate solar electricity — a
function of the intensity of sunlight, the efficiency of the solar
array, and its installed cost — and the available incentives and local
rates for conventional electricity.

To raise awareness and encourage homeowners to discover the benefits of
solar energy, Geostellar is teaming up with Earth911, a digital
publisher that empowers its readers to live low-waste lifestyles.
Geostellar will leverage Earth911’s expansive site traffic and social
media presence to reach homeowners through a series of native posts on
Earth911.com.

“We’ve never seen a database like the one that Geostellar has
constructed,” said Raquel Fagan, vice president of Earth911 Media.
“Geostellar’s scientific analysis will be an interesting springboard for
stories that delve into the possibilities for solar to provide economic
and environmental benefits. We’re interested in gauging consumers’
reactions and encouraging genuine, open discussions on the topic.”

One of the key insights the Geostellar Solar Index provides is the fact
that local, state and federal tax credits and other incentives are the
largest factors in determining the individual profitability of solar for
the homeowner. Because incentives change rapidly, the profitability of
solar energy across the country can fluctuate, Levine said.

According to the Geostellar Solar Index, which will be revised and
released quarterly, here are the annual yield rankings of all 50 states
and the District of Columbia, averaged over the 25-year life of a solar
array:

1.

Hawaii

24%

18.

Wisconsin

6.6%

35.

Pennsylvania

3.0%

2.

Washington D.C.

20%

19.

New Hampshire

6.0%

36.

Oregon

2.8%

3.

New York

17%

20.

Michigan

5.9%

37.

Ohio

2.5%

4.

Connecticut

16%

21.

Missouri

5.7%

38.

Illinois

2.2%

5.

Colorado

15%

22.

Arizona

5.6%

39.

Georgia

1.8%

6.

Massachusetts

15%

23.

Vermont

5.1%

40.

West Virginia

1.7%

7.

New Mexico

13%

24.

Texas

4.8%

41.

Utah

1.6%

8.

California

12%

25.

Kentucky

4.7%

42.

Alaska

1.5%

9.

South Carolina

12%

26.

Rhode Island

4.5%

43.

Washington

1.3%

10.

Delaware

12%

27.

Nevada

4.4%

44.

Oklahoma

0.3%

11.

New Jersey

11%

28.

Montana

4.4%

45.

Nebraska

0.3%

12.

Iowa

11%

29.

Alabama

4.3%

46.

South Dakota

0%

13.

Minnesota

10%

30.

Maine

4.0%

47.

Idaho

0%

14.

Louisiana

9.4%

31.

Kansas

3.9%

48.

Arkansas

0%

15.

North Carolina

9.2%

32.

Tennessee

3.9%

49.

Indiana

0%

16.

Florida

9.2%

33.

Virginia

3.7%

50.

North Dakota

0%

17.

Maryland

6.8%

34.

Wyoming

3.6%

51.

Mississippi

-0.1%

“Residents of the top states in the index can see their investment would
be completely paid back in four to six years, and then receive free
energy worth another five times’ that amount,” said Mark Wirt,
Geostellar’s senior analyst. “The wide spread between solar and
conventional electricity in some markets has created broader
opportunities for third-party financing and zero-money down offers,
where institutions become co-investors with the homeowner, providing
upfront money and participating in the yields.”

“We’re watching closely the movement of the national, regional and local
solar markets, including the latest information on costs, incentives and
rates in our analysis of individual homes, which also accounts for roof
shading, slope and orientation,” he added.

Last year, more than 82,000 homeowners across the country installed
solar panels on their homes, according to the Solar Energy Industry
Association, which said it was a record year. The SEIA also is
projecting 2013 as another record year for residential solar deployments.

To help homeowners get the best deal on solar, Geostellar provides an
instant, free and independent assessment of the benefits of solar energy
for each individual home, based on a scientific analysis of each home’s
rooftop sunlight intensity, incentives and conventional electricity
costs. Geostellar is a transparent online marketplace where homeowners
compare installation and financing options.

(Editors Note: The complete
index of the nation’s states and counties along with other helpful
information and a colorful infographic can be obtained by clicking on Geostellar
Solar Index
.)

About Geostellar

Geostellar is America’s first and largest online solar marketplace,
helping homeowners find the best deal on solar by comparing and
tailoring a wide variety of installation and financing options. Through
advanced simulations on an intuitive social platform, Geostellar lowers
the cost of solar, making it more competitive with conventional
electricity. Geostellar is the recipient of numerous awards, including
selection as an IHS Energy Innovation Pioneer, the Global Cleantech100,
the Global Cleantech Cluster Association’s Best of Solar and the
AlwaysOn GoingGreen Global 200. Learn more about Geostellar at www.geostellar.com
or follow Geostellar on
Instagram,
Twitter,
Facebook,
or
YouTube.

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