Net Zero Homes Coming to Mount Dora

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Picture living in a home that has no electricity bill, includes backup power during outages and real-time management of power use. Add to that a home that provides 100% of your car’s fuel for free plus no landscaping bills, no water bills and no sewer bills.  Now, picture renting that home maintenance-free with no long-term commitment. Sound idyllic?  We believe this model is the future of urban housing in the United States, and are bringing our prototype to Mount Dora!

We are strong believers in the power of local production and local consumption.  To prove how valuable this is to residents, communities and Florida, we are building the first 100% solar-powered rental units in Mount Dora, fully equipped with electric vehicle charging, home automation and available to rent as “all-in” homes, without normal hassles of monthly bill paying, deposits, grass cutting, etc.

While our primary business is residential and commercial solar installations, Optimus Solar is also a company seeking to have a broader impact on sustainability. One of these efforts includes better matching the housing market to the modern job market. The modern workforce is more fluid in their employment, moving frequently and thereby benefitting from less long-term physical obligations.  Cities and towns are more vibrant when those working and living near town are engaged in the full economic life of the city, and Optimus believes housing like this supports that reality.

We will be working with Hegstrom Homes to construct these custom units, and they will be powered by SolarTech Universal solar panels, manufactured right here in Florida.  Additionally, their battery systems will provide critical load power during storm or other outage events.  When paired with a fully electric vehicle, these homes will provide 100% of their electricity and 100% of their resident’s fuel from the sun, saving the average person more than $2,400 per year*!  This turns the old equation of importing fuel into Florida on its head, allowing us to produce what we use locally, providing a 25+ year economic multiplier to our area.

Construction is expected to take 6 months, and when fully operational, these rental homes will serve as a model for how we can better live and build as a community, bringing economic, environmental and civic value to residents, tenants, businesses and the City.

 

*Savings based on $100 per month in gas savings and $100 per month in electricity savings.

Why Do We Give?

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On this Giving Tuesday, it is appropriate to reflect on corporate giving, the reasons for it and what it can mean to an organization.

While opinions differ on whether companies should donate to charity, or distribute the maximum amount of funds to employees and shareholders and allow those individuals to donate as they see fit, today, we would like to explain why our company chooses to give.

At Optimus Solar, a portion of every job is donated to Conservation Florida, a land trust that focuses on the conservation of natural and open places in the State of Florida. Optimus Solar is passionate about the idea that a company is more than a vehicle to serve shareholders. Companies need to serve clients, employees, owners, the community and the environment.  This is the main reason we are formed as a partnership, helping to create an alignment of interests between owners, employees and clients.  In addition to a business, we view solar as a critical link in preserving the beauty and availability of Florida land for future generations.  By donating a small portion of each job, we can play an expanded role in this process, in addition to installing solar panels, ensuring decades of local energy production versus imported production. Giving to a cause like Conservation Florida is reflective of our value set and the culture we strive for as an organization.

A worthwhile exercise for any organization is to reflect upon their giving ethos, and how this behavior matches their mission and vision statements.  We are appreciative of the opportunity for work to allow donations to occur, and look forward to the solar industry playing a key role in the preservation of the Florida we all cherish.

How to Pay for a Solar PV System

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Solar is great, but many people wonder how to cover the cost. While it’s a stable and motivating investment, it is certainly a big investment. Like all investments, there are several ways to organize the financials. As a service to our solar investors, Optimus Solar offers four primary ways to pay for a solar system, each of which comes with varying benefits. 

Option 1: Seacoast Bank Solar Loan – Optimus is an approved vendor with Seacoast Bank.  This means that for solar energy systems installed by Optimus, the borrower has a streamlined process and closing costs are paid by Optimus Solar.  This can usually be done with one in-person meeting, saving time and money.  Terms range from 5-10 years with rates based upon credit scores and debt-to-income ratios at the time of application.

Option 2: Clean Energy Credit Union – Optimus Solar has made an investment in the Clean Energy Credit Union to be able to offer our clients the ability to take out a 12-year loan for 70% of the value of their system at 5.75% interest (with short-term option for the other 30%). This option fixes your loan payment for 12 years, versus utility rates that have historically risen each year. Additionally, once it’s paid off, the system will be producing power for many years to come!

Option 3: Home Equity Line of Credit – A HELOC is usually the most direct way to receive the lowest interest rate on a solar loan.  Many homeowners choose to use the equity in their house to pay for a solar system, and the savings from a reduced utility bill each month are used to pay the loan back. This is secured against a person’s home, while at the same time reducing the long-term cost of ownership of the house, thereby increasing overall value.

Option 4: Cash – Paying cash for a solar system provides the most direct way to monitor the “system payback,” and provides a motivating (>12%) annual return on investment for decades to come.  We recommend this method as the most efficient way to invest in solar, recognizing that it may not suit the means of all clients.

Before embarking on your solar journey, it is essential to know that you are working with a partner that will be there for the long-haul and one that provides options to ensure a financial return to your household or business.  When Optimus installs a solar system on a home or business, we pay any costs associated with loan closing, ensuring that the price quoted is the price paid. Optimus Solar has a long background of financial professionalism. We want to ensure that our solar investors understand the details of their chosen payment option.