Real Goods Solar, Orange County Couple Prove Reliability of Solar Energy; New York Passes New Legislation Making it Easier for Others to Follow Their Lead

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With more than 30 years of solar living the Hurst Family reinforces New York State decision to invest in the future of solar power with August 2012 legislation.

Orange County, NY Solar Advocates - the Hursts

The Hursts of Slate Hill, NY

We both grew up in progressive families, with a strong passion for the environment. We weren't against saving some money here and there either.

Many people think solar energy is just a recent innovation. Those people must not know Randy and Carole Hurst of Slate Hill, N.Y. From solar hot water, to passive solar, to a solar electric system from Real Goods Solar, they have recognized - and taken advantage of - the environmental and financial benefits of solar for more than three decades. And, with legislation signed into law last week allowing New York homeowners who are leasing a system (or going solar through a power purchase agreement) to take advantage of the 25% NY solar tax credit, it looks like the State is convinced about the reliability of solar as well.

Previously, only homeowners who purchased a solar power system, like the Hursts, were eligible for the state rebate (currently $1.50/Watt capped at 7,000 Watts or $10,500), the state tax credit of 25% and the 30% federal tax credit. Effective immediately, this new legislation allows homeowners who are leasing a system (or going solar through a power purchase agreement) to use the 25% NY solar tax credit as well.

The Hursts didn't need to be convinced. They converted their first home in the 1970s to solar hot water. Their love for the environment and self-sustainability was so great that they built their second family home on a five-acre farm in 1986 from scratch and has been dedicated to turning it “green” from the very start.

“We both grew up in progressive families, with a strong passion for the environment. We weren’t against saving some money here and there either. I was a social worker and my wife was a stay-at-home mother. We struggled just like many people do,” said Randy.

The couple incorporated a passive solar energy design into their home, a system where sunlight is captured without active mechanical systems. A passive solar design uses windows, walls, and floors to collect, store and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer.

Over time, Randy and Carole continued to engage best green practices, as homeowners and as members of the board of directors of Orange Environment Inc., a local nonprofit organization focused on protecting the ecology and sustainability of Orange County through civic intervention.
Carole furthered her dedication to the environment by starting a business out of her home selling biodegradable cleaning supplies.

The couple cemented their affection for the environment (and continued saving some green of another kind) in 2010 when they contracted with Real Goods Solar for the installation of 36 solar panels on their home. Randy said the federal and state governments are finally catching up with the times. “I applaud the Obama Administration and the Cuomo Administration for realizing the importance of alternative energy. Its dual purpose will serve us for generations to come.”

The NY solar tax credit should reduce the cost of most residential solar leases by 25% and increase a homeowner’s return on investment by the same – making clean, green solar power an even easier decision for New Yorkers.

Real Goods Solar, Inc. is a leading residential and commercial solar energy EPC provider, having installed over 13,000 solar systems. Real Goods Solar offers turnkey solar energy services and has 34 years of experience in solar energy, beginning with the sale in 1978 of the first solar photovoltaic, or PV, panels in the United States. With 15 offices in California, Colorado and the Northeast, Real Goods Solar is one of the largest residential and commercial solar providers in the country. For more information about Real Goods Solar, please visit, or call (888) 507-2561.

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Kathleen Maier
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Real Goods Solar has been installing solar in NY for more than a decade