Facilitating the Harvest of Northern California's Sunshine!
Sagefield Power is a NEW Clean Energy Sales company that specializes in residential and commercial solar, as well as feed-in-tariff projects, otherwise known as "Solar Farms". The best part - the company was started by Chico resident Dwight Aitkens and his partner Michael Courter of upstate New York.
Headquartered in Chico, Sagefield Power (so new as a company that its website won't launch until July), bills itself as one of the first solar companies to offer affordable solar financing options for for residential and business customers.
Just 23 years old, Aitkens was raised in Chico, graduated from Chico High School and Chico State this past December. His youthful passion and enthusiasm is for sustainable, local projects. He even serves on the City of Chico's Sustainability Task Force.
"Specifically," said Aitkens, "we wanted to make sure solar projects were going to go to local engineers and contractors. We want the community to benefit as much as possible when these installations go in." He said he has about a dozen projects in the works and one completed residential solar installation.
Aitken's business partner, Courter, had worked for the parent company of Sagepower, Pristine Sun for eight or nine years before branching out to start his own company.
"Pristine Sun is located in Laguna Beach and Wyoming," Aitkens explained. "The company has been around for 13 years while Sagefield has been around since November."
The company offers free assessments to residential and commercial companies and helps to connect consumers with California rebates and federal tax credits.
"Most homeowners will start making several thousand the first year of installation and see a pretty significant tax credit depending on system size," Aitkens pointed out. "At the very least," he added, "The loan payment is typically the same as a monthly payment to PG&E - not to mention the savings on your monthly energy bill."
According to Aitkens, Sagefield Power has focused a substantial amount of energy in its mission to facilitate landowners in becoming new pioneers, otherwise known as "Solar Farmers," by installing solar farms completely free to their clients.
How do they do that? It's simple. The solar company simply leases the land.
This idea has big possibilities in Northern California where sun and land are in big supply. "We are helping to facilitate a landowner with 15,000 acres - outside of Red Bluff. It will be a pretty large system - 60 acres or so."
"Land owners pay nothing," Aitkens said. "The company is just leasing land for the solar project and sells that energy back to PG&E."
Payouts on this type of arrangement depend on the estimated output of the power monthly for 20 years. Aitkens said the Red Bluff landowner will realize about $30,000 annually. At the end of 20 years, Aitken explained, the company has 120 days to put the land back to the original condition or renew the lease.
Aitkens said he hasn't run into any real issues with residential solar - all of California is very receptive to this idea. Even big projects on open land are welcome. "The county just wants to make sure the installations are not impacting agricultural land," Aitkens said. Most of the proposed big-scale projects are slated for five- to 10-acre parcels, he noted.
So what happens if you sell your home, business or land and you've got a big, fat solar investment?
"Good question," Aitkens said. "A solar installation enhances a home or business value. It can be sold along with the home or the price can be increased to pay outright for the system."
Aitkens said the company is working with Chico Electric, a longtime local business who is specializing in solar installation. Sagepower buys its solar panels from Jiangsu, the largest manufacturer of solar panels in the world.
Commercial installations can be purchased outright on a loan basis or not, Aitkens said. Typical interest rates on commercial and residential run about 5.9%.
Sagefield also identifies opportunities for wind farming, another option for country real estate, agriculture, and ranching. Wind Farming is cost efficient and an exceptionally affordable solution to energy production and independence, Aitkens said.
Sagefields' philosophy is simple (according to the company's website):
- Anybody who is paying over $150 a month for their energy bill should have solar on their home, period.
- Anybody who owns more than seven acres should have a solar farm installed on their property, period.
- Any business concerned with rising energy costs should have solar, period.