Rethinking Residential Solar Energy in America

A few decades ago, Thomas Edison had a conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. Edison said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a generator of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we try solar energy.”

We have waited 76 years, but an innovative company has finally fostered a solar solution. The sun supplies enough energy to earth in one hour to supply all of our power needs for 365 days and then some. But currently solar power supplies less than 1% of our residential electricity demands. Why?

In the past, solar energy has been too expensive and too complex. To switch to solar power, people had to take our a second mortgage. The average homeowner would pay $40,000 to convert their home to solar generated electricity; plus homeowner are responsible for the installation, maintaining the solar system, and getting permits. Who has the patients (or the resources) for this?

A innovative company has a new strategy to remove all of the barriers to solar generated energy. This solar company offers a solar energy unit to American homeowners with no solar system to purchase, no installation investment, no maintenance expenses, no rental fee increases, and no permit head aches.

When we first learned about this renewable energy idea, we were so blown away. It seemed almost like this was too good to be true. Like most paradigm shifts, their model is so simple it makes you think – “why has no one thought of renting solar panels and related equipment before”.

You simply pay this solar rental company the same rate per kilowatt for power that you used to pay your utility company. This green company will lock in your electricity rate per kilowatt for up to 25 years. With constantly rising power rates, this gives U.S. residents comfort and can equal significant financial incentives in the long term. In the past, rethinking solar implied huge investments. Now, you get to feel empowered about helping the planet. With this innovative company, you can upgrade to solar energy and actually save money doing it.

This is all made possible by net-metering laws that require the power companies to allow solar energy systems to connect to the grid. In essence, the grid becomes a large energy container or battery. The power meter spins in reverse during the day when the sun is shining and in a positive direction at night when the consumer draws that power back off the grid. The net-metering laws were put in place because residential power production was the number one cause of environmental harm in the United States last year. There are still nine states that have not yet drafted net-metering laws.

Customers may be still a little apprehensive about this new concept. Listed here are a few frequently asked questions for others to research.

Q. A customer wants a residential solar energy system on their house. How does it work? What is the process?
A. The homeowner reserves their system online and one of the Associates will help them each step of the way. There are some simple questions to answer about the amount of shade, the direction of the roof line, the power consumption, etc. After the customer signs the contract, a solar engineer will come to the house to design the residential solar energy system. This last step will not happen until the company has the solar equipment ready to install.

Q. How can this solar rental company afford to install this complete home solar energy system with no investment by the consumer?
A. Because the company handles everything; from the solar grade silicon to the final installation, they squeeze costs at each stage of the production. Plus they are building the largest plant for solar energy in the world. When you combine their vertical integration with our economies of scale, they are able to make the final product at half the cost of the competitors.

Q. And how much will up keep cost me?
A. Nothing. This green company makes solar simple.

Q. Is the residential solar energy manufacturing plant completed yet?
A. Not yet. The first solar systems will be ready to install in 2008.

Q. So why would a homeowner reserve a solar unit now?
A. First, the customer lock in the rental fee as soon as they sign up. With the way power rates are increasing, this could save the homeowner a lot of money. Second, the customer reserves their installation position. This means they can get their residential solar energy system sooner once the plant is producing. Third, the customer reservation helps the company show the government how many customers will upgrade to solar if an offer that makes sense on every level is presented.

Q. What if the homeowner does not like the solar system design? Are they still obligated to the agreement?
A. No. They can back out of the agreement with no financial impact. As mentioned, the customer doesn’t send in the deposit until after you approve the residential solar energy system design.

Q. In the first year, the homeowner is just paying the same rate that they were paying before, right?
A. Often rate is actually less. The company bases the rates on the yearly average for the rate charged by their energy provider. So, the company bases their rental fees on the prior year averaged charged by the utility. Since power rates tend to go up each year, many customer will save money on their first bill. This will only increase as the years tick along. The company provides a calculator on their website that will tell specifically what they will save with their particular utility and their monthly usage. Many customers save over $10,000 just by switching to solar.

Q. When does the customer pay the security deposit for the solar rental?
A. They do not pay the security deposit until after the solar engineer comes to the site and designs the solar energy system. They will show you exactly what the solar energy system will look like and only after the customer agrees to the design does the customer pay the deposit. The deposit is 100% refundable at the end of the rental term.

Q. What happens if something need to be fixed?
A. The company has a complete performance guarantee. If the residential solar energy unit ever stops working, it will be fixed for no cost. The customer has no rental charges until the solar power system is working again. This makes the company motivated to get it fixed fast.

Q. What happens if the customers signs the contract and the manufacturing plant is never completed?
A. The contract would be void and canceled. This green company understands that this is a timely concept. The big power and oil companies have been saying for years that solar power has no legs. They have a vested interest in making that claim. This company is coming up with something new. They have a solar vision. The consequences are too big if we don’t change our course.

The only way that change is going to happen is if we create a better vision. For that vision to be sustainable, it needs to make economic sense for everyone involved. Electricity production is the biggest source of pollution in the United States. This green company is not asking anyone to give up anything. In fact, customers can save boat loads of money by upgrading their homes to solar power.

When was the last time someone could save money and do the right thing?

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