Wise Finances Begin With Renewable Energy And Off-Grid Technologies
Categories: Energy, Power Solutions, Tech
Just a few years ago, we weren't even thinking about it. Now it's all we think about. If you've ever had the chance to sit in a hybrid car and watched it burn energy when you push the gas, and recoup energy when you hit the brakes, it thrills the conservationist in you.
You can't stop dreaming about the possibilities as you stroll down the road. I took a Hybrid VW to Sarasota the other day.... 150 miles round trip... and used under $5.00 in fuel. A few days later I took my truck on the same trip. I didn't want to know how much Diesel I burned in my 2005 4x4 4 door Ford F250. I guess when money grows on trees, it doesn't bother you so much. Every once in a while, I tend to put myself in a period of tight cash flow. All I could think about is how fast my fuel gauge was going down, and it has about a 25 gallon tank. So now after putting $27 in the tank for the same trip, I'm really awake... okay, so I've been awake for 4 or 5 years, maintaining this page and the Living off the Grid page, but you know what I mean. Sometimes you go through life... doing life... then something grabs you and really makes you see, and it takes money being tight to recognize how much of it is flowing through your fingers, and with it a whole bunch of gasoline.
So it was only a few weeks ago, and after all this time, I finally began to connect with some solar installation companies. Most of them have been spinning their wheels trying to get people to put systems on their homes. Yes it's been government subsidized, but I never really thought much about the rebates. So I've seen some quotes as of lately. One company quoted $3.80 per watt for a 10kw system. Does that mean anything to you? Well a 10kw system, that's 10,000 watts. So if you use 250 Watt Solar Panels, that's about 40 panels. It's something like that. $3.80 per watt x 10,000 watts - that's $38,000.00. How do you know if that's a good price or not? Well it takes some complex calculating and knowledge of your electric bills. Most Solar companies will do all the calculations for you and help you see how much you save.... or don't save by putting them on your roof.
It was after getting that quote that I decided to get another quote. I found a company who believes that they are much less than anybody else. Typically a product that's cheap is also poor quality, right? Well not exactly. Kirk Maust is a spreadsheet wizard, and he knows how to run a tight ship. He and Dale Gulden have been running Solar Direct for over 30 years. Sales reps have come and gone, and they both know and will tell you that the most successful times in the industry are when there was a rebate cheap enough to make a solar payment less than the electric bill.
Though solar rebates were the backbone of great success, they were also the mechanism that tore down their business. Louisiana offered unheard of rebates for a while that made solar not only a no brainer, but anyone who heard the news had to have it. Solar companies from around the south sent people in to install and transform the roof-scape of the area, including the tenacious Solar Direct Crews. They sold system after system with financing attached, and the community began to produce much of it's power on the roofs of the residents! That should be good news, right! Well it is in some ways, but for the business it was horrible. Just as the State was opened to millions of dollars in rebates, their system supposedly glitched and didn't report the amount of rebates being delivered. Homeowners who qualified for the rebates and already had systems on their homes.... didn't get the money. The good name of a hard working company was nearly smeared in the the process through no fault of their own.
They say it's the down times that teach us to conserve and be wise. Taking the hit like men, Kirk and Dale chalked up their losses and went back to the spreadsheet. They formulated a solar model that would soon change the scope of rooftop energy in America, and next the world!
They created the Solar Buyers Club.
The Solar Buyers Club was an idea adopted by the principle that through volumes of purchasing power, materials go down in price. The industry is yet plagued by high-priced $3,000-$6000 sales commissions which are justified by all the running and hustling they do to make a sale. They eliminated them too. Through shaving costs at every corner, Kirk and Dale have managed to stir the pot in the Solar World with an $18,600 installed 10KW Solar System, and that's before tax credits! That's $1.86 per watt installed. If you can do it cheaper, permits, engineering with a stamp, meeting Hurricane wind-load requirements as they do here in Florida... then I want to hear about it!
What does that mean for the homeowner, the business owner, and for the industry? It means that you can buy a solar system, installed ... for the cost of 8 years worth of electricity usage in Southwest Florida, where electicity is cheap, or for the cost of 4 years worth of energy in the Northeast where it's not so cheap. It's truly a no brainer when the forecast calls for a savings of $25,000-$100,000 on your energy bill over the next 25 years.
Financing packages with a zero down scenario might cut your bill by 20-50%. Why does it vary so much? It all depends on the angle of your panels toward the sun and how much space you have to put panels on your roof. If your roofing slope doesn't face the sun, it may not produce much energy. In a world where solar is the norm, homes that don't get much sun wouldn't bet worth anything. It's like a solar dead-zone... much like having a cell phone dead zone. Nobody wants it.
The future is finally here. People who go solar are infected by the renewables bug. We're checking out technologies that extract water from the air with the power of the wind, we love windmill water pumps, wave to energy machines, and vacations in the woods with tents. We've been staring at sailboats for hundreds of years and wondered how we can drive around the ocean, but not the land on wind power. The power of nature has it's concessions, like you can only sail west in a westerly wind. But those concessions are fading into the blur that technology has provided.... and the buyers club is soaking up all the tech they can get to offer it to their members! You've heard of the Smart Flower, Kodiak Solar Generators, Kohilo Wind Energy Products, Solar Shingles, solar water heaters for your pool, super efficient pool pumps, solar well pumps, go sun solar cookers, solar pool cleaners, battery backup systems or battery primary systems... etc etc.... and they'll stop at nothing to make sure everyone has access to the latest and greatest technology with the best prices and options on the table. Don't worry, if your roof is getting old, they even have a way to handle that!
So here is the bargain of the century it is in a nutshell: You put solar up for a lower monthly cost, and you get a big tax rebate to go with it. The home goes up in value by far more than you spend since you own your system and aren't leasing it. Then when someone asks, they have a great referral system where you can make a great commission!
The renewables craze is here, and it's here to stay! As they say.. Save money, make money, go green, and help to save the earth!
Here's what it looks like in Florida. Rates vary slightly due to installation and financing options State to State. Be sure to tell me about great deals you've found in your neck of the woods! We're here to help the best go viral!
Data via: Solar Buyers Club