I have been in the solar industry for seven years now and have built two other renewable energy companies prior to Ablaze Energy, each of which have had very different paths. The following blog is all matter of fact, and although you may disagree with some of what is written in here, it is 100% factual and based on many years of observing and driving the growth of the renewable energy industry, as well as feedback and audio recordings of thousands of home and business owners considering adopting solar.
It seems like everyone is interested in solar these days, but why is there such a low adoption rate? Is it because solar is secretly a bad option? Or because solar energy is a full of liabilities that make it not worthwhile? Or maybe because that solar technology just isn’t ripe yet…?
Learned Consumer Behavior
The truth is that it is a learned consumer behavior that makes people block-out change. This means that things which are different or new, combined with broad misconceptions that most home and business owners have about solar energy end up resulting in people not taking advantage of this less-expensive, cleaner energy source. This is almost always without valid reasons to support their inevitable negative conclusion regarding solar energy.
So, for those of you reading this that are viable solar energy candidates and are in the process of doing your homework before making the decision to go-solar, I hope that you may benefit from what you read here. My goal is that afterwards, you feel prepared to do the right thing, adopt solar energy as your new source and lower your electricity costs while helping the transmission grid and our fragile environment.
Pros & Cons of Solar Energy
It seems most appropriate to begin with commonly cited pros and cons to solar energy (not all are facts, those are later in this article, this is what we will refer to as ‘public knowledge’):
|– Immediately lower your electricity costs||– Expensive (??)|
|– Considerable environmental benefits||– Intermittent – needs sunlight to generate energy|
|– Silent||– Panels can look ugly|
|– Financial support from government/state||– Solar could impede your ability to sell your home (??)|
|– Renewable energy source|
|– 25 year manufactures warranty|
|– Low to no maintenance|
|– No moving parts (less to break)|
|– No transmission necessary|
|– Eases local utility grids and benefits utility providers|
|– Stimulate your local economy by creating jobs, increasing tax revenues, and free up expendable income for your household|
|– Increase the appraised value of your home|
Clearly the pros outweigh the cons; that’s why Solar Energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Here comes the most common objection that I’ve heard since getting into the residential solar industry: Homeowner evaluating solar says ‘this sounds too good to be true, I must be missing something, and therefore I’m not interested right now…’ – Hence, the learned consumer behavior factor. We’ve all been told that ‘if it seems to good to be true, it probably is!’ eluding to the necessity that there is no way solar is just that good for you! There HAS to be something wrong that is going to haunt me later…
Common Excuses against Solar Energy
Here are the most common learned consumer behaviors that prevent homeowners from making the change to less expensive, cleaner, solar electricity:
Solar costs too much: this is not true, there are many options available today where solar can be yours with $0 from your pocket, and an immediate decrease in your utility bill.
It’s ugly: this can be true, I’ve seen thousands of systems and there are definitely a lot of people out there doing things wrong, there are also various technologies out there that contractors and people will buy to save a buck, but it looks awful. However, there are solar providers, like Ablaze Energy, that use only jet black modules, micro inverters, and black railing; which combined with a competent installation method your new solar system would actually improve the look and appeal of your home. Competent solar providers take aesthetics into consideration and will leave you very pleased. The best companies will be able to provide you with an architectural rendering prior to your commitment.
I don’t have time…: It’s true, we’re all busy, I personally run three companies and represent nonprofits, as well as maintain a healthy social life; none of us really ‘have time’. The truth is, signing up for solar energy only takes 30 minutes of your time, and the physical installation of the solar is only one day, during which you do not need to be present. I’ve witnessed homeowners waste hours of time explaining why they don’t have time and why they don’t believe that the benefits are real, which is time that could have been spent saving money by investing in a home solar system.
There’s many more, but we’ll leave those for future posts. I’ve saved my favorite for last; the narrow perspective that leads some homeowners to say ‘That’s not enough savings for me, not interested!’… Now, I consider myself a highly rational person and that simply does not make any sense. To this day, when I hear that excuse it still hurts my ears. So let’s say that you’re just such a baller and frivolous spender that a no cost out of pocket 15%-50% decrease in your electricity cost isn’t enough to motivate you to spend the 30 minutes time to get approved and signed up, and live with a beautiful solar system on your roof. I urge everyone to consider the other, indirect, aspects of what it means when YOU adopt solar energy, such as;
Economic stimulation – that’s right, even though it costs you nothing to get started, there is a lot of money circulated to make these savings available to you. The places and businesses that receive this money are your local workforce, and green jobs are the fastest growing employment in the country! There are over 174,000 solar workers in the US alone, and growing rapidly every year.
Environmentally friendly – do I really need a chart or diagram for this one? It’s pretty straightforward right? Your current utility company is likely providing your electricity dominantly with coal-fired plants, nuclear facilities, and natural gas production; all of which are obviously dangerous and harmful to our environment in one form or another, but how about the amount of water they waste and contaminate directly and indirectly?? It’s beyond me why people turn a blind eye to this, but luckily for me, my generation isn’t so quick to do so and we will continue to strive for a healthier, more sensible planet. You can save money today and also do your part for the environment.
Good for All Customers connected to the utility grid – believe it or not this is a fact. Solar is a constant energy source that is delivered through distributed generation, meaning each source is placed at random places on the grid on homes and businesses. Distributed generation provides many benefits to our transmission grids, one of which is mitigating brown outs and black outs by contributing to stabilized voltage throughout. Additionally, it helps prevent utility companies from needing to spot-purchase peak power, which is a dramatically more expensive and get’s passed on to you, the rate payer. Contrary to popular utility accusations, the more solar that is on the utility grid, the less expensive the overall cost of electricity will be.
In conclusion, it has always been my belief that it is irresponsible to not purchase your electricity from solar if you are a viable candidate, given all of the aforementioned points and known benefits. So don’t let nay-sayer’s or anyone else talk you out of doing the right thing for yourself, your family, and your environment.