Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Going Solar Skepticism

I was contacted a few months back about the possibility of going Solar, by a company that is based down in Malibu, California (not too far from me). I have looked into solar previously and the cost just did not allow me to follow through on it. But there have been advances in technology etc and I am always interested in such things. so when the salesman asked me to setup an appointment I did, simply thinking that I would find out more information, but telling them straight that I did not expect to sign up.

The next week I had a nice chap called Mark Raymond(818 455 1487) turn up on my door on time. He was very pleasant and I have to say that maybe I was curious, but also a little stern. There was no way a salesman was going to come into MY house and sell me something I possibly could not afford. I really felt that I was ready for this confrontational meeting. I expected it to be such , as he would be busy trying hard to sell me something, and me parsing through what he says to pick out the facts and figures that I know would show me it is not yet viable.

However the conversation soon showed that I may have been wrong. It appears that maybe there is actually a chance that this was worth signing up for.. Oh my goodness, all my pre-conceived ideas were going awry. Well I asked a LOT of questions, I had also done some homework and found lots of awkward questions to ask ( I love putting salesman in awkward positions :). So I asked each one, I was honest and also a bit brusk I am sure as i brushed aside several 'facts' that he had. Taking some number even with a large pinch  of salt still made this whole thing look interesting. As it went on I found myself searching for more questions to ask to make this deal unviable. However I was running out of them fast.

In fact I told Mark to setup the next stage in the process, as his numbers showed me I could actually save money very soon with the Solar installation. It all comes down to me paying a lease, and ALSO paying California Edison each month. How can this be good? Well simply put the lease cost is dependant on the size of your installation. The amount of electricity the installation generates is relative to the size of the installation and the sunlight it gets (shadowed gets less etc). So the amount of electricity you generate means you do not have to pay Edison. Therefore we add the cost of both sides and you get your monthly payment amount. for me it was rather close to what I am currently paying (on average for the year).

BUT.. There is a kicker...  Edison put up their rates each year. My lease cost will not change for the next 20 years. So it causes the cost of my electricity to stay pretty much the same for the next 20 years (the part I still don't generate has to be paid to Edison, so that will go up). Unlike if i am totally Edison and the cost goes up so 6% or so a year (though currently it is slated for 9% for the next 3 years). Maybe I need to point out 'Tiers', and these effect your bill each month to a huge extent. Tier 1 electricity from Edison is much cheaper than Tier 2 and so on. I barely get into Tier 4 for my own electricity, but I am sure if you are in Tier 4 or even a higher tier, then there should be possibly more to save.

There are several stages to getting Solar put in (or there are with American Solar Direct), and so Mark left my house with some information and we were going to meet again after they had crunched more numbers and made sure my roof was viable.

At this point I was excited that there was a possibility I could go Solar (what an attitude change eh!)

More to come in a future post
Da Voodoochief

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