Monday, January 29, 2007

Going Solar Now

Although I have never been what you'd call an environmentalist, I usually try to make sure I separate my trash, turn off the lights and not drive more then needed.

I have even gone so far as to read the occasional article on various renewable energy sources and if I'm flipping channels, have been known to stop on any show dealing with these technologies.

The thing that usually prevents me from doing more is generally cost. That and I do not own my own home and am too lazy in general to go out and make a difference through making others aware.

Recently though, that has changed for me. I was introduced to a company that is offering solar panels for home use, to the average home owner. They aren't doing anything like offering rock bottom prices, or giving you a buy one panel, get one free type of deal, but they are making it affordable to pretty much anyone who owns a home and is already paying an electric bill.

Not only that, but they offer you the chance to zero out your energy bill to them through their customer referral discount for telling your family and friends. That is what interested me.

My plan was to tell everyone I knew so that by the time I purchase my first home, not only will I be able to go solar, but other then the refundable deposit, it wouldn't cost me a dime. After all, the people I referred would be paying my bill. Pretty sweet deal I thought.

The problem is, I was unable to tell anyone about it other then in an offhand way. How could I refer people to a company I had never heard of before not knowing if they were a legit company, or some pie in the sky "rip off" just waiting to take my family and friends money and run.

What I did instead was spent the last few weeks reading whatever I could find. I also signed on as an associate or "EcoPreneur" with the company to try and get a bit of a behind the scenes view of what was going on. I have spent several hours on the daily training calls, asked questions there and in the company forums, and have had nothing but clear concise answers to everything I have asked.

The only thing they have not been forthcoming with is investor info, plant location and any specific press release information. They have assured me however that all of these things will be revealed very shortly, around the end of January, '07 (personally I expect it to be more like early to mid February, but hey, I can be a bit of a pessimist at times).

What this has done though, much to my surprise, is make me an advocate of them and their solar solution. I had no intentions of doing anything other then become a future customer, but from everything I have seen, and from talking with local people, I can't help but see the great potential this company has. I mean who wouldn't willingly switch to solar power if it not only didn't cost them more then their current power, but would actually save them $1,000's over the course of their contract.

All of that and the company will install, maintain and upgrade at no additional cost to you.

Here is an idea of what they do-

- On site visit to determine needs and compatibility
- Permits and local compliance issues taken care of
- Installation of solar panel unit
- Continuous monitoring of system
- Maintenance
- Upgrades
- Lock in current energy prices for up to 25 years
- Potential to zero out your bill through referrals

What do you need to do for this?

- Sign a contract for 1, 5, or 25 years to lock in your current energy prices
- Meet with installation contractor and come to agreement on plans
- Once in agreement pay refundable, interest earning $500 deposit*(no money until panels have been made)
- Wait for installation and sit back happy with the knowledge that not only will you be saving money, but more importantly, you will be a part of the solution to our coming energy crisis and potential global warming.

* The security deposit is $500 unless the REnU system is over 5 kWp.
Then it's $0.10 per Watt after that. In other words:

6 kWp = $600 deposit
7 kWp = $700 deposit
and so on.

You will also be looked upon with wonder and awe at how you could afford to have the luxury of solar while everyone else is stuck with their ever increasing utilities bill. Ok, so maybe not quite wonder and awe, especially as you will be telling them about it so you can reduce your own bill. But they will be thinking about how smart you are and thankful they can take advantage of it too.

The biggest concern I have seen so far is people want to know what happens if they choose to move. Well, they has thought of that too. Should you sign the 25 year contract (which the vast majority do because of the larger savings over time), you will have one move built in over time. This means you can take it with you.

Alternatively, you can leave it with your house as a way to increase the value to your buyer. If they agree to the idea (and who wouldn't want the automatic lower energy rates they would have by then?), the contract is transferred to them.

Worst case scenario, we come remove it and you lose your deposit. As long as everything is in good condition and you are current on your payments, it is as simple as that.

The next major concern is what about insurance?

Currently they have no coverage and it is up to the home owner to take care of it. However, they are working on this and hope to have an acceptable solution before the dates of install which are slated to begin in September '07 when the plant comes on line.

The last big concern is a combination of pricing and technology.

By pricing, it is wondered what will happen if the prices of your utility company drop, rather then rise? Or what if technology improves so as to make creating the energy far cheaper and more efficient?

Both of those things are also addressed by another benefit of renting versus buying your system. What I mean is, if you had chosen to buy your own system, you would still be buying it (or already have paid for it) if and when these changes happen. The difference with their solution is that if you want out of the contract, you will at most have lost out on your deposit and any added removal fees (should there be damage or payments due etc. )

You are then free to walk away and go to the new technology if that is what you prefer. However, they plan to remain a part of the solution, and as such will constantly be working towards improving their products and services. This means you should always be ahead of the game through their continuous maintenance and upgrades.

How can you take advantage of this? Just go to this website and read through it to see what we can do for you. Check out the solar calculator to see just how much you can save over the years, as well as how much of an impact going solar will have on the environment around you.

Are you interested in helping spread the word? Join the team
Photography by Attila Ivan

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