Thom at Spiffy Solar's Comments

August 02, 2013

The Rise of Solar Warranty Management Plans for Homeowners?

Someone's going to have to cover the damage from squirrels and other critters nesting beneath the systems, occurring in some regions. Luckily the problem is relatively rare, but for homeowners (or third-party owners) who encounter it, it can be very costly.

Leasing companies are beginning to encounter the problem and tally the losses. When extended over a twenty year term, it adds up to a large sum.

Installers can install screening to keep wildlife out, and in places like Colorado and parts of the East Coast, it is becoming an increasingly common offering on residential systems.


May 09, 2013

Solar Mosaic Fills the Gaps for Solar-Free Solar Industry People — Like Me

Tor, can you elaborate on that little phrase 'depending on your net worth?' Do you just mean that those with more money are able to invest more? Or are there restrictions involved?

May 07, 2013

America's Real Problem with Solar Energy

Whew! Blake-omlie1, I feel your pain, but only your local installer can "let the numbers do the talking." There are over 3,000 utilities in the U.S., each experiencing and exerting unique pressures. Regional utility prices, renewable energy credits, rebates as well as regional net metering rules and your own tax situation make it impossible to make a universal argument for or against solar. This explains some of the disparity of views and emotional reactions. Everyone thinks that their view is right, because, based on their own experience, they are all partially right.

And on a broader scale, what we have in the US is far from being a "free market." Practically every industry obtains some sort of incentive, subsidy or tax advantage. These advantages end up with different labels or get passed down via different methodology, which serves to obfuscate the issue further (often by design). So, reliable comparisons are futile.

We've all got to just learn as much as we can, especially about our own situation, and then go with your gut. Or watch the overarching trends and . . . yet again, go with your gut.

May 02, 2013

Mosaic: Making Money from Solar and Beyond

Aren't there SEC income restrictions on investing with Solar Mosaic? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you need income of at least $250k in order to invest.

How they can say that their employees and "all of us" can participate is lost on me.

What's the real story, Ms. Wang?

April 23, 2013

U.S. States Turning Against Renewable Portfolio Standards as Gas Plunges

Colorado is also working on a bill to to include solar thermal into the RPS, in addition to PV. So, it's not all doom and gloom. Even if this doesn't work out, perhaps it will pave the way for others to be ready to move, as soon as gas prices head back up (which they inevitably will). We are a very short sighted nation, with short-sighted leadership.

April 19, 2013

The US Solar Industry Puts People to Work in All 50 States

DoggyDogWorld, it's easy to read these numbers negatively, but they are distorted because all the work is on the front-end development. Remember, this is new infrastructure, once a solar project is completed, there is little to no maintenance at all, for decades. And the biggest advantage of all, the FUEL IS COMPLETELY FREE.

The jobs in coal are spent on perpetually maintaining inefficient, ecologically detrimental and unhealthy practices, while dollars are spent on feeding the beast. Coal is your antiquated system, a relic of the the turn of the century—19th century, that is. Talk about farming by hand!

Once all the solar installations are finished, there will still be jobs cleaning up the environment ruined by coal, as well as taking care of the illness created by it.

No one could possibly expect solar modules to work with all this mud being slung upon them.

April 25, 2013

The US Solar Industry Puts People to Work in All 50 States

doggydogworld, Agreed,thanks for clarifying. I feel the same way whenever they talk about jobs. When I hear it, I can't help but think we are operating at a base level. Efficiency and smart planning for the long-term can bring the whole of society to a higher level, where it no longer is just about jobs (or the next election).

P.S. Vote Solar put out a campaign several months ago with the same jobs info. It had me scratching my head as well. I don't see it as good way to sell the technology, especially to those will little knowledge, who are likely to get the wrong idea.

April 16, 2013

Utilities Across the US Embracing Solar Energy

It's hard to relate to raw megawatt data. I find myself asking, what percentage of each company's output this equates to? And who's the winner on that front?

Something else to ponder: How much use does the oil and gas industry make of renewables? I have seen one article about wind power being used in mining, and one about solar (thermal) used for natural gas processing. A tenacious reporter could probably dig up some really interesting stuff.

March 23, 2013

Unlocking Renewable Potential in the Caribbean

We here reports of problems with pigeons nesting beneath flat-mount PV in the Caribbean. Just like everywhere else, more installations lead to more likelihood of infestation. When it does occur, we think we've go it licked.

March 21, 2013

Two Ways Americans May Get More Ownership of Their Energy Future

Geography isn't the only restriction. SEC regulations include strangling income qualifications as well (so it's not exactly open to the "crowd"). The real advance in bringing alternative investment opportunities to the people will be when the SEC removes these restrictions.

March 15, 2013

15, Count 'Em, 15 Must-Have's for Any Modern Residential Solar Website

I peruse a lot of residential solar sites myself, and I've got one that I'd say is more important than any of these mentioned. I even suspect that it might be missed more often than it is included.

Residential solar, for the most part, is a regional business. To target the right customers (and save everybody else's time), you've got to have your area of service listed obviously on your home page. Your 'about' or 'contact' page is not immediate enough. You might even make this information be your 'slogan.' As was said, potential customers can and will move on in a split second if they don't immediately find the information they need, and this is the very first thing they need.

List the cities or regions that you work in (or want to work in) very specifically, and avoid overly general phrases such as 'tri-state,' 'twin-city' (sorry, New Yorkers, but you are not the only tri-state out there). You need to specify the state, states (or part of the state), cities, and perhaps even counties you serve specifically.

Thanks for another great post, Tor, and for adding to my own web to-do list. I should be doing really good when my own site includes all these.

Thom at Spiffy Solar

Thom at Spiffy Solar

Founder of Spiffy Solar, squirrel and bird protection for residential PV installations.

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