Technologies, companies and business models in the solar industry come and go. But even in the relatively new solar industry, history repeats itself. Disappearing tax credits and incentives, financing scams, unreliable technology, societal doom (Y2k) and gloom (nuclear winter) — it’s all happened before. We can learn a lot about building a sustainable solar businesses by talking to the solar contractors who have witnessed several of these boom and bust cycles over the past 20+ years.
My guest on this week’s Energy Show is Pat Redgate, CEO of Ameco Solar. Pat has been installing solar thermal and solar PV systems at Ameco since 1974. Having successfully ridden the “solar coaster” for 40+ years, he has some terrific advice for solar customers (both residential and commercial) and solar installers who want to get into the business for the long term.
Please join me as Pat talks about the first wave of solar in the 70s and 80s, what happened when the tax credits disappeared, how he selects equipment to install for his customers, and his suggestions for running a successful local solar thermal and PV business.
About The Energy Show
As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.
The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.
About Your Host
Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.
His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.
Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies. He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock