Dear Solar Consumer,
I was considering blogging about some factual details and arguments for the use of solar power; details about its benefits and economic advantages and why a typical New Mexico consumer, whether business or household, should invest in a solar generation solution.
I could have written about the triple bottom line - People, Planet and Profit. About how all of the “smart companies do it”. I would have also detailed how the solar industry is constantly under regulatory and ad hoc lobbyist attack from entrenched energy interests.
And finally, I would have finished with something along the lines of:
Solar provides the following benefits to your organization:
- 30% Federal Tax Credit
- Accelerated Depreciation Schedule (MACRS)
- Hedge against future utility rate increase
- Solar Net Metering and Grid Access costs may change dramatically by the end of this year.
- The Federal ITC will drop from 30% to 10% for Commercial and 0% for Residential installations, at the end of 2016.
- Integrate your home or business into the coming smart grid.
- After-tax returns in the double digits
- Blah, blah, blah.
But I didn’t write that storyline. What I did was start thinking a lot about why we (I) actually work in solar, and what it is solar experts like Affordable Solar really do for the consumer. Do we really change the world? I then thought about my own experience buying and installing solar on my home.
As solar integrators, Affordable Solar has helped countless homes and businesses lower their utility bills and reduce their carbon usage virtually overnight – using nothing but the power of the sun and some panels made of sand. But that is not really what we do. I figured out that what we really, truly do - what Affordable Solar provides - is to free you or your business or your family from purchasing all the energy you use from one source that also chooses how that energy is made. For the first time in MY LIFE, I was not limited to choosing to turn off the air conditioner if I wanted to save money on my electricity and make less carbon! I experienced freedom and then savings, and then feelings of doing something right. I have a say in my energy sources and uses.
Solar providers decouple you from the utility and its own paradigm of generation and use. We break the chain of dependence, by giving the consumer a tool and the knowledge to use the tool to make their own lives and those of their community, better. Essentially, we at Affordable Solar are trying to make energy nearly free, with everyone's help.
Notice I said energy. The management software and applications and power electronics (like smart phones and smart batteries and inverters), will still cost some money. Just like we use an iPhone to access the net and purchase content, we will use PNM "grid services" – possibly through our iPhone - to access and manage our energy.
However, the energy itself, all those kWh will be nearly free! The energy will come from you and me and them and from all of us - the energy will come from the sun. The ENERGY will come from the Sun, not from a coal plant. Much as Edison’s bulb set people free from the clutches of the night, Solar will set people free from fossil generation and everything bad that goes with it.
Human production and scientific thought advanced rapidly after the advent of the lightbulb. Unfortunately, the centrally located fossil generating plant then chained us to an unsteady understanding of our energy use and generation. We were using energy without understanding its cost or where it came from – and mostly we didn’t care. Juice was cheap.
Now the tide has turned. Juice is not cheap, and the air is not clean. The summers are really hot, and the icecaps are melting. Initially, only individuals like me will change and just buy solar; but then whole communities and finally the grid and the utility itself will change. Edison had said, “he would in the long run, bet on the sun." The irony is priceless.
If you have a home that faces the sun, and the cash or credit to afford some upfront investment, please come get solar. Make a difference for your home and community, save the world, and save some money. It's easy! Do it for me and for you. Do it for all of us. We cannot do it without you.