Roger Williams- It’s Clean Power Arizona [jazz music]
Dillon Holmes- This is Episode one
RW- Are we calling this C-PAZ, CPAZ, because CPA is not going to work. I’m calling that right now. People are going to be like I have a C. P. A. Alright, you tell us. You can go to CleanPowerAZ.org or do we have Twitter set up yet?
DH- Yes, Clean Power AZ
RW- Tell us, are we C PAZ, CPA or Clean Power Arizona. If I Google CPA, there is no chance you will ever be on the first page of Google for CPA. Either CPAZ or C-PAZ. I get you to rank for CPAZ. Welcome to Clean Power Arizona Podcast number one. My name is Roger Williams, I am joined by Dillon Holmes of Cambio Energy. He is also the founder of Clean Power Arizona and an general pretty nice guy.
DH- Thank you
RW- This is going to be a very serious show. We’re talking about clean power in Arizona. There is nothing more serious.
DH- It’s serious right now.
RW- This podcast is really going to be about clean power in Arizona, that covers that pretty well.
DH- We’re going to be in a research phase, so we are going to be talking to a lot of people that are very knowledgeable that have implemented the things, that we need to implement here in Arizona, in their states. We’re going to learn from them. We are going to talk to them privately, so as not to seem uneducated. And, we are also going to talk with them on the podcast in order to teach the public on all these different policies going on everywhere else.
RW- I am going to be clear, I am always going to be speak from an uneducated standpoint.
DH- Which is fine. Who would ask the questions if they already knew the answers.
RW- Who would make you look good. So, a little bit of background. Dillon, Cambio Energy, you’ve been doing solar installation how many years now?
DH- Since 2008.
RW- You are an Electrical Engineer from Wildcat
DH- Yes, Phoenix native with a few years in Tucson.
RW- I’m Roger, a marketing sales guy here in Phoenix. I do podcasts and marketing and stuff like that. I am pretty liberal. I’m a vegan. I believe in clean energy. I believe that we do have the ability to affect our climate, both in a positive and negative way. I am passionate about it, not necessarily a moral ground, it’s a sensical thing. If we burn coal and we see stuff going into the air that we shouldn’t breath, that is probably not good in the long run. If I put solar panels on my house, and it creates the same electricity with none of that.
DH- Right, you’re speaking in support of solar being an intuitive and obvious technological addition to your home.
RW- I think there is something to be said for that. That’s where I’m coming from.
DH- Roger does have solar on his house for a couple of months now.
RW- From Cambio Energy. We want to talk about Arizona energy issues but we’re going to go broader than that every once in a while. And, we’d love to hear your feedback all the time. If you think there is someone we should interview, definitely, get in touch with us. If there is a story we should be covering, please reach out to us. We’re on Twitter and this type of stuff. And, then at some point, maybe we’ll do a live show.
Today, we have a couple of things on the docket. We have the Arizona Corporation Commission ruling, that happened last week regarding net-metering so we will spend some time talking about that. Along with that, what is next for the solar industry in Phoenix, both in regards to net-metering but maybe also some technological discussion. Along with that, leasing versus ownership. First things first, current events. Arizona Corporation Commission took up net-metering basically at the behest of APS. There is no other reason that this would have come up unless APS, the massive monopoly of energy in Arizona, brought it up. When did they bring it up?
DH- In July, but it started earlier than that. They were mandated to do some technical workshops from January until May of this year. The purpose was to determine the effect of net-metering, positive or negative or both, on the grid and on their customers. However, when you ask an interested party to host a technical workshop, you can imagine that you might already know what the outcome is going to be.
RW- I am a marketer. Are you telling me if I need to research into ways that I need to make more money, then I might be biased in suggesting that people spend more money on marketing.
DH- Right, instead of reducing costs.
RW- APS was tasked with researching how the solar rooftop industry may or may not be costing them money.
DH- Or their customers, is their claim, their customers are having the spend more money. That’s what it’s all about.
RW- Because, they’re in business to serve us, that’s why they don’t take a big profit.
RW- They put forward a proposal in July, that said what?
DH- The proposal said that solar customers are using the grid without paying for it. And, therefore, should pay $50 to $100 a month on average, to protect non solar customers who would have to pay those fees. In other words, if someone has solar, their electricity costs go way down. And, because of that, someone has to pay for the grid. So, APS has to raise rates. Who is the rate increase going to affect but those that don’t have solar already.
RW- Let’s take a moment here, because common sense guy here on the ground, I don’t have an engineering degree. Common sense says $50 to $100 a month is a lot of money. Before I had solar, I was probably spending that amount on energy. I don’t use much energy as most people in Arizona. Like, I run my a/c at 78 degrees in the summer. So, $50 to $100 was pretty much what I was paying before I had solar.
DH- Right. For the most part, that kind of fee would kill the industry.
RW- It’s like, why am I getting solar if I am going to be paying, what I would be paying.
DH- The thing is, there is more to it than that. They propose an astronomical fee pretty much as a negotiating tactic.
RW- Which is smart. If I’m a negotiator, I come in high and I go down from there. That is how you’re supposed to do it anyway. You’re not supposed to come in low and try to go higher.
DH- I think when we are talking about an entire industry, and potentially an industry that cleans the air and saves the world, maybe we should cut the negotiating rhetoric a little bit and get serious on what is actually happening. The problem is that they have shareholders that they answer to and the priority to them is the profit to their shareholders rather than servicing the public, even though they’re a public service company.
RW- Bottom line, they were throwing in their negotiation chip. This was them putting in their initial hedge in their bed or showing their first three cards. Is that the metaphor to use? They came in saying, you’re costing us a lot of money. They were trying to get everyone to admit there was a cost shift occurring.
DH- They wanted all of us to agree essentially, because solar people aren’t spending x on the grid, that everybody else is having to instead.
RW- Their research showed this eighteen million dollar number. Is that eighteen million a year?
DH- They’re saying of their eighteen thousand solar customers, each one costs one thousand dollars per year to spread across to all their non solar customers. Which, right now when you divide that out among the one point one million residential customers, it’s very small, like eighteen bucks a year, that a non solar customer is paying. IF… that number is actually true to begin with, the eighteen million number. Which it isn’t.
RH- From a business perspective, what’s interesting to me about this argument, it seems like, the ACC had their little vote. If you haven’t been reading the news in the last two weeks, you should know that they had this vote and decided to charge solar people moving forward, not grandfathered in, anyone who gets solar from 2014 on, pays seventy cents per kilowatt produced from your solar panel. Backtracking for second. What they’re saying is that there is a fixed cost to delivering power to a residential location, whether they have solar or not. There is a grid cost associated with delivery power, that is anywhere from fifty and one hundred dollars. Which, that seems like quite the cost shift. Fifty to one hundred dollars, that is a huge range. But, that cost exists whether I have solar or not. So the guy next door that doesn’t have solar, that cost should be applied to him, right?
DH- They’re saying that because he buys a normal homeowners worth of power, that it is built into his per kilowatt hour rate and therefore, he’s paying that fee. The fee is taken care of. But because we now are using the grid for net-metering, we are sending back some of our power temporarily, then we take it back again when we need it. We are using the grid as a battery and not paying that.
RW- Okay, but to play the devils advocate, what if I go on vacation for four months, which a lot of people do in Arizona and I shut off the power in my house. There is still a connection to the grid. This idea, to me, that the wires are being worn out because electricity is being passed or not passed on them seems a little bit absurd. You’re the electrical engineer. Does the aluminum wear out.
DH- There is more to it. I don’t know all of their different costs that go into their maintaining the grid or keeping the infrastructure up, whether that means expanding it to new neighborhood or something. Which is essentially spread across all the customers, the fees. I get the analogy of a snowbird being out of town for a certain numbers of months per year. But, because solar is actively using the grid, when you’re over producing during the day, you’re sending power back. It’s not that you’re just not using as much power, but you’re actually sending it back then taking it back again when you need it. So there’s an additional use that is taking place.
RW- It’s not a mechanical thing. I don’t know about electricity, but it’s not a motor that wears out over time. You not like you have to grease the power lines.
DH- The cost of taking your excess power and sending it over to a few of your neighbors at the time that you produced it, is virtually nothing. But there is a bigger picture grouping of costs. We don’t see a lot of what goes on.
RW- I think what we are starting to hit on here, is that up until now, even still now, there hasn’t been enough transparency in how their calculating these costs.
DH- Right. We agree that we are using the grid. We, meaning solar customers. What we don’t agree to is that use of the grid, that introduction of solar to the grid is actually costing people money. Because, there is a really strong argument that because we’ve added solar, even though we’re using the grid, we are actually offsetting fuel and transmission lines and all these things that are making solar a net positive to the utility.
RW- When you look at the huge power lines that are outside of the city, and if you drive under them or walk under them, you can hear them buzzing. Those are obviously running at a huge voltage. The idea is they run them at a higher voltage, therefore there is less excess, less waste.
DH- Less loss, right.
RW- Those all have to be stepped down before they make it to my house. There is a huge cost involved, that’s what all these transformers and things are for. The energy I’m putting back on the grid is at what voltage?
DH- A regular home is 240.
RW- This is where the public needs to get involved and demanding that these intelligent people that we are electing into office, actually start doing their job. And, demanding transparency in a true audit of the costs of the monopoly that we’re all paying for.
DH- I agree. We need to actually establish some sort of value to the grid, a real cost. It’s really hard when our grid provider is also our power provider. So there is a mix there. You have three parts: generation, transmission, and distribution in your neighborhoods with transformers. When you are putting power back to the grid, if there are enough people with solar, that power would go through a transformer and be stepped up and back down again. But if you are going a very short distance, there is no doubt that when that power is resold to your neighbor, that they are making money off the fact that they are no longer losing ten percent to transmission, or as much as fifteen.
RW- How much are they selling it to my neighbor for? During the day, which is when it is being generated, that is peak time for most residential energy plans. If people are being smart, who aren’t on solar they are running so the daytime is more expensive, therefore, they get it cheaper at night. They’s spending on average …?
DH- For on peak kilowatt hour, more than twenty-five cents, somewhere in there.
RW- As a solar homeowner, how much am I getting? What I’m getting is an equal credit.
DH- You’re not getting a dollar amount, you’re getting a unit amount.
RW- Right now it’s the winter time. What I am getting is it’s building up a surplus, mostly, to be used in the summer time when my power usage is going to be higher. However, once again, most of that usage is going to be at nighttime when I am actually at home. Which is at the lower rate.
DH- Right. They have made money off the resale of your power and then when you take it back, worse case scenario, you take it on peak, they are still making money off the fact that they didn’t lose anything to transmission lines. Even better for them, is that you’re probably going to take it back during off peak hours, so they make money again right there.
RW- You sat through the meeting at the ACC last week.
DH- None of this was discussed. We’ve discussed an issue that got zero attention at the hearings.
RW- Sierra Club has been involved. Will Green is a great guy by the way. I’ve interviewed him on my podcast Desert Standard. There’s TUSK which a non-profit that some of the solar industry set up. There is TASC, which is non-profit the solar industry set up. Nobody from any of those groups are trying to bring up this?
DH- We all tried. The problem was APS’s marketing tactic. Which was, there is a cost shift and it’s worth fifteen hundred dollars. When really, we needed to look a, there’s a cost shift period regardless of the fee. They put on this big fee and that became the negotiating piece. Not whether or not there is a cost shift. They shifted what we were negotiating which was pretty smart.
RW- Absolutely. And, that’s why people get paid money to be in marketing and P.R.
DH- Lots of money. And then their four million dollars of ads didn’t help.
RW- You don’t have the argument that you’re going to lose, You change the argument.
DH- So that’s where we went wrong, in my opinion. We didn’t use the proposal and the commission in the way, I think, we all deserve to. Which was to reopen some real technical workshops as to whether or not there is a legitimate cost shift. The way I explain it is, we’ve given the phrase cost shift this really broad definition. We need to establish two kinds of cost shifts. One is a cost shift that effects APS’s bottom line, a net profit cost shift. Which, when that occurs, they just want their money back. Or, the cost shift that is actually hindering their ability to recover fixed costs which hurts other consumers. If that’s happening, you’re NOT going to find a solar advocate that is saying, “We don’t care. Screw you guys. We’re going to allow this cost shift to happen”. We would want to find the true value to that.
RW- Let’s start the definition of this conversation then. There are two different kinds of cost shift. The kind where APS is losing profit and the other where they are losing fixed costs revenue. Do we have a profit cost shift versus a fixed cost shift. Fixed cost shift versus profit cost shift.
DH- We know that solar creates a profit cost shift. It is simple intuitive understanding of profits.
RW- I’m generating electricity right now.
DH- The moment you install CFL instead of an incandescent bulb, you’ve created a net profit cost shift. They’re making less money. If they want to make the same amount of money then they have to charge more.
RW- To go into absurdum with this argument that APS is putting forward, we should be paying an extra tax for CFL and LED light bulbs because that is causing a cost shift. If we’re going to have this broad based definition of cost shift then anything that reduces power consumption is creating a cost shift, that in APS’ eyes is hurting non energy conserving peoples’ bills.
DH- The solar one is the first that has really carried some clout because you can actually make people see that you are sending power back during the day that you didn’t need, but you’re going to need later. It’s the first one that could create some sort of tangible understanding, concrete thing with non-solar people.
RW- It’s creating a massive dent. I could change out all the CFL bulbs and all the LED bulbs in my house that I want but I’m never going to achieve zero cost from power. With solar I went in one day from paying for power to not paying for power. So, I can understand APS’s attention being put onto this. How else are they going to grow their revenue. They could either become creative and find new profit revenues, which is what you’re supposed to do as a capitalistic company. Or, they can shore up their defenses and try and just keep power revenues coming from an industry that is clearly in decline.
DH- And, delay the inevitable.
RW- Bigger picture, lets step back from Arizona for a second. What does this mean for other states in the United States, now that the Arizona Corporation Commission has agreed that there is a fundamental broad based cost shift that is clearly undefined happening to the public utility?
DH- That’s the whole thing. They were successful with the one thing they really needed to be successful at. That was saying, on record, there’s a cost shift. That is all they really needed. Because now they are going to postpone the real fight for fee to the rate case. This was a rate case thing. Putting any fee at all technically should not have been able to happen. But, it did. So now in the 2015 rate case, they’re going to push really hard to reestablish this net metering fee.
RW- I’m sitting here looking at the Huffington Post just had an article Solar Industry Wins in regards to this net metering case.
DH- This is the problem. I agree in that sense that it’s a win, I’ve called it a win because even though you know the fifty to a hundred dollar thing was a negotiating tactic, there is still something in your head, that’s saying “This entire industry could be screwed”.
RW- Your company is not going to be out of business coming January 2014
DH- Right. So you can call it a win, comfortably. The problem is, when you look into the future, which is what we all should be doing, it doesn’t look much like a win. Because now we’re worried that they are going to exploit this. They’ve created a little loophole for themselves.
RW- You can bet your @ss they’re going to exploit this. This is all they’re going to be focused on from here on out. Now they’re going to constantly be pushing cost shift, cost shift, cost shift. And, as you sell more solar everybody else sells more solar, their argument simply grows from here. As there is more solar on the grid, their argument that there is a cost shift just becomes bigger.
DH- That’s why we can’t let this move to the back burner. Which it inherently is. We need to go on the offensive.
RW- You wrote a letter. You’ve kind of gone on the offensive writing that letter, right?
DH- It’s a response that they’ll file on the docket and maybe some people will see it and say, oh yes, I didn’t think about that. I wouldn’t expect them to respond with anything than, “we noted”. There were thoughts I had that needed to be said. I’ll put it on the blog. The other point that I make is that there is no scenario where we’re not going to have people, now that they have the ability, they’re going to own their own power. For years, for decades, for a hundred years we’ve been paying into a centralized system. We, the ratepayers, have taken on all the risk and we’ve been buying their assets. Now their asset portfolio is growing and growing and growing and we’ve been renting power for years and we have nothing to show for it.
RW- More importantly, you kind of hit on it, the big thing to point out is, when these coal plants are built and these nuclear power plants are built and these Solana massive solar centers are built, APS is not footing the bill for any of that. That is all federal loans and subsidies.
DH- Right. It’s all invested by ratepayers. Ratepayers are only part of the equation.
RW- It’s more than ratepayers. If it’s a federal loan or subsidy, I could be living without electricity, But, if I’m paying taxes, I’m paying for the energy.
DH- It’s all subsidized. Solar is subsidized too. I’m not going to fight the subsidy thing, like they have been.
RW- It’s a thirty percent tax credit. That’s totally different from a federal subsidized loan or grant. They are not paying back these loans and grants for Solana. They are leasing the energy coming from a spanish company, which is one thing in Arizona, blows my mind. I have no problem with international capitalism and stuff, but for Arizonians to take such a hard line against immigration and then spend two billion dollars on a power plant built by a spanish company. While, four hours south of us, they won’t let people come over here to get a job. But that’s a whole different discussion. It drives me crazy and alludes over to a discussion I want to have about how the right wingers and left wingers have found a common ground over this. Which is kind of encouraging. We have the green tea party, which is kind of cool because green tea is really healthy. [laughing] And, you have the Sierra Club which at it’s inception was a Republican backed, in cahoots with Roosevelt when they actually created Yosemite and some of the parks. They were together for years and fell apart. Now they are coming back together now because you have the Tea Party who is against all the federal spending and also for independence of anything.
DH- They are definitely against monopoly.
RW- They are very against monopoly They are for fiscal responsibility and they are also for thinking in the future in some ways. They are concerned about the deficit. They are also starting to realize if we keep polluting everything we are going to eventually have a problem and our kids are going to have a problem. Obviously, the Sierra Club is on board with all of this stuff too. It was interesting, I was at the beginning of the rally at the ACC (Arizona Corporation Commission) meeting, outside and it was really interesting to see the dynamic of people there. You had a lot of the installers for the larger solar rooftop installation companies, who are very blue-collar, obviously, construction workers. There were students. Then you had a large contingent of older white men. They were all walking around together, smiling, shaking hands a agreeing on this huge topic right here in Arizona. That was very encouraging to see.
DH- It’s human nature to desire owning your own system, instead of renting it, should the dollars and cents work out. If the economics work out, you’re going to own over rent. When we’re renting power from the utility forever and then we’re suddenly approached with an opportunity to own our own power that pays off in x number of years, and last x times three for its lifetime, it’s a no brainer. So we now introduce people to this technology where they own their own power and make a lot more money and now this whole proposal by APS could have potentially taken that away. We had an overwhelming outcry against the APS proposals. Even during public comment for eight hours straight, we had at least one hundred people speak and I bet at least eighty-five of them were pro-solar and fifteen were against. Those fifteen were interested parties…
RW- Did they have suits and ties on?
DH- Yes, several did.
RW- Did you wear your suit and tie?
DH- No, I was casual.
RW- Next time, my suggestion would be if you’re going to play the politics game, you have to play the way they play it. If you show up in a suit and tie they will automatically take you more seriously. Ninety percent of communication is non-verbal. That is a known fact.
DH- I want to establish a grassroots movement where I can wear denim and a nice collared shirt.
RW- I would love to too, but if I were going to go speak at a hearing, I would absolutely wear a suit and tie. You’re showing basic courtesy honoring the institution. But then you’re also going, hey look, there is no difference me and this guy other than the fact that I have a different opinion. You can’t call me a slacker because I’m wearing something less. You can’t call me a dirty hippy. You’ve got to remove all those arguments. Getting back to this bipartisanship. This is the first real thing I’ve seen in my lifetime.
DH- It’s just starting to become bipartisan.
RW- I think APS turned it into a bipartisan issue. Because, until APS made a stink out of this, the right wingers were just happily buying their solar panels and they were fine with how much they were paying for solar panels five years ago. They didn’t need that net metering to come in, but it has come in. They’ve probably started a business and they’re making money. Then you have the liberals on the other side. They want more solar power, we wouldn’t have as money pollution problems. There’s climate change. There are a lot of arguments back and forth. This is one of the ways we’re thinking we are going to fix it is by stopping pollution. APS came in as a monopoly, that nobody really likes APS. Sure they sponsor everything in the state, but at the end of the day if we didn’t have to pay APS’s bill I don’t think anybody would be upset. For them to come in and say, a) we want to destroy an entire capitalistic industry in the state and b) we want force everybody to stay dependent on us. I think that woke up a lot of people on the right to say, wait, this isn’t right.
DH- APS pushed a real propaganda campaign that said we are really pro solar and stop painting us as these anti solar people. That’s true. Nobody is against solar. It’s just that they’re against solar that isn’t owned by them. That’s where is really gets sticky. Eventually, they’re not going to be able to do anything about it. The technology is getting cheaper and more people can invest in owned power. This problem is not going away.
RW- I think there is definitely something APS could be doing. They could be getting involved with the rooftop solar industry. They could be getting with fuel cell industry.
DH- There is a pride thing. When you’re the one who calls the shots.
RW- I hope someone from APS is listening to this show, I know that’s optimistic. If you work at APS, you work at a huge corporation that employes a large amount of people and you make enormous profit. Why not take the higher ground and invest that into the future?
DH- It’s a learning curve. Nobody wants to change if they don’t have to.
RW- I know, but everybody can change and I think that engaging in the conversation, APS could seriously, turn on a dime tomorrow and become the biggest sponsor of the solar industry in the world.
DH- They’ve done pilot programs where they could own rooftop solar, sort of like the leasing companies. Which, I don’t think is going to work. At the end of the day, if I was APS I don’t think I would know what to do. There is no way to combat a persons ability to own their own power generation.
RW- APS has two options. They can either become blackberry in thirty years, if they want to continue to supply a service that people don’t want to buy. They are eventually going to go out of business. Or, they can shift or pivot.
DH- To what?
RW- It’s a business. You sell something for x and at the end of the day you make a profit. If you are this focused in the energy industry, I don’t see why they can’t be involved in rooftop solar.
DH- If they want to shift to become a solar installer in a purchase situation and not in an ongoing leasing situation, because people are going to own it. That is fine, but they want that repeat income. I don’t see an approach that’s going to involve that kind of repeat situation.
RW- But were talking about a decade long transition. I’m talking about decades. It’s going to be until either APS business is gone because of all this change or if shifted into something else. I’m not saying they have to have this answer today of what they’re eventually going to morph into. They need to understand that there is a) public sentiment involved. Do you want to be like Qwest who is now Century Link. Do you want to change your whole name and brand identity because you just became identified with this horrible company that nobody likes. Or, do you suppose shifting into a new method and model. I’m reading about this kind of stuff in Holland. Where they are trying to do virtual power plants and it’s involving all the industries. The utilities are in involved. The manufactures are involved. They are trying to build stuff that does replace our energy. Maybe rooftop solar isn’t what everybody has to have.
DH- The common underlying message is that people are owning it. That’s where I think the idea of APS capitalizing on it is more challenging than it sounds. Eventually, it’s not going to be anytime soon, there won’t be a need for a grid. There won’t be a centralized system. I don’t see any arguing that.
RW- One argument I would have, what happens when there is a failure? Like, I have my own personal grid, I have solar panels, I have fuel cells, and something failed.
DH- That could an argument for a local centralized, kind of like a micro grid. Your whole neighborhood could be tied together and everybody’s solar system powers everybody’s homes then the costs associated with that are shared. If one system failed it would have very little effect on the whole.
RW- Who’s going to come and fix it when it fails. I’m sure there will be a handyman of some sort that I will be able to cal; and they will be able to come out and fix the system.
DH- The industry will morph in such a way that there will be micro-grid providers or something small. Maybe what you’re onto is exactly that. Maybe APS could shift into a neighborhood approach, micro grid, kind of a thing. I think before the grid goes away that is what is going to happen.
RW- That’s where I think APS could be getting ahead of the ball rather than playing this defensive strategy. At the end of the day, it’s a loosing strategy. They are not thinking forward. If you work at APS, we’d love to have you on this show.
DH-I want some people that are willing to really [inaudible]. They’ve got such an official spokesman approach, that it makes it so difficult.
RW- We are probably not going to be able to get someone from APS.
DH- If we did, we would have to morph their voice and not provide any names.
RW- We could totally do that. We have a month and a half left in 2013, if somebody wants solar what should they be doing?
DH- Contact a solar installer, work out your deal and put it in stone. Even if you’re going to sit on it a few months, you can negotiate that. You should work out a contract and get it in the system. If there is a deadline, as far as how long to get it installed, I need to look into that because this is only a couple of days old. But for now, if that average five dollar fee is important to you, then just get in the system.
RW- What you’re saying is, getting in the system, what is really happening is, whatever installer you’re going with is putting in an application into APS for solar and net-metering.
DH- They called it an application when there was an actual rebate. They haven’t changed the language now that there are no rebates.
RW- To be specific, it’s not an application with the solar industry, it’s an application with APS.
DH- Technically, even though you can’t be turned down, but yes, it’s an application.
RW- That needs to happen by the end of 2013 otherwise you’re going to be paying sixty dollars a year depending on the size of your system, which the average one is six and a half kilowatts.
DH- If you’re financing your system, that five bucks a month could be a more important issue.
RW- Let’s wrap this up. One thing to hit on real quick and this is something we’ve talked about on my Desert Standard podcast that I run, and this is something I went through when I went to get solar and is an important subject. Leasing versus purchasing. There is a lot of options out there for people to get their solar power on their house and it looks real [nice] to see these options. I don’t have to purchase anything. I have no upfront costs. I start saving money right away. Why wouldn’t I just do that, the lease?
DH- When you lease it, you’re going to buy it three times or at lease a couple of times in the twenty year lease. Period. Whereas, if you financed it so you own it and pay a loan until it’s paid off, then you own your system. You would be buying it just the one time, plus the interest. They are selling this lease as there is no maintenance and you have monitoring. Well, these all come with the financed system too. There is a clear advantage to financing your system. And, you’re going to be making money from the start. The whole point of financing is that your loan payment is less than your solar savings, so that you are net positive. This is out there. This is real. This is happening. I sell it all the time. So, definitely, look at that.
RW- Just to be clear. We are not saying that you have got to with Dillon with Cambio Energy. Although, I would recommend it. He’s a nice guy and he does a really good job. But, just be aware if you’re interested in solar power, it’s the same thing as if you’re going to go buy a car or go buy a house. You can either rent a house or you can buy a house. The problem here is, if you’ve purchased a house and your now own your house, it’s the only reason to get solar. If you’re renting a house or apartment, there is no reason for you to get solar.
DH- Those policies will change. There will be ways to make that work, but we’ll get to that in another episode.
RW- If you own your house then choose to lease the solar system that is attached to your house, you’ve just undone in some aspect what you did buy purchasing a house. Just be aware of that. If you go to sell the house, you have to transfer that lease to the new owner.
DH- They have to qualify for it. Not even just selling your house. Refinancing your house is a big problem too. There are a lot of issues. Contact the experts and talk to a few different parties. A lot that are offering both the sell and lease of a solar system might not give you the whole story.
RW- I will tell you personally, when we talked to multiple companies, the ones that offered both lease and purchase were pushing us towards the lease. We didn’t get any strong arms. Solar City, they just want to lease it. The guy that came out was just a pure sales guy. I can guarantee that there are incentives for the companies to sell the leasing program over selling it outright.
DH- I think it’s just n easier sell. They’ve trained their sales guys and gals to play off those little sales techniques.
RW- That is Sales 101. I’m a sales guy. The path to least resistance is what you’ll always want. What is more important is, you’re going to be making a significant purchase either way. Whether it’s a lease or a purchase. The lease, you’re going to be offsetting the cost into the future. The purchase, you’re going to realizing it right now. Even if you finance it. It’s going to be a significant amount of money. Bottom line. So, do your research. Talk to a lot of companies. If you have questions, feel free to ask us. It’s CleanPowerAZ.org and Clean Power Az on Twitter, My name is Roger and this is Dillon. That was episode one.
DH- Get involved. Join us, we don’t need you to do anything. It’s not a a crazy thing. Join our Facebook page. Let’s get a headcount of people who are for this movement.
RW- We’ll get a mailing list. Once we hit 2000, that will be cool!
RW & DH-Thank you
RW- I just wanted to throw in real quick, this entire episode has been powered by the sun.