Our clients consistently comment that they learned so much after having us in their home for a sales consultation on solar panels. When we hear that, we know we’ve done our jobs. Sometimes they say that after making a decision that solar isn’t right for them, and that’s okay. Other times, they have shifted gears completely after learning a key fact. I was recently asked by a media interviewer what people would find most surprising about solar energy. Since it’s such a broad topic, I had to break down my answer into the three major products sold by most dealers.
Solar Water Heating Is Dead
We get calls all the time from people who want solar water heaters. The fact is, most clients will never save enough energy to pay for a solar water heater. Small households, seasonal residents, warm ground water, and relatively low cost electricity make solar water heaters a bad investment, especially compared to other solar products.
Solar Electricity Is Simpler Than You Think
The days of components clumsily cobbled together to provide you with nebulous benefits are over. The industry is mature with simple and common equipment that seamless integrates with your utility company’s electricity feed. You tell us how much electricity you want to offset and we can tell you how many solar panels you need – it’s really that simple.
Solar Pool Heating Systems Are Not All Equal
Because solar pool heaters just look like simple black mats on the roof, people assume they are all the same, and often choose a system based on price. The key factors of flow rate, reliability, longevity, and quality of components are often ignored. There are way too many ways to cut corners in a solar pool heater installation, and you get what you pay for.
Why Solar Energy is Misunderstood
There are a lot of falsehoods floating around out there. Some are perpetuated by shady dealers. The utility companies are disingenuous about solar energy. The news media often skews public perception through lack of understanding themselves. And the history of solar energy is full of negative anecdotes.
Those are the old days. Florida is a bit behind when it comes to solar energy, but we are poised to be a big player in solar electricity in the near future. This is already one of the best solar pool heating markets in the world. A new generation of solar professionals has emerged, and manufacturers are making new products that meet and exceed consumer expectations.
Most importantly, energy in general is misunderstood. Most people have no clue where their electricity goes. Other than air conditioning, which is widely known to be expensive, clients are lost when trying to determine what contributes to high bills. And more broadly, they don’t understand that moving things and heating things are very energy intensive.
And that doesn’t even address the relationship between power and energy (energy is power over time). For example, a hairdryer uses far more electricity (power) than a refrigerator, but much less energy because it is only used for short bursts (unless you run a salon!)
What is the Typical Outcome of a Solar Consultation?
If done right, you should be enlightened, if not surprised. We sometimes talk clients out of buying products we sell. But that is how we do business. We want to provide you with products that truly benefit you.
Fortunately, more often than not, we can find a product that will help you. We will not sell you a solar electricity system without talking about efficiency first. For example, you might save four times as much energy by replacing your pool pump compared to spending the same amount of money on solar electric panels.
Many times it comes down to a quality of life question. Do you use you pool now? Often the answer is no, because running the existing electric heater is too expensive. In that case, I can’t save you money, but I can help you enjoy your pool more without ongoing heating costs. That kind of return on investment is not monetary, but it does have a huge benefit in terms of your enjoyment.
Go into your solar consultation with an open mind and challenge everything you hear. Ask questions. Tell us your goals. You will find it an enlightening experience, and we hope that results in our earning your business!