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Hey, Baby. Would You Like to See My Solar Panels? 5 Reasons Why Solar Could Be Sexy for Women

Photo:Flickr/ Tiago Ribeiro

A few months back, President Obama visited a Home Depot to promote energy efficiency and said that insulation was sexy. Actually, he said and I quote, “I get really excited about it … Insulation is sexy stuff. … Here’s what’s sexy about it — saving money!”

I’m all for insulation, but that struck me as being a bit artificial.  But then I started thinking about a female solar installer friend who insists that solar really is sexy. While I don’t pretend to know the mind of any woman let alone this (married) friend, I do know that scientists have often said that women tend to seek the best mate that will protect her and her children.

With that premise in mind, here are 5 reasons why I think solar may be unconsciously sexy to women wanting to settle down.

Reason #1: A guy who has solar means you have a home and a stable income. As much as a women may be attracted to six-pack boy toys for a fling, if you’ve got solar, she knows you not only have a house, but a premium house and that you’re actually employed. Always a good start.

Reason #2: A guy who has solar is a guy who’s thinking about the future. When you’re making your moves on the dance floor and mention that you’ve got solar, you’re also telling her that you care about the environment and the future of your children and grandchildren.

Reason #3: Having solar means that you’re a smart investor. If you’ve taken the time to get a solar quote, then you’ve looked at the numbers to see whether solar has a return on your investment (It does in many states.) That may indicate to her that you’re a person who’s smart with money and can plan for retirement.

Reason #4: A guy who has solar means you can explain things and communicate. Telling her you have solar always leads to questions. How much does it cost? Does it need batteries? How long do they last?  If you can coherently explain solar, then 1) you come off smart, and 2) she may be thinking that you’ll be able to explain other complicated things in your marriage…like why were you late coming home and who you were texting at 3 am last night.

Reason #5: A guy who has solar means he can commit. Just like marriage, solar is a long term commitment. In fact, most solar systems last 25 years or longer. Again, this indicates that you can commit to a long term relationship with solar panels, so perhaps you two will last 25 years or longer too.

Now, I’m not saying “Would you like to come over and see my solar panels” is going to work at a bar, but solar does make a lot of financial sense if you live in a state with good subsidies. So, maybe Obama is right that saving money is sexy enough.

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Don’t just Shake Your Head about this Coal Video. Do Something. Please.

I’m not going to say much about this video below, except to say that we need to have less of these types of power plants. Coal proponents will point out that much of the steam you see in the video is in fact mostly H20. What’s frightening is all of the arsenic, lead, mercury, nitrogen, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and coal ash that you don’t see being released into the air and into underground water supplies. I’m not even talking about carbon dioxide or the environmental devastation of mountain top removal that decimates pristine habitats and leaves the world that much uglier. Reminds me of that Joni Mitchell song, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

It’s been a little over a year since the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill in December of 2008, but please don’t forget it. Sadly, that spill was just the tip of the iceberg.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are 584 more hazardous coal ash dump sites located in 35 states.

Coal Power Plant Timelapse from

Timelapse Coal Power Plant from Jeff Grewe on Vimeo.

I know the above video and related news sucks, but don’t just stick your head in the sand! You’re not powerless. You can do something. At the very least, you can reduce your energy needs with quick, cheap, energy efficiency measures. That’s number one.

Second, you can consider solar and get a free estimate of your costs. Depending on your state and utility, you could be cash positive the first month.  But you can’t know that unless you get a quote. And it’s free, so what can it hurt but a little bit of time?

Finally, you can share this post with friends by email, Face Book, Digg or any other social networking site. That will help others to think about steps they can take too. Just take one step!


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Detroit Rocks for Solar Power Incentives Too

Photo:Flickr/ karpov the wrecked train

It’s really nice that we’re and that we have the opportunity to praise the Rock ‘n’ Roll City of Detroit and its utility, DTE Energy, for launching a solar incentive program.

Contrary to popular belief, solar works great in cold weather. In fact, solar panels work better in cold temperatures. What matters with solar is the amount of light that hits the panels, not heat. That’s why it’s great that customers in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, Livonia, and pretty much any city in the thumb of Michigan can benefit from some awesome solar incentives from DTE Energy.

The incentives come in 3 parts:

  • First, you get an upfront cash rebate of $2.40/watt. How much that works out to for you depends on the size (the number of watts) of your solar power system. If you have an average 5kW (5000 watt) system, that multiplies out to $12,000 off the top of your up front costs. Again, you might get a lower rebate if you need fewer solar panels to cover your energy needs. Of course, your costs are lower as well.
  • Second, you get a production incentive. This is similar to a feed in tariff. Essentially, DTE pays you 11 cents for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar power that your system produces. For the same 5kW example above, that adds up to an extra $610 in your pocket every year, give or take. (We’re assuming average Detroit rain, snow, good roof orientation, etc.)
  • Third, like all Americans, you qualify for the 30% Federal tax credit. On a 5kW system, that could mean reducing your net cost another $6,900.
  • Bottom line, with the production incentive, the upfront rebate, and the Federal Tax credit,  your net cost for an average 5kW system is around $6,000 when it’s all added up.

Of course, I haven’t added in net metering and the electric savings over the next 25 years, which will more than make up that $6,000 cost.  To find out how much specifically for you, you really need to get a free estimate from a local installer.

How much can you save with a solar roof in ?

Profit from your roof space: find local deals on solar in , eliminate your power bill, and join the solar revolution.

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The Profit of Climate Deniers and a Solar Power Experiment

Here at, we’ve never claimed to be scientists or to have done research on global warming.  We’re just solar geeks, so we leave “science” up to these science guys and these other science guys, and these CIA smarty-pants who all seem to agree that there is real science and a national security threat from global warming.

Then there are those who just don’t want to believe anything that the majority of scientists say. In fact, we came across this list of the most egregious climate deniers, and we thought we’d share.  Interestingly, all of these Climate Deniers have a financial reason to deny that global warming is a serious issue. Go figure.

But even if you agree with the above Climate Deniers about global warming, always remember that there are other reasons to go solar for your home or business, including saving money and breathing.

Not sure you can afford solar power, even with all of the rebates and incentives these days? Tell you what. Why not do your own science experiment: Get a free solar quote from someone in your area and prove that solar isn’t affordable. You might be surprised. Or not. Either way, you’ll know for sure, and it’s free, so what’s to lose but a little time.  Thanks.

How much can you save with a solar roof in ?

Profit from your roof space: find local deals on solar in , eliminate your power bill, and join the solar revolution.

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You ask, we answer: How Do I Complain about a Solar Installer? Yelp!

Yvan writes:

Dear Solar Fred,

I’ve had a very bad experience with my contractor re: a passive solar pool heating system – is there a way to “broadcast” this to the wider public so as to save other people from being caught?


Dear Yvan,

Absolutely. I would put a post on or Angie’s list. But be specific. Explain the whole situation, why you think you got bad service. If you just insult without backing up why you were unhappy, it may appear like sour grapes because you found out you could have gotten a better deal somewhere else. Plus, it also helps the contractor to realize that he’d better give the best service all the time, or get a bad reputation.

Hope that helps.

Solar Fred.

How much can you save with a solar roof in ?

Profit from your roof space: find local deals on solar in , eliminate your power bill, and join the solar revolution.

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You ask, we answer: Are Home Built Solar Panels Worth it? No.

Gina from New York writes:

I was wondering what you thought of homemade solar panels.  I have been told by a few people that it is fairly easy to make your own panels.  Is it worth looking into in your opinion?
Thank you,

ANSWER: Hey, Gina. I’ve already written about this before in my post Energy4-Earth Scam. Within that post, there’s a link to this explanation that really breaks down the scam, how it works, and why it’s bogus.

Honestly, for most people except extreme hobbyists who happen live next to a solar manufacturing dumpster for easy access to discarded (broken) photovoltaic cells, these “Do-it-Yourself” (DIY) solar kits are a waste of time and money.

  • Even if the materials were readily available at your local hardware store, as claimed (false), it will take hundreds of hours to build enough cells to power your home.
  • Second, your DIY home built solar panels will not meet any electrical codes. In other words, they’re potentially a fire hazard.
  • Third, you’ll have to hook it up to your own electric panel, so you’ll have to hire an electrician.
  • Fourth, because DIY solar panels are not approved by the state, you don’t get the benefit of net metering, which many states provide to consumers.
  • Fifth, because DIY solar panels are “home made” from spare parts, they end up looking pretty gnarly and ugly on your roof, decreasing your home value. Conventional panels look much better and actually increase your home value.
  • Sixth, Say goodbye to any State of Federal rebates or incentives. These are applicable only to solar panels that are UL listed (deemed safe by the Feds) and/or registered with your State (deemed safe by your State). I could go on….

Bottom line, even if the materials were free, I wouldn’t put DIY solar panels on my roof.

Hope that helps,

Solar Fred

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