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A Solar Fred Feedback Request

Avatar for Tor "Solar Fred" Valenza
Published on 07/22/2009 in
Updated 03/04/2020

Dear Solar Fred Readers,

Thank you for visiting. I’ve provided a lot of easy-to-read info here about solar and the various ways to finance it, and I hope you find the information you’re looking for.

I know that people have different reasons for coming to this site, as well as different reasons for considering Solar. With that in mind, I’d like to ask you to comment about one small matter:

What’s stopping you from getting a solar quote and seeing if solar is right for you? Quotes are free, so I’m just curious.

For me, I’m a true believer, which is why I write this blog. But I want to help as many as I can, so I’d like to get a sense of what’s holding people back. If I know, then perhaps I can provide the answers and write more targeted posts to answer your concerns.

So, if you would take a little time to lend me your thoughts, I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks again for visiting, and I sincerely hope the information that already is here helps you or your business to go solar.

All the best and think solar,

Tor aka “Solar Fred.”

Last modified: March 4, 2020

11 thoughts on “A Solar Fred Feedback Request

  1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:


    Thanks for your comments. Don’t know where you live, but in a lot of states right now, the 30 grand figure is actually about half that–with incentives, as you’ve pointed out. That’s not for rich people. In Connecticut, there’s a state O-down solar lease program that excludes anyone who makes over 250 grand. Anyone under that with the right solar conditions, and you’re already beating your electric bill for nothing up front.

    The subsidies are going away, but panel prices are coming down so fast that the it will soon be about the same price as coal, even without the incentives. Give it another couple of years.

    As for renters, that’s a rough one, but there are already programs in Sacramento California and Washington State for renters. It’s called Solar Shares or virtual net metering. You invest basically get the benefits of solar, but the solar panels are somewhere else, not on your roof. Think of it like a coop.

    It’s complicated stuff, but we try to keep it simple here at Solar Power Rocks. I hope if you have any questions, you’ll continue to drop by and we’ll do the best we can to answer, if we can.

  2. Avatar for Matt Jones Matt Jones says:

    Hey, Solar Fred and SPR. I think the problem of solar panels comes down to the financials. Anybody not willing to take the time to understand how to calculate or estimate their roof’s square footage, angle, price per watt of solar panel, price per watt-hour of their average energy bill, rebates and taxes, installation fees, net metering, whatever their local government cooks up in the way of credits, can’t see the benefit to solar power enough to get a free quote. They probably won’t look at a nice calculator either. Anybody who will take the time knows they could go to any local bank, buy a 25 year CD, and beat the crap out of any ROI of any solar panel array anywhere except under the most catastrophic of future energy price hikes. People will donate $5 for a good cause. People don’t make decade-long investment decisions based on a good cause.

    I’m a young professional with a physics degree and a statistics degree. I understand what you’re talking about when it comes to the units and the analysis, I can even slog through the tax stuff most of the time. I can’t buy solar panels because I’m not in a financial position to. I don’t even have a house to put them on. This limits my options severely.
    You need to be talking to people who can spend $30,000 like its $5 to most people. The kind of people who can and do drop that kind of money for 0 (0!) ROI all the time. The rest of us poor bastards have to wait till we can make more money with solar than we could elsewhere, or derive some tangible everyday benefit from solar that we can’t from the grid. This day is beyond when the technology gets cost-neutral (because, like you say, the subsidies will end before then), it may be decades away. It might only come after we burn all easily accessible coal in the world, barring game-changing technology. Until then the common man will have a non-solar roof, except in the rare cases of philanthropy and when whoever passed the latest solar subsidy makes an order of magnitude mistake the wrong way in the payback scheme.

    Alternatively, you could find out a way people can buy a slice of a solar panel for $5. Without going through a broker, because that’s a step that will turn off a lot of people. Most people will accept 0 ROI on $5; just give them the green cred and a slap on the back. Find one dude (you?) willing to do the paperwork, education, have the house ect, and have a million micro-financers. Personally, I think you’ll have more luck with the rich people.


  3. Avatar for nathan nathan says:

    Thank you both for your valuable responses, Ken and Tor. Ken – I'm wondering if you are close to the commercial market . . from what I understand, flat commercial membrane roofs tends to come with either a 10 or 15 year warranty. I'd be interested in how you approach these customers on this issue if you serve them as well.

  4. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    Thanks for your solar roofing insights, Ken! And for responding so quickly on a Sunday, too!Hope that answers your question, Nathan. This is an example of why I wrote this post, to find out what's on people's minds. Now I know to write a post dedicated to roofing concerns. Thanks again to both of you.And if anyone is looking for an Installer in Colorado, please ask for Ken Oatman at Astralux (303) 995-0891 ( again to both of you.

  5. Avatar for Ken Oatman Ken Oatman says:

    Nathan, I work for a large solar installation company in Boulder (Astralux)—Fred asked me to respond to your question about roof replacement.Our rule of thumb, when looking at potential solar roofs, is that IF it needs to be replaced within five years, it should be done simultaneously with solar panel installation.You said that most roof only last ten years, but that's not my experience. Companies wouldn't warrant them for twenty-five years if they weren't built to last that long.And Fred's right, solar panels will extend the lifespan of the roof section they cover.IF a roof with a solar installation DOES need replacement, the normal course is for the solar company to come back out, remove the system, and replace it shoulder-to-shoulder with the roofers. Not cheap, but not as difficult as a new installation, since framing mounts are already positioned.The question of roof life is difficult, since it potentially means an additional large expense at the same time one is considering a solar investment.It's best to get these two dynamics in sync by getting home builders to put solar on in the first place, of course. They're both warranted for 25 years, so they should go hand-in-hand.So, you may have to get your solar system in sync with your roof. Then you can live happily ever after.

  6. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    That's a good question about the roof, Nathan. Let me investigate a little further for you before I respond. I know that if your roof is heading towards retirement age, that you should replace at the same time, as this person did: terms of what happens after that, that will probably depend on a lot of factors. Depending on how much of your roof is covered by solar panels, the shingles–depending on the type–may wear much slower and perhaps last as long as the panels. Sections of the roof not covered by the panel would of course wear normally. But let me check all of this out with an installer friend, and I'll respond again.

  7. Avatar for nathan nathan says:

    Fred, my roof's footprint is too small and too shaded . . otherwise I would strongly consider it, though I would likely wait a few months to see if PA, where I live, establishes a meaningful SREC market. Question for you – what do building owners do when roofs w/PV systems need to be replaced? Modules typically have a 25 year warranty but roofs last for only 10 years. How do you address this issue with your customers? Thanks, Nathan (aka Arbitronic)

  8. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Najia. Of course any color, green or otherwise, are welcome here at SolarFred.:) I am, however, focusing in the green circles because I believe they would be most open to solar first. The early adopters if you will. I'm starting to broaden to other niche groups as well, such as schools and government, but if you have other suggestions, please let me know.

  9. Avatar for Myrtus Myrtus says:

    My experience with most people that I talk to is that they're just not familiar with the whole solar concept in general let alone the benefits.I think you're doing a fantastic job with your blog educating the public on solar. I'm just wondering if you're promoting your blog outside the solar/green circle a well.Keep up the good work, the world needs you. :)Najia

  10. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    Thanks for commenting, solargroupies. I wonder if supporting green lobbying organizations such as and the league of conservation voters if it couldn't happen in this generation. We made it to the moon in 10 years. Anything's possible.

  11. Avatar for solargroupies solargroupies says:

    In a word: Lobbies have saturated our political leadership with so much influence ($) that widespread solar is a generation or two away.

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