A reader just wrote to me saying that most of the solar sales people he meets don’t have their own solar systems. The fact that a sales person doesn’t have solar really shouldn’t matter to you, and let me tell you why.
Not buying solar because the salesperson doesn’t have solar is like being at a restaurant and not ordering a salmon special because the waiter is allergic to fish. Or not buying a Mazda Miata because the salesman is the father of 3 kids and drives a sedan. Or it’s like not buying a fantastic house because the Realtor lives in a condo.
In all these cases, there is nothing wrong with the product; they’re simply not right for the salesperson. That shouldn’t disqualify them from recommending it for you–if those products are right for you. You’re not allergic to fish, you’re single, or you want a back yard. It’s the same thing for solar.
Let’s take me for an example. I’ve mentioned this on other blogs, so it’s no secret that I don’t own solar. Why? Because as much as I love solar, it’s not right for me right now. Why not? In my case, I have three excellent reasons:
- I rent, so it’s not my choice, but I would love for my landlord to go solar. Also…
- I live in apartment in Los Angeles. Again, impossible for me to go solar right now. Am I saving up to buy a house? You bet. Does that mean that all the info on this blog isn’t relevant to you, a home owner? I don’t think so.
- Even if I owned my own home right now, I’m a good environmentalist, and I’m currently a single guy. A house would make my electric bill higher, but probably lower than $80/month. In my state and utility, going solar would have a very long payback at that kind of minimal usage. So again, it might not make economic sense for me until I start a family and my electric bill is higher.
Salespeople have some of the same reasons as I do, especially if they’re just entering the business. They may already own their homes, their house also has to be right for it. That is:
- Like me, their electric usage needs to be over $80/month to make economic sense.
- Is their home’s roof facing South, Southwest or South East. Is their enough roof space for the panels?
- Is there too much shading from trees or other structures?
- Do they have enough home equity to finance it?
- Are they planning to move soon to a place that IS better for solar, but waiting for the market to improve so they can sell their home? The list goes on….
So, I hope that this reader and other solar potential home owners don’t make decisions for their own needs based on the needs of the salesperson.
Last modified: June 28, 2009