Welcome to the
Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

In this Issue:

September, 2015

Volume: 6 Issue: 9

Busy, busy, busy!

OK - so there is busy (which is good), and then there is Crazy Busy — which we have been all September long — and that is just exhausting. To cite just two examples, Solar Power International was this month in Anaheim, and we wrapped up our second biggest project of the year at Chandler School.

Sadly, our blog post production this month has really taken it on the chin, and this September Newsletter is already into October (if you are on the East coast).

Still, we wouldn't have it any other way. We had a great month, working with the wonderful folks at Chandler (as well as our many residential clients), attending SPI and the Solar Power World Top Solar Contractors Gala (next story), as well as finding some time to highlight the perils of dishonest solar salesmen (sadly there are far too many).

As we move into the Fourth Quarter of our Best Year Ever (that's right, we are already well above our previous best, with a full quarter to go!), we are counting on sharing more timely info with you, and we thank you, as always, for your support.

Free Run on Sun Solar Site Evaluation - Click here

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Run on Sun Named a Top Solar Contractor!

Perhaps the most exciting part of this year's Solar Power International this past month was attending the Gala held for those special solar contractors lucky enough to be chosen by Solar Power World Magazine as one of the Top 500 Solar Contractors in the U.S. For the third year in a row, Run on Sun made the list! (And keep in mind that there are some 6,000 solar companies in the country!)

Jim and Laurel mug for the camera at the 2015 Solar Power World Top 500 Contractors Gala

Laurel & Jim mug for the camera at the
2015 Solar Power World
Top Solar Contractors Gala,
during SPI 2015 in Anaheim

Here's how the great folks at Solar Power World described the event:

Three-hundred-fifty solar professionals, representing more than 110 solar installation and development companies, celebrated Monday, September 14, 2015, at the Top 500 Solar Contractors Gala. The annual event recognizes solar contractors listed on the Solar Power World Top 500 Solar Contractors list for their contribution and dedication to the solar industry.

Held at the Hilton Anaheim, the Gala included networking, dinner and awards. The president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Rhone Resch, opened the night with stirring remarks on the necessity of the ITC extension and the achievements of attendees.

It was great to have Laurel Hamilton, our fearless Projects Coordinator, there with me (and in quite a different pose than that of "boom-lift operator" that she was sporting earlier this year!).

I would be remiss, however, if I didn't give a shout out to Velvet Dallesandro (our Chief Electrician, who has been with us since installation 1), Ralph Carrillo, Josh Sanchez, and everyone else who has played a role in helping us to achieve this honor.

At Run on Sun we like to say, "we punch above our weight" — because our influence is disproportional to our size. Those folks are the reason we can make good on that claim.

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The Perils of Dishonest Solar Salesmen

Solar leasing programs are very popular, driven, no doubt, by the allure of something for nothing. After all, the lease programs insist that for nothing out-of-pocket you can start saving today - an appealing pitch that is only rebutted when the homeowner does some serious homework. This is not a new topic for us, and our post pointing out the Top 5 Reasons to Avoid a Solar Lease!, is one of our most popular posts ever.

But an encounter with a potential client this past week highlighted yet another peril in the form of the deceptive salesman.

Just another rip-roaring, bulls-eye salesman...

A couple of days ago we got a call from a woman who had been referred to us by one of our clients.

She had been thinking about going solar and had in fact signed a lease agreement with another company before she spoke with our client. "Whoa," said the client, "you better think twice about a lease. You should really talk to the folks at Run on Sun before you go forward with anybody else." The woman told us she had until Saturday to cancel her contract so could we please come and see her right away? Given that she was a referral and time was tight, we scheduled her site evaluation for the next day.

What we found when we got there was a two-story, blue tile roof, littered with roof vents! Once you allowed for clearances on all of those obstructions, as well as with the setbacks required by the local Fire officials, there was very little roof left for solar. (We estimated maybe 3 kW max.)

But the contract that she had signed said that this other solar company was going to put 5.7 kW on her roof! How on earth did that reach that conclusion?

Don't buy solar from this guy

Don't buy solar from this guy!

The answer was simple: the sales guy came to her home with a stock contract that contained a provision buried within the fine print that allowed them to "revise" what would be installed once the "engineering review" of the home had been completed!

In other words, the guy trying (and succeeding) in getting her to sign on the dotted line had no idea whether his repeated assertions of "30% savings off your present bill" were accurate or not, and he plainly did not care.

This unfortunate woman, who lives in a nice home in a nice neighborhood, had been preyed upon by the solar industry's equivalent of the flim-flam man, and make no mistake about it - these disreputable representatives are a pox upon the entire industry.

Oh, and as to that right to cancel the contract? The lease agreement appeared to be speaking out of both sides of its mouth on this. One provision cited the California statutory requirement of three business days to cancel, whereas a second provision promised six calendar days. Yet the attached, Notice of Rescission, only referred to the three-day option, and it required that the document be delivered to an office in Texas to be effective! Good luck with that.

Don't be a victim!

No one should end up in this woman's position. Here are a few steps to protect yourself:

  1. Always get references for any solar contractor you might consider. If they cannot provide you with references, run, don't walk, away. Referrals from people you trust are even better.
  2. If you are feeling pressured by the salesperson, show them the door. Reputable solar contractors aren't trying to push you into anything. If the salesperson makes you uncomfortable - walk away. (Trust your gut.)
  3. Never, ever, sign a contract before the technical evaluation of your site has been done! A sales guy with a projection of "your system" who has never seen your home is guessing, and quite possibly guessing badly, as was the case here. Before you sign up for anything, be sure that you are dealing with a proposal based on the specifics of your home, not some generic sales brochure.

Caveat emptor, folks!

“If you are feeling pressured by the salesperson, show them the door. Reputable solar contractors aren't trying to push you into anything…”

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