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Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

Run on Sun - the source for Pasadena Solar Power

In this Issue:

March, 2020

Volume: 11 Issue: 3

Dealing with Covid-19

"May you live in interesting times."
Sir Austen Chamberlain, citing an alleged Ancient Chinese curse.

These are, indeed, interesting times, our own "Year of Living Dangerously." The pandemic caused by Covid-19 has altered, at least for now, most every aspect of life in this country, and that is certainly true here in California. Non-essential businesses have been asked to close as residents "shelter-in-place" and long for a return to something approaching normalcy.

While there is an argument to be made that the terms of Governor Newsom's order would allow for solar installations to continue, at the present moment we have decided to err on the side of safety, both for our employees and our clients. That means that for the time being, all new installations are on hold.

Technology, however, does allow us to continue to provide value to our clients. Indeed, while working on this newsletter, Enphase alerted us to a problem with one of our systems, we were able to diagnose the problem from the online data, we contacted the client and were able to walk him through the steps needed to get the problem resolved! Now that is quality social distancing!

And, we are still able to consult with prospective clients about the benefits of solar (see our third story below). We can do site evaluations with no physical contact, and provide a comprehensive proposal that bring the human touch to solar -- without any humans actually touching! (I predict a great deal of hugging once this is all over!)

In the meantime, take this opportunity to tackle that really complex personal project you have postponed until that day when you would finally have the time - cause chances are, right now you do! (I'm teaching myself AutoCAD!)

Stay safe.

“Let us know if you have decided to tackle a personal challenge during these strange days…”

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Utilities Up to Their Usual Tricks!

While much of the country is under stop-work orders, the utilities it seems are working overtime - trying to gut Net Metering. Of course they are!

Our friends at Solar Rights Alliance are sounding the alarm:

Though most of us are sheltering in place, the utilities are lobbying state regulators to ignore the benefits of rooftop solar and cut the Net Metering credit. 

Tell the CA Public Utilities Commission: Rooftop solar is saving the state money and reducing pollution. The Net Metering credit should reflect this fact.

As you know, Net Metering is the credit you receive for the extra solar energy you give back to the grid. That credit is applied when you use the utility's electricity later on (at night for example).

The utilities don't like Net Metering, and are lobbying to kill it. Their strategy is to pressure the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to ignore evidence that shows rooftop solar is reducing both pollution and the cost of running the grid. If the utilities get their way, the CPUC will likely cut the Net Metering credit for all future solar users. 

For example, the utilities are lobbying CPUC to ignore the fact that rooftop solar and efficiency helped the state cancel or scale back over twenty power line projects in 2018 alone, saving the state over $2.6 billion. Instead of taking this evidence seriously, the CPUC appears willing to conclude the opposite: that solar does not reduce the cost of running the grid.

Tell the CPUC: Rooftop solar reduces the burden on the grid and saved the state $2.6 billion in 2018 alone. The Net Metering credit should reflect this fact. 

Another example: because of utility lobbying, the CPUC is poised to underestimate how your solar reduces pollution that contributes to global warming. That's crazy because every kilowatt hour of your clean solar energy replaces dirtier electricity you would otherwise buy from the utility. 

Tell the CPUC: Every kilowatt hour of rooftop solar reduces pollution. The Net Metering credit should reflect this fact.

Finally, the utility lobbyists are pushing CPUC to deny the fact that rooftop solar makes the entire grid safer and more resilient. That's nuts; rooftop solar is allowing millions of people to use the grid less frequently, which reduces the risk of wildfires and outages for everyone. 

Tell the CPUC: My solar reduces my burden on the grid and makes the grid more resilient. The Net Metering credit should reflect this fact rather than ignore it.

Your voice is critical to ensure that the CPUC properly values the benefits of rooftop solar to the state. If the utilities get their way, the Net Metering credit will likely get cut for all future solar users. That would be terrible for all ratepayers, not just solar users.

Take Action

Thank you for all you do. Please stay safe and healthy!

-- Dave Rosenfeld, Executive Director

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Stock Market Scary? Time to Invest in Solar!

The other day we had a potential client postpone a meeting to discuss our proposal for their home due to "market instability."  To say that the market has been unstable is a major understatement, but that got us wondering: in uncertain times, doesn't investing in solar make sense?  We sure think so - hear me out...

Unstable Times

The worldwide pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has induced travel bans, the cancellation of sporting events (MLB, NBA, March Madness, even NASCAR!) and social events (for once the show isn't going on on Broadway!), and even postponing some Presidential primaries, has done a serious number on the stock market.

Market instability

Instability? Oh yeah!

During the month of March, the Dow Jones lost 20% of its value, and closed out the worst quarter for the market since 2008!

Instability indeed!

It is certainly reasonable for any investor to be concerned by such numbers, especially when a wild card - like a global pandemic - is the driving factor.  Hard to plan for such an event, yet it can have enormous impact on the economy, at least in the short term.

The Stability of Solar

But now consider what makes installing solar on your home or business such an attractive investment.  Modern equipment, like Enphase microinverters and LG solar panels, come with 25-year warranties, providing peace of mind. And no matter what happens -- short of the zombie apocalypse -- you are going to continue to need electricity to power your life, and that need is likely to only increase over time (think of your electricity usage twenty years ago compared to today).  Electric utilities, especially the Investor-Owned Utilities like SCE, clearly do not have your personal best interests at heart (see above!), and their rates will continue to increase, even as service declines.

Which means that installing solar provides you with a reliable asset that will reduce your out-of-pocket costs for the next 20 years!  We typically see payback periods that range from 5 to 10 years, with a 20 year ROI of 150%+ and IRR of 12-20% (though our largest residential client in SCE territory is looking at an eye-popping ROI of 460% and an IRR of 28%!).

Of course, your mileage may vary.  But it is hard to imagine a scenario where the value of your solar investment drops 20% in a matter of days - but easy to do so for your 401k - because it just did!

If you would like to diversify your portfolio into a less risky investment, give us a call.  We can help you trade up to solar!

“Hard to find a more stable investment than solar!”

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