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In this week’s podcast,  we discuss another shutdown horror story, how the solar industry is preparing for more shutdowns, and working together with our clients to help us all deal with the new normal. 

About Jamie Duran &
Solar Harmonics
Brought to you by Solar Harmonics in Northern California,  who invite their customers to “Own Their Energy” by purchasing a solar panel system or their home, business, or farm.  You can check out the website for the best solar energy equipment installer, Solar Harmonics, here.   Each episode we discuss questions facing people making the decision to go solar. The solutions to your questions are given to you –  straight  – by one of the leading experts in the solar industry, Jamie  Duran,  president of Solar Harmonics.   Feel free to search our library for answers to questions that you’re facing when considering solar.

Produced by
Magnified Media
Solar Cast is produced by Adam Duran, director of Magnified Media. Based in Walnut Creek, California, Magnified Media is an internet marketing firm focused on getting Google local Maps placement, digital marketing, website design, local search ranking and reputation management for businesses of all sizes. Check out their podcast, Local SEO in 10 here!
Magnified Media helping business owners master their marketing by:
– getting them more online reviews,
– getting their website seen and
– creating engaging social media content.
In his spare time, Adam enjoys working as the volunteer director of the Delta Education Foundation and practicing Jiu-Jitsu.

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PG&E Shutdown Strategies [Transcript]

Listen to the Episode Here

Adam ([00:00]):

Hello. Hello? Hello? Jamie. Hello. Adam. Eh, how’s everything going with you today?

Jamie ([00:07]):

Oh, going great. Going great. Now. Always exciting in the world of solar.

Adam ([00:12]):

I know you say that every week, but I and I have not been disappointed in any of the happenings of solar every week.

Jamie ([00:20]):

Yeah. Every week we had a new new round of PG&E shutdowns this week. And so that created a whole new way of, of a panic. And what am I going to do? And you know it seems like, you know, people are realizing this is the new normal.

Adam ([00:36]):

Mmm. That is a, yes. All I can do is sigh when the, when the these alerts go out and then I try and go to PG&E’s website. I put in my address and then it, it doesn’t recognize my address and then it shows a giant map of my whole area. But it’s not colored in a way. Oh boy.

Jamie ([01:02]):

Purposefully vague is, I think is the term. I, I met with a guy from New York, from another company and this week, and I asked him, you know, Hey, how, how would it happen? Who would, what would happen in New York if a power company just said, Hey, and we’re going to be shutting down your power? Yeah. He said, probably riots within two hours and looting. And he said, everyone, everyone at that company all the executives would be immediately fired and probably face jail time. So he said, it’s not, it’s not an option to not have power. So it’s it’s interesting. And he said, why isn’t that happening here? This man, this California? We, we adjust. We don’t we adapt. We don’t have fight back. So [inaudible]

Adam ([01:49]):

Well, I know, I, I’ve, I, I met a friend of mine who is a deputy fire chief here and asked him, Hey, whose, whose responsibility it is, is it to cut down these trees that I see touching power lines? And he said, no, no homeowners. You can’t touch any of that stuff. PG&E they want you to call them and then they will send out a crew to take down the tree or cut it back or whatever. But they don’t want anyone touching that stuff. And I’m like, but there’s just near my neighborhood alone, there’s gotta be a thousand plus trees that are touching power lines. It’s crazy. Wow.

Jamie ([02:31]):

The, the number to text PG&E, and let them know that this tree need or the trees need to be cut back. How is it the homeowner’s response anyway, so yeah, that’s a topic or a different different podcast, but to put it into the responsibility of the homeowner now to now spend an hour on the phone trying to get through to someone at PG&E to request the tree getting cut back. Not, not an easy process either. So but a potential business opportunity for somebody, right.

Adam ([02:59]):

There you go. Maybe what do you treat your members out there? Get up, get on it.

Jamie ([03:03]):

Yeah, they’re busy too. Oh boy. Absolutely. I’m sure. But today I wanted to talk about a call. I got it from a client, a potential client anyway, who is his daughter, is on 24, seven life support. And so the power goes out she won’t be able to exist. And so he has solar now and it’s through a company that mostly, you know, they don’t allow their customers to do many changes. And so he’s asking about battery storage. And so probably know where this story is going, but it happens to be a leased solar panel system and when it is leased it, you, you know, I explained to him that you don’t, you do not own that equipment. And so for us to go and change out the inverter or added battery or, or both or do anything really you know, it’s really put us in big, big potential liabilities.

Jamie ([04:06]):

So I said, unfortunately, you gotta to reach out to them and they basically told him, yeah nothing you can do. So don’t, you know, we don’t have a battery solution that’ll work. We’re not changing the contract. You can buy out the contract. He hasn’t had it for six years, so he’s not, but he can buy it on a couple of years. And so, Oh my God, I can’t imagine. So we recommended that he goes with a, you know, a backup generator until he gets he gets, gets it going. But and then, you know, mostly I have a gasoline generator in case the natural gaskets shut off too.

Adam ([04:41]):

Yeah. So I, that’s what I was thinking. Is it like, does he have, he would have a giant propane or gas tank in the back of it in his backyard

Jamie ([04:48]):

Just to run it as a 50 gallons of gasoline right now and the power goes down and he’s running a gasoline generator. Okay. But yeah, assume he’ll be running a natural gas generator, but with, with a leased solar panel system, you know, another unintended consequence is you can’t touch it. We can’t put a battery on that system, so only owned solar panel systems. Can we do that?

Adam ([05:11]):

I got it. Yeah. The whole of it gets deeper. That’s just a homeboy, I’m sorry.

Jamie ([05:19]):

The tension in this guy’s voice was, it was a, you know, again that my you know, I can’t, I don’t really want to be responsible for someone’s in that life and death with solar panels. It’s a lot of, I didn’t go to medical school or anything to to hold someone’s life in my hands if their power goes out. So anyway, I thought that was an interesting story and then interesting byproduct of the, of the shutdown.

Adam ([05:46]):

So if you know someone in that situation, what’s your, what should that person do? So say somebody listening to this podcast is going, okay, my friend Chuck has the same kind of

Jamie ([05:58]):

I’d love to help them. I’m pretty sure it’s a leased system. So yeah, I’d go with the generator. You can’t touch the solar panel system. It’s they do not own it. And so you know, it, I guess it depends on the company because I imagine there, you know, the, all of the companies are coming out with a storage solution. You know, there’s PG&E shutdown is, is the gold rush right now for companies. He’s going to have, you know, expect to pay a ton of money for this. And you know, the, the add on batteries we’re seeing, it’s going to be about $18,000. I had a battery onto an existing solar panel system. Yeah, that’s crazy. But you know, it’s right when, you know, demand is high. That’s when prices are highest. So we have the inner solar trade show coming up and a couple of months and I imagine the entire show is going to be all about battery storage and you know, different solutions.

Jamie ([06:57]):

So the more competition that is out there, that’ll, that’ll bring down the prices so we will see how it goes. But it’s definitely some, some cool stuff happening out there that we’re seeing already. So, wow. Elon Musk was a visionary for his solar wall power wall. He had to do something with the reject batteries cashed up. So those are all rejected Tesla batteries. Well, the, there, you know, when you have them come a car battery and the car battery fails, that’s a pretty big problem. If the battery fails in the home, you know, and that’s, that’s a problem. But it doesn’t have to be the, you know, the a number one, you know, best of the best batteries in the home. I can be kind of, you know, not quite up to the commerce standards. So it’s definitely a good way to use those batteries for sure around it and just throwing them away or something like that.

Jamie ([07:50]):

But yeah, it’s the the Tesla Powerwall definitely is a good battery and a lot of people are really, really happy with it. And we’re, we’re on the list to a one day get to approve to install a may say listen to this podcast. They probably probably will not, will push my application to the bottom, but I love the Tesla cars. I think the Tesla cars are awesome. Just let we say, ah, you know, they do a better job on the solar side. They’re getting better. So I forgot what I was going to say more. Well, I have more. So Generac has actually coming out with their own, a solar inverter and a backup battery. And so we’re talking about doing kind of a triple offering. So this would only be for new systems. Unfortunately, the existing systems, they have to go with that $18,000 solution. But new systems we’d be able to, in some of the solar panels, the inverter the Generac battery, which is kind of a modular, a battery, so you can do different levels of storage and then adding a, a Generac generator to that system. It’s kind of for full, full Bulletproof no loss of power and charging up the battery and, and, and so we’re working on that and hopefully you interact. We’ll have those available. It’s probably going to be the middle of 20, 20, but it’s definitely something we’re looking at.

Adam ([09:14]):

And you’re looking at that just because of, for just for residential amount, like off-grid systems or anything like that?

Jamie ([09:21]):

Yeah, it’s on grid right now. So yeah, it would be in case of, you know, somebody that really wanted, you know, because the current batteries, you know, you can run through that power really quickly and especially during the summertime. And so this would be in, in locations where somebody did not want it to have any loss of power at all. You know, the generator could be you know, first the person would switch over to the battery and if they run through that power, then the generator would kick on and then they would have no loss of power and no, you know, be able to run their home pretty much normally. So I think that it’s a pretty good, you know, 10 year solution for these shutdowns. I think that’s probably where everyone’s going to end up is a solar battery and generator.

Adam ([10:07]):

Wow. That’s the whole, boy, it’s, it’s puzzling to me that the, the lease, the solar leasing companies wouldn’t consider this as a another chance to upsell that customer. [inaudible].

Jamie ([10:20]):

It is, it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s something that I, I think all of them are coming out with a solution is just this poor person needs a solution immediately. You know, having the power set downs is causing tremendous stress in his family. So you know, not to mention his daughter so far, so he needs something immediately. And we cannot wait for people to, you know, companies that get there. I just can’t be on, imagine me on the other end of that call and saying, yeah, we can’t help you. So I wanted to help, but we can’t we can’t touch another lease system found causing great to trouble on our side

Adam ([10:56]):

And his side. I’m sure he would get in trouble too. It sounds like moving to a place with undergrad, like a newer community is a solution, but Oh boy. Well

Jamie ([11:07]):

Brought up the a I D you know, we live in earthquake territory and if there’s an earthquake, pretty major earthquake and it’s underground, you know, that could be trouble too.

Adam ([11:18]):

Yep. Thank you. And if the seas continued to rise, we could be like Venice and then there is no, there’s no power on if all those buried power lines get submerged in water. Yeah, there’s another one.

Jamie ([11:32]):

And then, you know, since we are every year the news says that that was the hottest year on record. So we got that going for us too. So it’s getting much warmer out there too.

Adam ([11:44]):

Oh boy. Oh man. Yeah. And if I’m doing my part,

Jamie ([11:50]):

I’m good. So Adam, what I’m thankful for podcast where I think we don’t, we might do another one or before Thanksgiving, but I’m definitely for listeners, I’m getting tons and tons of great feedback on, you know, people potential customers want to get educated, so they’re listening to podcasts. [inaudible] Existing solar companies out there are contacting us, which is fantastic. And you know, all around the country. And so that’s, that’s pretty awesome too. So we’re, we’re we’re making a difference and so I’m thankful for all that. So wait, we’re not just number one in Ukraine anymore. I know we were topping the charts and you create green. I don’t want it to go to Capitol Hill and talk about Ukraine. It seems that anything to do with Ukraine, you’re gonna be on it. And so, sorry. Thanks a lot. We’re still number one there. You got a lot of fans over there. They love solar in the Ukraine. Yeah, that’s great. Yup. Yeah. Okay. Hey, you leave us some five star reviews. We’ve got a, I guess anything else you want to share with us today? No, no. I think you know, no, I think, you know, you kinda touched it. No better industry to be in in the solar industry except for maybe the tree trimming business. So it’s our next podcast.

Adam ([13:10]):

Oh boy. It’s all good. All right, great. Jamie, thank you very much. Thanks for listening everyone. If you have a question that you need an answer for right away, please feel free to message us through our Facebook page. It’s straight talk, solar cast, and we will be happy to answer that on an upcoming episode. If you also want to leave us a five star review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you’re listening to this podcast, that’d be awesome too. We, I know we totally would appreciate it. So definitely help spread the word. That’s all for now. Everybody have a great day. All right, have a great week. Thanks.

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