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ln this week’s podcast we discuss a story that seems to have flown under the radar due to the shelter in place news, and that is PG & E Pleads Guilty to 84 Counts of Manslaughter for the Camp Fire in 2018. The magnitude of this story is overwhelming, especially when above ground powerlines are everywhere, and there are countless examples of trees intertwined with the powerlines.

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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Shelter in Place [Transcript]

Listen to the Episode Here

Adam ([00:00]):

Hello. Hello, Jamie. Hello Adam. How’s it going today? Ah, it’s going good. How’s everything in the world of Solar and the world ending for your… Not ending? You know, cockroaches will be around here long after we’re gone. So this guy, it’s fall-like, nah, that’s what everyone would have you believe. But Nope, it’s, we just have a shelter in place and so all of our solar projects are on hold. And for those of you who haven’t heard of this that means there’s a, you have to be inside. And so we had some solar projects that were in process and we were allowed to finish those as long as we could finish them in one day. And then from there we were pulled off the roof, not literally, but directed to not be on the roof and then can’t do any troubleshooting, can’t do anything, and there’s no city inspections and there’s no permit office.

Jamie ([00:58]):

Everything is closed, so. Wow. See what happens. Yeah, it’s pretty monumental. Did did, did somebody like call you from the County or something or how did you find out? We got an email from the County saying to solar is not considered an essential work. So there’s all these exemptions to it. So it’s this big spaghetti mess of what is allowed and what’s not allowed. But I was just out at 10 seconds ago and I saw two solar trucks from one of the larger solar companies driving around town. So I don’t know if they’re adhering to it, but you know, they want to do, they’re on their way to exercise, but we can’t go to a gym. Gyms are closed. So I don’t know. It’s interesting that some, you know maybe were the dumdums for following the rule, but we you know, we’re doing our part to hopefully stop the spread of this coven 19 virus.

Adam ([01:55]):

Yup. I’m, I’m, I’m hoping or I’m just actually, I’m, I’m pleasantly surprised that the County even has your email address. Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting. Yeah. But yeah, so we’re, you know, but we’re still getting lots of people that are contacting us about solar. And that’s because PG&E has they haven’t made it public, but we do have some connections there and there they believe it or not, are pretty relieved that this shelter in place is happening at this time of year compared to say the middle of July or the middle of August where, you know, a town like Brentwood where I live 75% of the people leave every day. So most of the houses are empty and now 75% of the people are in town every day. Right. And so if they were all running their air conditioners you know, and times that by a thousand PG&E would not have the resources to deliver power to everybody.

Jamie ([02:58]):

So wow. Now they pretty much, you know, they don’t know what’s going to happen. And if the, you know, with this shelter in place is going to, you know, extend into the summer, but if it does extend, extend into the summer, it’s PG&E is going to be begging people to go solar and have a battery. Cause it’s, Oh my gosh, it’s going to be crazy. Crazy, crazy. So sounds like something that should be put out there. Marketed a little a little now. Yeah. Yeah. It’s definitely something that consider for people who haven’t gone solar, which I bet most of this audience you know, has gotten solar already, but to definitely let anyone know who’s considering to go solar and they’re in the PG&E territory it’s going to be a mess this summer because permit offices, you know, if they’re closed for a month or six weeks then when we get back open they’re going to be flooded again and we’re going to be hit with these really big delays again and, and that kind of thing.

Jamie ([03:57]):

And customers definitely do not like delays say, well not when they are facing an $800 PG&E bill for sure. And not facing, you know, having no power and when you try and run your air conditioning, it’s a 105 degrees outside. So we know those days are coming out here. So it’s just a matter of time. But you know, it’s, it is a interesting, you know, we’re getting a lot of people who are really, really happy that they have gone solar. So that’s that’s really great too. But if I’ve I, if I have gone solar, I can still expect, you know, in the summer if, if what you say occurs, my power would go out to, right. So I would, in order to stop that from happening, I’d have to have a backup solution. Well, at this point we don’t know for sure in the past with the planned outages last year PG&E they targeted areas where the power lines were overhead.

Jamie ([04:55]):

And so, you know, we drive down Marsh Creek road or her used to drive and it’s just covered in trees that are, you know, intertwined with all the power lines. So those areas, they got shut down and we’re one of the first areas to get shut down. But area newer areas where the power lines are underground PG&E has left those alone. And so that’s, at least for now, that’s what they’re still saying, is that they would only target the areas where the power is a above ground, but wow. Okay. Yeah. Who knows? Oh boy. Yeah. This is just a, it is, you say that every week. It’s always something in the land of solar and geez, Louise, this is a wow. You get much more than, you know. [inaudible] I dunno, I wouldn’t say it’s worst-case scenario of course, but you know, Californians, I think we’re used to adjusting to whatever comes our way.

Jamie ([05:49]):

But we need a little bit of planning for this kind of thing. So, you know, it’s a, it’s you know, could we, and this was kind of my thing about the COVID 19 virus, you know, it’s really, you know, souped up flu that’s highly contagious for sure. But is this just kind of a fire drill for what if we had a real pandemic that was actually killing thousands of people, you know, could we, you know, it was just like a fire alarm and then we’re just kind of going through the, the fire drill motions of shutting everything down and, and you know, could we contain a virus like this? From what I’m seeing? No, we could not.

Adam ([06:26]):

No, I’ve I’ve, I have contacted and I’ve been in touch with a lot of people and, and generally it seems to me anyway, people are following that. The, the, the shelter in place kind of protocol. I know my family has only been out to grocery shop other than, I don’t know, going and hitting tennis balls. So exercising, you know,

Jamie ([06:50]):

Exercising the loud, all that stuff. Yeah, kids are doing that and me too. But yeah, it’s a, it is a weird time and we’ll see what happens. As we always say every week, Oh, we’ll see what happens and adjust. But we do know for sure 100% that the sun will come out again. It’s actually a very sunny, beautiful day today. And I do know that people will be using electricity and so solar makes a lot more sense than not having solar.

Adam ([07:20]):

So what’s a, are people calling you and saying, Hey, I want to do solar, but I understand it’s going to be a little while. So are they calling and saying, why can’t you do this tomorrow? I need it by the summer or a R. What’s the general feeling of the people who are contacting you to go solar?

Jamie ([07:38]):

It’s a mix of all three. Really. We get some people who are like, now, now, now I want it right now. And we’re like, well, you know, we’re kind of constrained. We would love to put it up right now. We have some people that are saying, yeah, here’s, you know, let’s get it all going. I want to be ready for when the permit offices do reopen. And then we have people who are like, Oh my God, I don’t know what’s going to happen. We need to put this on hold. And so we’re, we’re all three are no problem. We can, we can work with all three. The people who are just not, it’s mind-blowing to me that they just don’t understand that we cannot force the city to approve something if they’re not there and they’re not answering their phones and they’re not answering emails. There’s very little we can do on our side. So with those ones, you know, we just try and, you know, we have them, here’s the phone number of the city, you know, call, call and see if we’re telling the truth or not. And it is, it is interesting because they tend to some customers, they think that we’re, you know, we’re holding back or we’re, you know, we’re just not being truthful, but all we’re trying to, I mean, it does us no good to delay a project for sure. So,

Adam ([08:48]):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah, I can I can see that. Are they so I, I think that this is a great time though. If you have solar, if you’re considering solar to get a second opinion, call you up and say, Hey, you know, can you take a look at my roof? Or can you take a look at stuff? Are you able to leave? I guess not.

Jamie ([09:10]):

Well most of our business, believe it or not is online, which is great. So we are able to do solar proposals right now and we can send out, send them online. We do we have software that we’ve developed that really helps with that and makes it a pretty accurate. And then the only thing we don’t know ahead of time is if they need a main electric service panel upgrade, but we check that before they go ahead and move forward with us. So we don’t have them sign anything until that site inspection has done. But yeah, most of our stuff’s online, so yeah, we’re happy to, happy to talk to anyone about solar. And we really think that it’s in the long-term and the short term is gonna make a lot of sense.

Adam ([09:57]):

Good. Is there any reason to, do you do like a zoom conference or it’s all on the phone? Whichever the customer wants.

Jamie ([10:04]):

Most times when we send the proposal, how we’ll send a calendar link so they can reserve 15 minutes and it can go longer than that, but most, most of the time it’s 15 minutes and, and just answering questions. So we’re not a high pressure. All we do is, you know, whatever we’re 99% of the time it’s going to make financial sense and then it’s just really answering whatever questions they have. Yep. When can you start? That’s a big one. That’s a big one. I didn’t, I don’t have a crystal wall, but you know, we’ll see what happens. You know, maybe we’ll listen back to this podcast in a year or so and just say, Oh my God, how did we make it through that? But maybe there’ll be something new and a year from now who knows if it’ll be, yeah, this will be the good old days. Maybe aliens will invade by then.

Adam ([10:49]):

Perfect time. I th I tend to think that we will all get through this fine. And I, I just want everyone to get back to work. Yeah. Let’s get back to work. Yeah. Because yeah, we all can’t just sit on our couch and have a summer break and expect the economy to keep going. Hey, you know, our kids can all right. That’s part of being a kid. Yeah. Not an adult. Get out, get to work. Yeah. Geez. My son says I can’t wait till Saturday. And I was like, why? What’s going on Saturday? He said, I can’t wait. I can’t wait. What’s going on? He said, animal crossings coming out on the Nintendo switch. I’m like, Oh, that’s pretty awesome. We’re done.

Jamie ([11:35]):

Oh man. I’m thinking I missed about lifting the ban on Saturday or Pendo. What exactly intend to, yup. Yup. We still got Nintendo’s. Great. I’m out of touch. Awesome. Yup. Thank you. All right. Any final thoughts? No, no. Keep, keep a sane head and a plow through, adjust, change the things that you can choose. And like you’ve said, you know, maybe this is the time to try and pick up a new skill or develop something that you’ve been working on for a long time that’s taken a back burners. It’s a really good time to apply those skills or take go log in to your PG&E account, look at your last year’s electric use, look at each bill, add all that up and go, Oh my, what now? What do I get for that? That’s all gone. Yeah. So maybe now’s the time to just take a look at what you’ve spent on, on PG&E and then see, you know, would it have, would it be better if you had not spent that on PG&E and instead gone solar? That seems like a no brainer. It is again, yes. Thank you. Alright, JV. We’ll wrap it up there everyone. Thanks for listening to another episode of straight talk solar cast. If you have any questions for an upcoming episode, make sure to send it to us through our Facebook page. It’s straight talk solar cast. It’s on Facebook. Leave us a great review, five-star review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening to this podcast, and until next time, see you. Good luck everybody.

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