Being from Australia I’m not all that familiar with American baseball, but living in the San Francisco Bay Area I’m learning to appreciate the sport. The SF Giants have won the World Series two of the past three years, and the local excitement, joy, and million-person-parades have been something to see. My friends have even gotten me to watch some games on TV (part of my continuing cultural education), and I’ve become fascinated not only with the sport but the commercials on the telecasts.

The three most heavily advertised items during the games have been beer, trucks—as one would expect—and solar! Over and over again between innings, following the scene of the guy in the bar getting the girl because he drinks the right beer (never happened to me, BTW…), we see happy homeowners installing photovoltaic panels and saving money (NB, this did happen to me!). The ads are not from my company, Sungevity, but from a worthy competitor who is helping us all by spreading the word.

Nothing is more American than beer and trucks, and the fact that solar is in their company is worth noting and celebrating, of course, with a beer! At least in California, solar is no longer an alternative technology just for hippies and tree-huggers, it is NORMAL, and becoming more so every day. The key to this breakthrough is the improvement of the customer buying experience, a process in which my company has played a large part by helping pioneer the home version of the solar lease and making it easy and online.

Fossil fuel-generated electricity sold by utilities is on its way out, but the customer experience of buying that electricity is a good model to follow. When people sign on for utility power, they don’t need to understand how the power is generated, they don’t need to maintain the system, and they don’t need to put money down. They simply pay a monthly bill for what they expect to be reliable power delivery and get on with the rest of their lives. Virtually every household in the country has followed this pattern, and now they have the option of doing it for clean, renewable solar electricity. And they’re doing it in large numbers.

The solar lease keeps the best parts of the utility-power buying experience and fixes the worst parts – pollution and increasing cost. The customer gets the ease of no-money-down purchasing, the security of guaranteed maintenance, and a simple monthly bill. But rather than buying electricity that has a heavy carbon footprint, they get carbon-free, guilt-free solar power, and very often at a cheaper price. It’s easy to see why it’s becoming so popular and so … normal!

If I were going to pick a winner in the race for the commanding heights of our economy (a.k.a. electricity), I know which model I’d back. And check this fact out: the San Francisco Giants started advertising solar during their games and then, after 52 years without a championship, they’ve won two in three years. Coincidence? I’m not so sure.

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.

2 Comments

  1. We just went live with our system Wednesday here in Benicia and our 12 panel system is producing about 20 kwh per day… we are very happy with the system so far… our net meter is going backward…

    1. That’s wonderful, Ken! Have you told any friends about your experience?

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