The development of clean, renewable energy is recognized as a key tool in combating global warming and energy-driven instability around the world. The question many people ask, however, is whether solar power and other renewables can deliver as hoped. PosiGen CEO, Thomas Neyhart, in talking about how his company operates, offers a sneak peek into how the industry works and potential savings for customers.
When installing solar panels, the incentive is often simply the prospect of having your new solar panels cover a portion of your energy expenses. Some people jump at the opportunity of installing solar panels when redoing their roof – getting two jobs done at once.
However, PosiGen and many other solar providers aim to deliver more than simple savings or a professionally outfitted roof. For a solar system to deliver real savings to customers, every step of the installation process must be designed, tried, tested, and improved based on the specific needs and the particulars of the customer’s home.
Many providers consider the client’s credit history, income, and employment status when determining whether they qualify for an installation. PosiGen, however, only looks at whether you can save money not just one day but right out of the gate when assessing new clients and their homes for an installation. As Per PosiGen CEO Tom Neyhart, “We don’t have to make every dollar, but we do have to save our customers every dollar.”
In addition to a dramatically different approach to approving customers’ PosiGen also approaches team-building a little differently from many other players in the market. Roughly 2/3rds of PosiGen’s employees are women and people of color, and the company prides itself on working hand in hand with the communities it serves.
It also says that it provides considerable opportunities for employment, growth, stability, and savings to its workers, their families, and local businesses. This approach falls in line with the company’s goal of providing efficient solar savings to households in targeted locales so that its customers are empowered with dollars in their pocket to spend in their community.
A Different Approach To Leasing
A key component of the PosiGen strategy – one that sets it apart from similar companies in the market – is a unique value proposition that allows users to reap the full benefits of solar power with almost no upfront costs. According to the PosiGen CEO, the leasing agreement for a client’s solar solution, once they pass a basic feasibility study, offers users the following:
- No income or credit barriers to join the solar revolution.
- Maintenance and monitoring for the lifetime of the lease.
- Low monthly costs on their energy bill.
- Fixed monthly cost for their solar solution’s entire lease term.
- Free energy audits and upgrades to get the most out of their install.
- Premium option (as standard) with high-quality architectural shingles in three popular colors.
- Lifetime warranty on shingles and a 25-year workmanship warranty.
Reducing Energy Costs
A key difference between homes without on-site solar power generation and homes equipped with solar power generating panels is the ability of the latter to benefit from net metering. With net metering, homeowners can enjoy two-directional measurement of not just how much energy the home consumes from the grid (which determines their energy bill) but how much excess energy they provide to the grid as well via their home’s panels.
Kilowatt meters are used to measure energy consumption. A customer’s energy company measures how many kilowatts they use per billing period and then applies the price per kilowatt plus any service charges or taxes to arrive at a final figure for their bill. PosiGen, however, installs a two-directional net meter that ensures their clients are compensated for the excess energy they produce but do not use and sell back to the grid.
Here is how PosiGen’s net-metering solution works:
- When the conditions are right, the user’s solar panels are always used to generate power to run the user’s home. When the home’s energy needs are above what its panels can generate, additional energy will be pulled from the grid. This means the home’s power bill will be reduced by the amount of energy produced using its panels.
- When the home’s solar solution produces more energy than the home needs, the customer can gain free energy credits by selling this excess power back to the grid. These credits can then be used to draw free energy from the grid whenever the user needs it. This is not possible using traditional, unidirectional meters that come as standard with utility company meters.
PosiGen CEO Approaching Holistic Energy Efficiency
Although a solar revolution is sweeping the US, it is important to note that investing in a state-of-the-art, next-generation solar solution would not make sense unless every possible efficiency gain is availed. This is why lifetime warranties plus maintenance and upgrades are so important.
According to PosiGen CEO Thomas Neyhart, PosiGen performs a multipoint inspection for every customer in which the company identifies key points of energy loss, as well as air leaks and other opportunities for energy savings for the customer.
Leaks can unnecessarily increase the cost of heating or cooling a home and a failure to fix other heating, cooling, ventilation, and power usage issues can lead not only to higher bills but an unhealthy home environment.
The PosiGen CEO states that the company provides an energy audit for every customer that includes assessments of:
- Windows and doors
- Recessed lights
- Light switches
- Attic access
- Duct systems
- Exhaust fans
When done right, the benefits of such an audit can be multifold. Consider the following:
- Lower power bills: If your home is effectively air sealed, you reduce your dependence on air conditioning and/or heating systems. You can effectively keep warmth in or cold out. This would have a net positive effect on your energy consumption reduction.
- Improved comfort and health: Upgrades that cover checklist items such as air sealing, weather stripping, water heater insulation jackets, or attic entrance sealings allow for consistent heating and cooling. By cleaning your ducts, filtering and maintaining good airflow, and sealing energy loss sites, you can lower your energy needs and create a healthier environment by reducing moisture-related dangers such as mold or mildew.
- Improved home value: By improving the energy consumption of your home and its ventilation and insulation systems, you reduce your overall maintenance costs while also making your home more appealing to prospective buyers.
- A cleaner environment: An energy-efficient home conserves energy and creates a healthy, clean, and safe living space. Reduced consumption has a network effect as more homes make the transition to solar power, and the savings accrue directly to you.
While PosiGen is still small compared to many other brand-name solar providers, its approach to screening clients and delivering savings has enjoyed considerable success in many local markets. Redesigned leasing structures and client-focused services in the solar space hold a great deal of promise, and the PosiGen story is an interesting and ongoing experiment in delivering solar solutions across the country.
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