We specialize in solar energy system design and installation. We provide solar technology that is able to power homes, businesses, and farms at rates far below PG&E’s prices.
Matt and I saw an opportunity to provide quality installation, equipment, and service because there are a lot of cowboys in the industry who do sloppy work with undertrained and underpaid installers. One of the principle ways in which we ensure the quality of our work is to hire local professionals, pay them hourly, and include full benefits, plus 401Ks.
We employ a consultative selling approach. We don’t use telemarketers nor do cold calls. There’s a lack of education in our industry. Confusing messages are being sent to the consumer. Our unique marketing approach centers on our downtown Brentwood showroom and design center. Potential clients can actually see and touch devices that will be installed on their roofs or over their parking lots. They can watch a demonstration of how panels are installed and hear a clear explanation of how they actually convert sunshine into electricity.
We provide customers with detailed quotes showing exactly what their costs and savings will be. Customers learn how the system will offset their bills, the true impact it will have on their own bottom line, and the contributions they will be making to the environment.
We don’t offer lease programs because the fact is that leasing only serves to put money in the coffers of the banks rather than keeping it in the customer’s pocket, where it belongs. The only advantage of a lease was to avoid the initial out-of-pocket expense of purchasing the equipment. We relieve our customers from that by offering zero-down financing on loans that are payable from 5 years to 25. In other words, the customer ends up making payments on their loans instead of payments to PG&E. Ownership comes with a 30 percent IRS tax credit. Our customers’ monthly payments are often half of their previous PG&E utility bills. And no escalator!
Ownership has a later advantage. When appraising a property for sale or refinancing, appraisers won’t recognize lease solar energy installations to raise the value of a property.
Our quality products are made in the U.S. We are the only company offering a 25-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. Our 18 employee “craftsmen” live locally. We do residential, commercial, and agricultural solar instillations. We also do national commercial projects, because we can manage remote jobs through a network of qualified experienced sub-contractors. We’ve had jobs in the strong solar states that are driven by high energy prices and favorable political climates. We’ve had projects in Hawaii, both North & South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Nevada. We have even installed in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, which don’t qualify as solar-friendly. We are able to compete against the big nation-wide companies and beat their price point because we control costs. Even when offering fair wages to our installers, we still have a lower run-rate and smaller overhead than they do.
The energy industry is beginning to come into its own. One of the traditional objections to solar is the footprint requirement. Putting panels on roofs was an obvious choice, but where else could you install solar panels where they wouldn’t take up room that could be used otherwise? Parking lots turned out to be a marvelous alternative. When the weather gets to be 110°, as it sometimes does around here, it would be great to have a shade structure over every parking lot. That would be expensive.
However, what if the shade structures contained racks of solar panels? Brentwood’s La Fuente Restaurant now has a beautiful shade structure with Del Sol solar panels that provides cool shelter for cars during hot weather and greatly reduced energy for La Fuente year round.
Matt said that you could power the country with 100-square miles of solar panels. I imagine you could cover 100-square miles of blistering hot parking lots within the Phoenix city limits.
Nobody realizes the size of the solar revolution that we are just at the beginning of. The industry is starting to boom, and with it, economy of scale factors that are causing the price of materials to grow less expansive at the same time that power costs are rising. Solar panels have dropped 75 percent in ten years. Batteries are on the same downward cost slope. We sell a lot of battery back-up systems but the price of batteries is rapidly approaching the point where every installation will have battery backup storage in place.
Both Matt and I had connections to the solar industry. I had been working as a solar energy installer in San Diego and enjoyed the work. Solar was my second profession; I had previously been a telecommunications engineer and Voice Over IP specialist. I was making good money but the work was draining me. I was working long hours and on the road constantly. At one point I was actually in five states on a single day.
As I was casting about for a new career, my attention was directed towards solar energy when a friend convinced me that the technology would save the world. In 2006 I started my first company, called Solarium Energy, in San Diego. It’s a beautiful city, of course, but I had lived in Brentwood since I was four years old and wanted to move back. I came to town for one job, which was providing solar for a local electric company. I decided to open a Brentwood business.
I asked Matt Turville if he wanted to join me in starting a solar energy company. He jumped at my invitation to partner with him in Del Sol. Matt was an ideal partner because he was working as a manufacturer’s rep selling solar technology. He was one of our vendors. I knew that his experience in selling the products ensured that Matt was intimately familiar with the panels, inverters, and other industry products. Besides his sales experience with the technology, he had previously worked for a solar company and had been instrumental in launching an integrated energy solutions company in Nevada.
We’re here for the long run. We get calls every week from people who are having problems and can’t get a callback from the company that sold them their solar system a few years ago (and in some cases, much less than that). Our customers will never be in that position.