Del Sol Energy01 March 2018 Written by By Joshua Resneck
Published in March 2018 Articles
I am the Director of Sales at Brentwood’s leading local solar company, Del Sol Energy.
We specialize in solar energy system design and installation using solar technology that can power homes, businesses, and farms at rates far below PG&E’s prices. Additionally, we recognize our planet’s current realities of steadily decreasing sources of fossil fuel tied to dramatic increases in the planet’s pollution and energy demands. This makes our business of alternative energy the right business for environmentally and fiscally concerned people to engage with. Our model hinges on education, communication, premier customer experience, quality installation and integrity across all our business practices and departments.
At Del Sol we emphasize quality. What sets our practices apart is that we have an engineering department that designs each solar system from the start. As other companies utilize their sales staff for initial designs, our sales team focuses on customer needs while our design professionals implement the engineering aspects of a project. An experienced, trained designer delivers the final proposal that our sales team presents to each client. This process ensures each proposal displays accurate costs of a project and not someone’s best guess. Each customer knows exactly what they are getting; there are no unpleasant surprises.
We offer zero-down financing on loans that are payable from 5 years to 25. Depending upon the length of the loan the monthly savings will be larger or smaller compared to the former PG&E bills. However, it is not uncommon for a customer to cut his/her monthly energy expenditures in half. Even better is the fact that the monthly cost for a solar system is like a mortgage payment, whereas a PG&E invoice is like a rent payment. In other words, the solar customer is making an investment in his/her financial future. The monthly payment will eventually be reduced to zero. I tell customers that is like building equity in your own power plant.
Another cost saving advantage of owning a solar system is the 30 percent federal tax credit our clients receive. Depending on the type of financing and whether the project is residential or commercial, we can reduce payments even further by educating our customers on additional tax benefits. Our extended experience in the solar industry allows us to educate our clients on various discounts and rate plans with PG&E to ensure they are able to take full advantage of each program they qualify for, based on needs, location, and budget. Another measure we take is to ensure that from the beginning we are providing accurate, not exaggerated, estimates based upon some PG&E discounts that may fail to provide the benefits that a customer is hoping for or that an ill-informed or unprincipled salesperson might promise.
We embrace a consultative selling strategy. This allows interested individuals to approach us, whether it be at our downtown Brentwood showroom and design center or through various digital methods. Our showroom also offers a hands-on experience where clients can see and touch the actual technology that will be installed on their roofs or over their parking lots. We love the opportunity to show our customers how panels are installed and the science of how they work.
I’ve called Del Sol Energy home for nearly a year but I am a tenured solar professional with seven years in the industry. I’ve seen the rise and fall of many people and companies and as a result, I appreciate the stability of our business practices. For example, our installers all live locally. Even better, contrary to the situation in much of the industry, our team is not paid piecework but are hourly Del Sol employees with benefits, protected by workers comp, and have 401k retirement plans. Having a well-trained, fully-insured, and committed install team protects homeowners and business owners who trust our products and installation processes. Piecework pay scales promote rush installs where speed is the focus and not quality and safety. At Del Sol we don’t believe a job is done until it is completed correctly and safely. We further improve our quality with a made-in-America policy. As a result, of this focus on doing things right, we are the only solar company offering a 25-year “bumper-to-bumper” warranty — with no fine print.
Another source of stability is Del Sol’s rational attitude towards growth. Solar companies sometimes fail because they grow too quickly, take on too much debt, and are unable to develop infrastructure and processes quickly enough to maintain the pace set by their aggressive sales program. We are scaling growth in a reasonable manner, so we can continue serving our customers for the long run.
Our leadership team also practices a conservative perspective of corporate finance policies. We avoid the attractive, but potentially deadly, temptation to operate at a loss by using investments to gain market share. Our complete lack of debt service provides an advantage over other companies that haven’t managed growth so carefully. We can compete against large national companies and beat their price point.
Our company culture promotes out-of-the-box thinking in order to offer unique ways of improving products and services and offering creative solutions to solar challenges. Like all solar companies, we obviously install countless panels on rooftops but are now installing them in other places as well, such as parking lots. After all, when summertime temperatures rise to 110°, as it sometimes does around here, how efficient is it to be able to park your car beneath a shade structure covered with racks of solar cells! Besides sheltering you from the sweltering sunshine, the structure is sending energy to the attached home or business and powering the air conditioner that will give you welcome respite from the heat once you get inside.
The parking lot at Brentwood’s La Fuente Restaurant offers an appealing example of this marriage of form and function with parking spaces beneath a lovely shade structure covered by Del Sol solar panels that provide greatly reduced energy costs for La Fuente while offering shelter for their customers’ cars.
Solar energy’s appeal will only increase as people begin finding other creative ways to use the panels. For example, the owner of an estate home or winery could preserve the aesthetic appeal of his/her property by leaving the roof unaugmented while covering the shade structure with a decorative array of solar cells.
I believe we are at the beginning of a solar revolution. The industry has boomed to a point where the cost of solar materials is falling while power costs are rising at exponential rates. Solar panels have dropped 75 percent in price over the past decade, while the panels’ efficiency has more than doubled. The same thing is happening with storage battery technologies — costs are dropping while efficiencies are increasing. Our customers are purchasing battery back-up systems in increasing numbers, but we expect prices eventually to drop to the point where adding battery backup will be a no-brainer.
Del Sol is a local friendly East County business providing residents with residential, commercial, and agricultural solar solutions. However, through a network of qualified experienced sub-contractors, we also provide commercial projects in other states. Del Sol is slowly becoming a community recognized name in solar in states where we see a familiar combination of high energy prices and favorable political climates including Hawaii, North & South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Nevada. We also have installations in other states with less sunshine including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.
My director of sales position at Del Sol Energy is a perfect fit for me because I was born and raised in Berkeley and from childhood was part of the strong preserve-the-planet movement that was going on in that place at the time. Conservationism, environmentalism, and alternative energy concerns were fundamental values of my social and family life. I learned from my father, who was a serious river rafter and on the board of Restore Hetch Hetchy. Preserving energy and saving the planet were fundamental values. I felt I was doing a small part in serving Mother Nature by working as a bicycle mechanic.
Following nine years of fixing bicycles, I continued to make a small contribution to the environment by getting a job selling hybrid automobiles. My passion for green energy took a much more significant leap when I landed a job with a southern California solar company. Even though I was merely doing sales qualifications, I felt an immediate fascination with the idea of being engaged in a business that was not only saving the planet, but also saving customers money.
Six years later, I am continually motivated by the idea of being able to help people while contributing to an industry that protects the environment. As I have moved up the ladder in the solar industry to my current role as Director of Sales, I appreciate the direct engagement with customers where I can see their eyes light up as they begin to realize how much their energy costs are reduced. We care about people at Del Sol. We also care about the impact of people on the environment at Del Sol. These are the reasons why it is so easy for us to be passionate about our business and the business of people we work with in the community.
Our corporate leaders, Josh Aldrich and Matt Turville, are focused on ensuring that Del Sol Energy is here for the long run. We are committed to our customers today and promise not to be “that” solar company that just vanishes when our customers need help, ask questions or want to learn more.
We invite everyone to come and experience Del Sol Energy in downtown Brentwood. We aren’t just a solar company. We are educators and community members — making us the leader in local solar.