Run on Sun Founder and CEO, Jim Jenal was a recent guest on the Energy Show, hosted by Barry Cinnamon and available over at Renewable Energy World. Barry is the former head of Westinghouse Solar and now runs Cinnamon Solar up in Silicon Valley. His Energy Show airs on both radio station KLIV and as part of Barry’s regular column, Listen Up, over at REWorld.
In the interview (listen to it here), Jim talks about a variety of subjects of concern to the solar industry—here’s how Barry described it:
The solar industry is growing fast, just like many other cost effective, transformational industries. And like many other industries, we have our share of great players, as well as some not-so-great. Jim isn’t afraid to “out” some of the entities that, for lack of a better term, aren’t doing the solar industry any good. That’s why his blog is such a great read.
We talked about some of these challenges, the bad as well as the good. Like LADWPs incompetence in delaying customer interconnections for months on end (compare that to PG&E’s recent eight day turnaround, including snail mail, on customer interconnections). Or the way some companies sell solar to customers (often retired) at two or three times the market rate (would you buy a rooftop system for $10+/Watt?).
There are lots of good stories, too — like the improved reliability of rooftop systems, hiring patterns of veterans in the solar industry, and new hardware that is both less expensive and safer. So please tune into this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World for some candid anecdotes about the solar industry, courtesy of Jim Jenal.
So head on over to Barry’s post and give a listen to his cool interview with our boss, Jim Jenal.
We have been teasing out bits and pieces of our new book, Commercial Solar: Step-by-Step, all summer as we neared the end of the publication process. Well today we can formally announce that it is available both at the Run on Sun Publishing eStore (where we get a better royalty - hint, hint!) and on Amazon.com!
Commercial Solar is intended for two primary audiences:
As the title suggests, the book provides an overview of the process by which an interested party - say, a facilities manager - can go from knowing next to nothing about commercial solar to identifying appropriate contractors to provide bids, analyzing those bids to make meaningful comparisons, determining financing options that are appropriate and even overseeing the actual installation process.
The book features a Foreword written by Boaz Soifer, VP of Sales at Focused Energy:
The material could be dry (much of the reading on this subject is), but is instead casual but precise, clearly laid out, and made accessible through handy use of a narrative in which the Facilities Manager of a fictional company undertakes a commercial solar project himself…
In his typical style—approachable, honest, quirky, and occasionally scathing—Jim has thoughtfully flattened out the complex world of commercial solar PV into an understandable roadmap that anyone can follow to project success.
Interested? You can download a two-chapter excerpt of the book for free, here. Better yet, you can purchase the book today from either our eStore or Amazon for just $9.95. If you are interested in bulk sales (i.e., ten or more copies), discounts are available. Please contact us at Bulk Sales for more information.
And of course, we welcome your comments either here on the blog or at Amazon. Thanks for your support.
Run on Sun Founder & CEO, Jim Jenal, was quoted at length in Solar Power World’s headline article, How to Make Sure Your Business Survives the Solar Frontier. The piece by Kathleen Zipp notes that “Thousands of service providers are ready to duel for their place in the industry, making it a bit like the Wild West,” so they tapped several industry experts, including Jenal, for advice on how to make it in a competitive landscape.
From the article:
Jim Jenal, founder of Run on Sun in Pasadena, Calif., says it’s also important to reach out to customers through education. “Utilities have guaranteed customers and a guaranteed return,” he says. “We have neither. Attracting customers requires a strategy to reach out to your audience.”
Run On Sun has chosen to do this through a blog, which has proven to be a priceless asset.
“Our blog is our biggest tool,” Jenal says. “Pretty much all of our commercial clients have come to us at least in part because of the blog. It’s greatly expanded our presence and given us visibility.” Jenal says his company is also about to publish a book to educate potential clients.
Also, blogging has proven to be an effective way to educate the public. “The industry as a whole continues to face a public that is often skeptical of what we offer,” Jenal says.
To overcome that, Jenal says his company puts out honest, straight-forward information about going solar. His team also spends time talking to people on the phone or in-person to answer their questions.
“We do so even when they do not represent a potential sale for us,” Jenal says. “We believe that ultimately the entire industry benefits from a better educated public.”
Some advice can help installers across all market segments grow, particularly certification, quality and choosing the right partners.
-Certification Gives You Credibility. Certify your skills so potential clients can be assured of them, rather than just taking your word for it. Jenal says he believed Run On Sun’s skills set it apart from other players. “But to give that claim greater credibility, we sought and achieved North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification for all three of our owners,” he says.
It has been a busy PR year for Jim who has also been quoted at length in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian and numerous industry publications with Solar Power World being the latest.
Fortunately, you don’t have to just read about it, you can put Jim’s expertise to work for you on your solar project. Give us a call or click on this link today and speak to the source!
This has been an unusually busy week for Run on Sun in the news, driving record website traffic and even a quote in one of the Nation’s most influential newspapers.
The week kicked off with the announcement of new team member Sarah Dara which was one of our most “retweeted” stories ever.
Then we took to task Ms. Helen Burt from PG&E over her declaration of war against the solar industry. What had been a largely unnoticed story suddenly got some significant, and deserved, attention with reporters in London (Nilima Choudhury writing over at PV-Tech.org - PG&E Accused of Declaring War on Solar) and New Hampshire (James Montgomery for RenewableEnergyWorld.com - Net Metering Debate Rages on Despite Calls for Calm) picking up the story.
Finally, Founder & CEO Jim Jenal was quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal in an article by Cassandra Sweet discussing the growing trend of residential solar leasing (subscription required - but a Google search for “Jenal Wall Street Journal” may be more successful).
In the article, Jenal points out that despite the trend toward residential leasing, such arrangements are typically not great investments for the solar customer who pays longer for the system under a lease, but owns nothing at the end. “Our sense is that the leasing deals are a good arrangement for the financing people, they’re not as great an arrangement for the end customer,” he said.
To which we can only add - hey, LA Times, get with the program!
As part of its campaign to publicize the truth about the solar industry, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) has created a Solar Works for America website that contains great information about how solar is working for homes and businesses all across the country. Part of that website is a collection of profiles about the people who make up this industry, telling their stories in their own words about why the got into solar and the positive influence they see solar having in their lives and communities.
We are pleased to announce that Run on Sun Founder & CEO Jim Jenal is now the subject of one of the Solar Works for America profiles.
The profile - which includes a quite youthful image of Jenal, recounts his involvement in the solar industry and his prior career (one of many) as an attorney. Reinventing oneself from high-stakes litigator to solar integrator and installer might not be the most obvious career path, but according to Jenal, it works: “Now my clients are thrilled to work with me and they really value what we have done together. Making that transition has been a wonderful improvement in my life.”
For potential Run on Sun clients, however, the money quote is at the end:
“At Run on Sun we take great pride in our work and it shows. We never forget that we are building systems for the long run and that all of our work must exceed our clients’ expectations.”