Category: "Residential Solar"


  05:59:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 135 words  
Categories: Residential Solar

Meet Jane - Our Newest Client

One of our latest solar clients, Jane from Pasadena, graciously agreed to do a video testimonial.

Even though we signed a contract in May of last year, Jane wanted the LG 300 Watt solar modules for her home so the project was only completed recently.  Despite that delay, we think Jane’s enthusiasm for solar shines through.  Check out what she has to say…

 In 2014, Pasadena Water and Power is still offering some of the most generous rebates around at 85¢/Watt.  Combine that with the 30% federal tax credit and there really has never been a better time to go solar.

So why not resolve to make 2014 the year you finally decide to start saving money with a Run on Sun solar power system?  Give us a call and let us make you as happy as Jane!



  06:13:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 741 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Residential Solar, Ranting

How can love survive?

In the stage version of The Sound of Music, there is a song about the perils of romance among the affluent titled, “How Can Love Survive” – sadly it was cut for the movie. But I’ve always liked that song and I was reminded of it while reading a piece over at greentechsolar that debated the question: Will smaller solar installers survive? Lest you have any doubt where we come out in this debate, the answer is simple: heck yeah! But let’s see why…

The debate was held last week at the U.S. Solar Market Insight event in San Diego and was reported on by the always interesting Herman Trabish in a piece titled, “GTM Debate: Will Smaller Installers Survive in Tomorrow’s Solar Market?” (H/T  The debate featured Vivint Solar’s VP Thomas Plagemann squaring off against SunPower’s Residential Solar VP/General Manager Martin DeBono.

Plagemann’s comments reflect all of the arrogance and self-importance we have come to expect from such major players:

“In this business, we have to take three essential steps,” Plagemann said. “Find and acquire customers, design and install systems, and finance the systems.”

Financing has to come first, he explained. “A typical equity finance fund of $50 million, at $2.50 per watt and 5 kilowatts per system, means 4,000 systems. Using small installers to get that scale cedes control.”

Vivint has installed home security systems nationally for twenty years and keeps that control. “We acquire customers. That’s what we do. We took that customer acquisition engine and applied it to solar. Our success in the last twelve months is the answer to this debate.”

(Emphasis added.)

We note that Vivint has mostly done its work outside of the California market, so that $2.50/Watt number is not reflective of their presence in our fair state.  Indeed, when we last looked at CSI data for the first half of 2013, Vivint did not even crack our list of the top 16 installers. Here’s that graph:

Top 16 solar installers first half of 2013But even if they aren’t (yet) big in CA, is there any doubt that you could have gotten the same response from someone at SolarCity?  Their goal is to make solar a commodity with a standard set of offerings - if your roof fits into that model (and your FICO score is high enough) - you are golden.  Just don’t look for any real care and attention to detail.

Speaking for the little guy was DeBono from SunPower (with just a little irony given the size of SunPower).  He noted that:

“Small business is the second most popular institution in the U.S., after the military,” he said. People want to buy from small businesses.” In the home building industry, 40 percent of new homes are built by large national builders, but 60 percent are built by small local builders. Solar installation will break out the same way, he said.

“Large solar installers can leverage the advantage of scale as long as everything is uniform,” he argued, “but variance is the rule in solar, and variance is anathema to scale. For customers that don’t fit into a box, local installers are the answer. Variance will cap the rise of national installers.”

DeBono went on to note that forming a partnership with SunPower provides installers with leverage and a national brand.

We agree that establishing partnerships is essential, though we might question the degree to which SunPower is a national brand in the way that matters most - consumer consciousness.  Toward that end, we believe that partnering with a company like LG Electronics - which truly is a national brand and has the ad budget to prove it - makes more sense for small installers.  But how do you get access to the other essentials of the business?

Run on Sun has been exceptionally fortunate to have partnered with Focused Energy, who is much more than a premier distributor.  They have not only been our primary supplier since we first connected a few years ago, but they have offered us support, flexibility and insight that has made them an essential part of our success.  If you run a small solar business and you haven’t connected with them yet, we would encourage you to check them out.

As we have said many times, solar has to be more than just another business.  We have to be better.  At the end of the day, that is why the small installers will survive: because we care more, and that translates into greater value for our clients.

Bonus for sticking around to the end:


  08:17:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 319 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, SEIA, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar

How Solar Shapes Up as 2013 Ends

Thanks to our friend Yann over at we came across this great infographic summarizing the State of U.S. Solar in 2013 and we thought we would share that with our readers along with our observations.

The folks at Greentech Media Research and the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) compiled the report summarizing the State of Solar in the US, and  you can download the Executive Summary here.  Yet it is their infographic that really fired our imagination.

Solar Every 4 Minutes

The graphic notes that “a solar system is installed every four minutes” in the U.S. which is a pretty amazing stat.

US Solar 2013

We have an even more amazing stat to share that will be part of our new website roll-out this January.  While you wait, take a guess: If 2% of the households in America that wanted solar, added solar in 2014, how fast would that be?

California Leads

Even as other markets around the country grow, California still leads the way.  So let’s grow it even faster - how about allocating some of those AB 32 auction funds to refreshing the solar rebate programs around the state - particularly for non-profits?

So Long Coal?

Despite our progress - 12 GW of total solar capacity installed - we have a long way to go to displace coal. According to the U.S. EIA, as of 2012 there were 310 GW of coal capacity installed, making solar just 3.8% of coal’s share.

Rocking the Solar World

The U.S. will hit 13% of global solar installations - a 30-year high - by the end of this year and that share will grow over the next four years.

Of course, we invented this technology, we have abundant insolation resources and the people overwhelmingly want it - so all we need are the proper policies.

As we wrap up 2013 and head into a bright new year, let’s hope that we can push back the naysayers and the “not-so-smart ALECs” of the world and propel solar to reach its rightful dominance.

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  07:21:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 458 words  
Categories: Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting

Solar Stocking Stuffer - Commercial Solar: Step-by-Step

It’s holiday season and perhaps you’ve been wondering what to get that solar supporter on your shopping list - well, wonder no more, we’ve got the answer! Our book - Commercial Solar: Step-by-Step!

Cover art - Commercial Solar: step by step

In the giving spirit, check out this added bonus: if you purchase the paperback version of the book to give to that “special someone,” you can download a Kindle version for your very own, absolutely free! Seriously, how cool is that?  It’s like giving away your cake, but eating it too!

But what’s that you say, all of the solar supporters on your shopping list already have the book?  Wow, well to that we have a couple of things to say: First - thanks!  Second, hold on there a second… what about your favorite business owner - surely they could benefit from learning how to escape their ever increasing energy bills.  Or what about your kid’s school?  Just think of what they could do with the money they save by going solar?  Why they could keep that marvelous music teacher and maybe even hire another art teacher - to say nothing of giving a raise to that awesome Algebra teacher!  Or for that matter, you could donate a copy to a local library or even your alma mater (after all, you gotta Be True to Your School!).

Fine, you say, if the book is all you claim it is, then yeah, it would make a great gift - but how can you be sure?  Fair enough, don’t take our word for it, check out these reviews:

To my knowledge, this is the only book that focuses directly on commercial-scale solar. That’s enough to make it well worth reading. It’s also well organized, well written, and written by a very knowledgeable and experienced solar business owner. Most people in the solar business are familiar with and look forward to the author’s excellent Thoughts on Solar newsletter, and I’m sure many of his readers were looking forward to the publication of this book. I was, and it beat my expectations. Good glossary too, and well indexed. Strongly recommended.

Doug, Verified Amazon Purchaser

There’s so much information that you need to know when thinking about installing commercial solar. As a solar pro, Jenal provides all of it to you, clearly and transparently. Through a combination of a fictional company going solar and Jenal’s added in-depth insights to each step, businesses and facilities will learn how to find quality commercial installers and what to expect during the installation process. He also covers financing, solar incentives, and key points to analyze in a solar bid.

Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza

Convinced now?  Thought so!  So click on the happy book cover to order your copy today!  And Happy Holidays from all of us at Run on Sun!


  07:12:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 223 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, Residential Solar

Solar Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday Sale on Solar!Cyber Monday captures the imagination of shoppers everywhere - so why not solar shoppers as well?  We know this time of year is traditionally slow for solar purchases - folks are more focused on presents for others than they are on cutting their energy bills.  That will come with the New Year and all those resolutions - after all, saving more money will be one of your resolutions next year, right?

Cyber Monday Sale on Solar!

But this year we thought we would offer you a little incentive to break that mold and get a head start on your New Year now.  So, in honor of Cyber Monday, we are offering our first ever Cyber Monday Sale on Solar!

Here’s how it works - when you click on that big, “Go Solar Now” sun on the right, enter the code “Cyber Monday” in the comments box.  Or if you call us at 626-793-6025, mention Cyber Monday on the call.  Then, if we sign a contract before the end of the year, we will take $500 off the cost of your new solar power system!

What could be better?  You save some money (heck, you could spend that extra $500 on some of those presents!) and you get a head start on fulfilling one of your upcoming New Year’s resolutions!  That just might make this the best Cyber Monday Sale ever!

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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