Solar Power Advertising – Carefully read the fine print!

January 7, 2009 at 10:45 pm 2 comments

I have seen a couple of versions of a story about a stealth solar power company claiming that their process will generate huge savings and make the prospect of solar power affordable for the average homeowner.

I am very suspicious when I read these stories and in this case I think I have cause.

The basics of the news is that this company Red Solar promises a revolution in how solar systems are installed, thereby cutting the overall cost. The article title on Cleantechnica.com (http://cleantechnica.com/2009/01/07/start-up-claims-it-can-halve-the-cost-of-residential-solar/) is Start Up Claims is Can Halve the Cost of Residential Solar.

Excerpt: ” So, what’s the actual cost difference between traditional solar and Solar Red? A typical 5kW residential system costs about $42,000. With tax credit and incentives, that drops to $19,000. Solar Red’s system costs approximately $32,000, but credits and incentives lower the price to only $10,000. That may not be affordable to many people, but it’s certainly more attractive than a $19,000 investment.

First of this article should say your “mileage may vary” as it is a little misleading in the simple fact that tax credits and incentives vary from state to state and even city to city.  However the plot thickens upon reading the second article on Greenbang.com (http://www.greenbang.com/7044/solar-red-hints-at-solar-system-install-revolution/). Firstly their title is a lot more subdued and there are a few more very important details in their version.

Excerpt: ” How exactly is still somewhat hush-hush, but Solar Red says its solution can cut installation costs in half (after factoring in state and federal energy incentives), making solar power significantly more affordable for the average guy or gal.

While Solar Red has yet to go all-out with its business, its model has already earned it a Green Building runner-up award in last year’s California Clean Tech Open. The company is now working to raise about $5 million in first-round funding to take its model from lab to real life.

What do you notice in the excerpt?  First they are still trying to raise funds to even start their company and that the process is still in “the lab”.  This whole story smell like buzz generation to get the investors to sign on and nowhere is there any mention of a demonstration of this “system” that is supposed to be revolutionary.  I hope that I am wrong but I will be very surprised to hear anything additional soon or even at all about this company.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: News, Solar Power. Tags: , , .

Solar Power Update for January 6, 2009 New and Unusual Building Materials and Options

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sam Deane  |  January 9, 2009 at 3:01 am

    Not so sure I agree with the tone of this article. What we have here is a company looking to set up. They say they have a way to cut solar costs. They may need additional funding.

    One way to ensure this doesn’t get to market is to write doubting commentaries before they get off the ground.

    Who’s interests are you serving by doing this? This fledgling company is not able to sell anything to anyone yet. All I am left with is a feeling that I am supposed to trust you more for looking out for my interests. Meanwhile, a company that, who knows? may be offering a a paradigm shift in how we install and manage solar power for homes goes to the wall before it gets a chance to take its first breathe.

    Give them a break. Cut some slack. At least let’s see what it is they are suggesting.

    Reply
    • 2. askthefm  |  January 9, 2009 at 7:36 am

      I understand your point of view, however my real concern is the tone of some of the news stories not the story itself. These can be written in the manner of the second link where more of the details are laid out and the idea is discussed. What I disagree with is presenting an idea not out of the lab and not funded yet as a fully formed product that is immediately going to make all of our lives better. My real suspicion about this product comes from a lack of details and at least a product mock up and pictures. This is often the case when a product eventually turns out to be “vaporware”. Thanks for commenting and I enjoy all of these discussions of the stories!

      Reply

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