Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Helping people save money with solar

Bonnie with our 27 FRAs
Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
I've spent a couple of days recently at Home Shows telling people about how they can save on their electric bill (and incidentally also save the world - which is not their greatest interest) using the sun to provide the power for their homes.

The Los Angeles Home and Garden Show was in the Convention Center, next to the Staples Center, where we've seen both the Lakers basketball team and the Dixy Chicks. Unfortunately, it is several blocks from downtown LA, so I had to walk forever to find a "decent" lunch at a Subway, since all the food they had at the Show was hotdogs and hamburgers and coffee from thermos jugs!

At the same time, there were the beginnings of the big Wind Power convention, which started the next day. I would have loved going to that, since I worked for a while for the Danish Vestas Wind Systems, and own stock in the company as well. They are the largest (or have been) wind mill company in the world.

On Sunday I was at the Pomona Home and Backyard Show, which was held in 2 buildings at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds (aka the Fairplex.) The same weekend there were RV, boat and other shows, so there were a lot of people, music and food available.

We would ask people if they would like to save money on their electric bill...by renting our solar panels. An amazing number of people actually said they liked paying their bill the way it is. A number of people figured out right away that we were doing solar - no-brainer, actually, when they see our great banners - and said they'd already been talking with someone about it, but it was too expensive. So then we emphasized the work "renting" one more time, and they stopped in their tracks (except for the ones who think renting can't possibly be as good as owning.)

We told them how our CEO decided it was about time there were solar panels on all those wonderful, but empty, south-facing roofs, and tried to figure out how to do it so everyone could afford it. Sort of like cell-phones, or cable - installation is free and you pay monthly for the priviledge of having the panels on your roof.

About 30 people each place thought that as a great idea, and signed up on the spot. Others gave us contact information, and many walked away with flyers and business cards. Unfortunately the latter get stuffed into bags with information about saunas, hot tubs and new windows. But maybe someday they'll pull them out and look at the website!

Our Regional Sales Directors, Jason Rodriguez and Steve Gates, have been in the solar installation business for several years, but they signed up with Citizenre because they were frustrated that home owners couldn't afford their products. Jason arranged the LA Show for us, and Steve the Pomona show, paying for the booth, and providing the great banners, tables, etc. Two or three of us then signed on for each day, where they were there to help us and train the new ones. At the end of the day we pooled our signed Forward Rental Agreements.

Afterwards we enter the new customers' data in our website, and print off pages to send to the corporate office and to the customers. I also had several names to call to follow up, which is also usually a good experience!

It really is a sunny experience helping people get solar!

1 comment:

Mary Witzl said...

I read your comment on Kanani's posting and was intrigued to see that you live in Upland, not far from my hometown of Riverside. I also had friends who lived in Princeton during the time Einstein was there. They said that he frequently would be so lost in thought that he would start up the wrong drive when he was walking home, and that he never managed to color-coordinate his socks. Just knowing those things about him made me like Einstein even more than I already did.

I also have an organic garden, compost everything I can, and do my best to walk or cycle wherever I go. And if we could have solar panels here, we would...