Just reminiscing about my youth that brought me to this obsession with the Sun.

Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed, Davy Crockett, The Alamo, Top Cat, The Flintstones, HECKLE AND JECKEL, Tarzan, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Aqua Man, Fantastic Four, Mad Magazine, Playboy, Diving Boards, High Dives, Fishing, Football, Basketball, Baseball, Fire, Summertime, Fire, Underground forts, Tree Houses, Sling Shots, BB guns, Kites, Skateboards, Poker Games, Music, Guns, Girls, Sneaking out the Car, Sneaking Out, The Park, The Golf Course, Tucson, Mexico, Southern California, Waves, Rafts, Scuba Diving, Skin Diving, and all the friends and family that came with it.

Then I found a solar oven at an abandoned gold mine in the desert during the energy crises in 1973. I set it up in my family’s backyard in Tucson one cold and sunny October morning. In minutes the temperature gauge shot up to over 300 degrees in just minutes. I fried bacon, cooked a steak and baked a cake. 

Practically penniless, I hitchiked back and forth to Phoenix for weeks. There stored at the Arizona State University (ASU) Library was the American Solar Energy Society collection on all solar energy research and development. It wasn’t long before I was totally convinced  solar energy was the answer to not only the world’s energy problems but much, much more.

From that day on I’ve been on a mission, following the footsteps of past, present and future leaders, in the business of making solar energy cost effective for as many people as possible. Why? Because it’s fascinating, fun, new, different, weird, productive, heroic, clever, natural, logical, creative, a little dangerous, smarter and bigger than anyone of us could possibly imagine. It’s the tidal wave of change for a better future. It’s the ayatollah of rock and rolla! And, it’s superlatively and inconceivably good! That’s why.

I think.

John Kimball

[email protected]

PS. Today I learned we have 50,000 customers. You know who you are. Please send in your photos and stories. Nothing drives solar forward faster or better than people like you!

HOW TO GET THE BEST PRICE FOR YOUR HOME’S SOLAR SYSTEM.

I never saw so many solar systems in one city as I have in my home town, Tucson, Arizona.

So last weekend I went to the Home Show and talked to people who bought and sold systems. And this is what I found out:

The Buyers:

1. Not one received an itemized quote for their system, just a flat price for the whole deal.

2. Not one got a seperate prices for the system and another for the installation.

3. Not one asked for the price per watt of the modules. Or asked for seperate quotes for labor vs parts.

Why not, I asked?

1. That’s just not the way they sell them.

2. We never thought to ask.

Then I asked, “when you go to get your car repaired, don’t you get parts and labor, why not for your home’s Solar system? It could easily be 10 times the cost of a car repair?”

The response was the same for every one I asked, dead silence.
The problem is people don’t realize the system has only 3 basic items: modules, inverter, and racks. Their combined costs are over 90% of their parts bill.

A typical car has about 30,000 parts. A typical grid tied solar system has only 3! So why don’t they give those 3 prices to the customers? Simple, if they do that, the customer will be able compare his module, inverter, and racking prices. Chances are, if their unwilling to give you those prices, you’ll probably be able to find better prices for each, right? And if you can’t  shop around and you don’t know the price of those products, they can charge you whatever they want. So you’re pretty much up xxxx creek without a paddle.

The solar panel and the inverter price comparisons are easy to find. At www.ecobusinesslinks.com there are over 40 different companies with their prices to compare it to.

For solar modules and inverters they give it to you in cents per watt. That’s the way every every reseller, be they a contractor, dealer, distributor and manufacturer buys and sells solar modules and inverters. Cents per watt or $/W is the common way you do your comparison shopping. Just like when you pay for electricity, it’s cents per kilowatt/hr. Or $/kWh. k stands for 1,000, W stands for watts and h stands for 1 hour. So if you used a microwave oven, which typically uses about 1,000 watts, for 1 hour you used 1 kWh.  By the way, 1 kWh, costs 12 cents, that’s the national avg. rate, $.12/kWh.

The avg. cost, for a solar module is $.50/W and for a typical grid tie inverter it’s $.30/W. And, most of those resellers of inverters and solar modules for home systems will gladly design your system for you for free. The average cost for the installation is a $1.00/W or less.

 

The Sellers:

I also talked to a dozen salesmen at the Tucson Home Show.  I asked, “I’m looking to open a solar company here and I’m looking to hire people what about you? Do you know how to design a solar system?” Only one of them could, Charlie O’Dowd of ABCO SOLAR. The rest either said, “we have a computer  program for that or, we just show them how much they can save on their electrical bill. You don’t need a computer to design one. It’s simple math at best, to size a system. Most PV component sellers will design your system for you for free.

 

One last thing, after you find suppliers for your modules, inverter and racking at a much much better price (like 30% – 50% less), and you call an installer to do the installation. Don’t be surprised if the first few tell you, “not unless you buy the system from them as well,” think how rediculous that is. Would you buy your dishwasher or washing machine from your plumber? Or, refrigerator or stove from your electrician? Just keep calling around, you’ll get one. A typical solar system takes three guys, two or three days to install at most.

E D U C A T I O N is still the biggest deterrent to buying a solar system. I think, most people just want it like a TV dinner. They don’t want to think about it, they just want it now, without any hassle. They’re really not nearly as complicated as some, i.e. salespeople for installation companies, make them out to be.

Over a million people in the United States have installed their own systems. DIY systems qualify for the Federal 30% solar tax credit too! There are many online courses available that teach you how i.e. Solar Energy International (SEI) is one of the best.

I started in the solar business in 1973, I’ve spent my entire working life, 44 years, in the solar industry. By the way, if you ask me anyone who buys a PV system without at least a small bank of batteries is nuts. And, so is anyone who doesn’t consider factory seconds when it comes to PV modules, just make sure you get a warranty of at least 20 years. They’re 50% or more of your system cost and they’ll save you 30% to 40% over standard modules. Same power, lifetime and warranty.

Finally, and I get paid to tell you this, if you don’t look at my website www.sunelec.com, after you’ve done your comparison shopping, your also nuts. But, thanks for taking the time to read my blog at least that shows your making an effort to buy solar the right way, after all, a job worth doing is a job worth doing right.

Best regards,

John Kimball, Owner

Cell 305-322-1086

PS: When I was visiting Nogales, Mexico, just an hours drive from Tucson, yesterday, I was approached by a vendor as I was walking back to the border crossing to the U.S. With a great big convincing smile, he said, “Hey why don’t you come inside, so I can rip you off again.” That’s what’s happening in the PV business, it’s time the industry and American buyers started fighting back because its will dilute PV’s exploding growth. Help make PV cost effective and an honest legitimate business enterprise.

Haven’t we done enough damage to the environment. Snap out of it Tucson and America! PV is the way and it’s inevitable, do it, do it; do it now!

By the way this may be my last blog for awhile. Someone who doesn’t like me or my blog,  has blocked me from writing it on two of my cell phones, I only got one more back up and then I’ll have to buy another one, I think. No one seems to know how to fix it 😶.

There’s something solar for everyone.

Even though unwanted PV salesmen are knocking at our doors and calling us right when we’re really busy, we’re still interested in it. Why? Because solar energy is natural, it’s like the Ocean with its waves, surf, tides, constantly cleaning and renewing the earth. And people are just kind of in awe of its power, but in a subtle way. 90 million miles away but look how much brighter it is than all those dinky stars at night. It’s so close right? Not! It’s humongous! But to us it’s just light, weak light, until we get sun burnt, but even that, doesn’t say much for what really does for the Earth.

So I’m thinking why should we just sell solar farms, homes, and businesses? So I think it’s time we expanded its applications to help mankind and our environment. 

What if we built a solar megastore with something for every age from one to a hundred. We can start with solar toys and end with solar farms. And inbetween we can use it for education, teaching and promoting it to kids as they grow up. Kids are so innovative, imaginative, fearless and fast to learn new technologies. Don’t just put it on top of the schools, bring it down to the ground level and bring it into the classroom.

So let’s put on a show, so to speak, a solar science fair and try to develop this technology like it deserves to be. We’re going to start sourcing NEW SOLAR STUFF. Not junk but stuff that will give people that good feeling of DISCOVERY. God didn’t make us to sit around taking it easy, just look at your hands, how incredibly intricate they are, unbelievably versatile tools we were born with them to use them just like everything else we were given.

So we are now beginning By offering prizes for innovative ideas that promote PV. $1,000 for the best NEW SOLAR STUFF. You design it, we supply it and build it. There will be two prizes to start, one for students and one for everybody. We want to come up wth new applications for solar energy. I don’t care if it’s a new toy or a new type of water purification system. 

Before you think this is some stupid pipe dream (my hobby-stupid pipe dreams) you’ll think back just a few years ago when PV didn’t even exist. 

Watch the Sunelec website and blog for details, Very simple ones.

So ….slap! Snap out of it! and start thinking, and then start making it come true. Have fun with the Sun. Hey not bad. Come on I triple dog dare ya! Here’s a great idea….You send me money and I’ll put it in an envelope with your name on it ha ha ha, no you just kidding, you design something solar for your age group and I’ll help you make it a realty. Trust me I know a lot of guys who could turn water into gold. These Do It Yourselfers could build anything and I know a ton of them. A lot of great appliance and entertainment ideas already exist, all you have to do is figure out how to solarize them, i.e. Actually I can’t think of a thing cause I’m too tired right now, but I bet I wake up with an idea, I always do it seems.

To be continued in the morning.

John

P.S. There’s a big blast about to go out we’re calling it Something Solar For Everyone.” It will have a whole lot of new solar products like solar AC , solar distillation , solar fruit dryers, newer cooler solar toys, better solar refrigerators and freezers of all sizes even one for the back of your car or boat, new solar planes,  new solar boats and on and on and on…

Help wanted Solar- Design and Sales- Associate

Solar- Design and Sales- Associate – (4625 N 45th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85031)
Sun Electronics International (www.sunelec.com) is one of the major the distributors of solar equipment in the nation. Currently, we need someone to help our Solar Design and Sales Team in our office in Phoenix
Title: Solar Design and Sales Associate
Type: Full-Time, M-F 9-5 [ Flexible schedule to meet with the demand of part-time college student)
Salary: $17.40/Hr
Date Required: Immediate
Requirements:
• Minimum of an Associate Degree or currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Science/Engineering

• Solar Design and Sales Experience

• US Citizen

• Bilingual (English and Spanish) would be desirable but Not required

• Computer Skills such as AutoCAD (or anything similar), Google Sketch-up, MSOffice, MS Excel, MSOutlook
Desired, but not required:
• Experience with Customer Service

• Experience with QuickBooks

• Passionate about renewable energy and solar energy products such as solar panels, inverters etc.

• Would be great if the candidate has basic understanding of Electricity and Circuits
Please reply to this ad as soon as possible as we are looking for someone immediately. After you reply, if applicable we can set up an interview or meeting during the weekend as well. We need someone to be able to start as soon as possible.

Please email at [email protected] and [email protected]

Dreams are always lit up, where does the sunlight come from in our minds?

Weird title right? Anyway here is another one of my very different not about solar blogs.

I’m on another trip to buy solar deals. I’m looking at a batch (about 7 containers) of modules, inverters, and BOS. It’s going well but I just woke up after a dream at 3 AM.

It was a remarkable dream so I’m going to write about  it  so I don’t forget  it. In the dream I was in a temple, I was with about 150 Jewish men and was listening and learning (something I’m not that good at.) I was surprised they’d let me in.

I was raised to be catholic by my parents, 13 years in catholic schools. I’ve drifted away from it but still say my prayers most nights, just an Our Father or a  Hail Mary.  I don’t think I could ever let that part of me go. It seems like my prayers  actually work like 75% of the time.

So in th dream I was in like a study session, with some people who seemed to know me. They were like sponsors and there was another guy who they got permission from to let me in. He was watching me closely, like a guard who was  hopeful and sceptical at the same time that I should be there. Frankly I was really amazed that they were allowing me to be there. There were about 150 men in the room. The discussion was pretty deep, at least for me, but surprisingly I seemed to be able to follow it.  When I looked to my left, there next to me was that Dr. from the old, almost forgotten TV series, Ben Casey. Not Dr. Casey but Dr. Zorba, you know the wise old doctor in charge of the hospital with that very different  long white hair combed straight up and straight back. No one has ever had hair like that since then.

Everyone was intently listening to him. Every word he was saying seemed so wise. No one made a sound as he spoke. I felt I was in the presence of something very old and powerful, maybe  spiritual. I was an honored to be there. I lisend carefully to what was said there. It was exhilarating and it was very important to me. I was in a place that I had always wished I could be. Then I woke up, it  lasted about an hour . I felt really good . I was very happy. Not like some recent dreams that left me feeling sad, lost, and depressed, right? I hope I’m not alone here, we all have them right? Hello…well I’m gonna take that as a yes.

That dream left me feeling great, lucky, humbled at being allowed to experience something very special. You can say whatever you want, I don’t care, it was great.

Anyway, I wanted to know something more about Jewish teachings and beliefs (last month my sister in law became the first person in my family that I know of to marry a Jewish person, which I’m very happy about, because I admire them very much in case you could’nt tell.

For some reason after I woke up I wanted to know more about the Jewish faith so I googled “do Jewish people believe in Angels?” I was surprised by what I read, it said :

“So, before I answer tonight’s question, Do Jews Believe in Angels? we see from our Torah portion the answer to the question that might precede it, “Are there angels in Judaism?” The answer from this week’s Torah portion must be, unequivocally, YES. And then we get into the most complex part of this exploration: “What kind of angels do we find in Torah and Jewish texts and prayers?

The article was fascinating, as a Catholic I thought Judaism was very different than Catholicism, I never guessed we had so much in common.  I read the Torah, the Jewish bible I guess, and found out its basically  the Old Testament  part of our Catholic  Bible. And, of course, that’s full of Angels.

So check it out,  if I haven’t bored you off the page so far, it’s pretty cool. www.tbs-online.org

Who didn’t like Angels? It’s nice to think that they exist and we all have been given our own guardian angel,  Jews  believe that too. I’ll take an Angel any day, besides I love free stuff, who doesn’t right? But both religions believe in bad angels as well.

I think that the word religion comes from the word realization, they sound so similar.

It’s a nice article to read for a change, actually a Jewish sermon, taken from the Bible I think,  just like the sermons given at a Catholic mass.

I miss not going to mass, I used to go all the time when I was in grade school. But I have to tell ya, I didn’t get up at 6:30 before school to ride my bike a mile and a half in the cold  just to go to church. It was also the fresh warm donuts and cold milk they served in the school cafeteria afterwards.

I get a good feeling when I think about those days. Religion is good, it makes me feel whole. We need to try to find out more about ourselves. It provides hope and that alone solves what may or may not be real problems. It can also help you to realize your dreams, I  think, which brings me back to the strange  title of this blog, “Dreams are always lit up, where does the sunlight come from in our minds?” After all you never have dreams in pitch dark. I guess you could say that when God said, “Let There Be Light” the sunlight reached all the way into our hearts and minds.

www.tbs-online.org is where I found the article about angels in Jewish religion.

 

Wow that was a weird blog right? Great seeing Dr. Zorba again after all these years. I’d love to see them run it again. Ben Casey was a really good show, I think.

By the way the auction Will be over by the time you read this, if we won we will have a ton of new inverters dirt cheap: brand new Enphase, Fronius, SMA and ABB, plus solar modules: Hanwha, Trina, Shuco and SUN modules, but I don’t think we’ll win. People pay way too much out in California for solar panels Louis and I found out. The bidding was way too  high for us. Definitely not a world’s lowest price module deal or even inverter deal. But we sure did make some good contacts at the preview today. The people in this business really are fascinating!

Thank you for reading this blog.

By the way, I wish they could come up with better high tech words like google, tweet, web, and uber,  it sounds like baby talk.

John

CAN YOU DO IT?

WE COULD USE A FEW GOOD MEN.
I have the inventory, I have the price, and I have the right products. What I don’t have are enough PV system designers and sales engineers, purchasing agents, shipping managers, and web masters, online PV sales managers and solar marketing and advertising geniuses.
We could also use PV system designers and sales engineers in locations wherever we currently have inventory. 
Our current Sunelec warehouse locations:
Miami, FL; Phx., AZ; Sacramento, CA; Trenton, NJ, Denver, CO; El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, TX; Bahamas, and Kingston, Jamaica.

Call John if you can design or install PV systems. Salary based on experience.

Cell 305-322-1086 after you send your resume to [email protected]

Thank you.

A guide on how not to get ripped off when buying a solar system.

  • If anyone hands you an estimate that doesn’t itemize what your paying for, your getting robbed. 
  • Let me provide a simple guide.

A 5,000 WATT INSTALLATION:

Avg. a $1/watt. = $5,000

 

A TYPICAL 5,000 WATT SYSTEM:

 

Solar panels are $.28/W. = $1,400

(290W)

 

Inverter is $.40/W. = $2,000

(5,000W grid tied)
Mounting structure is $.15/W. = $500

(Ground or roof mount)

 

These are not average component prices, they are actual prices. If you don’t believe me look at www.sunelec.com.

SOLAR PANELS:

Contrary to popular opinon, solar panels are no longer necessarily the most expensive part of a solar system. 

To compare panel prices just divide the cost of one module by the number of watts, it gives $/watt. It’s the measuring stick.  If you don’t know it, you can’t compare the price of your panels.

There are now hundreds of modules to choose from. Their price is dropping so fast it’s unbelievable. However, prices can change quickly. It’s a volitile market. 

The good news is that if you’ve ever looked at solar modules, you can see they all look the same. That’s because, they are.

Solar panels last 30, 40 even up to 50 years, in fact the first solar modules ever made by Bell Labs are still working, and their over 50 years old!

Panels are made the same way, with crystalline silicon cells, rock that makes electricity when exposed to light; tempered glass, the same type as on your car’s windshield; an anodized aluminum frame and plastic to laminate the cells to the back of the glass.

The only thing about solar panels that actually changes is their efficiency. However, the higher the efficiency is the more you will have to pay.

The avg. price for the lower efficiency modules of 12%, is now approx. $.25/watt. For the avg. efficiency modules of 17% its now $.38/watt (NOTE: Our GCL 290W panel is only $.28/watt) and for the highest efficiency of  21%, its now as high as $1.50/watt (if you can even get them). They’re used up by massive solar farms.

Most rooftops offer plenty enough space for even a 12% eff. system to power the home. Panel efficiency is not that important, unless you live on a boat, RV in a space station.

I buy my solar modules from top tier PV module manufacturers from all over the world.

However, I also look at other secondary sources from factories. I learned 44 years ago , when I got my first PV module, from Spectrolab, the first PV manufacturer in the United States that made PV modules for NASA’s space craft, that reject cells can be used to make excellent modules at an unbelievable savings. At that time modules we’re selling at $60/watt. I paid less than $1/watt. It was made by a do-it-yourselfer, a retired engineer, who simply took a sheet (approx. 1 ft. by 2 ft.) of tempered glass, Grade B cells, adhesive, and soldered the the metal tabs together to make it. I ran a big portable stereo with it. It was enough to bring out a TV crew and put me on the evening news with my solar oven, home made water heater and parabolic concentrator.

To this day, I can’t say enough about many of the millions of  do-it-your-selfers, from all over this planet, I have had the privilege to know, who have designed and installed on their own homes. These guys definitely understand that PV systems are not that difficult to understand or to install with a little reading and help. The average residential system can be installed in as little as 2 days with just 2 experienced installers.

INSTALLATION: 

Obviously, the $1/watt above is dependent on the type of roof you have. And, yes there is the local bureaucracy that wants to profit off your solar system by trying to control, limit, and tax your solar system using licenses, memberships, duties, penalty fees, construction freezes and suspensions and the occasional bribe.

MOUNTING STRUCTURES:

To help avoid unnecessary injury, accidents and even death, I can tell you I have known three real nice guys, who have died painfully; one, Fred, a horribly prolonged death,  by falling off their roofs installing PV systems. And, I’ve known many more who’ve fallen several times.

If you’ve got the space to install them on the ground, do it. Going on your roof to install or de-installing them one is always dangerous. More people get seriously injured by falling of ladders and roofs than any other way in regards to solar. Since you should check them from time to time and you might need to service and perhaps clean your system and, of course, replace your roof, keeping it on the ground will make all those things a lot easier and safer.

You might even like to show people how the system works and how it was installed. Maybe even enjoy the beauty of the solar panels. Some types of crystalline silicon modules are actually quite beautiful, (multi crystalline cells using phosphorus gas) and common.
BATTERIES:

Be careful when buying new high tech batteries. The new super hyped up batteries are much more expensive. Conventional deep cycle 12 and 6 volt wet lead acid and sealed maintenance free batteries, are mass manufactured, locally available, low cost and easy to handle, maintain and recycle. A typical 6 volt, 220 amp hr. deep cycle battery that lasts 5 years costs a little over a $100 and it weighs only 60 lbs. and you can pick it up and move it relatively easily. That combination is hard to beat.

Look this blog is long enough, it’s Sunday  maybe I’ll come and write some more later but I think I made my point. If you are handed an estimate with one flat price and no prices for these four seperate items,  your crazy to sign the contract. It’s not rocket science and never has been (well except for that first panel I got 44 years ago with Spectrolab cells, they’re still making extraterrestrial cells for NASA, at 40% efficiency I might add, only they cost a lot more than you can afford!) google it.

The End.

 

Thank u very much.

JK

305-322-1086

PS

 Don’t tell me of trying to destroy the PV industry with low prices because:

1. I make a lot of money.

2. The early bird gets the worm.

3. Nothing pays as well as persistence.

4. What matters is that we jump to the Sun while we still can.

 

 

Renesola 300W Auction starting at $.04/W.

We are about to start our second auction in the next few hours:

Of special interest are the above modules. They were involved in a hail storm that hit a solar farm.

After de-installing  16,400 – 300 watt modules, that were taken off a two year old 5MW farm, the Sun Electronics’ team sorted them into 3 types. A 3rd of the modules had broken glass and those were recycled. These are not in the Auction 

A third however were not hit at all. They are in perfect condition, have UL, a 25 year warranty and produce full power of 300 or more watts. These are Grade B only because they are 2 yrs. old. These are in the second phase of our Auction.

A third  of the modules got hit, did’nt break, are Grade C and they all produce their full rated power of 300 watts. They are sold as is but we will refund or replace any that don’t produce full power if contacted within 60 days. These are in the second phase of our Auction. 

A Grade of C means they are cosmeticly imperfect. To see the video of them go to www.sunelec.com. You will see they have micro-cracks, dark snail trails, white worm lines, MC4 inter-connectors, and  can easily be cleaned. They have a minimum auction bid of only 4 cents a watt,  normally sold for .11/watt. For use in off grid, low voltage applications of 12, 24, or 48 volt systems or in grid tie applications that use micro-inverters.

For More info I recommend you google “IEEE studies on micro cracks, snail trails and worm lines” and read the abstracts and summaries for more information. These particular Grade C modules have a lot of them.

The Auction also includes modules of GCL, Suniva, Sonali, and many more, from 12 volt – 30 watts to 340 watts, as well as micro and central station inverters.

Good luck, 

John

305-322-1086 best cell.