Everything is coming up roses

While the oil gushes up at the rate of about 50 gal. every 10 seconds and the blamers, distracters, fake levelers, levelers, computers and placators argue over it, the solar energy industry is blooming and booming like never before. It’s beyond Paul Maycock’s wildest dreams (editor of PV Magazine and solar advocate for 40+ years). No one’s laughing at Paul’s predictions anymore.

While the world economy is up and down but never quite up and up, solar is shooting up so straight, the curve is completely gone. Who wants oil after that mess. Most people aren’t that smart, I know I’m not. And, I don’t have the time to crunch all the numbers and triple check the news reporter’s calculations. After watching this disaster and then seeing that photograph of live Golden Pelican totally covered in oil,  I’m done. Ever since I can remember, our government wastes money like crazy. It might as well go to solar development instead of oil and coal companies, strip mining operations and worst of all creating toxic waste that lasts 200,000 years, what’s that all about.

A nuclear physicist, Tom Moss,  who was the Administrative Assistant for U.S. Cong. George E. Brown, Jr. once told me that the problem with nuclear power wasn’t the reliability of the plants. He even said he would be willing to live next to one. Rather it was the storage of the nuclear waste they create. To this day no one has found a place to put the stuff for what, 200,000 years, without causing near riots. How more remote and desolate a place can you find than Yucca Flats, Nevada, but fat chance they will ever put it there. Practically, the whole population of the State of Nevada has rejected it. Hey, what about Louisiana?

The good news is very time we turn around we are being asked for 10 more containers of modules (1 MW) of one type or another. Just 10 years ago we were thrilled that we sold a pallet of them. Now we are bidding 10,000 containers, a thousand MW’s.  We only have about 50 employees, mostly engineers. Best to stay small we think, move fast, and be prepared for economic reality in case the politics of solar go south, someone comes up with something better,  or worse, another one of these recently popular Armageddon-like disasters starts heading our way.

Sales in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa are all good. It seems everyone, everywhere, wants to go clean and use solar energy. We are still able to come up with unbelievable deals on modules even while the current shortage pushes prices up. Uni-Solar at $1/watt, SUN at 1.50/watt. 

It’s a beautiful thing when you get the right office chemistry. It’s takes a long time. We are growing and we are friends here. Working at SUN is one of the best things that I have ever experienced.

Solar development is going well. The oil spill is a disaster but the universe is a big place and we’re sure it will all work.

BP should start paying everyone on earth for it for the immediate damage they have caused, its only fair. British accents sound cool but I am beginning to sense fake leveling behind the cool and calm speeches by their management. It feels like self serving rhetoric.

Cover it with thousands of rocks then pour cement on it. Bring in the Navy to dump all of boulders on it for weeks. Aircraft carriers full of rocks and bull dozers and container ships with thousands of containers filled with cement filled containers with remote controlled blasts to open them up when strategically placed on top of the pile. That’s my crazy idea, it’s probably stupid but what’s yours?  It’s more fun and healthier for you to think of it as a challenge than whining, we think.

Megawatt worldwide list $/Watt pricing

We finished our spread sheet on megawatt $/Watt pricing. As we did it over the last 1 week, prices shot up from a low of $1.55 to as high as $2.00/watt.  Basically, inventory availability has disappeared for 2010 because German solar incentives are going to crash and burn on Jan.1, 2011 and the last several weeks Germans have been buying up the world’s supply of modules by the hundreds of megawatts at a time. 

Just 5 months ago  buyers had the manufacturer’s by the balls. Byers from Germany swooped into the U.S., Japan and China from Germany, Spain, and France looking to snap up overstocked inventory. It has now  all gone from feast to famine as the buying crush has caught up to the rest of the world. Latecomers, a lot from the U.S.,  all want megawatts (MW), 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 50, 100, or more for Solar Farm – Utility Scale -Grid Connected Projects.

A lot people used to say used to say that in the PV Industry there has been an amazing big  market opportunity occurrence  at least every 4 years for the last 25 years that surpasses all those previous. (New Mexico’s 100 %  rebate for PV water pumping, the liquidation sale of the Arco 1 MW Plant (the world’s first), and California’s, New Jersey’s, Germany’s, and  Spain’s solar incentive programs). 2005’s similar incredible boom and resulting shortage event may about to be surpassed, 2010 is on track to breaking the all the records.

Several of the largest brands are already sold out for 2010. (Rumors have it Suntech, BP, and Sharp are running very low). The orders are so large in size and quantity that at least one manufacturer has  canceled orders they just received and is reallocating that stock based on who is willing to pay the most money. Most are also carefully evaluating individual orders based on whether the project is strategically important to them, delivery time required, if the customer is part of their core distribution group. If not it may be difficult to get anything at this time.

Sun Electronics has been to every major manufacturer and  obtained allocations. We have located significant supply and most importantly purchased it . Our prices are very low in comparison to the rest of the industry, we believe. They are available for review at www.sunelec.com.

We highly encourage everyone to buy modules Made In The USA and at least and/or made with exported American Technology. Our advise based on this survey is that no matter who it is you want to  buy from, BUY IT NOW. If your a  solar investor, project developer, small business or home owner and you want to do your work in 2010 or early 2011, BUY IT NOW. Just placing Purchase Orders probably won’t cut it now.It has reached the point where you have to pay now or even in advance, even for large orders. Money talks and bull sit walks. Manufacturers are looking for cash not promise orders P.O.’s. They want deposits of 100 to 30%  up front and any balances paid the day prior  to shipping to your warehouse or project location.

Note: We think any reasonable person would agree that the oil blowout in the Gulf  is going to boost the demand for passage of even more solar initiatives. And, who knows what else will happen next, hopefully nothing. It’s already in the works. Obama has asked for a doubling of the Renewable Energy Budget.

Good luck to the effort to stop the blowout. If it doesn’t work then we should call in the U..S. Navy and see if they can’t clog the hole, we think they could do it. A couple of aircraft carriers full of boulders and then a couple of full container ships loaded with wet cement ought to do it. Detonate the containers that land on the boulders. If you ask us 1 mile is not that deep.

It is good news, however, that BP has around $20 billion just sitting in the Bank, we may need it. I love the British, they are great people and awesome allies but this isn’t the British people or military. It’s BP’s mess not theirs nor ours, although we do use the stuff don’t we,  accidents do happen, but if you make billions doing it you should do it right. Except for the terrorists the world is wishing  them luck. Pray for a successful job. If not then, tell the White House what you think they should be doing. It seems this administration is very sensitive to public opinion like all the others in a crisis though they can’t seem to get us out of a situation without excessive  collateral damage.

Megawatt world survey price

We finished our spread sheet on megawatt $/W pricing. Even as we did it, prices inched up from a low of $1.60 to as high as $2.00. And, availability plummeted for 2010. Germany was the cause because of declining subsidies there. China as well as German, U.S., Chinese and Japanese suppliers have all gone from a glut to a shortage overnight. No one wants containers, they all want megawatts (MW), 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 MW and more! For Solar Farms, Utility Scale, Grid Connect, PPA’s, etc. etc.

We once said that in solar electric there is an amazing market opportunity every 5 years that surpasses all the others. 2005, has been surpassed, 2010 is breaking the records set back then. Several brands are already sold out for 2010. (possibly Suntech, BP, and Sharp). The orders are so large and many that manufacturers are having to canceling orders just received and reallocating that stock to whoever will simply pay the most money.They are also carefully evaluating orders bases on whether the project is strategically important to them, delivery time required, if the customer is part of their core distribution group.

Sun Electronics has located significant supply, purchased it at the most cost effective prices and continue to open new offices around China. We highly encourage people, however, to buy modules Made In The USA and/or made with exported American technology. If your a  solar investor, project developer, small business or home owner and you want to do your work in 2010 or 2011, buy now. I.O’s may not do it. It has reached the point where you have to pay now or even in advance, even for large orders. Chinese usually takes 30% up front, 70% at delivery and then it takes 30 to 45 days to clear customs and to be received in your warehouse or project location.

We think any reasonable person would agree that the oil blowout in the gulf coast is going to boost the demand again for PV modules due to passage of even more solar initiatives. And, who know what will happen next.

Good luck to the effort to stop the blowout. If it doesn’t work then we should call in the UP.S. Navy and see if they can’t clog the hole, we think. It is good news, however, that BP has around $20 billion just sitting in the Bank, we may need it.

Sun refrigerators arriving this week

These refrigerator freezers work great. We have purchased 5 containers so far and have had 1 failure and we replaced the compressor (shipped it to Central America). They are $200 cheaper and larger with digital thermostat and have four doors!

Ideas for PV System Advertising

“Save this endangered species and one of our most precious resources, your taxes. Don’t waste our solar tax incentives. Learn how to buy a solar system without getting ripped off”

“Free quotes, not a contractor referral service”.

“You don’t have to  buy a system from an installer. First get quotes for at least 3 system designers and then get quotes from installation contractors”.

“The average cost of a PV System Installation is $1.50 per watt”.


Why? Because of the incredible system and installation charge some installers think its fair to charge. It’s buried in the “"installed system quote”.

Not ALL contractors do this of course but some do. The small solar companies that pioneered the PV business and were in it 25 years ago worked off nickels and dimes, $.05 to $.20/watt profit on solar modules and many still operate that way. You see they believe its not just a business solar is about more than that.

That’s a 5 to 10% profit margin on modules which represent about 80% of the cost of a complete system. As we all know, most electrical contractors charge $200 to over $300/hr. Now apply that to the cost of solar system and you end up with with huge margins.

The average grid tied system price is $3.00/watt then add $1.50/watt, that’s $4.50/watt. However, if you look at a lot of  quotes for installed systems, commercial or residential, and you will see a cost of $7.00 to $8.00/watt or higher. If you subtract the complete system cost, $3.00/watt, that leaves $5.00/watt effectively being charged for the installation.

Take a 5000 watt system for example (Florida’s most popular size residential system because of the maximum limit of the residential rebate here) = 25 ea. 200 watt solar modules ($420 ea. $2.10/watt) and 1 grid tie inverter ($3,200 ea. $ .65/watt) and aluminum racks, cables, etc. ($.27/watt) the total system cost is $3.00/watt or $15,000.00.

Add an installation charge of $5.00/watt (significantly higher than the cost of the system) and the cost jumps from $15,000.00 to $40,000.00.


The solution is to look for ways to get the installation cost down. Look around for someone to help you find a contractor who will give you a fair price, maybe a friend, or a friend of a family relative who is a contractor. Installing solar panels is not that difficult. Most any electrical contractor can figure it out. The Federal Tax credit/rebate allows people to install the system themselves. You should have someone around who knows how to do it however as the power is enough to kill you. It is best, however, to stick to a contractor unless you have the education and training. If you do you can  save a lot of money.

Remember it’s our money, America’s money your spending, your neighbors, your city, your kids and they’re kids, they are paying for all these Fed. and State  tax credits, rebates, grants, utility rebates, etc. Let’s face it far fewer people would buy solar panels for electricity at today’s prices unless someone else wasn’t paying for it.

Anyway if the installation $5/watt that’s $25,000 and if it takes 3 days for 3 people to install it, that’s plenty  = 72 hours. Those 3 guys up on the roof are making $25,000 in 3 days or 25,000$ / by 72 hrs or $357.00/hr.   (My accountant and attorney makes less than these, guys that probably haven’t graduated from high school, don’t speak English and probably aren’t American citizens either.) I have nothing against either. We are just trying to make a point here.

That’s your money, the taxpayer’s money, the ratepayer’s money, America’s money because that’s whose paying for these system in most cases. The point is, if you want to save a lot of money follow this advice.

We want to put together a team of installers who we would recommend to people who were competent and willing to sign a pledge not to charge more than $1.50 to $2.00 a watt for a typical installation.

Look it only takes about 3 days for 3 people it install a 5000 watt system. You only have to put 25 panels on the roof which are clipped on to say 5 sets of aluminum rails attached to the roof. Cables then go to the inverter which is connected to a disconnect switch. That is connected to the utility line. That’s really about it.

The public is going to get tired of this type of “GREEN”. Solar electricity doesn’t need to cost that much, it’s already expensive, about 3 to 5 times the cost of utility power, here in Miami it’s only $0.065/Kwh. When it gets to say $0.30/Kwh it starts too make economic sense. (we are not including the cost of all the other stuff of course, you know the sad stories, I’ll spare you). We are just talking about some of the most basic economic factors regarding contractors that’s all.

Cele Peterson

Mrs. Cele Peterson sat me down at 21 and looked at me and asked “do your really believe this solar thing will really work?” “Yes”, I replied. “Is this what you really want to do?” “Yes” I replied again. “Then go do it!” Little did I know 37 years later I’d still be doing it.. In fact, the whole world is doing it, and, yes, it works. It’s become a fashion and Cele new more about what was coming into fashion than anyone I ever knew. Fashion is a way of life she would say.

Cele was an inspiration to everyone she touched, she was an icon in Tucson, Arizona., my hometown. She gave me advise on how to run my life and business for all those years. She passed on last week at 101 surrounded by all that mattered to her in life, her family and friends. For 5 days she held on saying goodbye with her eyes, smiles and her hand.

Cele taught me that family and friends are more important then anything and that every breath you take is an incredible gift.  She would always tell me, “God’s in charge” and  “Never lose touch with your friends”, she would also say.

No one ever actually passes away, I think, everyone’s spirit lives on, people you love will  always stay with you. Those of you have lost loved ones will agree, I think.


System Installation:                                               $1 to $1.50/watt.

System:                                                               $2 to $2.50/watt.

Total System Cost:                                                $3 to $4.00/watt.

Now add in these incentives:

Typically Available Incentives:

Fed. Incentives 30%                                             -$1 to $1.20/watt

State and /or Utility     

See:  www.dsireusa.com

Florida Utility Rebate                                             -$2/watt________           

Senate Bill CS/HB 7172

See:  [email protected]                                                             

Total System Cost with Typically                              $0 to $.80/watt

Available Incentives


Other Common Incentives and Considerations:

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC). These can be substantial.

Feed-in Tariffs (Selling Back). These can be substantial.

Cost of the installed system may be used to Offset Property Taxes.

Other Local State, County and City Rebates and Credits, Various Locally Funded Programs, etc.

No Sales Tax.

Your System has an excellent resale value.  A solar module’s expected lifetime is 30 to 40 years. Standard warranties are 25 yrs. The aluminum mounting structure has a lifetime of 30+ years. The Inverter, the least valuable of the systems main components and a solid state device with no moving parts, and has a 20+ yr. lifetime. All this makes used solar electric systems very easy to sell.

The current Federal Tax Credit is also a Rebate if you don’t have a tax liability till 2011, after that, however, it is a tax credit only so you will need to have a tax liability or find someone who does who can use it.

If you want you can install the system yourself and still claim the Federal Incentive, in fact, the modules don’t have to be certified to get it. Very few people know this. Where residential or commercial properties are in the mountains, on islands, RV’s, boats, etc., off-grid independent living offers several advantages where people can save significantly on the cost of modules and the installation thus lowering the cost of an installed system by as much as 50%.

Finally, it might be the right thing to do for many good reasons having nothing to do with money.


Evergreen B Modules – Read’em and weep.

Evergreen B modules are a fantastic deal “if” you’re lucky enough to get them. These modules have virtually invisible cosmetic blemishes but they are significantly cheaper while having  the exact same power output specifications as Evergreen A’s and the identical  25 yr. Evergreen warranty. Click here to see several flash tests of the last 30,000 modules we have purchased over the last 2 years. Look at the data on these modules. We have been selling them for 10 years. We have had two come back (with burnt diodes = lightning).

Anyone who says  and/or advertises otherwise is either lying or just doesn’t know better. There is no reason why you should not buy these modules. This is why you should not trust people who try to scare you into buying their products. It’s cowardly and it damages the reputation of  the incredible reliability that’s inherent in all solar modules.

Evergreen Letter B-Grade Warranty.


As SOLAR grows the Vicious BS FLOWS

If your a solar company and you can’t beat the price of the competition the solution for more and more companies is too start lying. Example: just saw a company on eBay who wrote a page on his ad how Grade B modules would fail in just a few weeks! He went on to say that their output was false and would produce only 30 to 50% of their labeled output! I asked him if his modules were mono or poly? He didn’t know and he was the owner of the company.

Everytime we turn around more and more people are lying or just don’t know what the heck they are talking about. Unfortunately, like this guy they are able to get to the top of eBay, Google or Yahoo for a few bucks. If you ask me they’re the ones who don’t give you 30 to 50% of the facts, have cracks in their cells and will probably fail in a few weeks.

We asked Evergreen Solar  to send us the list of by serial number and with the flash tests for just the Grade B modules we have purchased since April 2008, 32,648 of them. Anyone can see them. Just ask.

What a way to make a living, throwing mud on the incredibly good reputation of photovoltaic module’s and the thousands of honest and hard  working  people promoting it.  

There is no choice, we think, but  to make a list, attach the untrue things these ignorant and/or  dishonest people are saying and publish it with the name of the companies and the owners like dirty mud throwing politicians.