Steve: Joe Nash how’s it going?
Joe: Hey very well steve nice to chat good great to see you today!
We’re recording this live on Zoom…
This is joe nash solar energy consultant whose reputation really precedes him.
He’s actually got over a hundred five-star reviews from customers that are absolutely elated with his solar installation recommendations. Joe’s been working to help protect consumers from fraud over the years and really brings a level of integrity to the solar industry.
That’s much needed now that so many more people are getting solar installed on their homes. So many consumers are confused about solar installation. Is it a good investment or a waste of money?
Ultimately you want to make sure that you get a return on your investment. Then what about:
- solar incentives
- your property value
- the payback period
- the size of your solar system?
You want to make sure that you’re not paying for a solar installation plus an electric bill in the future.
All these questions have a lot of confusion around them and it leaves room for companies and installers that are lacking integrity to take advantage of consumers Joe is going to help us to clear the clutter on some of this and we really appreciate you Joe coming on here and you know just hoping to clarify some of these things about solar.
Joe: Thank you for your kind words I very much appreciate it. Right on and you’re in Orlando the sunshine city. All right just cutting right to it…
Steve: I know it’s a big question but what is your approach to solar in regards to your customers?
Joe: It’s pretty simple what would I do if I was the customer That’s the first thing, you know treat people with honesty integrity, respect, treat them like family. That’s the short answer. Solar can be, as you mentioned, extremely complex. And there’s a lot of misconceptions out there with customers.
Solar is going to cover my electric bill, you know that’s the goal but there’s so much more to be leveraged with a solar project that the vast majority of companies don’t ever really get into.
You know buying your own power production is great you know that’s a win, but so many people just leave so much on the table because they’re not sitting with somebody that has the experience to be able to extract all those other little out of the project.
Steve: But I would imagine so how do people normally buy solar? They contact a company right and the company comes and gives them an estimate but I guess if you were a homeowner and you do that you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what pieces of that puzzle you might be missing.
They represent the company and they’re told what to do and what to say. What might they be missing that they’re not telling the consumer? That’s what I would think would make it really tricky.
Joe: You’re a smart guy and you’re spot on here. Let me give you an analogy on this okay? If you go to the Chevy dealer the Chevy dealer is not going to show you anything other than Chevy’s right?
Okay, so the way most solar consulting works is… a company acquires a lead, that’s your appointment and they send a sales guy out to sell you on that, and what will typically happen, they’ll show up with a PowerPoint. A canned PowerPoint presentation and they’re going to take take a picture of your electric bill and send it into the office because they lack the acumen and the experience to actually do the calculations themselves and figure out what is needed.
Send that off to the office and then it just populates in the PowerPoint presentation and here you go.
Okay so my first advice to anybody…
Just ask yourself, “what are the odds of your perfect solution being in that canned PowerPoint presentation?” Okay, it’s a sales pitch. It’s like sitting there you know if you ever sat in for a timeshare it’s a big elaborate PowerPoint presentation. It’s a dog and pony show it’s not getting into the weeds to solve your problem.
Steve: Exactly. That’s where I think it gets very detailed, I mean somebody’s situation from their age to the home to the power usage, to the amount of solar they could actually generate on their house.
Joe: Whether or not they have two kids about to move out… that can affect your electricity bill as well. I mean there are hundreds of variables and I pride myself on really getting into the weeds on those. Like I said I would do this as if this was my project. I’d be asking all these questions and I do the same for my customers.
Steve: Yeah that’s excellent so well how long have you been doing this? I can imagine that a lot of it comes down to experience. You’ve got to see the good you got to see the bad in order to really know what’s best for somebody.
Joe: I’ve been doing this for four years, I checked out of corporate America after 25 years I’m a retired certified fraud examiner. As you can imagine I’m a little jaded when it comes to lies, misrepresentation, and all those things.
Steve: Right, no doubt. I have heard some horror stories. There are all these solar companies… It’s a pretty competitive industry right, so you know they’re all out there. I know they’re knocking on doors and doing whatever they can do to drum up business and the problem is there’s a lot of promises. I guess that’s where it gets tricky. Who’s going to really hold up the promise and that’s one way I can really see the value in consultants. They work for you they don’t work for the company with the sales quotas and that sort of thing.
So you have several companies you’ve picked that are really qualified to meet your level of authenticity and they’re giving their customers the results that they’re looking for. How do you pick these companies to represent and refer to?
- A lot of vetting, a lot of research.
- A lot of time talking to the owners.
- Seeing how the owners respond when there are issues. There’s always going to be you know some minor issue for the most part.
We keep that down to a minimum with the three companies.
I’m now affiliated with:
- I work with Sunbility out of Tampa, excellent family-owned company. Truth be told they did my solar array, my whole project, some other things just absolute incredible workmanship.
- Florida Power Management which is a fulfillment company in Orlando. They do a lot of commercial jobs, they do a lot of residential jobs. Another family-owned company, just absolutely top-notch integrity.
- I’m also a Titan Solar dealer. They’re a large company and the reason that I’ve structured it this way is this is a great way for a customer to be able to leverage my knowledge for their specific solutions by focusing on what each one of these companies does best and finding them the answer.
I do what I do because I listen to my customers. They’d be like, wow this sounds really great but I’d like to talk to somebody else, I have the ability to shop three-five star companies and the value that that brings to you, so
you’re not sitting through three different presentations and hearing the same line of whatever somebody’s trying to sell you.
At the end of the day, whatever I tell a customer at the table that’s what I have to you know sleep with at night. This is not just my company and me Joe Does Solar, this is my reputation on the line. I want to make sure that I’m linked up with people that have the same values that I have and they’re going to treat the customer the same way I demand that they be treated.
Steve: That’s excellent. That thing how you handpick the companies to work with. That will support your integrity and you know ultimately when you do a consult with somebody and refer a company… that is your reputation on the line. So you need to protect that. That’s also what’s different from a salesman, the salesman doesn’t have a reputation to protect.
Their reputation is with their sales manager. It’s, did you bring us some business today? Did you drag us something home? And they are in a constant battle to keep up those sales quotas. So I love the business model. A couple more questions I know that people might have around solar.
What about the solar payback period?
That time where you’re paying back assuming you didn’t pay cash for your system. And you maybe had to take out some financing. How long should that payback period be in order for this to turn out to be a great investment for you?
Joe: It really depends on what your financial goals are with it. If you’re looking for the lowest monthly payment then your return on investment is gonna be a lot longer.
You know it may help with the cash flow month to month. If you’re looking for a more aggressive payback you know it can be anything. It could be a year it could be two. But the average at least my average where your whatever your payment with your financing is going to be the same as what you’re paying anyway on your electric bill. It’s usually about seven to ten years. And again there are some other variables that can either help with that or work against that. I don’t know what we have to work with but we’re gonna solve the problem.
Steve: If you’re paying back for your solar system for like 10 years and it’s generating most of your electricity then even your warranty is at least another decade right?
Joe: On some of these 30 years. 30 years on the panels.
Steve: So you could be setting yourself up really good and this is what I’ve been thinking about because you know even up here in Maine you know, it’d be great to have something generating even if it’s not year-round. Say you’re in a sunny place like Florida and you paid your system back in 10 years and…
Then you have another decade or two with most of your electric bill covered.
I would think that means to me that would then be like money that I could put into a long-term investment.
Money that can pay me back in my retirement years could just really speed up those other investments rather than just like paying it out constantly month after month.
Joe: You hit the nail on the head there and the short answer is that’s exactly why my wife and I went solar. It’s a 401k B plan. I’m in my early 50s. I’d like to retire you know sometime around 65.
Maybe on a fixed income, we’ll see. I can basically invest what I’m paying in my electric bill today, pay no more than what I’m paying on my electric bill. And actually, as time goes on it will be less than my electric bill for you know 12- 15 years.
I’ve got the bill anyway. I’ve got to let you know the electric bill that still doesn’t go away. But you’re just basically swapping one for the other.
Steve: That’s such a huge value, we will actually leave that with folks to think about. We’ll do this again we’ll have some more conversations, go a little deeper on some of these topics so that people who are thinking about doing something like this can make an educated decision about it.
Joe: I’m here to help thanks for your time.