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JD Dillon in conversation with KCBS Radio in San Francisco

Nov 11, 2019

The frequency of the recent PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff) outages may have you looking at what options you have to keep your home powered. Solar companies say they're anticipating a big increase in demand for solar battery systems as their woes with the power grid increase. 

Our VP of Marketing and Pricing, JD Dillon, recently spoke with Stan Bunger and Susan Leigh Taylor at KCBS News Radio San Francisco. They discussed solar energy, battery backup and the recent power outages. Here is an excerpt of the conversation:

Susan Leigh Taylor: If you have solar power, it would stand to reason that when we have these blackouts, you're going to need some battery backup. How expensive does this get?

JD: Well, the expense runs on the order of tens of thousands of dollars sometimes. But it depends on how big your house is and how big your system is.

Stan Bunger: This is the classic situation where people's thinking is being recalibrated. A lot of folks had thought about going solar may be to cut the power bill  or maybe thinking if it’s greener energy. But these are the two different things; creating energy for solar panels and then storing it. 

JD: Absolutely. There’s a confusion about solar, that once you go solar you stay up and running even when the grid is down. That is absolutely not true.

Susan Leigh Taylor: You’ve made the switch yourself as I understand. Can you explain your thinking what was finally made you want to switch?

JD: Sure, there's really four reasons why anyone switches:

  • To save the planet
  • To save money
  • To go a little bit more independent
  • If you're a gadget person and kind of handy

I am not handy. I wanted to save a bit of money, and I believe in the independence associated with it.

Stan Bunger: Is there a way people can do the math? You're talking about people from places without power for five days. Five years ago, if you'd asked them about that, they would have thought that was an impossibility, right? This is something that has just hit people like a ton of bricks. So how would you calculate what this is going to cost, what the price of it over time is? I mean this is complicated stuff, you can’t just do one-size-fits-all sort of math here.

JD: First of all, I will say that I just got power this morning at 6 AM. I live in Danville, and I was out for three days. So I am empathetic with everybody out there, and God forbid the poor folks up in the north bay who are losing their homes. The math is a little bit more complex than you think. There's plenty of online calculators to help you do that, and frankly, I would call a solar professional. There's a lot of great installation companies. We work with 1500 of them in the United States.  So there's a lot of them out there, and they can help you do the math. Just to cut to the chase, my break-even was 7.2 years at my house.

Susan Leigh Taylor: You talked about being out of power for the last three days. After this incident, will you be installing a battery backup system at your place?

JD: Oh my goodness! Absolutely. I'm tired of watching my kids do homework by flashlight.  So I absolutely will be doing that, and Enphase will have one out in about five months or so, we're on the cusp. So I'm certainly waiting for the Enphase storage system for my own home. 

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