Monday, April 23, 2007

On Aesthetics, Part One

I was at a local cleantech "Earth Day" fair in Atherton CA over the weekend. Had some good discussions with Akeena and Solar City sales teams. I wanted to know about 1.) how they do online internet monitoring for the power delivered from solar, and 2.) whether they saw any opportunities for "hybrid" installs combining solar and wind turbines for a better ROI.

For monitoring, I got some leads and will post an update soon. A quick internet search gets you to Fat Spaniel, but this looks like potentially overkill for my needs to monitor our first 3 kW test install. (please feel free to email me any leads/info on Internet-based remote power monitoring systems.)

For hybrid residential systems, I don't think there is any immediate traction in the Bay Area. For one, there are not that many residences in Northern California in Wind Class 2, let alone Wind Class 3-4 where the ROI and paybacks would be most compelling. Secondly, these guys are so utterly busy, that they can't scale their installers to keep up with present Solar-Only deman. (If it ain't broke...). And lastly, both sets of folks related stories about customers thinking about solar, but abandoning the projects based on "aesthetics."

We're still not in power crunch or carbon crunch mode. In crunch mode, people won't be "picky" about how their power delivery systems look.