When Solar Comes to Town

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Daniel Sullivan comes out on top.

Is Newport Beach ready to accelerate the expansion of residential solar in the community?

Sullivan Solar wants to find out.

As a green guy, I have been inquisitive relative to solar, and one company caught my eye. There are lots of companies that do solar, but I appreciated Sullivan’s approach of investing a great deal of time, effort, energy and funding into solar advocacy.

Sullivan Solar is ready to enter this market with an incentive program launched exclusively for Newport Beach property owners. There will be safety, comfort and financial benefit en masse.

But before we get to the economics, there are a couple other points to cover.

Being Irish, I love the company logo, a crest. The crest is slightly modified, sword replaced with an electric bolt, sun rays on top. Daniel Sullivan founded the company right after his son was born, so the shield selection was appropriate for the idea of a family legacy. Each symbol represents balance and truth in company culture: Boar- tenacity; Stag- One who avoids conflict; Lion- Strength; Serpent – Wisdom. The culture is celebrated this week with their extended corporate family on a seventh birthday.

Daniel Sullivan, an electrician by trade, started this endeavor with $2,500, a pickup, a leap of faith and a come-home-on-your-shield attitude so necessary for entrepreneurial achievement. Fortunately, we can declare Sullivan the victor, and allow for triumphant return – with his shield, not on it.

Sullivan has had great success in other markets: No. 1 solar installer in San Diego Gas and Electric territory; No. 6 fastest growing firm in San Diego; No. 26 fastest growing energy firm in the US, as tabbed by Inc. magazine.

Sullivan understands the balance between form and function: “Aesthetics of a solar power system are crucial and need to be taken into consideration from the early design phase,” he says.

So every effort will be made to be attractive, with clean roof lines, equipment placed out of view, no obstructions. Sullivan thinks poor installation is a disservice to the industry’s adoption and turns off potential customers. Word of mouth is a necessary growth agent, as in the old Breck Shampoo commercial, “They told two friends, and so on.”

Sullivan’s Solar Program for the Newport Beach community will allow participants to go solar for as little as $0 upfront, with a monthly payment equal to or less than their current electric bill. Participating residents can receive substantial cash-back incentives in addition to the state rebate and federal tax credit. Leveraging critical mass and the economies of scale, the more residents that sign up by Aug. 19, the more each saves. The green group buying power is a great collective incentive that can yield 5% cash back on the contract price, and perhaps can go up to up to 10 percent.

My suggestion, as always, is conservation first. If you want to save money and make green choices, then figure out how to consume less of many things, to conserve. An energy audit is an appropriate consideration, or you can do several of the simple solutions easily searched on Google or prior columns. Once you figure out a baseline on conserved energy behaviors and gadgets, you can then properly size your solar solution.

I also enjoyed Sullivan’s response to the question, “What happens at end of life, what does solar become?”

Solar panels can be recycled. They are made of glass and other highly sought-after materials. Sullivan notes that manufacturers’ warranties are 20-25 years, with a longer lifespan and appropriately suggests creative ReUse first, like the table in their lobby made using an old display solar panel. Brilliant.

I asked Sullivan what his biggest anticipated barrier to acceptance is. He replied it’s people saying, “If everything you say is true, why haven’t people decided to go with solar?”

Ergo, Sullivan believes an informed customer is his best customer. Sullivan Solar will hold a series of events with educational solar community presentations to help us figure all this solar stuff out.

Exceptional choice of location at the Environmental Nature Center (ENC), Saturday, June 4 and July 16, at 11 a.m. both days. Visit NewportSolarProgram.org or call 1-800-SULLIVAN for additional details and free consultation. I did, my consultation will be soon, as they overcame my objections and were confident they could find me a solution to fit my customized needs.

If you are wondering how Sullivan Solar hit a bull’s eye with selecting the ENC, and becoming members, Erica Lynn Johnson, Ddirector of community relations and development at Sullivan, grew up in Newport Beach, where her fondest memories are of time spent with her grandfather at the ENC.

Way to bring this green thing home.

Email [email protected] with green thoughts, please.



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