There's one company changing the face of the Solar Industry one customer at a time and that's Palomar Solar. If you are in your early forties you will remember all the positive PR that went into the Solar Industry thirty years ago. Colleges had Solar powered car races, they had solar powered boat races, they had all kinds of crazy physics experiment competitions deriving the energy from Solar panels. It was so predominant that Hollywood made several movies about Solar Races, where a young underfunded team would have to face adversity and ultimately triumph in the end. So what happened that would take us to a point thirty years later that if someone so much as mentions the word "Solar" it's met with a repugnant "ugh."
Well with any new industry you get all kinds of "get rich quick" types, used car salesmen, and just down right crooks that take advantage of the uninformed. Couple those things with the non stop barrage of shady tactics like telemarketing, and borderline harassment at various locations and it makes things even worse, then you have to add into those the fact that invariably everybody knows someone that got burned by a Solar guy.
Enter Palomar Solar and in particular Andy Anderson. Andy has spent countless hours talking to the RDP membership about what makes sense for each members individual needs. He has gone out of his way to help members who are having troubles with existing systems, sell them properly sized systems (so they don't pay for something they don't need), and most importantly told some members when it doesn't make sense for them. He is as straight of a shooter as they come, and his knowledge and business ethics have proven themselves time and time again.
Andy and his team decided they wanted to "give back" to the community, In particular the Armed Forces, because they have been so fortunate with business over the last few years. What better way to give back then to give away a legit Solar System to one lucky winner right? Well remember what I said earlier about the charlatans and circus acts. Most of those guys had done contests in the past where you could win "A solar system" but invariably they were all bait and switch or "lures." They would offer you something, but you'd have to pay a lot more to get a fully functioning system.
"Making RDP Proud to be Associated with Palomar"
Live video from the air show of the finalists and the give away of all three systems.
When Andy announced his contest he actually ended up on the "Turko Files" on KUSI news. For those not familiar with that, he's an investigative reporter that investigates scams and frauds in San Diego. Believe me when I say the last thing you ever want is to be on the Turko files. When they investigated to try and find out what the catch was they came away pleasantly surprised to find that there isn't one. Andy and the team at Palomar Solar legitimately wanted to give away a 24 Panel system to someone that is worth just north of 25,000.00 dollars! (It's important to note that nobody has ever done this before in the industry.) Turko reported on the contest on KUSI News and obviously the entries came flooding in.
Turko's conclusion of the contest
They used an online randomizer and picked three names and investigated their power needs. There is no law other then "Murphy's Law" when it comes to things like this, and of course the three finalists ended up all being families that don't use much electricity. The first was the Mr. Allistar whom uses almost no electricity in his household to begin with. To quote Andy directly "If this was a normal customer we would advise him not to purchase a system because the payback wouldn't make sense." Andy evaluated his power usage and understood he could cover it entirely with a six panel system that would retail for about 8,800.00.
Andy took a look at the other two finalists the Newman family and the Braithewaite's. The largest system that could be installed on the Newman's house is a 16 panel system that would offset approximately 50% of their usage. From a retail standpoint this system would cost approximately 17,888.00 dollars and would be about a three year payback if purchased normally. The Braithewaite family needed an even larger 18 panel system that would cost 19,200.00 typically and would typically have a six year pay back.
Any Solar company in their right mind would've had their contest picked one of the three finalists, and got off cheap with a bunch of free publicity. However that wasn't the point! Granted there's nothing wrong with getting some recognition and free publicity from the contest, but Andy and the team genuinely wanted to "GIVE BACK."
"All Three of them are going to get systems!"
Andy and his team gathered in their offices and decided together that all three of them were going to get full Solar Systems. The three families and friends were invited as guests of Palomar Solar knowing only that they were finalists in potentially winning a full solar system. When the first name was drawn the Braithwaite family won. What they didn't expect was for Andy to say "Hang on a second George, lets pull another name." It was after the Newman family won that Andy announced they had decided a couple days prior that all three were going to get systems!
I could tell you the small stories that follow that up, things like one of the family hardly ever used their AC because they couldn't afford it. The excitement and the tears that ensued with three families winning complete systems. Honestly it's awesome, and there's a lot to be said about it.
For myself though it's more personal because I'm friends with Andy and his wife Roxie. Andy is rooted into the RDP community and does so much for the website, events, and most importantly the community that it would be hard to entail it all into one article. He's "One of Us" in the fact that he shows up invariably to all of the RDP functions from the small ones we do like "Losers Lounge" to participating and sponsoring the larger things we have done in the past from the 336 Races right up to this weekends event the 10 year regatta! He's one of the most solid guys I know, and a great guy to hang around and shoot the breeze with over a couple of beers. For myself I'd like to end this with a Thank You to Andy and Palomar Solar, not only doing this for our service members, but Thanks for doing things "RIGHT" across
The plans for the houses of the winners