Chair’s Corner – August 2018

Micah Jasuta

 

Welcome to the summer edition of the Solar Reflector. I would like to thank everyone involved with another incredible Cool House Tour and give a huge shout-out to all of our volunteers who made the tour run so smoothly. We are grateful for your time and energy and for being a part of such a fun tradition.

Solar is going mainstream as more PV is installed across the globe. I have seen solar panels featured in movies, on TV, in video games, and in more and more advertisements. While this growth is exciting, there is a downside to ubiquity.

Many of us have seen suspicious ads or received spam sales calls for residential solar systems. “Free solar panels!” “No cost solar program!” “New government rebates! Enter your zip code to see if you qualify.”

Misinformation in advertising is nothing new, and the solar industry is not immune to tactics intended to exploit unknowing, vulnerable, or overly trusting people. Highly exaggerated promises or intentionally misleading “fake news” are often intended to elicit contact information that can be sold as leads to solar companies that may not know the contact information was originally obtained disingenuously.

I applaud the vast majority of solar companies for embracing public education and being such effective spokespersons. Solar energy delivers on reliability and economy and does not depend on tricky ads and overpromises. From my experience, as people learn more about solar energy, they tend to become more excited about it. An educated customer is the best customer, as realistic expectations raise satisfaction levels and spread positive experiences that generate more customers.

The public has access to a host of educational tools. Our number one challenge is to find ways to raise awareness so potential buyers can actually use these tools very early in the decision process. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has a fantastic Solar Customer Research Portal, a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in solar. Austin Energy rolled out an online solar education course for everyone applying for their $2,500.00 solar rebate. TXSES recently published an updated Solar Energy Data webpage, which I highly recommend for insights at the state and national levels. Also, we host comprehensive public education resources at Are you interested in installing solar panels?

I have never been more optimistic about the future of solar or so thankful for your part in TXSES. Please stay engaged by joining our mailing list, getting involved with one of our local chapters, and attending our events.