The yield curve for certain types of debt is inverted, suggesting that there may be a recession on the horizon. Economists are worried, and their fears trickle down to mortals like us.
BTW, the yield curve plots the interest rate on the vertical axis and term of the debt on the horizontal axis. Normally, long term interest rates are slightly higher than short term rates because, as Yogi Berra said, “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” In other words, uncertainty about the future implies higher interest rates. But when the yield curve slopes downwards in the future, that implies that rates in the future will be lowered to counter a nearer-term recession.
So there is a lot of volatility in the stock market…not only due to interest rates, but also related to uncertainty about trade, an upcoming presidential election, and the overall state of our economy. Many of our listeners to The Energy Show invest in what they know the best: energy — including solar, EVs, wind and fossil fuels. So if you are investing in the energy industry, or just depending on it for your career, what are our prospects?
My guest on this week’s Energy Show is Shawn Kravetz, President of Esplanade Capital, LLC. Shawn and I have crossed paths many times, going back to at Akeena and Westinghouse Solar. His firm is based in Boston, and manages capital for families, private investors and institutions with a focus on superior long-term capital appreciation, especially in the energy industry. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show for Shawn’s insights into energy investments and our overall economy.
This week’s Energy Show is for solar power customers, contractors and inverter manufacturers who appreciate the need for reliable solar power systems. Surprising as it may seem, most solar monitoring systems are simply not up to the reliability standards of the panels and inverters they support. (more…)
On this week’s Energy Show were talking about old solar panels. Specifically, what do you do with them?
Solar panels last 30 years or more. Almost all of the old panels that I have tested still crank out close to their original power output. Unfortunately, old solar panels are not compatible with the electronics of new systems – inverters, optimizers and microinverters. Sort of like that old CD-ROM software that is still good…if you could just get a computer that has a CD-ROM drive and runs Windows XP. (more…)
Businesses regularly use leases to finance their buildings, vehicles and equipment. And anyone who has rented an apartment or leased a car knows that they can benefit from a nice place to live or set of wheels without a major up-front investment. (more…)
Every year I gaze into my solar crystal ball and make ten educated guesses about the rooftop solar industry. I did OK on last year’s predictions, only completely whiffing on two, so I’m back with my yearly list of predictions for the rooftop solar industry for 2018. (more…)
Everyone makes mistakes – and I’ve certainly made my share of them. On this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World we will discuss in detail some of the most common homeowner and installer mistakes that I’ve seen over the past 15+ years – as well as the actions we can take to do things right the first time.
The vast majority of solar installers are honest and ethical; they truly believe in their products and company. Nevertheless, there are some companies (and unfortunately rogue employees) who take advantage of customers. Here are a few of the solar mistakes I have observed during the sales and installation process:
Poor installation practices – missed rafters, inadequate safety procedures, etc.
Employees who are not properly trained or incentivized – compensation per kw, poor quality control, etc.
Oversizing the system – panels in the shade, orphan panels, stuffing the roof, etc.
Overestimating system output or dollar savings – easy to do by fudging inputs for design and proposal software
Financial or contractual monkey business – poor explanations of actual contract terms, escalation rates, warranty obligations, etc.
Since solar is still relatively new, what customers learn about solar technology, installation processes and savings comes from the solar salesperson. With a little bit of education and caution, homeowners can avoid these common solar mistakes:
Comparing solar estimates based on total costs — not the more accurate $/watt basis
Lack of understanding of solar financing options and terms – escalation rates, buyouts, warranties, etc.
Getting pressured into buying immediately – the “drop close,” special pricing, artificial incentive deadlines, etc.
Hiring an inexperienced or improperly licensed contractor — usually not from a referral
Installing a system that is undersized for current or near future needs – adding on to a system at a later date is usually expensive
Barry Cinnamon has been blogging about the Solar Industry since 2007.
Barry hosts The Energy Show, a weekly 30 minute talk show that runs every Saturday at 1:30 PM on KDOW Radio AM in San Jose California.
Every week Barry provides practical money-saving tips on ways to reduce your home and business energy consumption.
Barry Cinnamon heads up Cinnamon Solar (a San Jose residential and commercial solar and energy storage contractor) and Spice Solar (suppliers of built-in solar racking technology). After 10,000+ installations at Akeena Solar and Westinghouse Solar, he’s developed a pretty good perspective on the real-world economics of rooftop solar — as well as the best products and services for homeowners, manufacturers and installers. His rooftop tinkering led to the development of integrated racking (released in 2007), AC solar modules (released in 2009), and Spice Solar (the fastest way to install rooftop solar modules).
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