Skip to main content

SolarCity Experience

Last week Tesla and SolarCity made news when Elon Musk's Tesla made an offer to buy SolarCity. I vaguely remember visiting the SolarCity website one or two years ago but not being moved to act on any of their call to actions (CTAs in the digital marketing business).

Last Friday three days after Tesla made their offer for SolarCity, I decided to take another look at SolarCity's services. I try to learn more about companies by seeing where they have employees. I gained confidence in their capabilities to serve me in Florida when I found several solar technician job postings in Clermont which is a suburb of Orlando not far from me.

I completed the SolarCity interest form on their site which included an initial verification that SolarCity might be able provide me solar energy. Shortly after completely the form, I got a phone call. I was too busy to talk right then and I encouraged them to call me back on Tuesday.

Tuesday rolled around and I got another call. The caller asked if I was still interested. I said, "yes." He transferred me to a bubbly and personable SolarCity agent that I'll call Hannah (not her actual name). So far the SolarCity experience was good, but not that much different from other company's CRM capabilities.

I was actually driving home from work while talking with Hannah. She walked me through a series of additional qualification questions which got us to a point where she was ready to design my solar system installation - in real-time. This was intriguing because she needed to show me my design and ask questions about my roof and nearby trees. I needed to be at my computer to proceed. So we ended the call and she setup a call back time later in the evening, 3:30 pm her time and 6:30 pm for me here in Florida.

Hannah called back at 6:30 on the dot. I had my laptop fired up. Hannah sent me a Zoom link and we proceeded to have a video call where Hannah shared her desktop with me so I could see the solar panel layout process. On her screen she had imported a Google satellite view of my house into SketchUp. I was really impressed with how SolarCity had empowered Hannah with actually good software tools to perform a solar plan for my roof.

The graphic above is from the SolarCity proposal for my house. Basically, Hannah generated this for me in near real-time. The solar panel layout as designed would generate about 14.3 kwh or about 67% of my energy needs. The plan takes into account trees, roof exit vents the southern exposure. Hannah and I discussed all of these factors. Looking at historical data, this solar panel system would potential cover all my energy needs in the month of February, but I would still need to augment the system with my traditional power company for the other 11 months.

So this is the good news. SolarCity did a great job getting me useful information, analyzing my current and historical power consumption by reviewing a recent Duke Energy power bill that I emailed to Hannah and by providing a detailed proposal of my system.

The bad news is that I can't afford the system. The potential offset to my power bill wasn't enough, but the economics are getting close. I'll probably take another look at this in a few years. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Make Me Smart, Mini Review

I try to be task driven and agile. I use Todoist to maintain my personal backlog with each day being a new sprint with the goal of four to five tasks completed per day. One of today's main tasks was to write a mini review of Make Me Smart - the new podcast from APM hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood. I've been a fan of public radio since I began listening on my short commutes to work way back in 1999. My favorite public radio show by far is Marketplace. I'm a business news junkie. Marketplace is hosted by Kai. Kai is one of the few news people I follow on Twitter. I follow him because he's a good filter and retweets things that might prove to be important. I don't think Kai and I would be good friends, but I do respect him. He's smart and makes a very honest attempt to stay connected with how business impacts people in regular places like Erie, MI and Athens, GA. He has hosted Marketplace from these two cities. When Kai interviews people he pushes them to an…

31 Days of July

A few days before July started I had a realization that I was destined to be in an unhealthy state well into the future unless I tried something different. An idea came to mind to try and really push myself for 31 consecutive days to be healthier. For the month of July (including a week of vacation at the beach), I was going to focus on three tactics to improve my health.


My idea was pretty simple. One, I wanted to track my caloric intake with a goal of less than 2,000 net calories per day. Net calories for me was caloric intake minus exercise. My second goal was to drink 100 ounces of water daily. The third and final goal was to walk more than 10,000 steps every day. Let me say that I'm relatively healthy. I didn't consult a doctor before I started this program, and I'm not providing any health advice. Before you start any program you should consult your primary care physician.

In addition to the three goals above, I also decided to go to battle against sugar. I started r…

Voice Is the Future Input Device

2017 is the year we really start talking to our computers. Without question, Amazon's Alexa kicked off 2017 at CES by dominating the show. Amazon didn't even have an official booth at CES for Alexa, but the Amazon voice assistant was mentioned throughout the four day event.

This is also the year I purchased a Google Home (one of Amazon Echo's competitors), and my Nexus 6P phone was auto-updated with Google Assistant (one of Amazon Alexa's competitors). Google Home and Google Assistant allow natural speech to Google's vast services layer and knowledge graph. As a family we've enjoyed talking to Google Home. I've paired the Google Home with several Belkin Wemo switches and we can rather naturally turn off a few lights around the house.


I also wrote a basic Google Action to learn more about the guts of natural language processing (NLP) development. I used Google's API.AI to create the voice interactions with almost "drag and drop" ease. The only …