The Shifting Energy Landscape in AmericaPosted on Monday, July 15th, 2013 at 2:50 pm by Solar Energy USA
Perry Bell is President and CEO of Atlanta-based Solar Energy USA. His previous career saw him as Co-President of one of the nation’s largest replacement window companies. Recognizing an opportunity in home energy efficiency and savings via the popular ENERGY STAR window offering, Perry made a transition and started an energy focused company. Now, as the head of two energy related companies, Perry is taking the experiences learned in the home improvement world and radically changing the way home and business owners look at paying for power. Solar Energy USA, his first renewable energy venture, is a national provider of Affordable Solar Solutions and the largest residential solar company in Georgia. Net Zero USA, the most recent undertaking, exists to help others understand how energy reduction and energy production can have dramatic effects on a power bill. The term “net zero” refers to a home or building that has zero net energy consumption, or produces 100% of its own energy needs, and Net Zero USA is showing the world how great it is to be energy independent.
Atlanta Business Radio hosts Lee Kantor and Stone Payton interview Perry Bell (third from left in the above photo) during their segment on Business RadioX. Follow this link and fast forward to 32:07 to hear the segment with Perry. Some highlight questions and answers from the interview are below.
1. Why did you decide to be in the solar business?
I decided to start our energy business for a couple of reasons. First, there is a need and desire for decentralization of power creation and delivery. There is a desire for personal autonomy and independence. There is a desire to become energy independent as a country and there is a need to help small businesses achieve these goals. Our company is built around accomplishing those goals.
2. Solar Energy USA has now been around for four years, how has the business evolved and how have your goals changed?
Our business has evolved from simply being a solar company to being an energy company. We have two divisions of our company, one is residential and the other is commercial/industrial. Whether we are speaking about residential or commercial, both groups have a fixed cost of power consumption. The rate for that power is constantly increasing and there are no indicators that suggest it will every decrease as a whole. As our population and businesses grow, so does the demand for energy.
3. Is the business growing and at what pace? Also, is the solar business volatile?
Our business has grown at a pace of over 100% three years in a row. It gets to a point where that is not manageable at a certain level and that is where we are now. We are making sure that we are able to properly train and support the network as well as manage to the cash requirements that are involved with rapid growth. Our diversity has allowed us to continue growth as volatile scenarios play out. You cannot build a business around incentives from the government, but you can take advantage of them when they are available. As long as you are creating a viable solution that puts the customer in a better situation financially, then you have a platform for success.
Solar is constantly evolving and volatility is more on the manufacturing side not so much on the selling side. A large group of people want it and are starting to understand how it really works. Power companies generally don’t accept it since it isn’t part of their model and under their complete control but I believe that they will adopt it as a source of power from which they draw and deliver mainline power.
4. How do you see the solar business developing in the next 5 to 10 years?
Solar will probably develop around how power companies accept or reject the technology. If the power companies reject the technology, then people will be inclined to remove themselves from the grid. Whereas this was very impractical 5 to 10 years ago, now it easier to accomplish. As battery technology improves rapidly, we will see the capability to be off grid very practical in the next 5 years. Remember big impractical computers or more similar, telephone land lines?
5. Are electric cars more environmentally friendly if they are using grid power than regular gasoline and does solar play a role in this?
Well there are a couple of ways to look at it. If we buy oil that is pulled out of the ground and put on a ship, then moved to a refinery, then put on a truck and taken to a station, how does that compare to electricity. Electricity is made from a blend of coal, hydroelectric, bio fuel, natural gas, nuclear and sometimes wind. There is mining and delivery of the product, but none of these is as unclean as petroleum much less combined and averaged out. Also, another key point is that we are exporting a tremendous amount of oil (about 10.6 million barrels a day). We export about 3.2 million barrels per day. It doesn’t make sense on the outside but relationships and money play a big role and are important.
Now, this is where solar comes into play. You can offset the amount of energy you use with solar. Also, some electric companies offer cheap off peak power that make even more sense. We are talking anywhere from 1 to 3 cents per mile for an electric car as opposed to 12 cents plus for a fossil fuel car. Solar can be a fuel source that pays for itself and continues to provide fuel.
6. Do you use an electric vehicle?
Yes. Our company has a plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt and keeps very detailed records of all of the savings associated with driving a solar powered electric vehicle.
Questions about decreasing fixed costs or powering your home, business, or car with solar energy? Contact us today to schedule a free energy consultation and find out how much you can save with solar!