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Energy Matters – April 2015

By Mark Becker
| April 20, 2015

Article written by GoSimpleSolar President, Mark Becker, for Danville Today, April 2015.

    I recently had the pleasure to be contracted to install a ground mounted solar PV system for a fellow veteran. Naturally, we ex-changed military experiences. He was a Navy surgeon and retired as an Admiral. I was a Marine attack helicopter pilot. During the First Gulf War, the most rewarding task assigned to my attack squadron was to fly armed protection for medevac helicopters as they performed casualty evacuations. After one such night escort mission at a remote field hospital, I distinctly remember a tough-as-nails Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant who had been driven to tears as he related how Allied fighter-bombers confused his self-propelled 8-inch gun platoon for Iraqi tanks and attacked them. Deployment of their surface-to-air Stinger missiles to shoot down the “friendly” Allied airplanes was the only way the “Master Gunny” could protect his Marines from the repeated cluster bomb attacks. Fortunately, the Allied fighter-bombers realized their mistake and called off the strike, but only after musing numerous casualties. After donning night vision goggles, our flight of two “snakes” and two “frogs” scrambled to respond to the medevac call. We had difficulty locating the self-propelled gun platoon; they had changed position to seek care for their wounded. Running low on fuel, we found the unit as we returned towards base. The wounded Marines were loaded onboard the medevacs and delivered to the field hospital where the surgeon (future customer) was stationed. He may have tended to these same casualties. It’s indeed a small world.
    PGE Alert: If you are on a PGE residential or business “Time of Use” (TOU) rate, beware. On May 1st, PGE “Peak” rates go into effect. This is the first summer that all businesses have been forced into TOU rates. Higher cost electricity theoretically de-incentivizes greater electric usage. Peak rates for businesses go into effect from 1 PM to 7PM, and for residential customers from 12PM to 6PM. For residential and business solar customers, bill credits generated by solar energy exports (electricity back to the grid by solar) during more expensive peak hours increases the annual savings that solar already provides. PGE is mandated to credit solar customers the COST of the kilowatt at the time it’s exported to the grid. PGE will then sell it to neighboring homes or businesses. It’s almost always less expensive to generate your own energy via solar than to repeatedly pay electric bills to PGE which generate zero financial return.
    There are hundreds of thousands of combat veterans that have experienced emotional and/or physical trauma yet “soldier on” to live successful and rewarding lives. We’re proud to have multiple veteran customers and especially proud to have a veteran employee who is still serving. All veterans deserve our nation’s support and respect. By nature, they won’t ask nor extend their open hand.
    The solar industry is one of our nation’s fastest growing job sectors, now it has been coupled with a motivated work force as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Sunshot” program. At select military bases, veterans are trained upon release from active duty for careers in solar PV sales, installations, inspections, and maintenance. Employment of our veterans whose military jobs skills are not typically transferable to the civilian work force is a shared public and private obligation. If you provide opportunity, our veterans will succeed.
    The US Military is the world’s largest purchaser of renewable energy, in particular, solar energy systems and biofuels. SunPower Corporation, a Silicon Valley based solar manufacturer of high efficiency solar PV panels, supplies many solar panels to the US Military. We’re proud to have recently become an authorized SunPower dealer. We’re also proud to continue to offer SolarWorld USA products, America’s largest manufacturer of solar PV panels.
    If you would like GoSimpleSolar to demonstrate how a solar PV system can save you money for your home or business, please visit our showroom at 115 West Linda Mesa Avenue, Danville. You can also submit a quote request via Please ask us about our veteran’s and public service discounts.
Mark Becker is the President and business owner of GoSimpleSolar, by Semper Fidelis Construction Inc CSLB 948715. GoSimpleSolar is one of the very few (and proud) solar PV installers utilizing both licensed roofers and licensed electricians for installation work, project managed by a solar PVNABCEP professional. For questions or comments email

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