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Energy Matters – July 2015

By Mark Becker
| July 17, 2015

Article written by Mark Becker for Danville/Alamo/Lafayette Today, July 2015.

Almost 14 years after 9/11, it’s probably universally agreed that the greatest foreign policy challenge America faces centers on terrorism and the potential manifestation of large-scale terror attacks again onto our shores. There is no doubt that American energy policy is currently influenced by our reliance on foreign oil. In the spirit of Independence Day, I contend that reduction of reliance on foreign oil will enhance our domestic security. Stated less politically correct: If America didn’t need foreign oil, how deeply involved would we be in some of these regions? Many of these nations are vying for less of our influence; let’s grant them their wish. Citizen sacrifice as in wars past can be our path.

Historically, America’s citizenry was forced to sacrifice to contribute to war efforts. Nowadays, citizen’s contributions to the war effort don’t necessarily have to be sacrifices in the traditional sense at all. Lessening a carbon footprint and improving energy efficiency are traditionally associated with “saving the planet” yet “contribute to the war effort” in geopolitical terms means helping to reduce our nations’ reliance on foreign energy sources. New paths can become clear in foreign policies matters, especially those related to the Middle East. Many veteran organizations, such as “Operation Free” (, are marketing this same tactic as an excellent means to indirectly support our troops and our national security. If you are seeking a direct way of “supporting our troops,” is amongst the best.

Seeking energy savings at your home or business is one of the few tactics that citizens can adopt which benefit them and their finances, our national security, and hence our service-members (who follow the orders of our elected government). Having fought in a Middle East War myself, I’m a firm believer that energy efficiency and energy independence is a win-win for our citizens and our nation, and it was that vision which led to the creation of GoSimpleSolar. It may sound a bit altruistic, but I firmly believe, based on the above line of logic, that alternative energy businesses provide these and other benefits to the consumer/citizen, our nation, and indirectly to our much valued service-members and veterans. Indeed, tens of thousands of separating veterans are employed in the solar industry, five of them at GoSimpleSolar and our associated companies.

Solar PV, done right, is a long-term investment, and shouldn’t be treated like a commodity product or service. It’s impossible to accurately rate the actual quality or long-term service of a company or product that hasn’t been in the market for very long. All consumers should follow this edict if they want to reduce risk in a solar PV or other construction related project.

Relating the solar industry to stock market investment: There are three kinds of solar products and installation providers. “Day Trade” installers and products where long term risk is maximized via a quantity over quality approach at very low margin and lowest initial cost. These projects can indeed return short-term beneficial results. “Commodity Installers” partially mitigate the risk and can return mid-term results depending on how their commodity approach to installation performs. Long-term risk elimination and resulting highest and safest margins result with selection of an “AAA/Prime Bond” installation company. Proper licensing, installation practices, and reliable non-proprietary equipment choice eliminate risk.

What a consumer must realize: The risk resulting from the business model that a solar PV installation company practices falls directly onto the customer’s lap. It will be their project that suffers the consequences of a shortcut approach (which may or may not be transparent to the customer). Customer education is paramount.

An excellent finance path for consumers: PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) loans provide simple financing for solar and performance roofing projects through your property tax bill. Solar PV is especially compelling to fi nance. You can buy your own electricity at a much lesser cost for the next 30 years than you’ll pay PGE for it, you’ll get a 30% Federal Tax credit for doing so, and you’ll be cash positive from day one. When you OWN your own solar PV system, you’ll keep all the savings.

If GoSimpleSolar can help you achieve the financial rewards a high quality solar PV system will provide and the energy independence that will result, please feel free to contact us. Of course, with our licensed tradesmen, we can properly provide for your roofing, day-lighting, back-up power, energy efficiency, or solar related needs.

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 PV NABCEP professional. For questions or comments email or call 925-331-8011.