Strange Question?

2

Comments

  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    I've been in business of one type or another for more years than most of you have been alive. In the last 30 or so the other half has been in the business of other peoples' businesses (accounting). For last years of my labour I have been contracting too.

    As such I know full-well the value of investing in something that makes the job easier, faster, more efficient. It's called "profit".

    vtMaps is right on this: buying that shovel and doing the same job in a fraction of the time for the same income equals more profit.

    Whether or not any sort of software is going to ease the paperwork hassle remains to be seen. In that I agree with SolarPowered and remain doubtful there will be any 'magic wand' to make that headache go away.

    The compromise I see is using the shovel to bury the paperwork, but some probably some people wouldn't agree with that.

    All a contractor see's is a TAX write off to ease frustration. No write off no pass go. I can't write off a monthly subscription to an electronic service that is suppose to ease my frustrations.

    I can write off my gasoline, my GL insurance, my advertising expenses, my business licenses, even my business certified pay roll or my CPA, I can even write off a shovel "a really big shovel" or a backhoe as a company expense, as those are considered company expenditures, not personal expenditures, so it doesn't hurt me as bad as non liquid resources would.

    I however cannot write off human resources or electronic resources, I cannot write off Obama's ACA universal health care, I cannot write off workmans comp. So for that reason it is not seen as an advantage for profitability, its just an outsourced expenditure that reduces profit when it comes time to pay the tax man.

    Gross income, and NET income from a construction standpoint are 2 very contrasting elements. You can have a contractor that grossed 5 million, yet only walks out with $100,000 net after expenditures. Thats why it doesn't work for contractors.
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    BB. wrote: »
    In general, automation makes sense when you standardize.

    With building/trades/local governments--Standardization is rare.

    Trying to make a "package" that will work across a wide range of customers is difficult.


    In my earlier life, what can work well is to work with one company/organization to automate their processes--Then see if you can then sell/modify your product to support others.

    -Bill

    Look at it from this standpoint.

    If I pay in 10% to only get 10% output in reducing that headache I alone personally spent 10% of my own net income, I lose 10%.

    Now if the automation took care of over 50% output and it only cost me 10% then I generated 40% profitability.

    Every one in this business however wants equal compensation for the work generated so it doesn't work, not even on a micromanaged semi automated level.

    Example: Look at the San Francisco Bay Bridge, outsourced to china for profits where as if built in the U.S the contractor could not make profitability. Time is money, however that time and money has to be at a reduced "discounted" cost, not at a cost that is of equal to the same NET value. (IF) of the same NET value then its a 0 sum game, which in most circumstances is a negative dollar amount on the books. That's business 101, exploitation of said work at reduced costs equals time is money, not the other way around. You can always enjoy the fruits of another mans labor as long as that mans labor is less than your value, and of the same quality.
  • michaelcmichaelc Solar Expert Posts: 36
    Re: Strange Question?

    Hi Sarah, As a new guy who has been learning a lot in the past months, I am working on installing my own system in my house, asking the utilities for a rebate and get a permit and pass inspection.....so I can get the utility rebate and turn the system on. The guys here have been very...super...helpful at helping. But if I could buy a piece of software that does something for me, it would have to be a seachable, smart, National Electrical Code in software form. For example. Lets say I am trying to find out what size grounding conductor I need for my PV panels. I would use the software to look this up. That is fairly easy, but I would love it if the software brought to my attention all the possible alternatives and warn me if I couldn't do something or flag a situation where I may need to do more. In my example, the software would tell me based on my input that my bare ground wire needs to be protected on my roof, or I would need a larger size bare wire. I think automating the most confounding, confusing read on the planet is a very tall order, but it would fly off the shelves. Mike
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    michaelc wrote: »
    Hi Sarah, As a new guy who has been learning a lot in the past months, I am working on installing my own system in my house, asking the utilities for a rebate and get a permit and pass inspection.....so I can get the utility rebate and turn the system on. The guys here have been very...super...helpful at helping. But if I could buy a piece of software that does something for me, it would have to be a seachable, smart, National Electrical Code in software form. For example. Lets say I am trying to find out what size grounding conductor I need for my PV panels. I would use the software to look this up. That is fairly easy, but I would love it if the software brought to my attention all the possible alternatives and warn me if I couldn't do something or flag a situation where I may need to do more. In my example, the software would tell me based on my input that my bare ground wire needs to be protected on my roof, or I would need a larger size bare wire. I think automating the most confounding, confusing read on the planet is a very tall order, but it would fly off the shelves. Mike

    Michaelc,

    whats the point?

    Most state "go solar programs" offer free consultations, webinars, and class courses. I could of taken one for my CSI registration but I chose not to because of my years of experience. What she is asking to do for you is already free information. If you need to expedite those process you can pay a consultation charge to a guy like me that will do the whole break down for you. $600 pays for consultation, design, another $600 pays for permit processing, its my job to handle those headaches. Like I said the resources are free and offered by most state go solar programs. Why do you want to put money in her pocket, when the state offers those resources for free?
    Or better yet why not take a JR college course to better your community tax dollars hard at work.
  • michaelcmichaelc Solar Expert Posts: 36
    Re: Strange Question?
    Michaelc,

    whats the point?

    Most state "go solar programs" offer free consultations, webinars, and class courses. I could of taken one for my CSI registration but I chose not to because of my years of experience. What she is asking to do for you is already free information. If you need to expedite those process you can pay a consultation charge to a guy like me that will do the whole break down for you. $600 pays for consultation, design, another $600 pays for permit processing, its my job to handle those headaches. Like I said the resources are free and offered by most state go solar programs. Why do you want to put money in her pocket, when the state offers those resources for free?
    Or better yet why not te a JR college course to better your community tax dollars hard at work.

    The point is to help someone on a Solar forum who is asking for information related to the forum topic, not blame her for trying to make a buck. Before the Internet became easily accessible, getting information and making it easy to access, law for example, was put into a database like Lexus Nexus to make it simpler for lawyers to find data or even courts to find little known cases and made crafting law or defending it better. I am not in the solar industry and have no dog in the fight, although I can see very strong opine in this forum, to the point of it getting way beyond helpful, a tool to make the NEC easier to read wouldn't be a bad thing even for seasoned pros. Our state (Colorado) has utilities that have turned off rebate programs with no notice leaving the Governor to find alternate funding to keep a good thing going. Our utility is having meetings and some of the topics are the rebate program, which I feel they are trying to stop also. So quite a few of us are trying to get our systems up before the money disappears. However I think the utility will find ways of reducing the amount per KW we feed into the grid, and our 3 coal power plants may be forced to convert to natural gas and we will see our electric bills skyrocket. So some of us are scurrying to put up solar so at least we can offset some of the skyrocketing costs and this forum is a lifesaver. Kind of a one stop library of all sorts of information and although it is free, some profit motive is going on behind the scenes. So Sarah is interested in making installers jobs easier and wants to invent something to do that she must have some interest in solar and contributing to making it cheaper, safer and make a dollar. She sounds like an American enjoying the freedom to market an idea. Is that possible? Do they need that? The market will dictate the need and profitability of any venture. Shade apps on cell phones seem cheesy, but they get better and make it possible for someone who doesn't have 300 bones laying around to buy a solar shade tool to do a reasonable job of seeing how much shading may effect their plans to do solar. Anyhoo, I love this forum and the folks here have helped me make solar a reality by helping me. I was returning the favor.
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    michaelc wrote: »
    The point is to help someone on a Solar forum who is asking for information related to the forum topic, not blame her for trying to make a buck. Before the Internet became easily accessible, getting information and making it easy to access, law for example, was put into a database like Lexus Nexus to make it simpler for lawyers to find data or even courts to find little known cases and made crafting law or defending it better. I am not in the solar industry and have no dog in the fight, although I can see very strong opine in this forum, to the point of it getting way beyond helpful, a tool to make the NEC easier to read wouldn't be a bad thing even for seasoned pros. Our state (Colorado) has utilities that have turned off rebate programs with no notice leaving the Governor to find alternate funding to keep a good thing going. Our utility is having meetings and some of the topics are the rebate program, which I feel they are trying to stop also. So quite a few of us are trying to get our systems up before the money disappears. However I think the utility will find ways of reducing the amount per KW we feed into the grid, and our 3 coal power plants may be forced to convert to natural gas and we will see our electric bills skyrocket. So some of us are scurrying to put up solar so at least we can offset some of the skyrocketing costs and this forum is a lifesaver. Kind of a one stop library of all sorts of information and although it is free, some profit motive is going on behind the scenes. So Sarah is interested in making installers jobs easier and wants to invent something to do that she must have some interest in solar and contributing to making it cheaper, safer and make a dollar. She sounds like an American enjoying the freedom to market an idea. Is that possible? Do they need that? The market will dictate the need and profitability of any venture. Shade apps on cell phones seem cheesy, but they get better and make it possible for someone who doesn't have 300 bones laying around to buy a solar shade tool to do a reasonable job of seeing how much shading may effect their plans to do solar. Anyhoo, I love this forum and the folks here have helped me make solar a reality by helping me. I was returning the favor.

    So whats a professional like myself doing here? Wasting my time when I could just go out for a $600 consultation?
    Everything you need here is free, if you have questions, ask. Some one here will have the answer. But I don't have time for people like Sarah that do data analytics in a years research and think they can do my job that has taken me years to accomplish. Just the way it came off like can I do your job for you and save you the headache... Seriously, Sarah doesn't know the first thing about the construction headache and is already asking to do my job? Seriously?
    Trust me your doing fine getting the free stuff and getting spoon fed, I don't have to be here and neither do the moderators, and Arizona wind and sun doesn't have to offer this amazing place at their expense.... So some one can do their own "professional" research to profit from their tax write off either, I believe she is advertising which is already against the forum policy by definition, and it crosses that very fine line. I don't even offer to advertise my business, I just come here to spread knowledge, that's it. What Sarah was doing is spamming the board to get a grip on what to sell, a direct violation of this forums guidelines. Its the precursor to spam and once it starts, it doesn't stop.
    Its Arizona wind and Suns business to provide this information as this is their tax write off they control the environment, not what Sarah wants to sell to people, and to me its insulting, my profession that some one in data anylitics "like sarah" thinks they can come in ask a few questions like "to go fishing for information", find a way to sum up the construction industry in a nut shell to make it easier for consumers to bypass the relationship between contractor and client.
    Or for that matter for a consumer to use the free knowledge that is available so that some one else can become the middle man and profit.

    I saw the sales pitch in the title of this thread and anyone that didn't see it is just being deceived.

    When I first came here I was that jerk like Sarah posting links to other websites on deals on products not realizing I was stepping on Arizona wind and suns business. Had a few convo's with caribicoot and got the big picture real fast. What Sarah is doing is no different than what I was doing when I first had a few post n this forum, since then I have corrected and adjusted myself out of respect for the company that provides this service to us, we are all trying to make a buck, its how you make the legitimacy of that dollar that matters, its more of a ethical reason with back bone..
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    What Sarah was doing is spamming the board to get a grip on what to sell, a direct violation of this forums guidelines. Its the precursor to spam and once it starts, it doesn't stop.
    <snip>
    When I first came here I was that jerk like Sarah

    There are representatives of a few solar equipment companies that participate in this forum. Some of them have admitted that they get good ideas from their conversations on this forum, and then they use those ideas to make a profit. If they can take my ideas and build a product that I want to buy from them, that's great!

    As far as I can tell, Sarah does not have a product to sell.... she is looking for ideas so that she can make a product. As a beginner, she is typical in that she seems to be learning more than she is contributing. If she sticks around she may become more of a contributor.

    btw, it is my interpretation of forum rules that you cannot attack the character and motivations of another forum member. You should feel free to explain to Sarah (and the world) why her reasoning is wrong, but there is no need to suggest that she is a jerk or a spammer.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • sarahjacksonsarahjackson Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    vtmaps wrote: »
    There are representatives of a few solar equipment companies that participate in this forum. Some of them have admitted that they get good ideas from their conversations on this forum, and then they use those ideas to make a profit. If they can take my ideas and build a product that I want to buy from them, that's great!

    As far as I can tell, Sarah does not have a product to sell.... she is looking for ideas so that she can make a product. As a beginner, she is typical in that she seems to be learning more than she is contributing. If she sticks around she may become more of a contributor.

    btw, it is my interpretation of forum rules that you cannot attack the character and motivations of another forum member. You should feel free to explain to Sarah (and the world) why her reasoning is wrong, but there is no need to suggest that she is a jerk or a spammer.

    --vtMaps

    Thank you vtmaps....I am certainly not a jerk, and not once have I attempted to sell anybody anything or posted links to external websites.

    As my original post stated....I'm trying to find pain points in the industry. I wholeheartedly believe in the solar industry and making the lives of solar installers easier.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    Speaking as a moderator and a professional who hands out thousands of dollars worth of free engineering advice I can say this:

    If we thought the thread was inappropriate or spamming it would already be gone.

    Considering the number of posts from "professionals" that have had to be deleted because some of the advice given was horribly wrong, confusing, or in some cases outright dangerous it is pretty safe to say we are on top of it.

    And if you can't take a hint I'll put it in plain language: 'bad attitude' is not acceptable around here.
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    O.K ...O.K I guess once again I am the "jerk". I apologize to the "world", or atleast the 400+ people that read this thread.

    All I want to make clear with Sarah, that as nice as it sounds to help people with a program that will help with the construction process headaches it just won't work. It actually places more liability on her and much more vulnerable to lawsuits.

    Out of all the millions of jurisdictions across the U.S not one jurisdiction is alike.
    Some are still following 2008NEC, some on 2011, and some are into 2014. Then you have the mess of what NFPA enforces regardless of the NEC's they print out and endorse. Then you also have to comply with the basic needs of the local jurisdiction fire department. If sarah wants to research that headache be my guest, that data base alone would have to be updated daily.

    To top it all off there is Mr.Inspector who always has to put his 2 cents in, and it doesn't matter if it complies with code, its what he wants you to do.Either because he thinks it looks pretty, or it's going to do something greater than what any architect or engineer ever could of envisioned. No program will ever tell you how to handle your inspector head on, and no amount of vocabulary or how smart someone can sound, or even referencing the codes like its the bible itself, will save them either, some inspectors just wake up on the wrong side of the bed daily.

    To make it worse, to even involve the implication of creating software that makes it "easy" for consumers to deal with their jurisdictions would be nothing but a lie, and beyond any definition that is considered a consultation. To be a consultant you have to be licensed, diverse and specialized in that trade for a minimum of 4years. To make it sound any easier that Sarah will be a consultant in the near future the business and professions code states that in order to consult must be specialized in that trade for 4 years, and licensed for that trade skill.

    So if Sarah wants to consult and make it easier on consumers with software be my guest, but without the licensing, she alone puts herself in a worse position of being sued by the consumers that buy that product that felt this false sense of security to make their construction processes easier.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,640 admin
    Re: Strange Question?

    SolarPowered, just leave off the last sentence and the post is very informative. Not even harsh. Just the sumation of a lot of personal learning, training, and experience.

    I am here because I enjoy learning and helping--And because of the occasional bad joke (that usually gets me in trouble--Humor does not work well on the Internet).

    -Bill :D
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    BB. wrote: »
    SolarPowered, just leave off the last sentence and the post is very informative. Not even harsh. Just the sumation of a lot of personal learning, training, and experience.

    I am here because I enjoy learning and helping--And because of the occasional bad joke (that usually gets me in trouble--Humor does not work well on the Internet).

    -Bill :D

    Well atleast you get my dry sour sense of humor.
    I will take the last line down..

    Like my kids say...My BAD
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,640 admin
    Re: Strange Question?

    Solarpowered,

    It was not even a request to take the last line down. I do not think you are being anything other than forthright with your suggestions/concerns.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • theo1000theo1000 Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Strange Question?

    Sarah,

    If you are still listening.

    Can I put in a plug for a simple software that will generate a clean one-line electrical diagram. Something on one page that has a title block, shows the panels, wiring types, various devices and locations. Something any homeowner can use intuitively. I would have been willing to pay for it a couple of months ago. Any software that can automate the document process would be a huge help.

    Many DIY type folks are stymied at this first step that AHJ's are demanding.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    theo1000 wrote: »
    Sarah,

    If you are still listening.

    Can I put in a plug for a simple software that will generate a clean one-line electrical diagram. Something on one page that has a title block, shows the panels, wiring types, various devices and locations. Something any homeowner can use intuitively. I would have been willing to pay for it a couple of months ago. Any software that can automate the document process would be a huge help.

    Many DIY type folks are stymied at this first step that AHJ's are demanding.

    This is not as far-fetched as some might think, as the basic wiring for any given system type is the same. You would in essence be adding labels to the components that would suit the particular installation, and it could incorporate the calculations as well (so that specifications for wire sizing and fusing would be justified on the document).
  • sarahjacksonsarahjackson Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    theo1000 wrote: »
    Sarah,

    If you are still listening.

    Can I put in a plug for a simple software that will generate a clean one-line electrical diagram. Something on one page that has a title block, shows the panels, wiring types, various devices and locations. Something any homeowner can use intuitively. I would have been willing to pay for it a couple of months ago. Any software that can automate the document process would be a huge help.

    Many DIY type folks are stymied at this first step that AHJ's are demanding.

    Yes, I'm still listening :D

    I would like to discuss further with you but let's take the conversation elsewhere as I don't want to "spam" the board with our discussion. We can either continue via private message or I can send you my email address/phone number and we can go from there. Sound good?
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,366 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    I want to hear this discussion, please don't take it offline.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    Either way is fine by us.
    We promise to keep things on-subject and remove anything deemed detrimental to the discussion.
  • sarahjacksonsarahjackson Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    theo1000.....I found a discussion on this forum from a few years ago that addresses your need.

    I'm posting the url because it's a link to a discussion within this forum and I don't consider it to be spam. I'm trying to help.

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?10632-Program-to-produce-single-line-diagrams
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,640 admin
    Re: Strange Question?

    Hi Sarah,

    We really are not that bad. :-)

    Sometimes things start off a little rocky because we get a fair number of new posters that try to put up something, and then spam later.

    -Bill "a really nice moderator" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • theo1000theo1000 Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Strange Question?

    Sarah,

    That would not work as it would have to be drawn by an electrician. In my neck of the woods the electricians I called either could not be bothered or wanted to charge an arm & a leg to do the entire project. I suspect, as cariboocoot points out, that the entire thing could be automated. Home owner takes 5 minutes to enter the particulars and the software spits out a neat plan drawing showing all the components.

    In my case it took a couple of days to figure it all out and a couple more days to draw it up. Multiply that across the industry and you can see the opportunity costs.
  • sarahjacksonsarahjackson Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    theo1000 wrote: »
    Sarah,

    That would not work as it would have to be drawn by an electrician. In my neck of the woods the electricians I called either could not be bothered or wanted to charge an arm & a leg to do the entire project. I suspect, as cariboocoot points out, that the entire thing could be automated. Home owner takes 5 minutes to enter the particulars and the software spits out a neat plan drawing showing all the components.

    In my case it took a couple of days to figure it all out and a couple more days to draw it up. Multiply that across the industry and you can see the opportunity costs.

    Understood....so is it safe to assume you are a do-it-yourselfer and not a professional installer?
  • michaelcmichaelc Solar Expert Posts: 36
    Re: Strange Question?
    Understood....so is it safe to assume you are a do-it-yourselfer and not a professional installer?

    This new guy used layout / Sketchup 2013. Works great for making PV layouts on roofs, one lines, it is free for a while after download, but saves in non standard format. I printed out and scanned in as a JPEG, but it is neat software. Even 3D views of your roof or walls
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    HMMM 2 second bing search.

    Even claims you don't need to know auto CAD..

    http://www.easypower.com/products/features/Integrated_One-line/Integrated_One-line_overview.php

    Check it out there is a FREE trial version to get your first project done.
    http://www.easypower.com/products/EasyPower/EasyPower_demo.php
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    Im not sure targeting installers will be easy. They already have access to sophisticated solar modelling software, and tend to have their own particular tools and workflows.

    However, if you hang around here a few weeks youll quickly see that the DIY segment is altogether another matter. They dont have access to these modelling tools by in large, few can even work pvwatts, which is freely acessible. I know an installer who is so overwhelmed by "i dont know what i want but can you help me" type querys that he turns a lot of people away. These are the type of people who end up here asking how to run their spa pool off of a 80W panel. The mods and others take them through a systematic design process, that while fairly basic is not intuitive to most handyman type solar beginners, non engineering types.

    My sense is that these people might pay a few bucks for an android/iphone app or similar service, that was like a worksheet that took you through all the steps, holding your hand. It would give you feedback about your decisions and allow you to go back and foward refining your expections, budget, etc. It actually wouldnt be that hard to develop i dont think. Good luck.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • sarahjacksonsarahjackson Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    zoneblue wrote: »
    Im not sure targeting installers will be easy. They already have access to sophisticated solar modelling software, and tend to have their own particular tools and workflows.

    However, if you hang around here a few weeks youll quickly see that the DIY segment is altogether another matter. They dont have access to these modelling tools by in large, few can even work pvwatts, which is freely acessible. I know an installer who is so overwhelmed by "i dont know what i want but can you help me" type querys that he turns a lot of people away. These are the type of people who end up here asking how to run their spa pool off of a 80W panel. The mods and others take them through a systematic design process, that while fairly basic is not intuitive to most handyman type solar beginners, non engineering types.

    My sense is that these people might pay a few bucks for an android/iphone app or similar service, that was like a worksheet that took you through all the steps, holding your hand. It would give you feedback about your decisions and allow you to go back and foward refining your expections, budget, etc. It actually wouldnt be that hard to develop i dont think. Good luck.

    Thank you for the input. I'm not necessarily trying to create any sort of modeling software, all though the installers I have spoken with did mention that the existing software is "stupid expensive".

    I believe there are inefficiencies in every industry, not every installer shop (especially smaller ones) is going to have sophisticated tools and their workflow might be so inefficient that it prevents them from getting stuff done because they are pushing so much paperwork.

    Again, thank you for your input. :D
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    zoneblue wrote: »
    Im not sure targeting installers will be easy. They already have access to sophisticated solar modelling software, and tend to have their own particular tools and workflows.

    Not only installers, but DIY home owners them selves....
    The california go solar program has everything, I mean every tool, or discussion a DIY needs, accept the tools in the field that are a necessity for the assessment.


    The reason why a consultation and design rate goes for $600 (some establishments charge more), is because every tool it takes for that installer, or designer to gather up and make the assessments happen, and to give the proper assessment would cost way over $600 in expenses for a DIY.


    I mean seriously start adding it up..

    1)Fuel (at least a $20 minimum)
    2)3' digital level ($100)
    3)smart phone with compass or a really good compass ( mine was $350, but on the level of a really good compass a good one that is accurate costs $65)
    4) walking wheel measuring tool ( cheap ones are for $80 the good durable ones are $150)
    5) I have 3 software programs to do design (trendle (google sketchup) after the free trial the program is $360 for the pro version, Auto desk, and auto CAD $627), I didn't even bring up PVwatts because its free.

    So lets add those costs up..

    $1252 just for the cheapest tools to get a professional job done. That's to expedite the processes that will lead into the permit processing, so its faster for a professional like me to come out to your home, talk to you about solar, and give you an assessment.

    So what cost me $1252, not even including my time management, I'm offering over 50% off ( as consultation fee) to use the right tools to get the job done.

    If your time is money, and solar is a 1 time experience for you by the time you collect all the data, and do all the professional work that took us professionals a minimum of 4 years to figure out, and invest in all the tools for the trade. If any one feels they can do better than $600 on the time is money, build something better than a professional that consults for $600 or less by all means do so.
    But don't end up like one of those people on the ALLSTATE insurance commercials where "humans" make mistakes and you have a solar panel flying off your roof.

    No smart phone app, can replace the required tools of the trade no matter how good a program could be. I mean for awhile I was trying to use my smart phone for a digital level using 3 types of programs and not one program gave the same calibration results. How ever the smart phone compass works extremely well.

    Some tools are a necessity, the most important tool and key element is wisdom and knowledge and that comes from the minimum of 4 years of training or schooling. DIYourselfers believe they can bypass this one important step and very few DIY's succeed with a quality final result than what the professional could of done it for.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?

    $600 for a consult?
    I think I'm owed a lot of money.
    Of course I only use my brain so I guess that doesn't count for value. Maybe I could get a hat with flashing LED's on it to impress people.

    :D
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    Re: Strange Question?
    $600 for a consult?
    I think I'm owed a lot of money.
    Of course I only use my brain so I guess that doesn't count for value. Maybe I could get a hat with flashing LED's on it to impress people.

    :D

    Well I wouldn't consult you. Your experience well exceeds my 20 years in the construction biz.. One thing I've learned in this business is I don't work for people in the construction business.
    Reminds me of a redwood con heart fence I built for one client. My calculation was way off on the labor rate, I lost $2000 on that project, and that client was a Project manager for Devcon, he knew my rate was way off base, and we expedited that contract signing.
    Professionals make mistakes too, but the question is would you rather have the expense of liability fall on you or the professional.

    If you still think a labor install is inexpensive for .99cents a watt you can dictate to me any day of the week, time is money right, saving a back bone is much more important than installing 50LB + panels on your own.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,640 admin
    Re: Strange Question?

    Marc is just being light hearted...

    He has been helping a lot of folks in his neck of the woods to reconfigure/fix their solar power systems. And other than the occasional bake goods... I don't think Marc is getting much more than a grateful thank you".

    Everyone here volunteers unknown amounts of their "free time" to help others on the board.

    I, personally, am always learning.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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