Selling a Scrooge on Solar Power Systems

I’m a scrooge; I admit it. It takes a lot of hemming and hawing, not to mention endless calculations before I can be persuaded to open the purse strings. As you might expect, this makes me a wary investor in anything you could consider new or revolutionary. And solar power systems definitely fall into those categories for me.

So when a cousin of mine suddenly converted into the cult of private solar energy and tried to get me to do the same, you couldn’t say I jumped at the opportunity.

There were a lot of things I found off-putting about it. Aside from the initial outlay needed to set up such a system, there was also the fact that technology still seemed so new to the Philippines. Surely there had to be some hang-up, I thought.

Maybe local installers were not as good yet as overseas ones, who had been doing it for a rather longer time in most case. Maybe it was still hard to source really good quality materials for systems here. Maybe solar panels just wouldn’t stand the battering that can only be dished out by Philippine typhoons, meaning a huge cash investment could just go down the drain in a matter of minutes.

So much did I say to my cousin, who laughed at my worries.

At least talk to my guys, she said. They’ll tell you if those fears have any basis in reality.

So she directed me to the company that did her installation—UnitedSolar, in case anyone needs the name—and I gave them a reluctant call. After 2 weeks’ hemming and hawing, of course, until I could no longer stand my cousin’s nagging.

Just give them a minute or two to satisfy her, then leave it be, was what I told myself.

Oddly enough, that minute turned into a half-hour. A day later it was a consultation. A week later it turned into a custom solar energy system design for my property. A month later, I found myself the owner of a brand new solar energy setup.

That was one fast-metamorphosing phone call, I thought then.

Now I could chalk it up to magic, the way that company worked on me, but it’s a very mundane magic—though still a rare one, more’s the pity. It was the magic of excellent service combined with sound business sense.

Not only were they polite and heavily focused on my—not just another client’s to fit into a mold, but my—particular needs but they also began negotiations from a simple core idea: that any investment I should make into solar energy setups would be one my pocket could handle and which would start seeing returns as early as possible. That way, I could break even on my investment earlier and save money faster.

“The goal has always been to show people that sustainable power is smart power,” as my contact with them explained. “And smart power isn’t just smart for the environment but also for the consumer. You can save money while saving the environment! Who wouldn’t want that?”

Who indeed? Even Scrooge would be hard put to decline the proposition—as I can attest.

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Joe Mead, AKA Traveling Joe, is one of the founders of DigMNL.

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