“My PG&E bills were usually around $800 to $900, and when I got a bill for $1,100, that was the trigger!” said Cotas, who racked up 18 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. “I began studying solar energy and stumbled upon a training link; next I thought about the franchise.”
Ignacio’s similar experience in the telecommunications industry, capped by two years in sales – plus their relationship as brother- and sister-in-law – made their partnership a natural fit. SolarUniverse of Brentwood was born in December, one of nearly two-dozen SolarUniverse network locations across the nation.
Also a natural fit for these economically challenging times is solar panels’ ability to help homeowners reduce their energy bill by 30 percent. And through SolarUniverse’s BriteLease program, homeowners can take advantage of free installation for the money-saving, earth-friendly panels. Installation takes from three to five days.
Typical customers save more, in the long run, than the cost of the solar panels. “With no up-front costs, we’re essentially giving solar energy away!” said Joseph Barghoughi of SolarUniverse’s Livermore headquarters. “It’s $0 down and no installation fees. You lease the panels for up to 15 years with an option to buy. We’re basically fixing your monthly energy bill for 15 years or longer.”
The federal government’s effort to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign energy and fossil fuels means that solar energy users receive a 20-percent state cash rebate and a 30-percent federal tax credit. PG&E also buys back energy from SolarUniverse customers, lowering overall energy costs even more.
Cotas said that what makes SolarUniverse of Brentwood outshine other solar companies is the personal touch. He meets with customers in person, measures the roof (when competitors give only a quote based on satellite images) and performs the installations himself.
“This sets us apart from the rest,” he said. “We want to meet the homeowner and find out what their energy needs are, since every homeowner is different.”
“We want to have a one-on-one relationship with our customers,” added Barghoughi. “That’s why we have local community members creating value for their fellow homeowners. It costs nothing up front; why would anyone say no?”
They won’t, at least not if things go according to Cotas’ vision. “I want us to be the greenest city in the entire world!” he said. “When we started out, this was a business – now it’s a dream.”
Visit the SolarUniverse website at www.solaruniverse.com or call 855-832-6768.