Current PPC Solar team members from left, CEO Daniel Weinman, Matthew Duran, founder Micha Weinman, David Bates, Charlie McGarity, Andy O’Reilly, along with 27 additional full- and part-time staff members keep busy delivering solar power to homes and businesses all across Northern New Mexico.
PPC Solar makes access to renewable energy simple and affordable in defiance of the common misconception that anyone wanting to tap into the planet’s primary power source for household use must be prepared to wait decades for the energy savings to catch up to the pile of cash required up front to install the system.
Many New Mexicans are turning to solar energy, with either off-the-grid systems or what is called grid-tie solar for a number of reasons. In addition to its famous environmental sustainability, solar power systems add property value, reduce monthly energy expenditure, and the reliability is, according to PPC Solar CEO Daniel Weinman, phenomenal. The idea that most people can’t afford it is untrue on every level, he explained.
“People get sticker shock, but it’s not like buying a car, which never pays for itself,” Weinman said, explaining that a $15,000 system installation can return $40,000 in savings over the course of just 25 years. As for the initial investment, PPC Solar offers zero-down, unsecured financing and a free cost analysis and proposal.
“It’s super simple,” he said. “Just call your electric provider and they’ll send us 12 months of your usage information for an analysis. If you like the estimate, we’ll come to your house and do an evaluation.”
This year marks PPC Solar’s 40th in Northern New Mexico, a milestone that will be the focus of a summer solstice celebration June 21 at KTAOS Solar Center. Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and feature a crawfish boil, solar volleyball, movies in the tent, and just general socializing.
“Come hang out with us for an afternoon in Taos’s backyard,” said Weinman, referring to the Solar Center by the nickname given to it by the folks at PPC Solar.
PPC Solar started in 1979 as Paradise Power Company by Michael “Micha” Weinman, Daniel’s father and local solar power pioneer.
“He lived out in the boonies and had no power,” his son said. “I was raised with kerosene lanterns until we had electricity.”
Carter-administration initiatives supported renewable energy and included a rebate on installing solar power.
“If you were using solar to pump water for agricultural purposes, the government would refund you 90 percent of the cost of the system,” Weinman said, explaining that the term “agricultural” included household gardening. “Back then, everyone wanted to be off-grid.”
With the addition of solar power came a new life.
“Everyone watched TV on sunny days and played outside on cloudy days,” Weinman recalled.
Paradise Power saw solar energy grow in popularity and demand since the ‘70s. Since Daniel took over the company in 1993, solar energy became economically comparable to grid electricity and gas power.
“There was a shift. We started seeing more large-scale systems,” said Weinman.
During Daniel’s tenure as CEO, Paradise went from installing off-grid solar systems on the side, relying on commercial and conventional electrician work for the bulk of its business, to operating as a full-fledged solar power company. Paradise Power Company became PPC Solar, and now provides grid-tie solar energy systems as well as some off-grid work all over New Mexico.
With a grid-tie solar installment, power flow need not fluctuate with the weather or time of day, Weinman explained, while an off-grid system relies more on the sun’s availability. Both provide the environmental and economic benefits much sought after in a state with an abundance of sunshine. Solar is a lifestyle here, and it’s worth the adjustment from conventional power.
“A lot of people just love where they live,” said Weinman.
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