This guest blog is the fifth in a series on diversity in the solar energy field in Florida and was written for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy by Alissa Jean Schafer, Marketing and Media Director with the US Solar Institute. Click here for other posts in that series.
In addition to providing Valdez a source of back-up power, the solar system covers a majority of Valdez’s energy usage in the summer, and he reports an average 10-15% reduction of his energy bill year-round. “I’m seeing an immediate benefit, but it will pay off in the future as well.” Said Valdez. “Besides working with the post office, I am also in real estate so I know that adding solar to a property is one of the best ways to increase the property value. It’s a selling point! Who wouldn’t want solar on their house?”
So what about that organic seaweed? Well, in addition to powering his home, and providing backup power, the solar on Valdez’s house also powers production for his very own brand of fertilizer “Rubenito.” Made out of fish, seaweed, worm castings, and few other tasty ingredients, the “brewing” process is powered by solar. The ability to use solar energy for the production allows Valdez to create and sell the product without needing to increase his electric bill – a truly sustainable business plan.
Valdez fully supports helping more Floridians access solar energy. “The more solar, the better. It’s a no brainer.” Speaking specifically about Florida being one of the last states to not allow power purchasing agreements (PPA’s – a financing mechanism for people who want to go solar), Valdez encouraged the people of Florida to make the decision to go solar. “We’re always last in everything, so it’s like ‘Come on! Let’s go!’”