The Better World Podcast hosts Henry Lihn and Max Moinian discuss the transformational opportunity of local energy

Bill: “There’s just not enough solid objective information out there about what’s going on in the world, particularly with climate change. And so I got on a mission. I didn’t intend to write a book. It wasn’t my goal, but I saw so much misinformation, particularly around how do you build the future grid? How do you power our houses? How do you solve social inequity around energy? There is actually a better answer than virtually everybody’s going after. There’s a big idea that people see, but they just sort of diminish it. Okay? Sure. That that small scale energy might help, but this is actually a huge idea. That’s gonna be one of the most exciting businesses in the world.

Listen to all the of Max and Henry’s Better World podcasts here: https://pod.link/1420293979/.

Full Transcript

Max:

Hi, I’m max Moinian

Henry:

And I’m Henry Lynn from better world. Better world is an exploration of badass people doing really cool things. The more we know about the world, the better we can do in changing it.

Bill:

There’s just not enough solid objective information out there about what’s going on in the world, particularly with climate change. And so I got on a mission. I didn’t intend to write a book. It wasn’t my goal, but I saw so much misinformation, particularly around how do you build the future grid? How do you power our houses? How do you solve social inequity around energy? There is actually a better answer than virtually everybody’s going after. There’s a big idea that people see, but they just sort of diminish it. Okay? Sure. That that small scale energy might help, but this is actually a huge idea. That’s gonna be one of the most exciting businesses in the world.

Max:

So today we’re gonna switch it up a little bit because normally we’re talking to like people more in the entrepreneurial space, but now we have someone who’s in the entrepreneurial entrepreneurial space, but is also a writer. That’s

Henry:

A real tongue twister. That one,

Max:

It, it really is for me. I don’t say that word enough, which is

Henry:

Entrepreneurial it’s. That’s a hard one.

Max:

I, I, I don’t say that word enough.

Henry:

Self-Starter starter of self one who tackles things.

Max:

Well, our guest is definitely one who tackles things. His name is bill Nuey. He’s the CEO and founder of freeing energy. The CEO of co-founder of solar inventions bill is a 25 year tech CEO with several exits, including an IPO. His companies have created thousands of jobs and billions in shareholder value along the way. He has also worked at Greylock as a venture capitalist and after selling his marketing tech company to IBM, he has promoted to VP Corp strategy to help lead IBM’s global strategy for their CEO and S MVPs bill. Welcome to the podcast. None of what I said is really on the, is on topic of what we’re gonna be talking to you about today. So like the big plot twist that I’ll throw out, he’s also the author of a book called bringing energy. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Bill:

Well, first, thanks for having me guys. I love your mission and there’s just not enough solid objective information out there about what’s going on in the world, particularly with climate change. And so I got on a mission. I didn’t intend to write a book. It wasn’t my goal, but I saw so much misinformation, particularly around how do you build the future grid? How do you power our houses? How do you solve social inequity around energy? And I felt compelled. So I started a project was supposed to take a year to write this thing, took four interviewed 320 people, but the cool part, and, and I’m really excited to talk about it is there is actually a better answer than virtually everybody’s going after. There’s a big idea that people see, but they just sort of diminish it. They’re like, okay, sure. That that small scale energy might help, but this is actually a huge idea. That’s gonna be one of the most exciting businesses in

Henry:

The world. Spoiler alert people. We are going to spoil to give away the entire Angelo today. Good news for those of us who didn’t do our homework bill, I cut right to it, man. Because I, I feel my mind is about to be blown and I’m ready for it.

Bill:

<Laugh> yeah. So, well, you know, I, I got into this space. I sold my company at IBM and I’m sitting there at this meeting, interviewed with the wall street journal and the financial times, I remember it really clearly right. Greatest day in my business career. And I took a minute to step out, sat in a confere room and sat there. And for about 30 seconds, I’m thinking, okay, you know, I could retire, I could become a venture capitalist, but I thought of all these people, the, the kind of the people you guys are talking to yourselves, right? You’re, you know, earlier in your career people don’t necessarily have financial resources, don’t have big networks. And I thought all these people are devoting their lives sometimes just for the heck of it to make the world a better place. And how could I do anything less than that?

Bill:

And so I got on this mission to find something that would make a massive difference in the world. Not that I could personally make a massive difference, but I wanted to get on that train. And I looked for that train and I found it not just in clean energy, but in the small scale, clean energy systems. And there’s a really big difference, spoiler alert, right? There’s a really big difference between these, all the things you hear, the president and the governments and the giant corporations talk about, and actually the fastest, cheapest, Mable way to build a clean energy future. And that’s these small scale systems I call local energy.

Henry:

Can, can you explain local energy and what that means? Yeah,

Max:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s the difference between what people consider? Just, I think if, if people just know solar panels, you know, let’s take it back to the basics. I just wanna like, just interrupt you for one second and just I didn’t read the full sentence, the full title of your book, which I think is important here as we’re sort of building the question that you’re about to answer it’s called freeing energy. How innovators are using local scale solar and batteries to disrupt the global energy industry from the outside in

Henry:

Dun dun dun dun

Max:

Dun dun, great title.

Bill:

Thank you. Sick. Thank you. I used to be in marketing, so we did a lot of testing on it, but I’m, I’m glad it resonates with you. I love the, I love the name. And so what is local energy? It’s it’s these small scale systems. They rooftop solar is the most obvious thing. Microgrid is

Henry:

This like the rooftop solar going into the Tesla battery?

Bill:

Yes. It’s exactly what it is, Henry. Exactly. and you multiply that not by a few hundred thousand, which is what we have today, but by a few 10 million, a hundred million and everything we know about how we power the world, how we drive our cars, how individuals and communities have resilience and independence, all of that changes.

Henry:

How long does it take to change if everybody implements solar panel and battery, because I was originally told that it takes a while for you to generate enough solar electricity for there to be excess. That goes back to the grid.

Bill:

It depends on how big the solar panels are in your roof, right? If you if you, if you put up 10 or 15 panels, you can probably power a modest size house. If you put up four, eight panels, you’ll still be very dependent on the grid. So a lot of it depends on the scale of the system. And that’s the, the crux of the problem today, which is that smaller scale systems are cheaper and people put up smaller scale systems and they remain a part of this massive a hundred year old entrenched industry

Henry:

Size matters people. Well,

Max:

Can we back up there? Like what we’re talking about here? Cause I didn’t understand this and I still don’t fully understand it. So I wanna make sure we’re not losing anybody. What we’re talking about here is the way you do solar just on your own in your house right now is probably still relying on the utility companies and the larger grid.

Henry:

If your panels aren’t big enough, but they might be big enough was his point. And it sounds like this is,

Max:

And if you have a large enough battery too, yes. Right. It’s also a battery thing. So if you are establishing a local, like a microgrid or a small scale grid, then you are essentially becoming a part of a larger movement. That’s going to get us off these monopolizing utility companies and relying on them and also is like a way safer way of generating your electricity. And also in the transition from like the oligarchs. And like, those people really ruling our energy. Like we don’t wanna have solar GARS <laugh> or whatever the, the needs to be a better term for that. Or there shouldn’t be, cuz they should never exist. But like, you know, if transition is inevitable, but justice is not, which I love as a saying, then we need to make sure that as we’re transitioning from one form of energy to the other, that we’re also bringing the justice component into it and that people really own and operate their own energy.

Bill:

I think you nailed it. You nailed it. Okay. But the thing that people don’t realize is they still think of these small scale systems as afterthoughts. I, I call it the kids at the Thanksgiving table. I don’t know if you guys had that when you’re growing up, but they put all the kids at the small table and all the adults were at the big table and you know, oh look, Johnny’s cutting his Turkey. Look, he’s gonna, he’s big boy now. And one day he’ gonna sit at us with a big table. And there’s this condescension that towards these small scale systems. And I talk about this in my book, I talk to business leaders and policy makers and they say things like, well, yeah, I guess if you want to be an environmentalist, but it’s so much cheaper to generate solar at a large scale, it’s built giant utility scale projects cuz it’s cheaper. It’s not cheaper. There’s so much MI myth and misinformation. Not just about clean energy, that’s bad enough. But the, the there’s even more misinformation and misunderstanding around the power that people have to become their own independent generators of, of energy.

Max:

So what happened to you in your journey? That was like that aha moment that you thought that when you learned this and you were like, I need everyone to know this.

Henry:

Meanwhile I was back at IBM. No, no,

Bill:

No. IBM. I started the journey looking. Right, right. So it took me and I thought energy was gonna be a great space. But you know, max, the, the moment I realized this was actually a real, a moment of despondent as I got excited about clean energy and I’m sure, you know, I’ve, I, I know you guys have talked to people who work in this field, you can get very depressed when you look at the policy, the, the pace of policies, the, the politicization of these things. And I talk to people every day that are just feeling like they’re powerless. Well, well,

Henry:

Wait, don’t, don’t blow over that one. Do you wanna just like touch very briefly on the current state of policy? Yeah. For solar and, and why that made you so despondent

Bill:

Because I’m an I’m, I’ve come from an entrepreneurial background like you guys, and you know, I’m used to having flexibility to, if you have a better idea, a new way to price something, a better product, a a better marketing campaign or whatever it is, you can take that to market. And if it’s better, you have a fair chance to win. That does not exist at all in the power industry when we’re buying our electricity, because almost everybody in the United States and really for the world, they’re buying electricity from someone who somewhere down the chain is a complete monopoly, sanctioned by the government. This is there’s a, as far as I know, there’s only three big monopolies left in the United States alcohol gambling and electricity. And these have all been, been in place for a hundred years. And I, I have this, this fun story in my book about imagining, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that dumb movie bill and Ted’s excellent adventure, but I wanna get that time sheet.

Bill:

I wanna go. Thank you. Thank you. I wanna go back and I want to get the ripe brothers and I wanna bring them today from 1920 when they did their plane in 2020, I wanna take ’em on a 7 47. I wanna take ’em on an F 15, say, look what you created, look what you birthed. And I want to go back to Alexander Graham bell and say, let’s go look with the telephone is a hundred years later, right? I can access seven, 8 billion people on the planet with 10 digits. I can access to some of all human knowledge. Look what you created. Right? If I go back to Thomas Edison and Nicole Tesla and George Westinghouse who created the grid and I bring them forward, they’re gonna look at a substation. They’re gonna look at a coal plant. They’re gonna look at a anything, or they’re gonna say, what have you guys been doing? This is identical to what we created in 1920.

Henry:

It is sleep at the wheel.

Bill:

Yeah. And the re and, and the good news is the utilities as designed, have delivered cheap electricity, affordable, reliable to everybody. That’s the good news. And it worked right, but what’s happened is innovation has absolutely stopped. And this is why most people do one or two things. They either rally to their politicians to say, we need to make sweeping changes to get clean energy faster, or they become despondent and give up. And you know, the president Biden who, you know, is as an advocate for clean energy, but everything he and his administration talk about are let’s build more transmission, let’s build gigantic nuclear plants and everything that they’re talking about. Offshore wind everything. 100% of the things that they’re talking about will take at least 10 years before we have a gigawatt of this

Max:

Internet. Thank you. Like, I’m just, I’m just so confused sometimes because I know that it’s a massive scale effort that is gonna require like all hands on deck and is really hard and complicated. But sometimes some of the solutions are just for like our government to stop doing some things like stop getting in the way of people wanting to put solar panels on their house. If you’re not even gonna subsidize it, just stop getting in the way, because there’s so many places where the electrical companies have like, made it really hard for people to just put solar panels on their own homes.

Bill:

This is my mission, max, you hit it. Right. So just get outta the way. High five virtual high, five virtual high, five high five. And, and, and it turns out that there are so many ways to get around it. We don’t need, Hey, listen, let’s build offshore wind. Let’s build giant solar farms. The scientists tell us, we need to really make a dent in climate change this decade. Those, those won’t address that at all right. They’re gonna take too long, but no reason to stop those, we’re gonna need them in the future. And the political process will take, you know, 5, 10, 15 years to, to create really big change. I was hopeful, but I’m now not that the world or the us is gonna make any major shifts, major steps in the next couple of years. But the great news is, is that all of us, everyone who’s listening, there are many things that we can do immediately to make an individual difference that if, if you own a home, which is the most obvious thing for people to do is put solar on the roof.

Bill:

But most people don’t own homes. If you live in one of the third or 40 states, you can subscribe to community solar which is fantastic for equalizing and creating energy justice. What’s community solar. This is really cool. It’s highly regulated, unfortunately. So you don’t see the entrepreneurs in innovators jumping to it, but it it’s still a right, the step in the right direction. So somebody is gonna build a big solar plant 2, 3, 4, 5 acres maybe 5, 10, 15 miles from where you live and you can subscribe to that and you, you don’t have to invest in it. You can just, or make a big bet. You can just subscribe to it and you get the electricity generated delivered over the distribution, wires to your house or your apartment. So this is an equalizer that anybody can get into the solar, become a solar customer.

Bill:

And there’s a, what’s really cool is we’ve hit a tipping point in the last really year or two. And this is why the book turned out to be well timed. Is that on a, it varies by where you live and who your utility is, but on average, it’s become cheaper to generate your own electricity with solar than it has to buy it from the grid. And this is a huge tipping point. Like you talk about Gladwell, less tipping points. This is one of those tipping points. And so few people realize it, but now it’s generally cheaper for you to do your own solar, whether it’s in a field 10 miles away, or it’s on your roof or on your apartment. And because of that there’s the very beginning of one of those SC curves we talk about in, in, in, you know, economists talk about where people are just starting to realize, Hey, there’s a way better answer out there. Should I be one of the first people to try it? And most people are, eh, I’ll wait and see.

Max:

So for that person, if they read your book, what is an actionable, what is like the actionable information that they’re coming away with from reading your book? Cause I think so many people are stuck in that place of like, you know, way too many things on their to-do list. And they know that this is something that they could do, but because it hasn’t been made super easy and straightforward for them, they haven’t done it yet.

Bill:

Right. So one of the, I did a lot of research on what are the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. You guys obviously know a lot about that. Maybe probably a lot more than I do, but according to the research I cited in the book, the number one way to reduce your carbon footprint is to power your home with solar power. It’s more than going vegan. It’s it’s more than driving an EV the most carbon positive thing, or I guess carbon help. The world thing you can do is to use as much of your electricity generated by solar, whether it’s your own panels on your own roof or community solar, that’s the number one thing. And, and in many places, probably most places in the us, you can even buy just one panel to start community solar. You can just get one panel or four panels. You can start out in a way that even modest budgets can afford. And then you just build up. If it’s community solar, you’ll buy more and more. If you put it on your roof, it makes sense to start a little bigger.

Henry:

So this is great for homes, but is there some means that you have for people in apartments, in urban environments, community,

Bill:

Solar

Henry:

It’s community, solar still is the answer.

Bill:

Yes, yes. You, you, it’s not on your apartment. Building’s roof necessarily. Although people are starting to do that. That’s brand new, but there’s most places in the us. You can go look for community solar, it’s state by state regulated, unfortunately and you can basically get the benefit of solar or you can, there’s, there’s really innovative companies. In fact, one you should have on your podcast is a company called Arcadia, and they’ll basically let you buy into however much you want and pay it off. Like over time, a small portion of a solar panels located somewhere in the country, doesn’t even have to be near you and they just reduce your electricity bill proportionally. And, and it’s a, in their case, I think it’s a slight premium, but with traditional community solar, it’s actually cheaper. Your bills actually go down.

Max:

So you’re saying that anyone in the country should just Google community solar with their zip code mm-hmm <affirmative> and find a place, find a company that can do this for them. I know like green mountain energy is another one. Like those kind of companies,

Bill:

Great company. Yes.

Max:

And basically what you’re doing is you’re giving them your ConEd information or your utility information and they, and all you see is a slightly different amount on your electricity bill. And that way you are helping the, the in, in the power mix of whatever is creating the electricity on the grid, be it coal, gas, renewables, nuclear, you are helping more renewables beyond that grid. It’s not necessarily what’s coming to your specific home, but it is changing the amount of renewables on the, on the greater grid. And that is the number one thing that people can do.

Bill:

Yes, sky high five, again, virtually exactly. <Laugh>. Now, if you have a home, you can actually save a lot, lot more money on your bills, because if you own the solar or someone, finances it for you, you’re gonna take a much bigger chunk out of your electricity bill. Community solar might save you 10%, but if you put up your own solar panels depending on where you live and what your price of electricity is, you could end up saving 10, 15, 20%. And then in between four and six or seven years, you actually it’s all paid for. And then all the electricity they’re generated is free for you. It’s fantastic.

Max:

And is there a resource that you would recommend, like either regionally or preferably across the country where people can be matched with a solar contractor where they live?

Bill:

Yes. there’s actually a shocking number of companies doing this. It’s funny that, you know, in the world I live, you’re saying which of the 50 competing companies to do this, should you pick? And I love that you’re asking like, is there someone that does this, the good answer is yes, the bad an, the bad news is you gotta avoid the shysters. And so and the bad actors. So I would always send people to a company called energy, sage.com. They’re kind of the 800 pound gorilla, the original super objective

Max:

Energy sage.com com

Bill:

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. Yep.

Max:

Okay. Everyone take

Bill:

Note. So buying solar is the best thing to do. The next thing to do is to drive an EV or to use electric transportation. And again, if you’re a suburbanite and you have options, and you’re fortunate enough to be able to replace your next, your next car then EVs will actually do a tremendous amount to reduce your, your carbon footprint. But I gotta say that just as an aside, that what I really targeted the book at is people who are, who want to be innovative, right? It’s, it’s, it, it talks a lot about everyday people who are just getting up, brushing their teeth and going to the job or, or whatever it is they do. But I really wrote the book. I dedicated it to the 10,000 innovators who have not yet joined the industry, because there’s so much to do technically on policy and advocacy on politically.

Bill:

There’s so much to do. And it’s it really, for me, there’s no, there’s no financial upside in this for me. This is entirely about getting the word out there. That there’s a faster way to clean energy. There’s a whole section in the book about how you can advocate to elected officials which is a slow cumbersome process, but necessary and how you can vote and influence the decision makers who set the policies for local energy and things like that in your state. It’s all in there. And so it’s, it doesn’t immediately reduce your CO2 footprint, but if you want to get up and actually really do something, if you’ve got some energy to go make some noise, whether create your own company or join a company that’s making noise or go out and write some letters to the PO to policy makers, fun fact in the United States. And this is the section title in the book, there are 201 people that control all the electricity policy, 201, that’s

Max:

It democracy at its finest.

Bill:

Yes, 201. They’re called public utility commissioners and they have near unilateral policy. So I live in Georgia for example, and we have nuclear power, a

Henry:

Few people for a few, you know, 300 million.

Bill:

It’s fine. Yeah, that’s fine. We have a nuclear power plant. Now, the states not electricity needs, aren’t going up. We don’t need more electricity. But it’s a really great deal to build the nuclear power plant. If you’re the utility that’s how they make money. They don’t make money by giving you better service. They make money by building bigger things. And so they convinced the state and the public utility commissioners that we needed a nuclear power plant. So the only one in sort of the Western world were building anywhere is here in Georgia, where I live. And that decision was made nearly unilaterally by five people. And in my state, we can vote for them. And nobody knew I, when I started writing my book, I had no idea these people existed that I could vote for them. And other states are appointed by the governor, but every state has a version of this and they, they have these committee meetings and people like you. And I never show up never

Max:

Well, because nobody knows like community meetings. So I really appreciate, well, community meetings are, they can definitely be a drag, but I, I, I appreciate that, that you have so much, like your book is so much of a toolkit.

Bill:

That’s what I

Max:

Tried to do because people really, I, I do believe that people will rise up to the occasion and do these things if we just make it easy, easier for them. And I, I was thinking when you were talking before about I’m gonna quote the great Dr. Leah Stokes, who said the best offset is activism, because people are constantly going to these experts like her saying, you know, what do I do to offset my car, carbon footprint? Should I be vegan? Should I fly less whatever? And it’s like, yeah, those things are great. Solar panels are great. All of these things are great, but actually like the best thing you can do is figure out how to shift policy, where you live and also on a federal level. So,

Bill:

But the thing and Leia has quoted throughout my book, she’s a, she’s brilliant and has really got a handle on the large scale policy. Like nobody else. I, I loved her book. But that process is necessarily an unchangeable slow. It has to happen, but climate’s not waiting for the Republicans Democrats to find common ground. They’re not waiting for, you know, enough people to relay’s book and to know how to act smart smartly advocate. Right. World’s on fire now. Yeah. And, and so what’s, what’s exciting about local energy is that it’s, you can do it now. You can do it yesterday. And there’s so many benefits for all the people advocating for this large scale, massive policy change, billions, hundreds of billions of investment. I really wish that some of the leaders would say, and let’s get out of the way of the small scale systems.

Bill:

Let’s let’s stop. Like, like for example, in the us, no homeowner’s association can, can stop you from putting a satellite dish on your roof. Remember satellite dishes? Well, that was a big thing, cuz they’re ugly. And so the satellite dish lobby group passed a federal law that said satellite dishes can be put in any home and no homeowner’s association can disallow it. No such corollary exists for solar panels. You have mil, you know, hundreds of thousands of homeowners associations, including mine that say you can’t have. So solar panel is visible, little things like that, that nobody knows about. But here’s another thing that I wish politicians that’s easy when, when our leaders get up in front of us and talk about the need to build transmission and it creates jobs, right? Let’s build offshore wind farms. We do need these things. But if you build a small scale system on your roof or you build a community scale, solar, like we’ve talked about earlier, that creates 10 times more jobs, 10 times more jobs.

Bill:

So if jobs is a priority and all this math is cited in my book, I’m I get so frustrated. I read books by some famous billionaires recently and they have all these, these stats and figures, and they’re just not cited. You can’t go back and actually find the source spreadsheet where the numbers were calculated. And, and in my book, I that’s why it took so long to write is that every statistic, like the fact that it’s actually 11.3 times more jobs are created for small scale solar systems when you build them than the utility scale that everyone seems to talk about. You know, and here’s another fun stat. If you build, if you pay someone to build a community in your sorry, solar in your community, like on your house or community solar something like between 15 and 25% of that money stays in your community.

Bill:

It goes to pay the taxes of the people who did the work. It’s not going to people who flew in not going to wall street, you know, bankers, it’s going to people in your community who are paying taxes for your police and your schools and your parks. And when you build these small scale systems, it’s the fastest, most natural way to create energy equity. If you, you know, there’s growing number of stories and there’s amazing organizations like PA, gen and solstice that are making it super easy for people who don’t have money in the bank who don’t have a good credit score to get solar in their ho on their homes or through community solar. If the government could just spend a little bit, you know, spend 1000 of all their talking time and say, let’s help these little companies help people buy solar, let’s make it so that anyone can put solar on their roof wherever they are.

Bill:

And here’s the biggest one. This, this is gonna blow your mind. If you remember anything about local energy today, this is probably gonna be it. So if you build lo small scale system, like on your roof or in, you’re building your school, your church in the us, you’re gonna pay about $3 a wat. So if you put up a standard, you know, four kilowat size system, it’s $12,000, okay, you got that. All right. If you take that exact same set of solar panels, the identical inverter, the same wire, and you build that same system in Australia, same people on the roof. That’s gonna cost you a dollar 10.

Max:

Why?

Bill:

Yeah. Bureaucracy, why bureaucracy really red tape the Australian government and to a lesser degree, the Japanese government and a few others European, Europe’s starting to do this. Now. They said, there’s so much red tape in these small scale systems, let’s just create a national policy and just cut out all the bureaucracy at the state and regional level. And so that’s why, you know, per capita, Australia’s got, I dunno, five, 10,000 more solar panels than the us and now. And the good news is there’s, there’s amazing entrepreneurial, innovative things happening to address that this what’s called soft costs in the us. And so another thing that your listeners should do is they should go learn about something called solar app solar, a P P, and they should call up their county or municipal government and say, you need to, it’s a free thing from the department of energy. Hundreds of communities are adopting it. And it just takes that $3 down to $2 because it streamlines the entire process of installing solar. What is solar

Max:

App?

Bill:

It, it, you know, I get disillusioned by the way, the government and works. And this is a great example of when it does work. You had think tanks together with universities, with hardcore entrepreneurs, with the department of energy, they all got together. And they said, this is a really big problem. Let’s pull our resources, let’s create a unified solution. And it’s an app and a backend process that’s available for free. And anyone can adopt it. And essentially if you’re a, like a, a county government and you would like to have more solar in your county, you’d like it to be cheaper and faster to install it. You just say, Hey, please let me log log in and you get a system. And then you just tell the people installing solar in your community. Hey, would you please use the solar app? And they’re like, thank God. Yes, cuz this’ll cut my cost down by three quarters.

Henry:

So it’s an aggregated marketplace with incentives.

Bill:

It’s actually simpler than that. It’s just a, it’s just like when I had solar put on my house, I’m so fortunate that we could afford it. I had to have the power company come out twice. I had to have the county inspector come out three times. And each time that happened, right? The solar company, which is this wonderful scrappy solar company, they had to wait outside. They had to wait outside cuz the county, guy’s not saying I’m gonna be there at three 30. He’s like, I’ll come tomorrow. And so the solar, company’s got a guy in a truck in my front yard, in my driveway waiting. And so finally the county guy shows up. So what solar app does, is it among the many things that it does is that the solar guy can say, I’ve done 150 of these. I know what I’m doing.

Bill:

I’m taking a photograph of my iPhone of the installation and I’m automatically submitting it. And the county can look at it and say, I’m using the parts that the county’s approved already, which is there’s so many, it’s easy. And the solar app comes with preapproved parts that you can, if you’re not, if you don’t have experts in your county or your city, you can just use those. And I’ve used the right parts. I’ve taken a picture of how I wired it. It goes to someone they check, check, check, check in the city hall, right? Check, check, check, check, check. These are all approved. Then while the guy’s standing there, the person that oversaw the product oversaw, all the installation, all she has to do is her team installs it. She takes a picture. She waits, she presses the button, she waits a minute and then boom, it’s approved. And then she waits another minute and the, the utility turns it on.

Henry:

Okay. So let’s recap. And, and just to simplify some of these really, really great things that we’ve touched upon, right? So, you know, typing community solar and your zip code is a, is a big and easy one. ERDA came up. Just gave it a try.

Max:

Hey, shout out. ERDA

Henry:

Shout out. Nice, love that. And so looking for, so regardless of wherever you are in the us, this is an easy step. You can do this and clean up your energy act. You’ve also mentioned that we can facilitate the implementation of solar panels on our homes. And that there’s a financial incentive for us to go bigger. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so panel and battery and we recommend downloading the solar. What’s the app again, what’s

Bill:

It it’s called solar app, but it doesn’t help you as a end user. You have to convince your board of commissioners or whoever is running your municipal government or county, convince them to so send them a letter, send them the website and say, if you do this, we’ll be putting much more solar up.

Max:

Okay. As far as testimonials go, the us department of energy, secretary, Jennifer Granholm mm-hmm <affirmative> did an open letter, encouraging American mayors to speed up solar GE solar energy deployment and adopt solar apps. So there’s a strong testimonial there.

Henry:

It’s got some great travel advisor reviews.

Bill:

<Laugh>, you know, I, I interviewed the guy that came up with it solar wrap and in my book. And it’s a fascinating origin story about how this there’s. I mean, it’s solar is cheaper. Everybody loves it. Republicans, Democrats, everybody loves it, small scale solar. And yet it’s just got this, all this inertia and Mo and, and bureaucracy keeping it from getting realized. And that’s why I wrote the book. There’s so much to be done. Not only can we make it happen faster, it’s maybe one of the biggest business opportunities in history, which is what gets me as an entrepreneur excited.

Henry:

Well, the next thing after that is how do people then purchase their solar? What’s the best way to purchase your solar in your battery?

Bill:

I, I would, I, one of my favorite places is to go to energy, sage.com. I have no interest in the company other than, you know, victims of friend. I interviewed ’em on my podcast. They just got acquired. Hopefully I, I, it wasn’t disclosed, but hopefully for a lot of money, but it’s a great place. Totally objective, totally comprehensive. Should I get batteries? What’s gonna cost me to get batteries. Where are the best solar panels to buy? Who’s vetted in my community, my county, my city for doing solar installations that I can trust. They take care of

Henry:

All of that. So you’ve got these basic things that each individual can do. But the one burning question that I have left is what is the future for bill? Are you gonna be the policy hero?

Bill:

Absolutely not. <Laugh> I, I get pulled into a lot of policy stuff. I I’m, I’m a company builder, you know, I love building companies. I’ve done it since I was 14 years old. I started my first software company as a sophomore in high school, and I’ve been doing it ever since. And I loved being a venture capitalist, but I just really, I was born to build company. So I’ve started one company called solar inventions, which is got some crazy cool science. And hopefully in a year I’ll have one or two more and just want to create the companies that the market really needs. It’s gonna accelerate the transition to clean energy as fast as we possibly can.

Max:

Okay. Here’s the real question, bill, is your house off grid?

Bill:

I, you know, max, when I started this, I thought everyone was gonna go off grid. I have become for all my research. We don’t actually want to be off grid. There’s a lot of benefits to being on the grid. So, Ooh,

Henry:

Plot twist. We wanna be on grid and feeding it back with our batteries.

Bill:

No, we want the grid to be like eBay. We don’t want to, we don’t want, we don’t want to be Walmart. We want to be trading with each other. Right? So eBay lets me sell you my pest dispenser.

Max:

So there’s like redundancies in the system that way.

Bill:

Absolutely redundancies and marketplaces and competition. And you know, max you’re, you just added batteries. So you can sell electricity to, to me at 1:00 AM and Henry’s got sheer solar panels, but it only works during the day. And so he can sell it to me at a different price. And I want to have the, you know, Googles and the startups and all these innovators looking at all that saying, Hey bill, here’s 15 different options. You can choose this one. We’ll automatically manage it for you’re gonna save money. You can help the environment. That’s what the grid needs to be. And it will be I got a guy coming up in my new podcast, a new podcast coming out with probably the most innovative utility leader in the country. And this is what they’re going towards. And Europe’s already doing this.

Max:

I remember during the, the wildfires and the heat waves, the summer in California, the energy utility, the utility companies that, that had actively blocked policy to support people, adopting rooftop. Solar ended up calling people because they had to shut down their power. They ended up calling people who had solar panels, asking them to be like giving back to the grid or something. So that’s kind of like what you’re saying, oh,

Bill:

It’s so much worse than you. You could imagine.

Max:

I mean, well that, that those people suck for sure, but also that in these times of like emergency that actually, if everybody is a mini is a mini energy factory. Exactly. That’s the, that’s the best kind of redundancy we can have for a future where we’re gonna have like way more extreme weather. So we’re gonna have more wildfires, more flood, more heat waves, more flu, where we can’t rely on these like centralized power generators. So there’s layered benefit. Awesome.

Bill:

Think about the way the Internet’s played out like Google, isn’t a giant mainframe, Google, Google doesn’t buy mainframes. Google buys millions. Every cloud company that’s powering the entire world today for computing is not one or two giant mainframes, which is how the electricity industry works today. They’ve gone to tens, hundreds of millions, of small computers, all aggregated and synchronized. I call it choreographing electrons, the internet of energy, where we are slowly creating an entirely new paradigm. I like the gentle dance. Yeah, it’s an entire, it’s an entirely new paradigm for electricity. And the current folks that control it are fighting a tooth and nail. But there’s no question in that the electricity and general energy and transportation energy is gonna go towards the same way computing media has gone, which is gonna be lots of small, independent people working in coordinated fashion to do stuff collectively that could never have been done any other way.

Bill:

You know, in the last sentence, in my book, and I’ll, I’ll wrap up with this if you want is the it’s a quote from Robert F. Kennedy and I, I won’t get it right. It’s beautiful. He says, very few of us will have the chances individuals to change the arc of arc of history. But together collectively working towards common causes, we can create the future. And that’s what local energy’s about. That’s the ethos of the future of the planet. It’s how we save it. It’s how we equalize it. And it’s how we’re gonna create a lot of really happy entrepreneurs and investors. It’s a win, win, win.

Max:

And with that beautiful win, win, win. Thank you bill for coming on the podcast. Thank

Bill:

You bill. It’s been a pleasure folks. I love, I love your mission and I’m very proud to honored, to be a small part of the story. You’re helping people make a real difference. Thank you for the work you do. We love

Max:

The work. Thank you everybody. You can purchase free energy, please. Don’t buy it on Amazon.

Bill:

Can you get it on Cobo and Barnes and noble?

Max:

There we go. Bookshop.Org. Yep. Your local bookstore,

Henry:

All the good guys.

Bill:

Go and ask for it more and more carrying it. It’s selling. It’s selling well more and more carrying it.

Henry:

Awesome. Shout out to ran. Mcnalley let’s go, bill. Thank you again of coming on the pod and thank you for your feedback. I am Henry Lynn

Max:

And I’m max Moinian

Henry:

And please join us again for another episode, a better world.

POST'S CATEGORIES

RELATED POSTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

SUBSCRIBE

TOPICS

RECENT POSTS