Too many choices. Too much conflicting information. About everything. Pink Ladies or Granny Smith Apples? Is dental insurance a smart bet? Should I drive or take a Lyft? Use butter or coconut oil? Are solar panels a good environmental and financial investment? And the list goes on. Sometimes I just want to say, “I don’t know. You decide.”
Some choices are easier than others. Apples for instance. I close my eyes and point—Pink Ladies. Boom, done. But best not to close my eyes and point to a solar panel company. So how do I choose which company, how many panels, and whether to lease or buy? Urgh. Time for a nap.
But when I met Max Aram, co-founder of Pick My Solar (PMS), I started to perk up. The company (with the somewhat problematic acronym) is perfect for people like me. They don’t sell solar panels; instead, they are advocates out in the solar world on my behalf, helping me to make the choice that works best for me. There is a lot of hand-holding. And coaching. And going to bat for me. And in the end, I get to choose what works best for my particular and unique situation among the selections they’ve whittled down. Finally, I can relax!
Max, Iranian-born, studied solar technology in Germany and then moved to the US to finish his masters at Cal State University of Northridge. He was taken by the efficiency and effectiveness of solar and couldn’t figure out why everyone wasn’t jumping on the bandwagon. To him, it made financial sense and it made clean energy sense. After doing the research, he discovered the poor adoption rate problem was a sales problem—not a solar problem. “Companies were selling solar like they sold vacuums fifty years ago,” he says.
To meet California state regulations by 2023, an additional three million homes need to install solar. To make that happen, Max knew something needed to change in the way solar was being sold. And so, Pick My Solar was born.
Max and his co-founder, Chris Blevins, designed a business model that was customer-centric and created healthy competition on the supply side. They recognized how easily customers were overwhelmed by too much information and too many decisions. At Pick My Solar, each client’s project is assigned an energy advisor, not unlike a doula—who shepherds you through the process from start to finish.(1) The advisor designs a solar system unique to the client’s needs, and then requests bids from already vetted companies. PMS typically receives ten to twelve bids—based on fifty criteria—and selects three for the client to choose from.(2) The energy advisor monitors the process during and after installation. They remain an advocate even after the system is in place, to make sure all goes according to plan.
In the meantime, all you need to do is sit on your chaise, in your backyard, under your sun hat, and sip a cool glass of water through a long straw, while your energy advocate at PMS sweats the hard stuff.
(1) They currently only offer their full platform to users in CA, NY, NJ, WA, and MA. They’re expanding into other areas as the solar market matures (Florida next!)
(2) Their marketplace also provides competitive bidding on home batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall, which are an important technology for grid resiliency and flexibility.