You are the sky.

You are the sky.

Endless, Boundless, Eternal.

There was a You before you were born, there will be a You after you die.

You were created in Love, you will die in Love, you will know Love through eternity.

Your entire life here is just a cloud, passing through on a sunny day.

Your greatest joy, your greatest sorrow… mere raindrops.

Everyone you meet in this lifetime, everyone you’re connected to?

They are a part of this eternity with you.

Nothing is Permanent.

You are the sky.

(written May of 2020) 

(View of Skyway Bridge, taken from Ft. Desoto on a glassy calm day)

That bloody IAN is a real windbag.

This windy sumbitch blows into town with his sucking and blowing and knocks shit down in my neighborhood.

What a bastard.

I boarded up my windows because my Ukranian sweetheart was freaked out, seeing as this is her first Florida hurricane.

I had the boards already cut from Irma back in September 2017.

Above is a boarded up window, below is my Ukranian sweetheart:

Took that pic back in August, took Olga and her daughter up to Charleston for a nice weekend together.

Facts? I fall a little more in love with this one every single day.

In the past 10 months she’s had to deal with the Russsian invasion of Kiev, living with Germans, living with a crazed solar guy… and now she has to contend with this bloody bastard Ian.

My flashlight game is ON POINT:

If you lose power, is there such a thing as too many flashlights?

Gas was in short supply last few days. Glad my solar can charge my Volt tomorrow. My Acura (with a 3.5 liter V6) is just a metal paperweight if we have a long term gas shortage.

I spent the last few days putting up plywood and rounding up the tools to help others do the same.

Only about 5% of the folks in my subdivision put up plywood. If ya got it, why not put it up?

My first hurricane here in Florida was Charley in 2004, that was a bit scary, thought my roof would blow off. I used the plywood from that hurricane to build my workbench… because there was no need for it for the next decade!

Irma hit 13 years later, in September of 2017.

I bought new plywood, boarded things up. Claire and my parents actually evacuated NORTH, so I was here 100% alone for that one, just me and Ms. Lemons. She was a kitten at the time.

That was right after my 20 year marriage ended, I was in weird place mentally.

I’m glad Ms. Lemonz was here with me.

Lemz lives with Claire now, and I miss both of them keenly.

Today I was just hanging out with Olga and Vlada, watching Vlada raid the fridge 23 times. But that is OK, we can buy more groceries after this bloody bastard Ian blows over. Having a hurricane blow over is like a big holiday; lotsa needless eating and drinking, but you might lose your house at the end of the day.

I wrote this at 10PM on Wednesday night, September 28th, 2022… while we still had power. The worst part of the hurricane will be in a few hours, but I’ll be asleep by then.

If we lose power I have a limited 4,000 watts from my solar that I can access once the sun comes up tomorrow… after hurricane Irma we lost power for 12 hours, not a big deal. That’s why I put a flashlight next to my bed, at some point tonight I expect the grid to blink out, but if it doesn’t that’s even better.

I hope y’all stay safe and Ian doesn’t blow your house away.

I gots tools, so if you need to fix something after Ian blows over call me.

Ben Alexander / Hurricane Adventurer

September 2022

UPDATE the following morning :: Ian swung east of here, we had wind and fallen tree branches and that was the entirety of it all.

Looks like tons of flooding and destruction 2 hours south of here in Ft. Myers…..

9/ 19/ 2022 :: Fasting and Writing.

Happy Monday!

Our schedule at Tampa Bay Solar is backed up 5 months, so I’m making very little effort to sell new deals in the hopes that we can get back to a 2 month lead time. Soon.

No one wants to wait 5 months to get their solar installed.

I’m using this time to finish my 3rd book and slim down to 170 lbs.

THOSE 2 things, nothing else.

I was 206 this morning.

Last time I ate was last night (Sunday at 9PM) so I’m going to try a 3 or 4 day fast this week.

I record each fast in my old timey paper planner.

It takes at least a 24 hour fast to start to rewire your brain. Your weight will drop consistently with weekly fasting, at my age fasting is the only thing that works for weight loss.

I fast during the week, eat on a more normal schedule on weekends.

I’m also doing the “One More” Push-up Challenge.

I started 2 weeks ago by doing my max push-ups, then each day I added ONE MORE to that max.

I could do 28 this morning, but my extra weight makes it harder.

My goal is to slim down enough to do 70 push-ups in one shot.

70 / 170. Wrote that formula on my bathroom mirror.

Have a great Monday y’all.

Ben Alexander

September 19th 2022.

The Beginning of the END for Putin.

Interesting news clip:

Russian television personalities are criticizing the war in Ukraine, openly, on national TV.

In a regime that jails dissidents who protest and speak out… this is clear evidence that citizens in Russia are starting to get fed up with Putin’s leadership.

My perspective on the Russian invasion in Ukraine is personal… I was in Lviv, Ukraine this past April as missiles were being fired at that city. I saw the refugees at the border, the fear on the faces of women and children who had lost their homes and loved one.

This entire conflict is one gargantuan war crime.

As the Ukrainian armed forces push the Russians out of eastern Ukraine there is more resistance to Putin’s war in his own country… especially as tens of thousands of Russian soldiers die needlessly in a conflict that never should have started.

I hope and pray that Putin is removed quickly, hopefully with a bullet to the head… and that a successor with some semblance of reason takes his place.

Only time will tell.

Ben Alexander

September 14, 2022

Grid tied, Battery back-up and OFF grid systems.

There are three basic types of solar installs on residential and commercial buildings:

Grid-tied with no energy storage, grid-tied with a battery back-up, and 100% off-grid systems with a larger battery and no connection to the power grid.   

Grid-tied Solar Arrays:

The most common and least expensive type of solar install is a grid-tied system with panels and inverters. These systems generate power during the day, and if that power is not used in real time it goes back to the power grid on a one to one basis, as a net metered system.  

Here in Florida most electric companies participate in “one for one” net metering.

About 90% of the systems installed by Tampa Bay Solar are simple grid-tied solar arrays that use net metering to store extra power, which is returned to the customer when the sun goes down. Net metered systems also build up credits during the low usage months from January to April, those credits carry forward to be used during high usage months in the summer.

Grid-tied systems have lower costs and a faster ROI, so many of our clients start with a grid-tied system and add a battery back-up later.

One note here: as of September of 2022 there are a handful electric cars on the market that have the capability to back-feed electricity to your home during a power outage. Because this technology is relatively new we have limited information on how this process will work.

Keep your eye on future blog posts here on our website for more information about how this will be implemented.

Solar arrays with emergency battery back-up.

These systems add energy storage to an existing grid-tied system. Designed for emergency use, these systems are perfect for clients who experience periodic power outages, especially after tropical storms or hurricanes. These systems require panels, an inverter, battery systems and an energy management system that keeps the battery at full charge and can shift to battery power when the power grid goes through a blackout.   

There are inverter systems that are built specifically for battery back-up, if you already own a grid-tied system these systems can easily be added to your existing system. 

Here in Florida most of our clients want enough back-up power to run an air conditioning unit, and this presents a challenge because starting any air conditioning unit requires at least 10,000 watts of on demand power. This is why it makes sense to talk with a sales rep who has experience sizing these systems.

On demand power is important, but storage capacity is also crucial during a long term blackout. If your system does not have a enough storage capacity it will brownout then blackout as the charge runs down to zero. For this reason most battery back-up systems feed kilowatts to a critical load subpanel with limited breakers powered by the battery; this might be a well pump for drinking water, kitchen appliances, internet and air conditioning only.

If your battery runs out of charge in the middle of the night it will recharge as the sun comes up in the morning.

In this regard your sales rep will look at your on-demand power requirements, storage requirements, and actual power generation from your solar array during the day.

To conserve battery power at night (during a blackout) we recommend that any high energy usage takes place during the day, when most of that power can be drawn from the solar array, not draining the battery.

Off-grid systems

Tampa Bay Solar designed an off-grid system for a client in Tampa back in 2018. This client owns a 4,000 square foot home that was designed to be highly efficient, with a solar array and solar hot water on the roof and a 40 kilowatt lithium iron phosphate battery in the garage. This system has never been connected to TECO, our client moved into the home in June of 2018 and has lived these with his family since then.  

Tampa Bay Solar also builds off-grid construction trailers with panels on the roof and battery storage systems built into the unit. See below:

Most solar installers in Tampa have zero experience with off-grid applications, we’re proud of our unique experience in this niche. We know how to do the custom jobs that national solar installers won’t (or can’t) tackle.   

The biggest challenge in configuring a 100% off-grid solar install is in balancing power production from the solar array with enough storage capacity to keep the power running through the night.

There are larger costs with 100% off-grid systems because of the need for power generation (more panels) and the extra battery storage required to make it through low solar output days.

OTHER back-up systems.

One of the alternatives to a battery back-up is a whole house generator that runs on gasoline or propane.

We don’t install anything that burns fossil fuels.

The drawback to a gas or propane generator is the noise of a running engine during use (solar with a battery is silent) and the difficulty of refueling your generator during an extended blackout combined with fuel shortages. You will also have to be careful about the carbon monoxide exhaust from these systems.  

Solar combined with batteries will recharge every morning, even in cloudy weather, with zero noise and zero air pollution.

What’s next?

Our sales team has weekly training sessions pertaining to new tech advances in solar and the latest storage technology. We would love to have a conversation with you about your options, costs, and feasibility for your home or business.

If you own a grid-tied system we can explore your battery back-up options.

Call me today : 813. 391. 3895

Ben Alexander

TampaBaySolar.com

12 months of travel.

Last September I took a solo trip out to Northern Arizona, stayed in Flagstaff, and went to see the Grand Canyon.

This was the first time I took a vacation alone, in my life. I visited Sedona, hiked in the mountains… it was a great trip.

The mountains and woods around Flagstaff are lovely.

View from the mountains just outside Flagstaff.

In November I went to see New Mexico with an ex-girlfriend and her daughter.

I’m sad to say we didn’t reconcile romantically, but we had a nice time together as friends.

Later in that same month I went up to NC with some friends to see The Great Smoky Mountains:

After that trip I stayed home for a few months, did stand-up at local comedy clubs, got a part in a play with Carrollwood Players…

Winter is not the best time to see the National Parks, and I was trying to stay busy.

Then Russia invaded Ukraine, so on April 3rd of this year I flew to Europe to volunteer at a church in Ukraine…

Leaving Tampa, destination Lviv!
Downtown Lviv, Ukraine.

I was in Europe for a month, part of that time I went to Germany then Poland:

A German Uboat in Kiel, Germany.

I went to Europe alone, but made many friends along the way….

Me and Pastor Prokip @ Lviv Methodist Church.
Me and Olga, enjoying a sailboat ride in Hamburg.

After I got back from Europe I worked, and got my home ready for 2 new guests….

Olga and Vlada got here in June, and a few weeks later we went to Miami to see family.

The ocean water was crystal clear…

Olga, in Sunny Isles, FL.

That art district in Miami was very cool:

The Miami trip was just a weekend thing, but later in June we did a longer roadtrip to the Northeast to see family… we even stopped at South of the Border:

Of course, we saw the sites in DC, NJ, Philly and NYC. Lotsa miles on my car, but worth it to see family.

My 3 siblings and Mom & Dad.
Pat’s Steaks in Philly!
Times Square, on a 95 degree June afternoon.
Vlada, with my sister’s pug in New Jersey.

In early August I took Olga and her daughter to Charleston for a nice weekend… to celebrate Olga’s birthday.

Charleston is a neat place, lotsa history, things to do, restaurants to try.

One night we drove out to Folly Beach and I showed Vlada how to catch ghost crabs!

All you really need is a flashlight, ghost crabs are pretty much anywhere on the Carolina beaches after the sun goes down.

Our last night in Charleston I took this pic of Olga at a nightclub.

Love this pic !!!!

This past weekend I drove out to Canaveral to watch the Artemis launch… but it was postponed due to weather.

So… that was 12 months of travel, taking pictures, meeting new people, falling in love, flirting with danger in Ukraine….

Mostly this was an unexpected year, who knew just one year ago I’d be at the Lincoln memorial with a Ukranian?

Life is funny that way.

I was stuck in a depressed rut 12 months ago, getting out and seeing the world cost me a few bucks, but the cost was nothing compared to the experiences.

I feel very fortunate to have met Olga and her daughter Vlada.

Now I have travel companions ready to go with me!

Ben Alexander

September 1, 2022

Top Ten reasons the USA has the largest economy on the planet!

I spent my college days studying quantitative economics, taking off a year mid-degree to teach English in Taiwan. Since my college days I’ve been back to Asia many times, along with side trips to Honduras and (more recently) volunteering in Ukraine. I’d like to think this gives me a unique perspective on the United States, and our position in the world.

There are folks that criticize the United States… but in terms of pure economics we are a true powerhouse.

The stats in this blog are readily found with a quick Google search, feel free to fact check me!

The United States has had the largest GDP on the planet since 1871… here are the TOP TEN reasons why we’ve achieved economic dominance for the last 151 years!

++++++++++++++++++

Reason #1: The USA is the top oil producer on the planet, followed by Russia and Saudi Arabia. This means that the dollars spent on oil and gasoline domestically STAY right here in this country.

+++++++++++++++++++

Reason #2: The USA is the largest producer of natural gas globally, followed by Russia and Iran. 88% of our natural gas is used domestically, the remainder is exported out to the rest of the world.

+++++++++++++++++++

Reason #3: Our stock market is the largest equities exchange on the planet, holding 59% of all global equities as of January 2022. Consider that American citizens only represent 4% of the global population… yet 59% of the global equities are traded and controlled right here on Wall Street. This also means that American companies that want to expand have ready access to investment capital.

++++++++++++++++++

Reason #4: The USA is the largest exporter of aerospace technology on the planet, with $81 billion in aerospace exports in 2020. Number 2 is France, at $29 billion, with Germany at $28 billion. The aerospace industry is on the cutting edge of electronics, materials science and weapons technology. This means that some of the smartest engineers and technical staff are here in the United States, using their talent and intelligence to innovate and develop our aerospace industry.

++++++++++++++++++

Reason #5: The USA is the top corn exporter in the world, producing 37% of total corn exports in 2021. Again, with only 4% of the world population we are growing 37% of the world’s corn. We are also the #2 wheat exporter on the planet… we grow far more food here than we need.

+++++++++++++++++++

Reason #6: No ongoing wars on our soil since the invasion of Pearl Harbor in 1941. This means that there has been no mass diplacement of our population or destruction of our factories (like the scenario in Ukraine right now). The USA has gone to war in foreign lands, but outside of terrorist attacks (like 9/11) we are not waging war across our country.

The USA is a stable place to run a business, raise a family… just live a successful life.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Reason #7: We have 48 million foreign born immigrants living in our country, about 15% of our population. Some of these folks take advantage of government handouts and welfare, but the vast majority are business owners, work in stable jobs, pay taxes and contribute to our economy. Foreign folks who figure out how to get here tend to be unconventional thinkers; people who are fed up with bad conditions in their own country and are brave enough to come here and start fresh.

Just offhand I can list about 50 people I personally know who came to the USA as broke immigrants, currently earn over $150K per year, own cars and houses, and they also pay high income taxes because of their tax bracket. On balance our immigrants add energy, youth and a hard work ethic to our overall economy.

Do some immigrants become criminals? Yes, but I’m willing to bet there are far more natural born American citizens taking up space in our prison system compared to foreign born prisoners.

+++++++++++++++++

Reason #8: If work your ass off here in the USA you will succeed, whether you have a job or run a business. Our economy rewards a hard work ethic. You can come to the USA as an immigrant with minimal language skills, and if you start a landscaping business and do a great job at fair prices you’ll always be in demand. This is why so many immigrants come to the USA, start a business, work 70 hours a week and become wealthy. In my 48 years on the planet I’ve never seen anyone work hard in a legitimate business and NOT increase their financial position.

American people respect those who work hard, and hard work is rewarded here.

+++++++++++++++++++

Reason #9: We have basic human freedoms, and if you pay your taxes and don’t break the law you will never hear from our federal government. In China the communist government seeks to control every single citizen, you can’t travel freely, talk freely or even start a business without government scrutiny.

Americans can even put a bumper sticker on your car that says “Fuck the President” and yet no one knocks on their door or throws them in jail.

Try to do that in Russia, Cuba or mainland China. Good Luck!

I can pack a bag today, move to Alaska tomorrow, and start a business there in a few weeks if I chose to do so. As long as I meet minimal business license requirements and work hard I’ll probably succeed.

I’m an equity shareholder at Tampa Bay Solar, and I ran a staffing agency (nationwide) from 2003 until 2018. I’ve been personally audited ONCE by the IRS, but other than that the local and state governments have never interfered with either business.

+++++++++++++++++++++

Reason #10:

Our GDP for 2022 is projected to exceed $25 trillion dollars, with China at $19 trillion GDP in 2nd place.

A far distant third is Japan at $4.9 trillion dollars.

China has massive underlying problems, from a shrinking population, to an authoritarian government to a massively built out real estate bubble that is poised to collapse in the next 18 months.

Our GDP represents 25% of the entire global output, even if China had a sudden reversal in government and became a free and open society their economy would not catch up the USA anytime soon.

+++++++++++++++++++++

There are tons of negative news articles about the “decline of the USA” or how China will overtake us in the next 30 years… but looking at the basic statistics there is clear evidence that we have the best position for global economic dominance for well into the future, barring any type of global catastrophe like a nuclear war or major natural disaster.

Just look at the numbers.

Ben Alexander

August 2022

Doing the full Brooksville.

I was in Brooksville this morning, recording radio ads for a Tampa Bay Solar commercial at 99.9 WWJB on the FM dial. They also interviewed me on the morning radio show, I talked with the host about my Ukraine trip back in April and my work with Tampa Bay Solar.

And you can’t visit Brooksville without getting breakfast here:

Already got a call in from a guy up in that area who heard my radio interview this morning!

Five years ago when I joined Tampa Bay Solar I was primarily selling to left leaning folks who had a Prius in the driveway. Those folks are still buying solar, and we love ’em for it… but in the last year or so I’ve been selling to more right wing, gun owning, Christian folks.

Hence my trip to WWJB, the Fox News Radio affiliate in Hernando county.

Over the next month I’m spending $1,000 (of my own money) on radio ads to find the GOP voting, land owning, freedom loving folks who want a huge solar array powering up a battery bank… in case the Chinese shut down the power grid…

I call these the “Zombie Apocalypse” systems.

Since I’m a gun owning, freedom loving Christian… I’m a good fit to sell to this demographic.

Gotta love the classic design of the 1911…. but I digress.

I think solar is good for the wallet no matter what you think about climate change.

Why pay the electric company $40,000 over the next decade when you can generate that much power with a ground array, or up on the roof of your barn?

If we get results from this ad campaign I’ll stretch it out for the next year or so.

Just one sale per month would cover the cost of the ads.

Yeehaw y’all!

August 18, 2022

The Inflation Reduction Act and HOW it impacts the solar industry.

Our warehouse on rte 60 in Tampa….

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that was passed in August of 2022 is a gamechanger for the solar industry across the United States, and beneficial for our economy as a whole. 

The IRA will spur the growth of rooftop solar just as electric utilities across the United States are forced to increase prices over the next 5 years. 

The price Americans pay per kilowatt of utility electricity is closely tied to global natural gas price fluctuations, and indirectly connected to global oil prices. 

As of 2021 39% of the electricity in the United States was generated from natural gas turbines. 

These turbines can be quickly adjusted to meet variations in demand across the power grid, and combined with the lower price of natural gas over the last 20 years, natural gas has been a clear winner for utility shareholders and their customers as well. 

In 2021 the United States produced 934 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas, the highest producer of natural gas in the world, and 88% of that production was used domestically. 

The second highest producer of natural gas in 2021 was Russia, with 701 BCM produced. Russia was the 2nd highest producer, yet the largest global exporter of natural gas. Germany, for instance, is highly reliant on natural gas exported directly from Russia. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022 disrupted the peacetime trade in natural gas, which has caused an increase in natural gas prices globally since February. 

In 2021 global natural gas consumption grew by 3.3%, making 2021 a record year for natural gas consumption, at 4,103 BCM used globally. 

One way that electric utilities can hedge against volatility in natural gas prices is to install large solar farms within their utility footprint. TECO currently has 6.4 million solar panels in 15 huge solar farms across Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk Counties. Florida Power & Light has a “30 million panels by 2030” plan that will build out the power grid in South Florida and transition our state away from fossil fuels.  

Only 10% of rooftop solar installs in Florida are on individual homes, the other 90% is represented by these large grid-scale solar farms installed by the electric utilities. 

The price of the build out for these large utility scale solar farms is being passed on to FPL and TECO customers in the form of rate hikes.

TECO customers experienced an 18% rate hike in 2021.  

In essence, these electric companies in Florida and across the United States are installing hundreds of thousands of panels and using money from their client base to fund their long term expansion. Once the utility pays off the cost of these solar farms will they pass on the savings to their consumers? 

This is highly unlikely. 

The only way the average homeowner can realistically reduce their electricity costs long term is to either reduce consumption to zero or install solar on their property.  

Here at Tampa Bay Solar we have installed over 1,000 systems, from large ground mounted solar arrays with extensive off-grid battery back-ups on farms in Brooksville to grid-tied solar arrays on rooftops in Riverview. 

Economic Benefits of Solar

In August of 2022 the Inflation Reduction Act extended the 30% federal tax credit for solar on residential and commercial buildings. The IRA also made the 30% tax credit retroactive to all solar installs completed in 2022. 

The 30% tax credit will continue to keep solar prices down and make solar more available for middle class homeowners. The IRA also includes a tax credit for buyers of used electric cars, which makes EV’s more affordable for lower-income Americans. 

Here at Tampa Bay Solar we are seeing a huge uptick in customers who buy electric cars then add rooftop solar to their home. This is not only beneficial to our clients’ wallets, but also reduces the amount of fossil fuels used to power their house and car.

More rooftop solar equals less natural gas needed for the production of electricity, and more electric cars on the road equals less gasoline needed for ground transportation across the United States. 

Even with solar on every roof and all ground transportation converted to kilowatts, there will still be a need for fossil fuels in jet planes, making plastic products, home heating, and basic lubrication for machinery. 

Using solar to reduce our domestic consumption of oil and natural gas today will reap huge economic benefits when the rest of the world runs out of these finite resources and has to buy them from American fossil fuel producers.

At the consumer level consider a homeowner who reduces their electric bill by $300 per month, and also saves $200 per month in gasoline costs by driving an electric vehicle. 

These homeowners who own electric cars can reap a 4 year ROI on their rooftop solar array when one factors in gasoline AND utility savings.  

The Inflation Reduction Act will encourage EV and rooftop solar ownership, thus making the American economy far stronger in the long run.

Contributing to a Solar-Powered Future

If you own a home with full sun on your roof a solar array from Tampa Bay Solar might be a good fit for you. 

We primarily use Mission solar panels manufactured in San Antonio, Texas. 

We are doing our part to use American-made products when possible, and Mission panels have proven to be the MOST reliable panels we’ve ever installed, with zero failed panels to date.

Our goal when working with clients is to install the MOST reliable and time tested solution for your specific needs, at a competitive cost.  

Tampa Bay Solar uses OUR OWN employees to install our work, we are NOT a marketing company subbing out work to the least expensive (and least reliable) sub-contractor.

We feel that the highest quality work comes from doing work in-house, with experienced installers who have grown their skill level across many years, on hundreds of jobs here at Tampa Bay Solar. 

Many of our installers are veterans from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard.

We’re proud to employ the young men and women who served our country with honor and distinction.   

When you call us for a price we will ask you about your roof type and average power bill and give you a price over the phone, upfront. 

Call us today: 813. 398. 3687

Solar, fossil fuels, and the longterm economic dominance of the United States.

The United States produces 16,500 barrels of oil daily, the largest producer of oil on the planet. Most of that oil is purchased domestically, with 12% of American oil being sold on the export market.

The USA is also the top producer of natural gas, producing 934 billion cubic meters in 2021.  

39% of our national power grid uses natural gas turbines to generate electricity, so the majority of our natural gas production is also used right here in the United States. As rooftop solar becomes commonplace there will be less need to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity.

This is also true for electric cars, as more drivers replace a gasoline powered vehicle with a fully electric vehicle. For EV drivers with (paid off) rooftop solar they are essentially fueling their vehicles off sunshine!

A small solar array on every home and business, combined with 1 electric car in every driveway would allow the United States to export more oil and natural gas, which would make the US dollar stronger and grow our economy even further.   

In 2022 the USA is expected to exceed $25 trillion in GDP, in a global economy with a total of $100 trillion in economic output. Americans represent 4% of the global population yet produce 25% of the global wealth!

The United States has had the largest economy in the world since 1871, and as the top producer of oil and natural gas we are poised to maintain our economic dominance for many years to come.

As this blog is being written the Inflation Reduction Act has been passed by the Senate and is moving through Congress this week, with the expectation that it will be passed and signed by President Biden soon after. One part of this Act is an extension of the 30% federal tax credit for solar, a measure that will continue to keep solar prices down and make solar more available for middle class homeowners. There is also a tax credit for buyers of used electric cars, which makes EV’s more affordable for lower income Americans. 

There is a shortage of electric cars on the market due to high demand as well as the computer chip shortage resulting from the Covid pandemic. As the chip shortage is mitigated there will be more EV’s available for sale, and eventually these new cars will show up far cheaper on the used marketplace.

At Tampa Bay Solar we’re seeing a huge uptick in customers who buy electric cars then add rooftop solar to their home. This is not only beneficial to our client’s wallets, but also reduces the amount of fossil fuels used to power that house and that car.

We primarily use Mission solar panels manufactured in San Antonio, Texas. We are doing our part to use American made products when possible, and Mission panels have proven to be the MOST reliable panels we’ve ever installed, with zero failed panels to date.

Even with solar on every roof and all ground transportation converted to kilowatts there will still be a need for fossil fuels in jet planes, making plastic products, home heating, and basic lubrication for machinery. There will be a global demand for fossil fuels even 50 years from now, so if the United States can pump LESS oil now that oil will be sold in future dollars at a high premium.  

In this regard reducing our domestic consumption of oil and natural gas today will reap huge economic benefits when the rest of the world runs out of these finite resources and has to buy them from American fossil fuel producers.

The Inflation Reduction Act will encourage EV and rooftop solar ownership, thus making the American economy far stronger in the long run.

Ben Alexander

Shareholder @ Tampa Bay Solar

August 8th, 2022

10 Reasons why the USA is the most powerful country on the planet, hands down.

ONE.

The USA has had the largest economy on the planet since 1871.

Our projected GDP for 2022 is 25.3 trillion dollars, while the global economy is right at 100 trillion.

There are 330 million people in the USA out of 8 billion people around the globe, so our little 4% population represents a full 25% of the global economy.

4% of the global population generates 25% of the global economic output!

The 2nd place for GDP goes to China, at 19.9 trillion for 2022.

China’s GDP is impressive, but China is now cracking down on basic freedoms and asking all foreign nationals to leave their country… history shows that countries that rule by authoritarian government do not prosper, grow, or attract foreign investment.

China was on an aggressive GDP growth path from 1990 until about 2013, but the current authoritarian dictatorship running the Chinese Communist Party does not bode well for continued economic growth or freedom in China.

There also exists a massive Chinese real estate bubble artificially propped up by government spending… empty ghost cities that will never return a profit to the investors who put their life savings into these failed projects.

BTW… distant 3rd for GDP goes to Japan with $4.9 trillion… far behind China and the USA.

TWO.

Our military has the best technology, hands down.

The F-35 5th gen fighter jet was developed here in the United States, and that technology is already 15 years old. I would not be surprised if our Defense Department has some extremely advanced technology that is being kept secret until we actually have to use it.

The USA spends $720+ billion a year on defense, by far the largest miltary spending on the planet, but when your GDP is 25 trillion that’s not such a large number.

We remain the only country with a large enough military to fight a global war on 2 fronts.

Our military is prepared to fight Russia (alongside NATO) in Eastern Europe while also fighting China…. when they invade Taiwan in the next few years.

THREE.

In 2021 the USA pumped 16,500 barrels of oil per day, making us the largest oil producer in the world.

Saudi Arabia was 2nd place at 10,900 barrels, Russia a close 3rd with 10,800 barrels per day.

Most of that oil is consumed right here in the USA, so we are not sending US dollars OUT of the country to buy oil from foreign regimes.

This is one of the reasons the US dollar just hit 1 to 1 parity with the Euro.

Some of the oil produced here is exported to Asia, South America and Europe, which further adds to our GDP.

FOUR.

With 4% of the global population here in the USA we harvest 8.4% of the global wheat supply.

In contrast China harvests 17% of the global wheat supply but the Chinese people consume 19% of that same number.

If China stops importing wheat there could be widespread famine across their country.

With our wheat surplus here in the USA we have food security.

FIVE.

We have 2 massive oceans to the east and west, a natural barrier to invasion.

Those oceans are guarded by nuclear submarines and 11 nuclear powered aircraft carriers… with F-35 and F-22 fighter jets ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

SIX.

Our neighbors to the north and south are friendly.

Canada is too polite to invade and Mexico is busy fighting their own homegrown drug cartels.

Also, neither Canada nor Mexico has to worry about the USA invading their country. Not in this century, anyway.

If Canada or Mexico ever invaded US soil our military would obliterate them in days if not hours.

SEVEN.

The USA has been a immigration magnet for the last 200 years.

My hard-drinking Irish and German ancestors came here in the 1860’s to fight in the Civil war, build infrastructure and get in drunken fights in bars all over the Northeast.

Our entire space program after WWII was staffed with German and Jewish rocket scientists.

Immigrants from India have been the backbone of the American software industry for the last 40 years.

Korean and Chinese immigrants came here to start small businesses, and their children became a 2nd generation of doctors and engineers.

My ex wife came here from Taiwan to work as a teacher and realtor.

My next wife came here from Ukraine and works in the shipping business… we’re getting married in the spring btw…

The USA has been a place where talented immigrants like Sergey Brin and Elon Musk came here to start multiple companies, innovate and add to our huge GDP.

EIGHT.

Americans are really frickin’ creative.

This is where Jazz, Blue Grass, Hip Hop and social media was invented.

The modern power grid was invented here in the United States… so was the Internet!

There exists a creative energy that comes from a society with a mix of people from all over the world, coming together and doing cool shit.

Part of this massive creativity comes from our freedom to do whatever we want, worship or not worship any religion… if you have a creative idea you can come to the USA and use that idea to start a business, make money, and come up with more creative ideas.

NINE.

Our population continues to grow.

In China the population has SHRUNK since 2018, down to 1.4 billion from 1.5 in 2010.

The population of Japan, Russia and Italy are also shrinking in similar fashion to China…

Young people in those countries are not having children as much as previous generations.

These countries will eventually have a large mass of retired people living off government pensions with barely enough middle aged and younger people paying into the taxbase to support them!

In general retired folks are not innovationg, starting new companies or hiring new employees.

In the United States our Hispanic / Spanish speaking population is our fastest growing demographic, going from 12% in 2010 to 20% in the 2020 census.

The USA can use immigration to add younger people to our population, even if our natural born citizens are having fewer children.

Young people pay taxes, invent new stuff, start new companies and help grow the economy.

If the USA wants to remain a dominant superpower we should allow for MORE immigration, especially young people who already have a college degree.

I’m pro-immigration as long as those folks are law abiding and willing to work.

TEN.

There is corruption in every country, but for the most part Americans (and American companies) are known globally for being honest and getting the job done.

Elon Musk was born in South Africa, but he came to the USA to start Paypal, Tesla and SpaceX.

Corruption here in the USA is the exception, not the rule… after working in many American businesses over the last 28 years I have never had anyone try to bribe me, and I’ve never had anyone ask me for a bribe.

In contrast I’ve heard many stories about rampant pay offs and corruption from friends who have done international business in Eastern Europe, Africa or South America.

There are still lying and cheating Americans, but for the most part we are known for being straightforward and honest in our business dealings.

There exists a legal system in the United States that allows a citizen to sue a business if their product is dangerous and causes injury or death. This system is occasionally abused, but it keeps companies in check when it comes to offering safer products and services.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I hope you like the stats I’ve compiled here, we don’t have a perfect country, but it still beats everywhere else when one looks at macroeconomic factors.

I’ve spent time in Europe, Asia and Central America and these varied adventures have given me a unique perspective on what we got right and what we need to change in this country.

Have a great August!

Ben Alexander

August 2022