Mary Barra, a CEO for the future.

Take a moment to check out this interview of Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors:

The Chevy BOLT (full electric) car is now being sold all over the United States. It has a 230 mile range per electric charge, and it costs about $30,000 after the federal tax incentive.

Mary Barra has driven the growth of  electric drive technology at General Motors, thus changing a hide-bound culture that resisted change for many years.

Perhaps it took the leadership of a female CEO to make this happen!

Either way I’m glad that GM has shifted in this direction, I drive a gas / electric 2013 Chevy Volt, my next car will most likely be the full electric Bolt.

1 Chevy Bolt + 8kW solar array on the roof = ZERO $$ spent on gas at the pump!

Ben Alexander

July . 2017

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UK bans gas powered cars by 2040.

The picture above illustrates the smog problem in London.

This week in the United Kingdom the government announced a ban on the sale of new fossil fueled vehicles by the year 2040. There are 31 million registered vehicles in the UK right now, and the ban does not take place for another 23 years, but it signals to car manufacturers globally that they have to develop more alternative / electric powertrain technology if they want to keep selling vehicles in the UK.

The government in India has enacted a similar ban by the year 2030. There are over 60 million cars and trucks in India today, with robust growth in car ownership expected over the next 13 years.

As a country India is rapidly expanding their solar infrastructure as well, there are currently more than 300 million people in India who lack access to the power grid. The uptake of solar will improve countless lives, and this power source goes hand in hand with 100 million electric vehicles on Indian roads.

In 2016 over 350,00 new electric vehicles were registered in China, compared to about 150,000 new electric vehicles here in the United States. In 2016 across China 36 gigawatts of solar capacity was installed, compared to 14 gigawatts of new solar here in the United States.

Here is the current mix:

China has the most solar, followed by Japan, Germany and the USA.

The growth of solar installations and electric cars in England, India and China is not only driven by the federal government, but also by air pollution concerns in the major cities of these three countries. This is a good day / bad day in Beijing:

We don’t have as many air quality concerns here in the United States, with 320 million people in this country we are not as densely populated (per square kilometer) as China with 1.3 billion and India with over 1 billion people.

The city of Wuhan has a larger population that New York and Chicago combined!

The rest of the world seems to be ahead of the United States in regards to the uptake of green technology. China has to adopt electric vehicles because of the poor air quality in their cities.

Florida is still pretty slow in terms of adopting solar, but I’m going out there every day and spreading the word. Yesterday I sold 2 residential solar installs right here in Tampa Bay. Green tech has to make economic sense for the consumer, both of my sales yesterday were to conservative police officers!

100 million homes in the USA, only about 1% have solar today. BIG opportunity there.

Ben Alexander

July . 2017

Freedom to choose.

Every Tuesday night I head over to New Tampa to attend the weekly meeting for  Life Leadership. I’ve been involved in LIFE since 2014, at times building the business, at other times just as a student of the leadership and debt free material.

Part of my recent success with Tampa Bay Solar has to do with what I’ve learned in the LIFE business, I’ve also been fortunate to make many good friends in LIFE, people of faith and integrity who are moving in a positive direction.

When I teach the “Go Debt Free” class over at Harvester Methodist I use the LIFE Financial Fitness Program as a teaching aid.

Last night I was talking to Anna, a smart young woman in our LIFE group who was telling me how she felt limited working as a hairstylist in a traditional job.

I haven’t had a traditional job since 2003. Even working in the solar biz I’m self-motivated, I have no regular schedule. I close deals then send the paperwork to the main office in Tampa.

If I want to go watch a movie on any given afternoon I am free to do so.  

This gives me the freedom to run Balloon Distractions, share the LIFE business with new team members, or go after solar commissions. In the last week or so I was working on the final edit for my 2nd book, Fishing on Wednesday, which I wrote in my free time.

I have 4 streams of income: balloons, solar, the LIFE business and book sales on Amazon from my first book:

There is something to be said for designing YOUR life on YOUR terms, entrepreneurship is the best way to do that.

Some might say “Hey Ben, you don’t own Tampa Bay Solar, how are you a business owner there?”

If you work as an Independent Contractor, even in sales for a larger entity, you ARE in business for yourself without the overhead costs of trucks, employees, rent on a warehouse or having to pay for inventory!

Been there, tried that…. Balloon Distractions was a balloon supplier for awhile, with a fancy office, storage space full of balloons, a secretary at a front desk… and a ton of monthly overhead.

All of that is GONE, I run all FOUR of my income sources from my home office; 1 desktop computer, 1 old printer, 1 used desk and a smartphone.

There are boxes of supplies in the back of my Volt, some LIFE CD’s, some solar brochures, some balloon twisting aprons….

My goal has always been to reach total debt freedom, own my house outright with zero mortgage, and travel all over the planet. By establishing these different sources of income (over time) I’m setting things up to accomplish these goals.

Anna and her husband Shawn are smart, young, and they have tremendous potential to lead a BIG life with lotsa options. They are learning the right thinking NOW that will set them up for big things later!

That’s exciting!

Ben Alexander

July . 2017

Small is better than ZERO.

There are some homeowners who start with a small solar array on their roof, maybe enough panels to eliminate $75 to $100 from their electric bill.

Doing this is far better than not getting solar at all. Some people think you have to spend $30,000 and get a massive system that generates $300 per month. Not at all.

A small solar array can cost between $6,000 to $10,000, and on a 4% loan your payment will be LESS than the amount of electricity you generate.

If anyone pitches you on solar and you are NOT cash flow positive the first month that installer is charging you too much.

There are 100 million homes in the United States, just over 1 million have some type of roof mounted solar already. If just 10% of the homes in the USA had a small system that generated $100 per month in energy this would make a huge difference, not only in terms of less atmospheric carbon dioxide, but also for the finances of those 10 million homeowners.

When you pay off your panels your energy is free. This is the best part about solar.

The SolarWorld panels that I sell for Tampa Bay Solar will pay for themselves by 2022, with a warranty that runs all the way out to the year 2042.

20 years of free electricity… and the panels will still be at 80% capacity in 2042. The return on investment (ROI) for solar is predictable and very low risk. We know the sun will come up tomorrow, and solar still generates energy even on cloudy days.

If you are considering solar get a smaller system and try it out. The future is here, stop wasting your money by sending it to Big Electric.

Ben Alexander

July . 2017

4 Factors, and the emerging billion.

I’ve been to Honduras several times on mission trips to install water filters with Pure Water for the World. I saw firsthand how people live outside of our “first world” existence; no clean drinking water, few paved roads, no underground sanitation, and no power grid.

There are 7.5 billion people on our planet right now:

In other words MORE of the world lives like the folks in Honduras. There are a billion people who do not have daily access to clean drinking water, for instance.

Technology will help many people transition from poverty to the middle class, and there are 4 main technological forces that will drive this transition.

  1. Smartphones everywhere. Check out this graph: This means that more people will have instant communication with internet access. The most advanced phones sold for $500 right now will be sold as used phones for pennies on the dollar in 2020.
  2. Less expensive solar. Even a small panel can charge up a smartphone for a few hours. In areas without a power grid solar panels can provide electricity for cooking, LED lighting and internet access. Solar panels can power a well pump and a filtration device for clean drinking water. Solar is cheap now:    

Solar panels are robust and last decades, so a family who buys 3 or 4 panels can provide power for their family for many years. This is especially beneficial for communities that are hundreds of miles away from a traditional power grid.

3. Less Expensive battery storage. As the electric car market heats up the global demand for inexpensive battery power will ramp up as well:

It doesn’t really matter where the batteries are made, they will eventually find wide distribution in the developing world. As production increases the price point for battery storage will go down, and there will even be demand for used batteries. The 16kW battery in my Chevy Volt can be used for home energy storage even after it is no longer effective in my car. When you combine cheap solar with cheap energy storage? This gives poor folks LED light at night, phones with internet access, power to cook without burning wood, and power to pump and filter drinking water.

4. Last, but not least…. YouTube. Not for cat videos, but to learn practical solutions to local problems. You don’t need to read or write to learn from a video.

YouTube is the cheapest university on the planet, even if you don’t speak the language used in the video. Here is a video that teaches how to set up an off grid solar array:

A cheap smartphone, charged by a solar panel, with battery storage and YouTube access?

In the hands of a billion people who want to lift themselves out of poverty?

There is untapped potential out there. As these 4 factors come together we will see a much larger global middle class, which means more demand for basic services, a larger global economy and more opportunity.

With fully deployed green tech we don’t need to worry about a lack of resources, there is enough sunshine falling on the earth to supply every human being with electricity, food and clean water.

It all comes down to the 4 factors; smartphones, solar, cheap batteries and YouTube.

Ben Alexander

June . 2017

What THEY want.

Short term thinkers will always be at the mercy of long term thinkers.

Many corporate powers seek to influence our lives, what THEY want and what is good for you and your family might be very different.

A few examples…

Your Mortgage company wants you to pay them over the next 30 years, if you pay off your home NOW you’ll save over $100,000 in insurance payments.

ExxonMobil does not want you to buy a plug-in or hybrid car. They want you to get a huge SUV with a big V-8 engine. THEY know that if you buy a gas guzzler you’ll spend over $15,000 in fill ups over the life of that vehicle.

A hybrid car will use about $5,000 in gas, a plug-in vehicle even less. I spend $15 per WEEK to gas up my Volt, I used to spent $60 a week when I drove a V-6 Avalon.

The electric company doesn’t want you to find out the numbers on rooftop solar for your home, THEY do not want you to know that your electric bill could be less than $10 per month. They want you to think there is a huge upfront cost, when there is NOT!

Duke energy wants you to fear solar, even though the technology is proven.

Your credit card company wants you to use plastic for everything, and carry a balance forever. And if you’re late on a payment? They’ll jack up your interest rate to 20%. It’s all there, in the microscopic print on your contract.

Your cable company want you to keep paying $70 or $100 per month for 500 channels that you’ll never watch. They don’t want you to get Netflix for $8 a month.

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

You don’t have to participate in what THEY want. You can chop up your credit cards and pay off the balances forever. You can get more efficient, there are many inexpensive used hybrid and plug-in vehicles for sale in the used car market.

I get over 100 miles per gallon in my Volt…

You can go solar, get your electric bill down to peanuts and pay off your panels in the next 5 or 6 years!

You CAN pay off your home while you are still young! I’m 43 and on the path to pay off my home before I turn 45 years old, WHILE I have 2 kids in college!

You can take control, THEY can go pound sand!

Ben Alexander

June . 2017

Which curve are you on?

Check this out:

Residential / rooftop solar is on the beginning of the same upward curve. It will closely follow the growth curve of electric cars:

This is why I’m in the solar biz. It will start with 1 or 2 homes in every subdivision going solar, then more and more people will follow suit.

The first adopters will pay off their panels by 2022, panels that will generate electricity for decades. Late adopters will waste thousands of dollars, sending funds to an electric company that will never give you any return on your hard-earned money.

Solar costs less than your monthly electric bill, right now. 

When the panels are paid off in a few short years? It can be thousands of dollars per year BACK in your pocket.

How do I know? I sell these systems to homeowners every DAY.

Ben Alexander

June . 2017