Small Business Profile
|Issue #72 • November/December, 2001|
How about a “plug and play” solar electric system, just about as easy to set up and use as a “plug and play” computer peripheral. That’s what Cliff Titus, owner of Solar Discount of Mayer, AZ, builds and delivers anywhere.
“We build, assemble, and place a complete PV system in a container,” Titus says, “and we ship it from here, in Mayer, Arizona, to the customer, wherever he or she is. The system is delivered ready to operate right out of the container.”
The container is set in place on the customer’s pad, pointing in the proper direction toward the sun. There’s a breaker panel on the outside of the container where the electrician hooks it up to the home.
“All he has to do is hook it to the AC breaker,” Titus says. “It’s a true plug-and-play type system. We even send a guy along who spends at least one full day teaching the new owners how to operate it.”
A typical system runs $20,000 to $35,000, and they all have backup generators.”
Titus himself has been totally off the grid for three and a half years now, using photovoltaics and a small wind generator. Most of the electricity comes from the PV system, but he figures he’ll need the backup generator about 50 hours a year and, at that rate, it’ll last at least 20 years.
Prior to getting into the energy business five years ago, Titus had spent 20 years as a contractor for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. He thinks most people get interested in alternative energy because, like him, they “want the independence” it offers. He also says cost, not environmental concern, drives most customers’ decisions to buy a solar system. “They have a site where they want to live and getting grid power is outrageously high, if they can get it at all. It all comes down to dollars and cents. Environmental concerns play only a minor role.”
He is skeptical of people who sell alternative energy products to help the environment. He says, “They say they are going to save the world, but I think they’re all driven financially. Even environmentalists, when it comes down to money, are going to pollute. I’ve seen this personally.”
Politically, he classifies himself as “very, very, very, very conservative Republican, almost off the scale.” In 2000 he says he voted for Bush.
He adds that he is radically in favor of the Second Amendment but says “most Americans have no concept of what it means.”
His philosophy of life: “I think we have to maintain a healthy independence, but try to stay involved politically, even if it’s a losing battle.” He adds, “I’m pro-life, and our Constitution is not negotiable. I’m a constitutionalist.”
Titus’ business, Solar Discount, is located in Mayer, Arizona, near the home of frequent BHM writer, Marjorie Burris who just bought a solar system from him. She’ll write about it in a future issue. You can peruse and even order from his website: www.solardiscount.com or order on his toll free line at (877) 632-4219. You can contact Cliff directly through his e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (928) 632-4209.