I'm going solar! I want to tell you a wonderful story of how this came about, and the most wonderful part of the story is, It's happening to me.
My mother and I bought our home about six years ago. We moved in on Memorial Day weekend. The housing market was just starting to come back after the Great Recession. We purchased our home at a reasonable price. The house needed some work, but nothing immediate and nothing that would not pass a VA inspection. Originally the property was a house on the front 1/3 acre and a garage on the back 1/3 acre. The back 1/3 acre had access to a main state road and a long driveway. You could park your car in the garage and then walk to the front and go to the house. The entire property was fenced with a chain link fence. The county had zoned all of the property residential and it would remain that way as long as the property remained unseparated. They had the option to separate the lots and get the back half of the property zoned commercial. When the man that owned the house died, his heirs decided to separate the the property so they could sell the back half at a much larger price.
We had been at our new home for about three years and the property on one side of me had been foreclosed on and the property on the other side had been vacant and for sale since we moved in and the back property still had not sold. I was beginning to worry that I had made a bad choice about the neighborhood I decided to buy a home in. Then, out of nowhere, I noticed a man on the back property, tinkering around. I introduced myself to him and he told me he had bought the property behind me. He said that the previous owner's heirs became impatient with the property not selling, so the agent they listed the property with bought the property for their asking price, knowing it would move one day. He told me he owned a HVAC company and he also was starting a solar company, installing and selling solar panels for homes. He intended to use the garage as his office someday. He had plans to improve the building and make it his office. He said there was one problem with that plan, but he'd find a way to make it work. I asked what the problem was, and he told me the property did not perc. He had to put water and sewage in before the county would let him improve the property. I asked how he would go about fixing his problem and he told me he hoped to find someone who would give him an easement through their yard. I suggested we could maybe work out some sort of barter deal. Solar panels for an easement. He said that was a great idea, and that he would contact me when he was ready to do the work. We exchanged numbers.
Two years go by and I haven't seen much of Bill or any activity. I happen to see him one day and I ask him how things are going? Did his business take off and was he going to be ready to put in water and sewage soon? He told me his wife decided she did not want to be married to him anymore and that it would be about a year before he would have that done with and would be ready then to start the water and sewage installation. I told him that was fine, and I wasn't putting any pressure on him, just curious. Bill calls me in February and tells me he is ready to start and that he was sending a surveyor to determine where the best place to run the lines are. In the meantime, we had our annual air conditioning check. The company that services our air conditioner and furnace said that my AC probably wouldn't make it through the summer. We ask for a salesman, he comes and gives us a very high price on a new AC unit. Bill comes the next day at my request to discuss the details of the barter agreement. He shows me a Google map picture of the top of my house with solar panels and we then determine I will be getting twenty panels (all my roof will hold) and that based on my previous usage, that should provide about 80% of my energy usage. Then I ask Bill how many panels will he provide for the easement and how many will I be buying. He gives me the DON'T BE SILLY hand gesture. I am practically overwhelmed with his generosity, but manage to keep my composure. Then I tell Bill there is something else I want to talk to him about. I told him of the AC and showed him the cost of it. He told me to cancel the installation, he could do much better than that, so I did. I figured since he was giving me all my panels for the easement, the least I could do is buy the AC from him, regardless of what price he comes up with.
Bill comes by a few days later with the quote, and it is almost half of what the other company wanted. I asked if he had financing, as I had fallen upon tough times with the loss of my job, and I had just returned to work. He said he had a company to finance the large solar projects, but hadn't secured a finance company for the smaller projects, but he was talking to someone about that very thing, and he would get back to me in a few days. He called me a few days later and said he didn't go with the finance company he was talking to because he thought they were a rip off for his customers. I told him to give me a couple days to see what I could come up with. Mom and I discussed it and the only place we could find the money was to raid one of my retirement accounts, as our credit cards had enough on them and we were unwilling to put any more on them. Mom has asthma, and hot and humid days without AC can be fatal to her. We deliberated and debated (and argued) for days and finally decided to save $100.00 each a month for a year and put the final cost on a credit card next year. I called Bill and told him we had decided to try to limp our old AC through one more year, as it had never given us one bit of trouble so far, and that we would save our money and get it next year, and I promised him I would buy it from him.
A week or so goes by and Bill calls my Mom and tells her to tell me he is going to call me that evening. Mom, being nosey, asks if she can relay a message, and Bill tells her he needs to talk to me about the lines and stuff we always talk about. Bill calls that evening and asks me if I've ever heard of a particular attorney in our area. I told him I had. He asked if I would be able to go over and sign the easement agreement so the attorney could file it with the county and the work could begin. I said that I would be happy to do that, just set up the appointment, and I would be there. Then Bill said, "About your AC unit. The price of solar panels has come down considerably since we had first talked about the easement and I am able to throw in the AC unit with installation at no cost to you." When I was able to compose myself, I said, "OH MY GOODNESS! Bill, you are going to make me cry." I cried my eyes out! I'm still crying! Anyways, in between tears and sobs, I thanked him profusely and told him that would never be enough. I told him I'm sure he has many blessings coming his way. I told him I hope I got to see those blessings come to fruition. Bill told me he would set up the appointment with the attorney. He then told me his men would be over tomorrow or Monday to install the AC and that the solar panels would go up soon after that, as he wanted to have his end done before one shovel was turned. He then told me my reaction to his gift made his day, which was pretty bad up until then.
I'm not sure what I've done to deserve this good karma, but this has restored my faith in humans, which had been pretty low lately.
Bill's crew came today and installed the new air conditioner. I will post before and after pictures as soon as I can get that feature to work. He did not install on Friday or Monday. Don't know why, but who cares. Stay tuned.