True South Solar New Tesla Powerwall

Now in its 14th year of operation, True South Solar leads the rooftop revolution here in Southern Oregon. Locally owned by Eric Hansen, the company has a dedicated team of more than 30 employees who work tirelessly year-round to deliver top-notch service to every client. In today’s edition, we delve into the exciting news regarding Tesla’s new Powerwall 3, now available for homeowners, while also examining the latest commercial-scale projects that True South Solar has in progress and recently accomplished.


Hi Eric, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today and welcome back to LocalsGuide!

Hi Shields! It’s great to be back. We love the LocalsGuide.

To begin with, I understand business is booming. Please catch us up to speed on how 2023 was for True South Solar and how things are going now.

Yes, 2023 was a banner year for True South Solar, thanks for asking. We saw an explosive growth in commercial solar last year. We absolutely love working with residential clients and bringing energy independence to homes around the Rogue Valley. But there is nothing like commercial solar to really move the needle. We’re fortunate to have a thriving business community here in Southern Oregon. Local business leaders are looking for ways to offset all of the rising costs on the balance sheet. One way to cut significant operating costs is to start generating your own solar energy.

In 2023, half of the solar capacity we installed was commercial. We installed our largest system to-date at White City-based Terramai, a recycled wood product manufacturing facility. We have some pretty big commercial solar projects lined up for this year, too.

Congratulations to everyone! I know a huge amount of effort has gone into creating this success.

Thanks! Our team is amazing, and I am really proud of them. We’re always looking at unique ways to tackle challenges. We established some great new partnerships to help us grow. Our commercial sales team is really responsible for system layout all the way to assisting with project management. Our permitting team handles all of the paperwork, including applying for incentives. The Project Manager handles all of the logistics in concert with the commercial sales advisor and the installation team. I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have all of this coordinated under one roof. Commercial projects have a lot of moving parts.

Eric, will you please talk more about True South Solar as a company and culture you have created here in Southern Oregon.

Shields, we’re a mission-driven company. We’re guided by a higher calling, which is to make Southern Oregon a net exporter of solar energy. Our mission is Solar for Everyone and Best Jobs Ever! This region has so much potential to harness the power of the sun. This is already happening in the orchard, wine, and cannabis industries in Southern Oregon. We’ve got so much potential to build out this already robust local economy with cheap power from the sun. We’re here to help our friends and neighbors bring about change by empowering them with the tools and resources they need to generate power themselves.

Right now many people are interested in the Tesla Powerwall. What is it and how does it work?

Yes, Tesla Powerwall 3 is a total game-changer for home energy storage. Powerwall is a backup battery for homes and businesses that can keep the power on for days or even weeks in the case of a grid failure.

Lots of people are interested in Powerwall because it offers peace of mind for when the power goes out.

With Powerwall installed at your home, it captures and stores solar energy during the day for use at night. Should the power go out, Powerwall instantly recognizes the power loss and creates a microgrid in your home, powering all of your appliances, including vehicle chargers, AC units, and hot tubs.

Why is this a game changer and how do you see this changing the industry as we move forward?

The most common knock on the solar industry is “what am I going to do when the sun goes down?” This is understandable. The other challenge is that your typical solar array must shut down in the event of a grid failure, for safety reasons. Powerwall fixes both problems affordably. The biggest new features with Powerwall 3 are lower cost, more power, and ease of installation and maintenance. The difference between a standard solar installation and one that includes backup storage is as low as it’s ever been. Talk about energy independence!

Eric, your sales team hears all sorts of different stories, good and bad, about solar installations, prices and incentives. What are some of the biggest myths we need to be aware of and avoid?

Yes, we hear a lot of stories about solar. First off, solar is not free. It’s a very worthwhile investment and there are indeed a lot of incentives available, but you must make an investment to get solar on your roof. We do have financing options that are $0 down with a monthly payment, which can replace your power bill.

The second set of myths are related to State and utility incentives, tax breaks, and federal incentives. There are a number of State and local incentives available, and some contractors aren’t helping clients get them – which is a shame since it’s leaving money on the table.

And without going into the weeds on tax credits, it’s just important to understand that each person has a unique tax situation, and solar companies are not in the accounting business. Please do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.

Prices on solar continue to drop while the quality improves. Please talk more about this trend of value based engineering and growth in the solar electric market.

Yes, the good news about solar is that we’re undergoing a seismic shift in the way we source equipment and how it is brought into service.

First, the US government passed the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022. As a result, several solar panel manufacturing companies are investing billions of dollars into US-based manufacturing hubs. The Qcells factory in Georgia alone will be generating 8 gigawatts of solar panels per year when completed early next year. That will be enough to power millions of new homes per year with solar.

Tesla, another US-based manufacturing company, has brought to market a couple of pieces of equipment that are revolutionizing the industry. In addition to Powerwall 3, Tesla’s new inverters are cheaper than the microinverters that have been the industry standard for more than a decade. This pivot can reduce the cost of a solar electric system by as much as 10% or more.

Eric, True South Solar has recently taken on two very large commercial projects. One at Ashland Middle School and another coming up at Southern Oregon University. Please tell us about these unique projects.

Schools in Southern Oregon are facing a unique set of financial challenges right now. Fortunately, the State is offering financial resources for districts to convert their schools to use free solar energy.

This will enable the districts to pivot from paying expensive power bills to paying for more teachers and other educational resources.

Southern Oregon University and Central Point School District are taking this one step further by building resiliency hubs on campus.

Can you go into more depth of what a resiliency hub is and how it will work?

Resiliency hubs are gathering places for when we experience a crisis in our community. The hubs will enable local students and other residents to gather safely and have their basic needs met, even if the power is out. The buildings will have backup battery energy storage supported by solar energy. These “microgrids” will enable the schools to offer an air-conditioned space with food service. This will become increasingly important as fire season grows longer and more intense in years to come.

Eric, True South Solar has installed solar on thousands of homes here in Southern Oregon. You have 114 amazing reviews on Google.

Will you please share some of your favorite testimonials?

Here is one of our favorites from a local resident named Alice: “Working with True South Solar has truly been the best experience we have had with a service provider.

Everyone at this company is wonderful—pleasant, helpful, courteous, efficient and very professional. They explained everything well and stayed in close touch with us throughout the process. Everything went very smoothly. The crew that installed our 28 panels worked so well together and seemed to be really enjoying their jobs!! We couldn’t be more pleased, and we recommend them highly. If you are thinking of going solar, go True South Solar!!”

Moving forward into 2024 what are some of the main goals for your company and biggest opportunities for residential customers?

We started the year with a huge boost in sales of storage (Tesla Powerwall) paired with solar. We hope that trend continues so that our community continues on this trend towards self-reliance and resiliency. New storage incentives from the utility companies and the state are making this possible affordably. Home energy storage is the future, and we’re happy to help bring about this exciting change!

Eric, what are the steps that must be taken when exploring getting a new solar electric system with True South Solar?

Give us a call at (541) 203-0525 or fill out a form on our website to get started.

We won’t harass you with annoying or aggressive sales tactics. We just want to help. Each home and each person is unique and it’s important to recognize that up front. We need to learn about you, your home, your future plans, and more so that we can fit you into that perfect solution.

Even if you don’t like what we propose or are not ready to move forward, at least you’ll know what’s possible. It’s really exciting!

Thanks so much for all the great work you all are doing and once again congratulations!

Thank you, Shields and the Locals Guide team! We appreciate the opportunity to share our excitement about our work with our community!

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