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 In the mid 80’s solar power grew in popularity, primarily because of the different rebate programs available to the masses. Countless companies opened shop during that time, including POCO Solar Energy Inc. Many of them closed their doors but it really helped expose people to different energy sources available other than traditional electricity.

“I’m extremely happy working at a place like this because solar, I think, is truly important to offsetting our energy needs here in the states,” said Jonathan Gonzalez, POCO employee. “Granted when you look at residential, which is what we do, it’s a small part of it, but I think it’s an important part.”

POCO Solar Energy Inc. founded by Paul Podesta and Greg Cordero (the PO and CO of POCO), has been around since 1984. They have installed over 12,000 solar energy systems, saving countless barrels of oil and preventing tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere. Solar power also helps the country achieve energy independence.

San Jose’s Mayor Chuck Reed presented the city with a green vision, similar to that of the state’s, with many goals involving renewable energy and overall care for the environment. Once again, companies are making people aware of the different benefits of considering different energy sources.

“We have a really high demand of energy needs, so instead of always having to turn to the traditional methods that plants use for burning coal, we can start doing more on our own,” said Gonzalez. “The more we all do our little part to utilize solar in our energy needs here at home, making our own energy, the less we have to depend on foreign sources.”

POCO offers a range of solar panels including SunPower panels, who are headquartered in San Jose. A growing number of consumers are choosing American-made solar panels for their homes. Meanwhile, they are also combating high energy bills.

“They’re getting the financial end of it. We tell them you’re going to save money and they are more interested,” said Gonzalez. “People get discouraged when they hear the price, but they don’t realize that it’s like paying PG&E.” Homeowners who use more energy will benefit greatly from getting solar panels installed. Families who are used to paying more than $150 monthly on their energy bill can be using that money to pay towards their panels.

When compared, the cost of installing a system with what homeowners will save on their bills over the next two or three decades, solar gives a return on investment. A roof with solar technology can also add value to a home and not just by being green.

“I think it’s awesome for the area that we live in, we’re backed by not only the state that we live in which promotes this kind of energy, but we’re also backed by our community and City of San Sose,” said Gonzalez.  “I think as people look to California to lead this movement, I think all of California also starts looking into our area for how we’re going to lead.”

POCO works with spanish-speaking-only customers. They have noticed growth in the Alum Rock area of San Jose, Milpitas, and the overall popularity of solar energy in the Silicon Valley.


© 2011 news el observador ·A weekly newspaper serving Latinos in the San Francisco Bay Area
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