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The 7 Axioms of Solar & Storage


æksiəm // An axiom is a statement everyone believes is true, such as "the only constant is change" or, "If you eat Taco Bell, you will tethered to your toilet for at least 3 hours." It comes from a Greek word meaning “worthy.” An axiom is a worthy, established fact.

You might wonder why I am using such a fancy, seldom-used word like axiom instead of a simpler one like "truth." As a retired submarine sonar tech, I used this word throughout my 20-year career. We kept a highly classified red plastic-covered book of submarine ASW axioms in a safe in sonar. These axioms kept us safe as we did all that Hunt for Red October stuff.

WARNING: Nerdy Submarine Stuff

Submarine enthusiasts are probably dying to know one of these axioms, so I will indulge, although I cannot use the classified versions. Luckily, there is an unclassified 360-page document NATO uses when countries engage in friendly antisubmarine warfare (ASW) exercises:

Since submarines operate in a 3-dimensional environment (with other submarines), there is a higher chance of collision. Since we don't want to kill ourselves or our allies during these ASW games (and to a lesser extent, spend millions of dollars on hull repairs), each boat is given a layer of ocean they must operate in. They can only leave these strata under closely supervised evolutions.

This figure paints the picture. Notice there are even safety layers built into the depth layer each boat operates, although we do not provide any depth numbers- we can't give too m uch away, can we? But if we go through this much trouble for an exercise, and considering we "fight like we train and train like we fight", imagine the axioms during wartime! We can't tell the enemy sub to behave and stay in his lane. However we will try our best not to hit them since that benefits everyone, but we cannot assume that sucker will play fairly. I think that is about as much detail as I can get into. I don't need NCIS banging on my door- and I definitely do NOT want them to see my internet search history.

Most US Submarine axioms (and most procedures) are written in blood. They are a concrete part of the daily lives of submariners. We can extend these axioms, or truths, to something more familiar in the solar industry. I do not doubt that a substantial number of National Electric Code articles are also written in blood. Take a look at this article:

NEC 404.4(C)

Switches in Tub or Shower Spaces. Switches shall not be part of or installed within tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub and shower assembly.

I have always wondered what goober caused that article to enter the Code. Someone probably went to swap out their blown jaccuzi tub fuse during thier soak...

After spending 12 years in the solar and storage inudstry I wrote an Amzon best selling book (The Battery Powered Home) with six axioms I developed after seeing the same mistakes time and time again. A big part of my job over the years is training service people on teh equipment they must help installers torubleshoot. I know the deficiencies our industry suffers from, and my book goes into great detail about them.

My axioms, or truths, are not self-evident to some people in our industry, which is why I wrote them down in the first place. They are not revolutionary, particularly to people who have been in this industry and do things the right way- but to the novice, they are enlightening and will keep you out of trouble. Since publication, I have decided to add one more, which happens to be number one, since so many of the service calls I field can be eliminated by following this simple truth.

In descending order, and adjusted for inflation:

Axiom 7

No salesperson should sell a system, and no manufacturer should offer a battery of less than 20 kWh.

Axiom 6

Most people cannot adjust their lifestyles to live off-grid.

Axiom 5

Homeowners will use every watt-hour you give them. Oversizing the system to account for future growth is probably a good idea.

Axiom 4

There is plenty of room in this industry for everyone.

Axiom 3

Roof equals risk

Axiom 2

Regardless of make and model, every piece of solar and battery equipment will suffer wear-out,

even if it does not fail.

Axiom 1

RTFM - Read The F***ing Manual

I cover each axiom in great detail, except number one, since it did not make it into the publication. Although I have used that acronym for decades, its oversight is my only regret about this book. It is so important that I made my own line of RTFM gear!

Click the images to learn more.

Thank you for reading! Leave comments and questions below. I bet someone else is thinking the same thing!


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