EU Funds €40 Million to Aid Renewable Energy Sector: 8 Solar PV Projects Awarded

solar panels on a field

EU Funds €40 Million to Aid Renewable Energy Sector: 8 Solar PV Projects Awarded

In a significant move to consolidate its renewable energy sector, the European Union has recently granted a whopping €40 million to eight Solar Photovoltaic (PV) projects. The projects collectively boast a total capacity of 282.77 MW. The funding was accorded under the EU’s renewable energy financing mechanism, which was revealed on 27th September 2023.

The Directorate-General for Energy meticulously evaluated all applications which had passed the preliminary eligibility check and conformed to the minimum quality requirements. Following the stringent process, the projects were then ranked on the basis of the price of their bid to the tender. The list commenced from the ones that quoted the lowest price, continuing until the entire tender budget was absorbed.

The selected project bodies are now being summoned by the directorate to devise a grant agreement. They have been given a timeline of 24 months following the grant signature to kick-start their respective solar PV projects.

Participating countries Luxembourg and Finland will in due course circulate the statistics of the renewable electricity generated by these projects. This data would be instrumental in determining and meeting their national targets for renewables.

This funding marks the successful termination of the first round of the relentless renewable energy financing mechanism as regulated by the Commission in the year 2020. The program was conceived with the primary objective of providing superior support to renewable energy projects and instigating an escalated uptake of renewables across EU member countries.

It is safe to contemplate that this €40 Million investment is one more step towards the collective goal which is to champion the cause of sustainable and clean energy.

Key Facts
Total Funds Allocated: €40 Million
Number of Projects Funded: 8 Solar PV Projects
Total Generation Capacity: 282.77 MW
Participating Countries: Luxembourg and Finland
Program Devised On: 27th September 2023

The post EU Funds €40 Million to Aid Renewable Energy Sector: 8 Solar PV Projects Awarded appeared first on LatestSolarNews.

Embracing Floatovoltaics : Floating Solar Panels

Embracing Floatovoltaics - Floating Solar Panels

Floatovoltaics, a portmanteau of ‘floating’ and ‘photovoltaics’, is an innovative approach in harnessing solar energy. This technology involves deploying solar panels on floating structures in water bodies such as reservoirs, dams, and ponds. Unlike traditional land-based solar farms, floatovoltaics represent a unique intersection of renewable energy and water conservation, addressing the growing demand for solar power without occupying valuable land.

The Technology Behind Floatovoltaics

At the core of a floatovoltaic system are solar panels arranged in an array on buoyant platforms. These floating solar installations are strategically anchored to balance stability with efficient sun exposure. The synergy between photovoltaic systems and the natural cooling effect of water enhances the performance of these solar modules, making floatovoltaics a highly efficient method of solar energy production.

Innovations in Floatovoltaic Design

Innovation in floatovoltaic design has led to the development of various scalable models. These range from small floating solar panels on water in a pond to extensive floating solar farms on large reservoirs. An essential benefit of these floating photovoltaic systems is their ability to reduce evaporation from water bodies, crucial in areas where preserving drinking water is a priority. Additionally, the cooling effect of the water helps maintain the efficiency of the solar panels, which are known for being durable and effective.

The emergence of floatovoltaics marks a significant step in the solar industry, addressing both energy needs and environmental sustainability. As we move forward, the implementation of floatovoltaic projects offers a promising pathway to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and support the growth of clean energy. In the next sections, we will explore the advantages, global applications, and challenges of this innovative technology.

Advantages of Floatovoltaics

Environmental Benefits

Floatovoltaics significantly contribute to environmental preservation. By covering water surfaces, these systems reduce evaporation from reservoirs and dams, conserving water – a precious resource. This aspect is particularly beneficial in arid regions where water scarcity is a pressing issue. Additionally, the natural cooling effect of water enhances the efficiency of solar panels, boosting the overall energy production.

Land Conservation

One of the most striking advantages of floatovoltaics over traditional land-based solar farms is their minimal land footprint. They make excellent use of the otherwise underutilized space on water bodies, thereby avoiding the need to clear land for solar installations. This approach not only conserves land but also mitigates environmental and social impacts associated with large-scale land use.

Energy and Water Synergy

The placement of floating solar panels on water creates a symbiotic relationship between energy and water conservation. Floating solar farms not only generate solar power but also contribute to the protection of aquatic life by shielding water bodies from direct sunlight, which can reduce harmful algae blooms.

Global Applications and Case Studies

Floatovoltaics are not limited to small-scale applications; they have been successfully implemented in various parts of the world. For instance, countries like India and China have embarked on large floating solar projects, with India hosting some of the largest floating solar power plants. These floating solar power installations demonstrate the versatility and scalability of floatovoltaics.

Challenges and Limitations

Technical and Environmental Challenges

Despite their benefits, floatovoltaic projects face technical challenges. The need for robust and buoyant structures to withstand diverse weather conditions, and the complexity of installing floating solar panels on water, are significant concerns. Furthermore, the impact on aquatic life and the local ecosystem must be carefully assessed to ensure environmental sustainability.

Maintenance and Durability Concerns

The exposure of floating photovoltaic systems to harsh aquatic environments demands stringent maintenance. Ensuring that solar panels are durable and resilient against potential damage from moisture, water-borne debris, and wildlife is crucial for the longevity of these systems.

Economic Aspects

The initial cost of installing a floating solar system can be higher than traditional solar projects. However, the increased power output and longer lifespan of solar modules due to the cooling effect can offset these initial costs over time.

Part 3: The Future Outlook and Concluding Thoughts

The Future of Floatovoltaics

Potential Developments and Innovations

The future of floatovoltaics is ripe with potential. Innovations are likely to focus on enhancing the efficiency of floating photovoltaic systems and reducing installation and maintenance costs. Advanced materials and designs could further improve the durability of floating solar panels, making them more resistant to environmental stressors. Additionally, integrating floatovoltaics with other forms of renewable energy, such as hydroelectric power, can lead to the creation of hybrid systems that optimize energy production.

Expanding Role in Global Renewable Energy

Floatovoltaic technology is set to play an increasingly significant role in the global renewable energy mix. With the pressing need to shift away from fossil fuels, floatovoltaics provide an efficient, sustainable alternative. They are particularly beneficial for densely populated countries with limited land space but abundant water bodies. Floatovoltaics could significantly contribute to meeting these regions’ energy needs.

Policy and Regulatory Considerations

For wider adoption of floatovoltaics, supportive policy and regulatory frameworks are essential. Governments and energy authorities could facilitate the growth of floating solar projects through incentives, subsidies, and streamlined approval processes. Research initiatives, like those conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, can play a pivotal role in advancing floatovoltaic technology.

Conclusion: Embracing Floatovoltaics for a Sustainable Future

Floatovoltaics offer a promising pathway towards a sustainable and energy-secure future. By harnessing solar power in innovative ways, floating solar installations not only contribute to clean energy generation but also help preserve our natural resources. As solar contractors and energy companies continue to explore and invest in floating solar systems, the integration of floatovoltaic projects into the mainstream energy grid becomes increasingly viable.

The successful implementation of floatovoltaics demonstrates a creative and effective use of technology in addressing modern energy challenges. As the solar industry continues to evolve, floating photovoltaic panels stand out as a symbol of innovation and environmental stewardship. Their ability to harmoniously blend energy production with ecological preservation marks a significant step forward in our journey towards a more sustainable world.

In embracing floatovoltaics, we open the door to a future where renewable energy is not just a necessity but a natural part of our landscape, harmonizing with the environment while powering our lives.

The post Embracing Floatovoltaics : Floating Solar Panels appeared first on LatestSolarNews.

Fortifying Profits: Strategies to Shield Your Business from Embezzlement

Fortifying Profits: Strategies to Shield Your Business from Embezzlement written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Janstch


In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Todd Rammler, president and founder of Michigan CFO Associates. A firm offering outsourced Chief Financial Officer services to small-business owners. With his extensive experience in financial management, Todd is a leading expert in implementing strategies to protect small businesses from embezzlement while enhancing their profitability.

Key Takeaways:

Amidst the challenging landscape of small business finances, Todd Rammler sheds light on the critical issue of embezzlement. He emphasized the common ways small businesses fall victim to financial misconduct and highlighted the importance of preemptive measures to safeguard against such risks.

During our conversation, Todd outlined the fundamental strategies businesses can employ to fortify their financial foundations. He stressed the significance of employee dishonesty insurance as a protective layer against potential embezzlement, a critical step often overlooked by many small businesses.

Moreover, Todd underlined the necessity of maintaining strict internal controls, such as segregation of duties, even in small business settings. These measures, while challenging to implement in smaller organizations, are pivotal in minimizing vulnerabilities to financial misconduct. His insights on the proactive steps to prevent embezzlement and strengthen financial structures serve as a guide for businesses aiming to protect their bottom line.

If you’re seeking practical strategies to shield your small business from the risks of embezzlement while fortifying your profits, this episode is a must-listen. Todd Rammler’s expertise promises to redefine your approach to safeguarding your finances as your business grows.

Questions I ask Todd Rammler:

  • [00:45] How do small businesses commonly fall victim to embezzlement?
  • [01:49] Is it a common practice in small businesses to entrust all control to one individual?
  • [02:18] What practices should and should not be employed to safeguard against embezzlement?
  • [03:08] What is employee dishonesty insurance?
  • [04:25] How do you ensure employees do not feel distrusted when internal controls are implemented?
  • [06:10] Can a stop gap measure like hiring an external CFO act as a deterrent to embezzlement?
  • [08:29] Is investing in cybersecurity a proactive approach to protect against potential disasters?
  • [11:45] What approach do you take in the initial 30 days as a fractional CFO for a small business?
  • [13:24] How do you address the resistance of small businesses who are hesitant to adopt this financial strategy?
  • [14:37] How do you effectively convey the importance of profitability to small businesses?
  • [16:22]What guidelines do you have concerning labor and productivity costs?
  • [17:55] Could you outline what a typical engagement entails when hiring a fractional CMO?
  • [19:55] Where can individuals connect with you to explore more about your work?

More About Todd Rammler:

Get Your Free AI Prompts To Build A Marketing Strategy:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Dec 31, 2023. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!





John (00:01): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Todd Rammler. He’s the president and founder of Michigan CFO Associates Affirm offering outsourced chief financial officer services to small business owners. He’s also the author of a book 30 Day Total Business Makeover, and we’re going to talk about a fun and exciting topic today, embezzlement in small business. Again, not so fun, but certainly essential. Todd, welcome to the show.

Todd (00:34): Thanks so much for having me, John.

John (00:36): So particularly if I think if somebody’s been embezzled, they probably know a lot about this topic, but if this never really happened to you, you might be thinking, well, what are some of the ways that particularly small businesses commonly get embezzled? What have you seen?

Todd (00:52): Yeah, the most common way is something to do with billings or collections generally. So fake invoices or collections, like setting up the fraudster will set up a company name similar to a customer name, and then collect those checks and deposit them into their own account. So there’s a lot of different ways, but they tend to be creating false documents or creating a company and bringing in company property into their own personal accounts.

John (01:24): It was my personal physician that had one of these separate clinic practices outside of a hospital, and he just turned everything over to the person that was doing the books and turns out she was creating all these credit cards and then charging things on these credit cards and then just ignoring to pay them and eventually went down the road four or $500,000 later. So is it typically, I mean, is that a really common thing that it’s somebody inside the business that you’ve just handed the keys to?

Todd (01:54): Absolutely. It tends to be relationships that have been trusted for a long period of time, and for whatever reason that person feels a perceived need or injustice or something, and then it’s a slippery slope. They take one step, get away with it, take a bigger step, and the next thing you know it’s going on for 12 months.

John (02:14): So I’m sure a lot of practices you have, here’s our set of guardrails. I mean, what are some of the common things that you should do or maybe the opposite of that should never do?

Todd (02:24): Yeah, the number one thing I tell people, we’re dealing with small businesses. So the playbook says segregation of duties don’t have the same person creating vendors and then approving purchase orders or sending invoices and collecting money. But it’s difficult in a small business to do that segregation effectively, whereas in a large company, you have a bunch of different people. So the number one thing I tell people is get employee dishonesty insurance as your stop gap. A lot of companies don’t have that, right? And so that’s like after the embezzlement occurred, if you have that coverage to be protected, that’s the first thing I would do. Well,

John (03:04): Can I go there? Because as somebody who’s been in business forever, I’ve never even heard of that. So is that just you call up your property casualty person and say, I need this kind of insurance?

Todd (03:13): Absolutely, yeah. And then they will ask you how much coverage you want, and there’s ways to estimate that. What’s the likely amount of embezzlement or fraud that might take place? I can tell you statistically in companies under a hundred employees, that number is the median is 150,000. So you probably don’t need millions of dollars of this coverage, and it’s not super expensive, but shockingly, many companies don’t have it. And that’s the number one thing I would do for protection. In terms of prevention, we go back to segregation of duties and not having the same people do where these weaknesses doing the same things. But another very effective tool is presenting yourself as paying attention even if you’re not really paying attention,

John (04:00): Because

Todd (04:00): If people think that you’re looking and poking around, they’re much less likely to take that risk. But in a lot of small companies, the owner or the leadership team may have a very loosey goosey attitude towards it, and then that opportunity becomes more likely to be acted upon.

John (04:19): And again, if you’re the business owner, sometimes you have to make hard decisions. But do you find that sometimes business owners struggle with, Hey, if I put all these internal controls in place, like nobody thinks I trust them, is that an issue or it really can it be spun in a different way?

Todd (04:34): Yeah, I mean, I think it is an issue, but we start with what Ronald Reagan used to say, trust but verify.

John (04:40): Right? I hear that actually a lot of people have claimed who have said that, but go ahead.

Todd (04:45): Yeah, he was one. So the truth is it’s difficult, but as I said, putting stringent controls in a small company is difficult, but if you set the expectation on the front of this is how we’re going to operate, we expect transparency, and I’m going to be checking things, and if not me as the owner, maybe it’s your CPA, maybe it’s your fractional CFO like us, but somebody is going to have some oversight and be poking around. And even back in the old days when we used to write paper checks all the time, typically the owner would get a stack of checks to write every week or two weeks, whatever the cycle was, and a little bit of background or supporting documentation. But if you start asking questions about that, even if you already know the answer to the question, it gives the impression

John (05:31): That

Todd (05:31): You’re paying attention and someone’s going to be less likely to go down that slippery slope of embezzlement.

John (05:40): So you hit on two things that I want to come back to. One is you should have an outside, I mean, obviously there are a lot of people that hire CPA, but they really just say, here’s my stuff for the taxes in a lot of cases. So you should actually have somebody who is routinely whether call it the fractional CFO model, I love because I think there are a lot of businesses that need CFO base at some point or oversight at some point, but maybe obviously can’t afford to hire that role or does it make sense for them to hire that role? But are you suggesting that’s a stop gap measure? If somebody from the outside is coming in and looking at stuff maybe once a month, that’s obviously going to discourage folks from thinking they can get away with stuff.

Todd (06:22): For sure. And I think it’s even a greater resource because that person really understands the behind the scenes accounting of what happens in the accounting system. And so typically owners are busy, they look at the p and l, but they don’t look at the balance sheet or they don’t look at a cashflow statement. And when you know how those three documents interact with each other, it becomes more apparent when something is out of whack or something needs investigation. And if you’re running a hundred miles an hour and you’re just top line, bottom line, it’s really hard to catch it if you’re not in the weeds.

John (06:58): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with a must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs, and they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit active tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link will also receive 15% off an annual plan if purchased by December 31st, 2023. That’s tape.

(08:03): Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. Yeah, so the second part, and again, I’ve been doing this long enough that I had my checks with the carbon and I wrote that check and sent it off, and that was a record, and then I’d reconcile that against the bank statement, which actually also had the checks in it. That came back to me. What role has technology played in maybe providing security and maybe opening up holes?

Todd (08:37): Yeah, so I told you my number one safeguard is the insurance policy. The second is using your bank’s treasury management functions, and typically something like positive pay, for example, where you tell the bank only authorize these transactions. You can’t just write a check to a random name because it won’t go through the bank. It is a little more tedious, but it is very effective at eliminating some of these random withdrawals of cash. And then the other thing which gets more into cybersecurity is somebody spoofs your email address or your company URL and then sends invoices to your customers. And that’s a little harder. That requires IT security and two-factor authentication and that sort of stuff, which is beyond my scope here, but it is a changing environment for sure.

John (09:27): Yeah, I mean, we focus mostly on internal employee embezzlement, but you’re right, I mean there’s lots of silly things like trying to hack your website. I mean, we have security on our website several hundred times a day people try to hack into our website. So that has really, and obviously that can cause financial disaster for an organization. So is that, you just said it’s outside of what you do, but is that in the realm of risk management, so to speak, of finances? Is that a piece that you should be seeking outside? Not wait till it happens, but have somebody who’s actually making things a little hardened before disaster strikes?

Todd (10:07): Yeah, I mean a hundred percent transparency that happened to us. We had somebody spoof an email address, get into our system, and then email a customer with an address that looked like ours, but it wasn’t. And the customer wired them a large amount of money and it’s gone. You can’t get that back. So it’s just like embezzlement where you start finding the solutions after you’ve been a victim of it. Right.

John (10:31): Yeah,

Todd (10:32): And I think trying, one of the things we preach in embezzlement is map out all of the ways money comes in and all the ways money goes out and find those weak spots and build security around them and protections around them. But a lot of times you don’t know until it happens to you where that weakness is because we’re not very preventative in our approach a lot of times,

John (10:54): Again, I guess because I’ve been online so long, I’ve seen a lot of the scams and spoofs and things that come through, and I will say that they’re getting on top of trying to prey on people maybe that don’t have their guard up. They’re getting super sophisticated, being able to make it certainly look like it came from Chase Bank or whoever they’re trying to fool. And of course they’ve got the ability to anonymously send out millions of these, so they only need a couple to hit. So it’s pretty scary.

Todd (11:25): It is.

John (11:27): Talk a little bit about the fractional CFO role if you would. Obviously this is, I’m guessing a part of it that you would provide as a service, but what’s a typical, if I’m a small business owner and I’m thinking, well, I’ve got my bookkeeper and I send my taxes off once a year or once a quarter or whatever it is to the person that does those for me, what would looking at a fractional CFO role, what would you gain by that? Would as the provider of those services come in and say, here’s the first things we’re going to do and then we’re going to do this and then we’re going to do this. I’d just love to hear how that would work for the small business who maybe has never hired to see anything.

Todd (12:05): Yeah, so the difference is most people are very familiar with that CPA relationship and their role traditionally and typically is compliance. So it’s compliance with IRS tax regulation or generally accepted accounting practices gap.

John (12:20): I call it the rear view mirror. Here’s what

Todd (12:22): Happens. And it is, yeah, right. So a CFO is going to be focused on what we refer to as managerial accounting, which is how do we make money? What things make us more money or less money, protection of assets, planning for cash, really empowering management to make better financial decisions. And that is a different subset of accounting. I think a lot of people think of accountants and they think of their CPA, but half the accounting population is managerial accountants. So really it’s adding that element of, if I was in your shoes as the owner, what financial data and reporting would I want to see in order to make better financial decisions? And that’s really what being ACFO is all about, looking forward using history to look forward and plan for wherever that organization is trying to go.

John (13:16): What do you say to the, because I run across this a lot of times. I mean, in some ways this is financial strategy and I do marketing strategy all the time, and a lot of business owners are like, I don’t need stretch, I just need more customers. And I’m sure you run across sometimes people that would have that similar view of, I just send out invoices, my customers pay, I pay my bills. What do I need to be analyzing that I’m missing here?

Todd (13:40): Well, as businesses grow, they get more complicated. And so we have a lot of experience with companies who have called us after the fact. Let’s say they went from 5 million in revenue to 10 million in revenue or whatever the leap is,

John (13:52): But

Todd (13:53): They made the same or less money for all of that revenue growth or profitability did not grow in step. And it’s because we have a mentality versus a health and growth mentality. So there’s not a lot of value in growing quickly if you’re not going to do that in a healthy way. And in fact it can be much more risky now you have more activity, more employees, more inventory, more dollars tied up, and you’re not generating the same return on those dollars.

John (14:23): Talk about the small business owner relationship with profit. I sometimes find it to be sort of odd. I mean that it’s a bad thing or that it’s not focused on at all. It’s like that’s the money left over after everything else happened. How do you take a proactive, or maybe you agree with that approach, but how do you take a proactive approach to showing people, no, you should be showing 2015 whatever percent profit, and that’s by focusing on that is how you make it happen.

Todd (14:52): So we spend a lot of time talking about what is an appropriate hurdle in terms of percentage, and we can do it either way depending on the situation. Many companies, small companies today are what we call a pass-through entity at S-Corp or an LLC. So we look at that profitability number and we think, oh, well 5%, that’s not so bad, but 5% you still have to pay taxes.

John (15:15): You still

Todd (15:15): Have to do capital reinvestment to keep your machinery or your equipment, your office equipment up to snuff, and then any kind of growth investment, and that eats up your 5% and then some. So there’s definitely a focus on becoming healthy, as I alluded to in the other question first, and then focusing on growth. And I’ve had many clients over the years who have been doing record sales and still not making any money, and they just keep saying, well, maybe next year, next year we just need to grow a little bit more, but we’ve been in business for 20 years and we’re still not generating that return. And when you think of it as a return,

John (15:53): It

Todd (15:54): Puts it in context of, if I took this money and I put it in the stock market, what’s the return I would get versus I have it tied up in this company,

John (16:01): I invested my life and the return is not much. I tell you where I see a lot of businesses and I don’t get into finance at all, but marketing certainly does touch that and the ability to grow, which a lot of people come to us for. And that’s the idea of understanding labor and productivity costs when somebody particularly as fulfilling a service as a business, do you have any advice on how you should be, I see a lot of people that’s payroll as opposed to measuring some sort of unit of productivity. I know we could go down a really deep rabbit hole here, but what are some just basic advice and guidelines for that?

Todd (16:40): So I would say we tend to look at things in a variable cost environment for assessing profitability at a gross profit level, let’s say in the service industry. So if we do more sales, then we would expect to make more dollars of income, but a similar percentage.

John (16:58): And

Todd (16:58): When we see that percentage going down or going up, well, either way it should trigger some questions. And the ways that you can measure that are through it really depends on the type of specific business, but staff utilization is one, what open capacity do we have amongst the staff? What’s the sales pipeline look like? But I think paying attention to that contribution margin or gross margin on a monthly basis is the first step in sort of deciding are we hitting the numbers that we’re supposed to? And that begs the question of what’s supposed to, we need to have a budget or a forecast or a plan that says if we hit the numbers, we are expected to in sales. Here’s the gross profit or gross margin we’re expecting. And if we don’t have that, then we’re just being swept around by the wind.

John (17:47): If somebody wanted to hire, and it’s all relative, I’m sure, but let’s say it’s that million to $5 million business that really is just starting to realize, I kind of need some help here, and they wanted to hire somebody like you, a fractional CMO, what’s the typical engagement look like? And again, maybe there’s a range, but just for somebody who’s listening that might, what could they expect in terms of the engagement to look like, the engagement to cost, the weekly monthly meetings, what does a typical engagement look like?

Todd (18:18): So in any engagement, there’s a little heavier lifting on the front end for companies

John (18:22): That don’t have, you’ve got to find all the varied bodies,

Todd (18:25): So that may take two months to six months depending. And then we go into what internally we refer to as more of a maintenance mode where we’re producing financial statements, we’re sitting down with the leadership team and going through ’em. We are tracking against the budget and making the necessary adjustments for cash planning, profit, et cetera. We tend to view engagements in two, four buckets, really one or two days a week or one or two days a month. And so at that size that you described under 5 million, the first three to six months might be once a week, and then after that it might be twice a month, possibly even once a month. But the key to the relationship and the value is having the CFO regularly engaged so that they understand what makes this business tick and can use their experience and analytical ability to help make those better financial decisions. And if you’re just checking in once a quarter or once every six months, really you’re looking only at numbers and not operations and what’s actually happening in the business. So for us, we like to have some kind of a regular cadence so that we can add that value of knowing what’s going to make, move the needle for that company.

John (19:41): Well, Todd, this was awesome. Hopefully some people, at least, obviously we didn’t have enough time to dig too deep, but at least got some ideas on maybe what they’re not doing that have frightened them enough. So I appreciate you stopping by the podcast, but you want to invite people where they might connect and find out about the Michigan CFO Associates?

Todd (20:01): Yeah, sure. The website’s, and we were talking about segregation of duties earlier. We have a free worksheet if anybody wants it. You can just Google Michigan CFO segregation of duties and it’ll pop right up. I don’t know the exact URL, but that’s a free tool for embezzlement and embezzlement planning.

John (20:21): Great. Well, if you think about it, when we get off this and you want to send me the URL, we’ll put it in our show notes too to make it easier for people to find. So again, appreciate you stopping by and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road. Todd,

Solar Panels Efficiency Over Time: Tracking the Technological Progress

Solar energy, harnessed through the use of solar panels, has become a cornerstone of renewable energy solutions worldwide. The efficiency of these panels, particularly how effectively they convert solar energy into usable power, is a topic of continual interest and development. This article delves into the journey of solar panel efficiency over time, focusing on the advancements in solar cell technology and the role of photovoltaic (PV) systems in enhancing solar power generation.

Understanding Solar Panel Efficiency

Solar Panel and Solar Cell Basics

  • Definition of Solar Panel Efficiency: Efficiency in the context of solar panels, specifically solar panel efficiency, refers to the capacity of a panel to convert sunlight into electricity. It’s a measure of the energy output derived from a certain area of solar cells under standard testing conditions.
  • The Solar Cell’s Role: Each solar panel comprises multiple solar cells, typically made from silicon. The efficiency of solar panels is inherently tied to the performance of these individual cells. The first solar cell, created with silicon, set the foundation for today’s solar technology.

Factors Affecting Efficiency

  • Material and Design: The efficiency of solar cells and, by extension, solar panels, depends heavily on the materials used (like silicon solar cells) and the design of the photovoltaic system.
  • Solar Spectrum and Irradiance: Solar cells respond differently to various parts of the solar spectrum. The efficiency can vary based on the intensity and type of sunlight received, termed as solar irradiance.
  • Degradation Over Time: Solar panels lose efficiency gradually, a phenomenon known as solar panel degradation. This efficiency loss over time is a critical factor in the long-term performance of solar PV systems.

Historical Overview of Solar Panels

From the First Solar Cell to Modern Panels

  • Early Developments: The journey of solar panel efficiency began with the creation of the first solar cell using silicon. This marked the advent of modern solar photovoltaic technology.
  • Efficiency Milestones: Over the years, from the first silicon solar cell to today’s solar panels, there has been a significant increase in efficiency. Tandem solar cells, multi-junction solar cells, and other innovations have pushed the boundaries of energy efficiency in solar systems.
  • Graphical Evolution: A graphical representation of solar panel efficiency over time shows a steady climb. This is due to continuous improvements in solar cell material and panel production technologies.

Decade-by-Decade Analysis

1970s: The Dawn of Solar Power

  • The 1970s marked the commercial introduction of solar panels. The efficiency of these early panels was modest, often in the single-digit percentage range. However, this era laid the groundwork for future enhancements in solar panel efficiency.

1980s and 1990s: Stepping Stones to Greater Efficiency

  • During these decades, significant research, primarily led by organizations like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, spurred advancements in solar cell efficiencies. The focus was on optimizing the PV system design and experimenting with different types of solar cells, including concentrated solar power technologies.

2000s: Breakthroughs and Mass Adoption

  • This era witnessed a significant drop in the cost of solar energy, making solar systems more accessible. Average efficiency saw a notable rise, thanks to innovations in silicon solar cell technology and the introduction of more efficient solar panels in the market.

2010s to Present: High-Efficiency Solar Panels and Emerging Technologies

  • The recent years have seen the advent of high-efficiency solar panels, characterized by advanced photovoltaic systems and innovative solar cell materials. Solar panels available today boast much higher efficiency values, with records being set frequently. Tandem solar cells combine different materials to capture more of the solar spectrum, further enhancing energy efficiency.

Current State of Solar Panel Efficiency

Today’s Solar Technology

  • In the present day, solar panel technology has achieved significant milestones in efficiency. Silicon solar panels continue to dominate, but newer materials and designs are emerging, offering greater efficiency and reliability.

Efficiency Comparison Among Panel Types

  • The type of solar panel plays a crucial role in its efficiency. Monocrystalline panels, known for their high-quality panel construction, generally offer higher efficiency than polycrystalline or thin-film panels. Innovations in solar photovoltaic systems continue to push these efficiency boundaries.

Real-World Efficiency Applications

  • Case studies of recent solar installations, both residential solar and commercial solar, demonstrate the practical implications of these efficiency improvements. Solar installers now frequently offer panels with efficiency ratings that were considered top-tier just a few years ago.

Solar Panels Lose Efficiency: Addressing Degradation

  • Despite advancements, solar panels lose efficiency over time, typically due to environmental factors and material wear. Understanding and mitigating this degradation are key to maintaining system efficiency in the long term.

The Impact of National and International Efforts

  • Efforts by entities like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other international organizations have been instrumental in driving efficiency improvements in solar technology. These entities have supported research in areas like multi-junction solar cells and solar photovoltaic systems, contributing to the overall efficiency increase in solar cell technology.

Future of Solar Panel Efficiency

Emerging Technologies and Innovations

  • The horizon of solar technology is witnessing the emergence of new materials and designs. Innovations like perovskite solar cells and tandem solar cells that combine different materials promise to surpass the current efficiency record, potentially reaching solar cell efficiencies beyond 47.1%.

Predictions and Future Milestones

  • Experts predict a continuous increase in solar panel efficiency, with research focusing on maximizing the conversion efficiency of solar panels. This could lead to even more efficient solar panels, optimizing both cost of solar energy and system efficiency.

Impact on Global Energy

  • Higher efficiency solar panels have the potential to revolutionize energy efficiency on a global scale. By improving the efficiency of your solar panels, we can expect a significant reduction in the cost of solar energy, making it more accessible and viable for widespread use.

Challenges and Limitations

Technical and Environmental Challenges

  • As solar panels are exposed to sunlight, they degrade over time. This solar panel degradation poses a significant challenge in maintaining efficiency over the lifetime of the panel.
  • The pursuit of higher efficiency also brings technical challenges, such as the development of solar cells with efficient energy conversion in varying solar irradiance conditions.

Economic Considerations

  • While the initial cost of solar installations has decreased, the push for higher efficiency often involves more expensive materials and processes. Balancing the cost of solar energy systems with the benefits of greater efficiency remains a key economic consideration.

Trade-offs in Efficiency Improvements

  • Achieving greater efficiency sometimes requires compromises in other areas, such as solar panel size and the overall footprint of solar PV systems. There is a continuous need to balance efficiency, cost, and practicality in solar panel system designs.


In summary, the journey of solar panel efficiency over time has been marked by significant advancements and continuous innovation. From the first solar cell to today’s solar panels, the field of photovoltaics has made remarkable strides. While solar panels lose efficiency gradually, ongoing research and development aim to minimize this effect and further enhance the efficiency of solar panels. Looking forward, the future of solar photovoltaic technology is bright, with the promise of even more efficient solar panels and a greater role for solar power in our energy mix.

The post Solar Panels Efficiency Over Time: Tracking the Technological Progress appeared first on LatestSolarNews.

Armor Group Ventures into Solar Energy with a 20% Stake in HoloSolis

Armor Group, a renowned conglomerate, has made a landmark entry into the solar panel industry by acquiring a 20% stake in the French solar panel maker, HoloSolis. The acquisition is a significant move, marking the company’s foray into perovskite-silicon tandem panel production. This venture came about only a week after the Armor Group ceased operation in the organic solar module production sector.

HoloSolis is well-regarded for its innovative work in developing the next generation of solar panels, particularly in the area of perovskite-silicon tandem cells.

According to Hubert de Boisredon, the CEO and Chairman of Armor Group, this strategic acquisition aligns with the company’s long-term sustainability objectives. HoloSolis’ project not only creates local jobs that cannot be outsourced, it also contributes to restoring energy sovereignty – both principles underpinning Armor Group’s corporate philosophy for years.

HoloSolis Plans for Expansion Gets a Boost

This partnership comes at a fortunate time as HoloSolis gears up to set up a projected manufacturing unit, with backing from Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) of Germany.

HoloSolis is a persuasive force in the solar panel industry, founded by three robust European entities: EIT Innoenergy – a clean-tech investor financed by the EU and based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands; IDEC Group – a French real estate developer; and TSE, a prominent solar energy producer in France and a leader in agrivoltaics.

Armor Group’s decision to invest in HoloSolis signifies a promising synergy that brings together the financial capabilities, technological innovation, and sustainability objectives of both companies. This strategic partnership is anticipated to make groundbreaking contributions in the area of solar energy.

The post Armor Group Ventures into Solar Energy with a 20% Stake in HoloSolis appeared first on LatestSolarNews.

Bifacial Solar Panels Explained: Revolutionizing Solar Energy Efficiency

Bifacial Solar Panels

Introduction to Bifacial Solar Panels

In the ever-evolving solar industry, bifacial solar panels represent a significant technological leap, redefining how solar energy is harnessed. Unlike traditional monofacial solar panels that only capture sunlight on one side, bifacial panels can absorb light on both the front and back of the panel, ushering in a new era of efficiency and design in solar systems.

What are Bifacial Solar Panels?

bifacial solar panel is a sophisticated solar module that features solar cells capable of capturing sunlight on both sides. This dual-sided design allows these panels to absorb direct sunlight on the front and reflected light on the back, making them more efficient than traditional monofacial panels. Typically made from monocrystalline or polycrystalline materials, bifacial modules are designed for maximum light absorption and energy conversion.

Advantages of Bifacial Solar Panels

One of the most significant advantages of bifacial solar panels is their increased efficiency. Unlike monofacial solar panels, which only use one side, bifacial modules harness the power of the sun from both the front and the back of the panel. This unique feature allows them to generate more electricity from the same surface area, reducing the need for fewer panels in both residential and commercial solar projects.

Another notable benefit of using bifacial solar panels is their ability to perform better in diffuse light conditions. These panels can absorb indirect sunlight reflected from surfaces like snow, water, or white gravel. This capability ensures that bifacial panels generate electricity even in less-than-ideal lighting conditions, setting them apart from traditional panels.

Bifacial pv technology also provides versatility in installation. Whether it’s a rooftop solar setup or a large-scale solar farm, these panels can be installed in a variety of environments. The design of bifacial panels allows for more creative and flexible installations, making them an excellent choice for both utility-scale solar installations and smaller solar panel systems.

In summary, the use of bifacial solar panels is not just an advancement in solar technology; it’s a step towards more efficient and versatile solar energy solutions. With their ability to capture sunlight on both sides, bifacial solar panels mark a significant shift from the traditional monofacial solar approach, promising a brighter and more sustainable future in the realm of renewable energy.

How Bifacial Solar Panels Work

Understanding the technology behind bifacial solar panels is key to appreciating their advantages. Each panel consists of bifacial solar cells, typically monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells, that can capture sunlight on both the front and the backside of the solar panel. This dual capability is made possible by the transparent backsheet, which allows light to pass through and be absorbed by the cells on the back of the panel.

Dual-Sided Light Absorption and Energy Generation

The innovative design of bifacial panels enables dual-sided light absorption. This means that the panels can absorb direct sunlight on the front side and reflected light from surfaces like concrete or vegetation on the backside. This feature significantly enhances their energy generation capacity, as panels can generate electricity from both directions, a clear advantage over traditional solar panels.

Benefits of Bifacial Solar Panels

  1. Increased Energy Output and Efficiency: The efficiency of bifacial solar panels is one of their most compelling features. By utilizing both sides, these panels can yield up to 30% more energy than traditional monofacial solar panels. This increased efficiency means fewer panels are needed to produce the same amount of energy, making bifacial solar systems a cost-effective solution.
  2. Enhanced Performance in Diffuse Light ConditionsBifacial panels are also highly effective in diffuse light conditions, such as on cloudy days or in regions with less direct sunlight. This versatility enhances the overall energy output, as panels can absorb sunlight and generate power in a wider range of environmental conditions.

Installation and Placement Considerations

When planning to install bifacial solar panels, several factors must be considered to maximize their efficiency:

  1. Orientation and Tilt Angle for Maximum Efficiency: The placement and angle of bifacial panels play a crucial role in their performance. Proper orientation ensures optimal exposure to sunlight, while the tilt angle can significantly impact the amount of light captured on the rear side.
  2. Factors to Consider When Installing Bifacial Solar Panels: Installation location, local climate, and ground reflectivity are critical factors. Installers should also consider potential shading and reflection issues that could affect the panels’ ability to generate electricity efficiently.
  3. Economic and Environmental Impact
    1. Cost-Effectiveness and Return on Investment: One of the main attractions of bifacial solar panels is their cost-effectiveness. While the initial panels cost might be higher than traditional panels, the increased efficiency and energy output lead to a higher return on investment over time. This makes them a lucrative option for both solar companies and end-users.
    2. Reduced Carbon Footprint and Environmental BenefitsBifacial solar modules play a substantial role in reducing the carbon footprint of energy production. By generating more power in a smaller space, they decrease the environmental impact compared to traditional solar panels. This efficiency aligns well with the goals of majority of solar projects focusing on sustainability.

    Limitations and Challenges

    1. Shading and Reflection Issues: Despite their advanced design, bifacial panels can face challenges like shading, which can impact their efficiency. This is especially pertinent when panels are installed in areas with variable sunlight exposure.
    2. Maintenance and Cleaning RequirementsBifacial solar panels may require more maintenance than traditional ones. Since both sides of the panel are used for energy production, keeping both surfaces clean is essential for optimal performance.

    Conclusion The advent of bifacial solar technology marks a significant milestone in the solar power industry. While bifacial solar panels come with their own set of challenges and considerations, their benefits, particularly in terms of efficiency and environmental impact, are undeniable. Companies like Canadian SolarJinko SolarLONGi Solar, and Trina Solar are at the forefront, offering some of the best solar solutions in this category. As solar panel manufacturers continue to innovate, bifacial modules are set to become a more common sight in both residential and utility-scale solar installations. The ability of these panels to absorb sunlight on both sides and operate efficiently in various light conditions makes them a versatile and powerful solution for the future of renewable energy. Whether it’s for small-scale rooftop solar systems or large-scale solar farmsbifacial solar panels represent a leap towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient future.

The post Bifacial Solar Panels Explained: Revolutionizing Solar Energy Efficiency appeared first on LatestSolarNews.

Solar Panel Fire Hazards: Understanding and Mitigating the Risks

Solar Panel Fire Risks

In recent years, solar panels have become a popular source of renewable energy for homes and businesses. However, it is important to be aware of the potential fire risks associated with these systems. Understanding and mitigating these risks is essential to ensure the safety of both the property and its occupants. In this article, we will provide an overview of solar panel fire hazards and emphasize the importance of understanding and addressing these risks.

Overview of Solar Panel Fire risks and Importance of Understanding and Mitigating the Risks

Solar panels are generally considered safe and reliable, but like any electrical system, there are potential fire risks. Understanding these hazards is crucial in order to implement appropriate safety measures. Solar panel fires can lead to significant property damage, personal injury, and even loss of life. It is therefore essential for homeowners, businesses, and installers to prioritize fire safety.

Common Causes of Solar Panel Fires

There are several factors that can contribute to solar panel fires. These include electrical faults, such as faulty wiring, loose connections, or damaged components. Poor installation practices, such as insufficient spacing and incorrect mounting, can also increase the risk of fires. Additionally, external factors such as extreme weather conditions, debris accumulation, or flammable materials in close proximity to the solar panels can create hazardous situations. It is crucial to be aware of these common causes and take preventive measures to minimize the risk of fires.

In the next section, we will discuss strategies and best practices for mitigating these risks and ensuring the safe operation of solar panel systems.

Fire Hazards in Solar Panels

Solar panels are a popular and reliable source of renewable energy, but it is crucial to be aware of the potential fire hazards associated with these systems. Understanding and mitigating these risks is essential to ensure the safety of both the property and its occupants. In this article, we will discuss the common causes of solar panel fires and provide strategies for understanding and addressing these risks.

Electrical faults and malfunctioning equipment

One of the main causes of solar panel fires is electrical faults. These can occur due to faulty wiring, loose connections, or damaged components within the solar panel system. Malfunctioning equipment, such as inverters or charge controllers, can also contribute to fire risk. Regular inspection and maintenance of the system is crucial to identify and address any potential electrical faults.

Installation and design issues

Poor installation practices and design issues can also increase the risk of fires in solar panel systems. Insufficient spacing between panels or incorrect mounting can lead to overheating and potential fire hazards. It is important to follow industry standards and best practices when installing solar panels to ensure proper ventilation and minimize the risk of fires. Additionally, considering the location and environment is essential to prevent external factors such as extreme weather conditions or debris accumulation that can ignite fires.

By understanding and addressing these common causes of solar panel fires, homeowners, businesses, and installers can implement preventive measures to mitigate the risks. Regular inspection, maintenance, and compliance with safety guidelines are essential to ensure the safe operation of solar panel systems and protect both property and lives.

Understanding and Preventing Thermal Runaway

In the world of solar panels, one of the most significant fire hazards is thermal runaway. To ensure the safety of both the property and its occupants, it is essential to understand this phenomenon and take preventive measures. In this article, we will explore what thermal runaway is, factors contributing to its occurrence, and strategies for preventing it in solar panel systems.

What is thermal runaway?

Thermal runaway refers to a self-perpetuating reaction that occurs when the temperature of a system increases rapidly and uncontrollably. In the context of solar panel systems, thermal runaway can be caused by various factors, such as overcharging, manufacturing defects, or external factors like extreme weather conditions.

Factors contributing to thermal runaway

Several factors can contribute to the occurrence of thermal runaway in solar panel systems. Overcharging the batteries can increase the heat generation within the system, leading to a potential fire hazard. Manufacturing defects, such as faulty wiring or incorrect component assembly, can also contribute to the risk of thermal runaway.

Preventing thermal runaway in solar panel systems

To prevent thermal runaway in solar panel systems, regular inspection and maintenance are crucial. Conducting routine checks to identify any signs of overcharging, loose connections, or damaged components can help prevent the risk of thermal runaway. Following industry standards and best practices during installation is also important to ensure proper ventilation and minimize the risk of overheating.

By understanding thermal runaway and implementing preventive measures, homeowners, businesses, and installers can ensure the safe operation of solar panel systems and minimize the potential fire hazards associated with them. Regular maintenance, compliance with safety guidelines, and awareness of the factors contributing to thermal runaway are essential for mitigating the risks and promoting the overall safety of solar panel systems.

Ensuring Proper Maintenance and Inspection

When it comes to solar panel systems, it is crucial to prioritize regular maintenance and inspection to prevent fire risk. By following proper guidelines and addressing potential risks, homeowners, businesses, and installers can mitigate the dangers associated with thermal runaway. Here, we will explore the importance of regular maintenance, detecting and addressing potential fire risks, and the significance of professional maintenance services.

Regular Maintenance and Inspection Guidelines

To ensure the safe operation of solar panel systems, it is essential to conduct regular maintenance and inspection. This includes checking for any signs of overcharging, loose connections, or damaged components. By identifying and addressing these issues promptly, the risk of thermal runaway can be significantly reduced. Following industry standards and best practices for maintenance will help ensure that the system is functioning optimally and is in compliance with safety guidelines.

Detecting and Addressing Potential Fire Risks

Regular maintenance and inspection allow for the early detection and addressing of potential fire risks. By closely monitoring the system and conducting routine checks, any anomalies or warning signs can be identified before they escalate into a major hazard. This proactive approach not only safeguards the property and its occupants but also prevents costly damages and disruption to the solar panel system.

Importance of Professional Maintenance Services

While homeowners and businesses can handle some aspects of maintenance and inspection, it is highly recommended to seek professional maintenance services. Experienced technicians have the expertise and knowledge to thoroughly inspect the system, identify potential risks, and provide appropriate solutions. Professional maintenance services also ensure that the system remains compliant with regulations and operates at peak performance, maximizing its lifespan and minimizing the risk of fire hazards.

By adhering to regular maintenance practices, detecting potential fire risks, and engaging professional maintenance services, solar panel system owners can ensure safe and efficient operation while mitigating the risks associated with thermal runaway. Prioritizing maintenance and inspection not only protects the system but also promotes the overall safety and longevity of solar energy solutions.

Fire Suppression and Emergency Response

When it comes to solar panel systems, understanding and mitigating the risks of fire hazards is of utmost importance. Proper fire suppression systems and emergency response plans play crucial roles in ensuring the safety of both property and occupants. Here, we will explore the different types of fire suppression systems for solar panels, the importance of emergency response plans, and the significance of collaboration with local fire departments.

Types of Fire Suppression Systems for Solar Panels

There are several types of fire suppression systems specifically designed for solar panel installations. These include automatic sprinkler systems, foam-based suppression systems, and clean agent suppression systems. Each system has its own advantages and is chosen based on factors such as the size of the installation, location, and budget constraints. Implementing an effective fire suppression system is essential to quickly and efficiently extinguish any fire that may occur in order to minimize damage and ensure the safety of the area.

Emergency Response Plans for Solar Panel Fires

Having a well-thought-out and practiced emergency response plan is crucial to effectively handle solar panel fires. The plan should include clear guidelines on how to evacuate the premises, contact emergency services, and safely shut down the solar panel system. Regular training sessions should be conducted to familiarize employees and occupants with the emergency response procedures, ensuring a quick and coordinated response in case of a fire incident.

Collaboration with Local Fire Departments

Collaborating with local fire departments is essential for effective emergency response to solar panel fires. It is recommended to involve local fire departments in the planning stages to ensure that they are familiar with the solar panel installations in the area. This collaboration can help in developing customized emergency response plans, providing training to firefighters on how to safely handle solar panel fires, and establishing communication protocols for efficient coordination during emergencies.

By implementing appropriate fire suppression systems, establishing comprehensive emergency response plans, and collaborating with local fire departments, the risks associated with solar panel fires can be effectively mitigated. It is imperative to prioritize the safety of both property and occupants by taking proactive measures to prevent and respond to fire incidents in solar panel installations.

Summarizing the Importance

Solar panel fires pose significant risks, and it is essential to prioritize safety by taking proactive measures. Implementing the appropriate fire suppression systems, such as automatic sprinkler systems, foam-based suppression systems, or clean agent suppression systems, can quickly and efficiently extinguish any fire and minimize damage.

Having a well-thought-out and practiced emergency response plan is crucial to effectively handle solar panel fires. This plan should include guidelines on evacuation, contacting emergency services, and safely shutting down the system. Regular training sessions are also necessary to familiarize employees and occupants with the emergency response procedures.

Key Takeaways and Recommendations

Homeowners and solar industry professionals should prioritize understanding and mitigating the risks of solar panel fires. It is recommended to consult with experts to assess the fire hazards specific to the installation and implement appropriate fire suppression systems accordingly.

Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to ensure the proper functioning of the fire suppression systems and the overall safety of the solar panel system.

Collaboration with local fire departments is vital. Involving them in the planning stages can help develop customized emergency response plans and provide training to firefighters on handling solar panel fires. Establishing communication protocols ensures efficient coordination during emergencies.

By taking proactive measures, understanding the risks, and implementing proper fire suppression systems and emergency response plans, the risks associated with solar panel fires can be effectively mitigated, ensuring the safety of property and occupants

The post Solar Panel Fire Hazards: Understanding and Mitigating the Risks appeared first on LatestSolarNews.

The 90-Day CMO and Cross-Channel Acquisition Strategies That Scale

The 90-Day CMO and Cross-Channel Acquisition Strategies That Scale written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Janstch


In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Ryan Stewart, a prominent fractional marketing officer (CMO) and a seasoned expert in the world of multi-channel marketing strategy. With over a decade of experience in his toolkit, he specializes in helping clients build out cross-channel acquisition systems using a mix of owned, earned and paid tactics. Over the last 13 years he’s worked with companies like Target, Jeeter and Shopify to implement performance marketing campaigns. 

Ryan has made it his mission to lead businesses towards unprecedented growth through this unique approach, and during our conversation, he generously shared the secrets behind his successful strategies.

Key Takeaway:

In today’s complex marketing landscape, Ryan emphasized the vital role of a fractional CMO in steering your business towards success. He broke down the core elements of his 90-day approach that consistently delivers remarkable results. If you’re ready to revolutionize your marketing strategy and unlock unprecedented growth for your business, this episode is a must-listen. Ryan Stewart’s expertise and insights promise to redefine your approach to marketing in the digital age.

Questions I ask Ryan Stewart:

  • [00:47] How do you define fractional CMO?
  • [03:18] What are the main challenges for those attempting the fractional CMO model?
  • [07:17] What is you cross-channel acquisition strategy?
  • [11:13] Why is video an important part of your content strategy?
  • [14:00] Where does AI fit in the content and strategic realm?
  • [17:30] How deep into financials and metrics do you get before taking a client on?
  • [19:01] What makes your method so different from others?
  • [20:58] Are there any overlooked channels or platforms worth exploring?
  • [22:02] Where can people learn more about your work?

More About Ryan Stewart:

Get Your Free AI Prompts To Build A Marketing Strategy:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the DeskTeam360

Desk team 360 is the #1, flat-rate, digital marketing integration team, that helps small businesses and marketing agencies with graphic, web design, and on-page marketing services.

John: Hello and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Ryan Stewart. He’s a fractional CMO who specializes in helping clients build out cross channel acquisition systems using a mix of owned, earned and paid tactics. Over the last 13 years, he’s worked with companies like Target, Jeter and Shopify to implement performance marketing campaigns.
So Ryan, welcome to the show.
Ryan: Thanks for having me, John.
John: So let’s explore this term fractional CMO for a bit. We’ve we’ve been doing it and teaching other folks how to do it for about 15 years now. And I think the market’s finally catching up the small midsize business. So, how do you define fractional CMO? Or when somebody says, you know, what do you do, Ryan?
How do you explain what a fractional CMO is to them?
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. So I have three consultancies that I operate. I have one that works specifically with [00:01:00] agencies, one that works only with law firms and then the fractional CMO business. So I actually started with the other two, but expanded to this one because I mean, I personally am a much bigger fan of solving a very specific problem for a very specific type of client.
Productizing that and then scaling it out. But through that process, I also realize that there’s so many other problems that companies face that don’t fall under the traditional scope. So to me, a fractional CMO offer is somebody that comes in and understands the full scope of business, the full life cycle from marketing to sales into onboarding.
I only work with B2B clients as well into service delivery. And then basically. Maps out all the gaps and then puts together the systems, assigns the right people, contractors, basically helps to build the ecosystem. And then I aim to replace myself after 90 days. It’s also an offer that I think has gotten very hot.
Actually, ironically, saw 2 people debating over. The importance of it on my Facebook feed. Not that I spent a ton of time on Facebook feeds anymore, but you know, relevant to this conversation and people [00:02:00] were saying that this feels kind of like a fluff offer. It feels like this is getting very hot right now, but I do think that it has value if you know how to position it and deliver it in understanding.
Also for me to, like I said, the goal is to get myself out of there in 90 days, because otherwise you get stuck in the situation where. To me, it’s not a delivery or an execution based role, right? It’s somebody that comes in fractional, literally means part. So it’s come in very short period, very short sprint, figure it out, get systems installed, get people installed, and then move yourself out.
And then I’ll move myself onto a consulting retainer for like two calls per month. If that’s something that they want to continue entertaining.
John: you know, it’s interesting the debate around that role. And I think I’m seeing some of it from, first off, I think a lot of businesses have realized there is a strategic role, you know, they’ve just been buying tactics and they’re not really getting anywhere. And so I think there’s a wake up in the market for, from that.
But I also think there’s a lot of agencies out there right now that are going, we’re just getting killed selling tactics because it’s getting cheaper and cheaper. So I think that there’s a, [00:03:00] like, how do we. How do we reposition ourselves as not being, you know, deliverers of strictly as deliverers of tactics? What do you see as the, so, so a lot of people are jumping into that, you know, raw. I think a lot of, you know, and you’ve also got people that decided to leave corporate and, you know, this seems like a good gig to do that. Right. What do you see as the challenges to that business model for most people that attempt to do it?
Ryan: I think getting stuck in the execution delivery of it, getting stuck in scope, creep, getting like, like I said before, I’m a big product. I service guy. If I have to do something more than once, then it’s a problem. It doesn’t scale for me. So to me, I walk in with a very specific framework and that happens during the scoping process to like, I don’t break my frameworks for anybody for nobody.
Right? I’ve got a very specific type of client that I work with that qualifies for that. Can comfortably pay that retainer to that. They’re not looking at it. Like, cause it’s, I’ll tell you, it’s 20, 000 a month for 90 days. So 60, 000 over 90 days. So it’s a good size investment, but I’m looking for the type of companies that understand the mindset of how [00:04:00] much that’s actually going to save them over time to go out and find if they’re going to go find a true CMO.
You know, and I work with a lot of CMOs also as well. So it’s kind of like a, could be like a fractional CMO partnership to help them to understand, you know, this company’s already invested in that role. They’ve already got this person. They’d like this person, but. You know, the CEO or the surrounding people around them don’t have the right infrastructure to help that CMO get onboarded, get comfortable and to solve the specific problems that they need.
So I think the biggest thing is scope creep and just trying to do too much or doing things out. And I agree. I think this has become a very hot role because I think. You know, post COVID we live in a world where a lot of talented marketing folks are like, I’m not going to work for this company.
Like for what I can make more working from home by doing the same thing. You just got to kind of take a little bit more of an entrepreneurial mindset in terms of being able to acquire your own clients. But I think it’s becoming more and more important in picking up steam. And when I tell people about it, cause it’s not actually the offer that I promote the most, I promote my other two businesses.
It’s just kind of people fall back into it when they see the full scope of it. And when I present it to them in terms of a cost analysis, [00:05:00] in terms of what you would. Or what they’ve been paying. Cause a lot of people come to us too. And they’re like, look, we’ve just, we’ve been spinning our wheels with this marketing person and we’ve been investing 120, 000 a year in this position.
We don’t feel like they’re getting it out. And part of what I have to do is actually executive education. Cause I’m like, yeah, like. Even though you’re paying that person 120 grand, you can’t expect that person to do everything. You can’t expect the new SEO and content and social and paid. Like you need an infrastructure and ecosystem.
And that’s where I really come in and pitch into your point. Like there’s still a need for delivery agencies because a lot of companies, especially to me in like the paid world, like That should always be something that you outsource, like bringing in a media buyer, unless you are very good with creative and offers in house with which most companies are not, then you should always outsource that.
Right. But knowing how to outsource that, how to partner with the right firm, how to interview those people how to present to them the right information so they can set up the right creative and run the right traffic is really complicated. And it’s not a skillset that most companies possess. So I think there’s a growing need for this.
I just think that if you want to get into this line of business, don’t just [00:06:00] walk in and be like, okay. Like everything is custom here, this is fractional CMO work. Therefore, everything is going to be figured on the fly. Like, no, you still need to walk in with a framework. You know, and I can talk more about the framework that I walk in with if you’d like, but I do that because otherwise I get stuck working in that project or my team gets stuck working too much in that project.
And ultimately it implodes because the scope just gets out of control and they don’t know what’s included, what’s not included. So, you know, part of that is sales, right? Just make sure that you cover that properly during the scoping process, but
John: Well, I think part of what happens. Most people, they don’t have a framework. And so consequently, they’re at the whim of what the company says they want. Right. And so where I see people really struggling is they get out and they think this is great. They get one client, then two clients and three clients.
And then they realize I’ve just sold all my time. And I completely 100 percent agree with you that, you know, having a repeat, I think if you come in with a repeatable framework, typically the client doesn’t bucket that because they want something, they don’t have anything. And if you just tell them what do you need, then they feel like, well, I got to [00:07:00] create the framework, right? So. do you, I mentioned in your bio and maybe that’s in there that you go in, you know, selling all the time, but owned, earned and paid does everybody get that? Does everybody need that? How do you balance the fact that, you know, a lot of people want the phone to ring tomorrow? Some of those deliver faster than others.
Do you have kind of a a thought on, you know, the cross channel acquisition?
Ryan: Yeah, I mean, I pushed on it. That’s a big part of my framework, right? When it comes to the, so like my first and foremost, my, my framework hinges on content, especially for me to be instilling some sort of long form content execution. That can then be distributed through owned, earned, and paid, right?
So a big part of the framework that I push is actually just getting a handle on content creation. Something that’s scalable, something that’s repeatable for that business videos, obviously preferable, but if they can’t do it, then maybe it’s a podcast. Maybe it’s Long form written. We’re doing a lot more book funnels.
I’m actually seeing a lot more traction coming from like a well written book nowadays. Then trying to push like too much social context. I think people’s fees are overwhelmed [00:08:00] and they want something that’s a whole nother conversation, but it hinges around content that works for that type of business.
So my framework starts with market analysis starts with. A business analysis to who do you have somebody internally that can create content? And if it’s a complete note, the CEO is like, I don’t want to do this. I’m like, look, I’m probably not a good fit for you. Cause like, I can’t work with nothing, you know?
So that’s all part of this
John: S. C. O. My nothing. Please.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. Right. So, so, and then when it comes to owned earned and paid, once we have that content process set up and we’ve got a video editing team, we’ve got a writer in place, you know, all those things in place, then it’s about distributing that content and owned would be like website.
Like, is there demand for this content? If we publish on your website with written content for search purposes, check, if not, then we don’t do it. You know, social profiles, right? Like, what should you be active on? If you’re B2B, it should be LinkedIn. You know, X to me is kind of falling off a little bit.
It’s just it’s going down the tubes a little bit in terms of the content on there. But potentially Facebook, maybe a Facebook group, you know, YouTube is another big one. So those are all owned platforms in terms and email is a [00:09:00] huge one to email and text, right? Owning that conversation earned would be for B2B, like maybe some press, maybe some influencers.
I think B2B influencers on like LinkedIn and really be starting to become a thing in 2024. I’ve done some like. Partnerships, co marketing campaigns with companies that are a figurehead, if you will, that has a good phone will kind of cross promote things like that. And then paid. I’m a big paid guy because I’m big speed to market.
I’m big testing. So meta YouTube, Google, depending on. The intent of the business model, but we’ll kind of map out that whole ecosystem. And then from there, now it’s okay. Who’s going to execute this? Because again, usually most companies are like, well, I have a marketing person. Like you’re asking too much of this person.
It’s unfair. That’s why they’re failing because you gave them a. 20 million business to market. And you gave them no support in 10, 000 a month in budget. Like it’s not their fault. It’s yours. So, you know, we educate them, go through that process, get buying from them again, all during the scoping process.
Cause I, to your point, these things also fail. If you don’t, these are big projects to scope out. There’s a lot of moving [00:10:00] pieces. And if you don’t scope that out properly, You’re ending up with a headache on your hands, nothing getting done. And you know, not a fun business model to run. So, that’s how it fits into my framework
Hey, if you ever tried to hire freelancers and found that the quality of work was lacking, or you got all the outsourcing excuses as to why the work didn’t get done on time, well, Desk Team 360 has revolutionized the outsourcing game with their insourcing program that eliminates all those frustrations and excuses.
You get unlimited graphic designs, website, funnels, CRM, email automation, integrations, automations, really anything that requires you to log into software. Imagine all the time and frustrations you can save from trying to get your tech work done properly. We use Desk Team 360 every day in our business, and so I’ve negotiated you a 10 percent deal.
That’s right. Just go to deskteam360. info Book a discovery call and you’ll receive the special duct tape [00:11:00] marketing 10 percent off because hey, your pal John always takes care of you. So that’s it. Go to desk team 360 dot info and book your call today.
John: So I want to back up a little bit. When you started talking about content, you said, preferably video. Why do you start there?
Ryan: because to me, it has the biggest moat around it, right? Like anybody can write blog content and like most people can start a podcast. And also to, you know, most people I’ve been doing video for. If you go back on my YouTube channel, it’s kind of like my main source of content promotion, if you will.
And that’s how I start to, I like to build my frameworks off of what I know and what I know is what I do. And most of my clients come to me and they’re like, Hey, I like what you’re doing. Can you do this for us? So it becomes a much easier sales process for me. So the more I promote myself, the more I create, the more.
My pipeline grows with that. So to me, my process, again, like you need to have one form of really good content that you can create on a regular basis. To me, video is the easiest. It comes naturally. Well, [00:12:00] actually it doesn’t come naturally. I’ve worked at it. Right. And most people like, I don’t want to do it.
I’m like, well, you’re running a business dude. It’s hard. So like, figure it out, you know, like, that’s why we don’t get customers. Cause you suck at what you do. I’m sorry, but like, you need to figure it out. Like, we can’t do it for you unless you want to pay for somebody to go and do it for you or you want to pay for.
Okay. To a position to bring somebody in, I’m all about that too. I’ll help you find, help you train and bring that person in. But you got to be able to do something. And for me, video, because most businesses are like, ah, like we don’t have something like, ah, we don’t want to do this or, ah, it’s too much work.
That means when it’s more of a blue ocean in a very red ocean market where like everyone now is cranking out like the Gary V content model, like clips. It’s just nonstop. So like, if you can create video, that’s going to be. The best you know, even just like this, like what we’re doing right now is perfect.
Right? Like this gives you that long form piece of content that to at least start with and get something out. You know, I do this at my agency. It’s called Weber’s. We only work with law firms. And I have a COO who basically runs a business on a daily basis. And once per week we sit down and we just pick a topic.
And we record for 20 minutes [00:13:00] just like this. And we go after a very specific topic that law firms are impacted by this past week. We talked about how to translate your website into Spanish, right? And so like six things you need to do. And we only get like 300 views in those videos, but like those 300 views consistently show up in our pipeline.
Like the amount of law firms that come to us and like, yo, like I love the videos you guys are doing. It’s super to the point. It’s super helpful. Like it’s not about, you know, going viral and reaching masses. Like You’ve got to be able to speak to a very specific type of customer. That’s why I said specific type of customer with specific problems that relate back to your offer.
And if you can do that once per week.
John: find videos the most repurposable too, right? I mean, you can turn it into written content. You can turn it into LinkedIn posts. You can cut it up into pieces for a lot of technical owners, you know, They can’t write 10 words, but they’ll go on for days about the technical aspects of what their thing does.
And that’s the only way anybody’s ever going to capture it. So I play a little game these days. We’re 13 minutes into this interview, and I’m going to mention AI. It’s taking me that long [00:14:00] today. Where does AI fit in your, you know, especially in the content realm, but maybe in general in the strategic realm too.
Ryan: Sure. We use a, I mean, it’s integrated into a lot of tools, right? So like, I won’t include like what’s in the standard tools that we’ll use, like an Ahrefs or SEM rusher for SEO tools, but for, so for the fractional CMO offer, I will look for ways, and let me just say this before I, I said, it’s like, AI is no different than any sort of tool that’s come out in the past.
If you don’t have systems, it’s useless. Like you cannot automate. Spaghetti on the wall. Right? Like you need systems processes. They need to be scalable, repeatable over and over again. That’s where AI is impactful. Just like layering, like any sort of tool on top of your business. People come into our consulting program for agencies and like, yeah, like I’m using this tool, but it doesn’t do anything.
Like, yeah, because like, You don’t like, what are you using it for? You expect it to do all the work like that’s not what it does. Right. So like with AI, if you don’t have a system or process in place that makes [00:15:00] sense for AI, then it’s not going to work. So in my agency, Weber’s search marketing, we do blended paid in organic for law firms.
We write 100 percent of their content with AI 100 percent of it because it does not need to be thought leadership style content. We’re talking about Praxbury pages, location, pages, informational blog posts, you know, talking about legal stuff. We built a really good process around that. We have a team in the Philippines just sits and cranks out AI content.
That’s become a big profit center for that business now because we went from. You know, we charge about 500 piece per content, which we still do, whether it’s written by humans or AI, but you know, our margin on that, our gross margins got up significantly on that. We also have built a tool that we’re like using chat GPT’s API to pull in some kind of automation stuff, but that’s really it.
Like, I like, because most of this content too. And I think. This is important. Right. If we go back to the fractional CMO offer, like what I don’t like is content for the sake of content. Right. I’d rather you put out one piece, two pieces of content a year that are impactful. That’s fine. Skew people more back towards books from like, yo, like [00:16:00] if you’re just going to get on video and talk about something that’s not informational, not entertaining, not valuable, let’s figure out another Avenue.
Right. So like the thing with AI is that it just creates more bad content and there’s already bad content. So if you’re using it to automate something or speed that up, like, Take your time. Right. With content, it does need to like, especially B2B content, like the end goals, you need to be a thought leader.
Like if you are not working towards becoming a thought leader over a three year period, then you’re not doing it right. And you’re really wasting a lot of money,
John: you mentioned a couple of things there. You’re right. I mean, what a lot of people see is this is free and this is easy. And so you just get crap, more crap, lots more crap. And so it’s just going to keep driving the bar higher in terms of content. That’s actually going to land. Of course.
But then I do see this so often with agencies it’s like I’m using this tool, but now I’m going to jump to this tool because it’s going to do something for me. And then I’ll jump to this tool because it’s going to do. And you’re 100 percent right. I mean, all these tools are really just a way for you to [00:17:00] execute on a process.
And I don’t think enough people, Correct. I don’t think enough people say that, unfortunately when you one of the things I think particularly marketers are bad at is when they get hired by agencies, particularly when they get hired by a company it’s like, what do you need us to do? Sure.
Okay. You want to grow? Okay. Like really vague. Like, what are we going to accomplish here? How deep as, Okay. Because I like to think that the CMO is going to get invited to like, look at the financials and talk about profit and talk about, you know, metrics that, that makes sense. How deep do you get into that before you take a client on?
Ryan: During the scoping process. Deep. I mean, I don’t need, I’ll say this. I’m much more interested. The only thing I’ll get into in, if they want me to sign an NDA, that’s fine. Is like acquisition metrics. Like I don’t really need to know like what the company is doing. I can kind of back that out by how they’re performing.
I mean, a lot of companies are just fine telling you that anyways, but like what I need is acquisition based metrics, right? Who’s on the team. What’s your current gross. Cost for people in time on your team. What are you currently spending across the board? What’s your [00:18:00] ad spending look like? What’s your cost per lead?
What’s your cost per qualified lead? What’s your cost per proposal or whatever process that you’re using them? What’s your cost per acquisition? Now, 90 percent of clients don’t have that
John: I was just going to say, how often do you get that?
Ryan: Very non often, but that’s a big part of, you know, my process is like instilling those again.
Systems is what they are, right? Because it’s not just on marketing. You need sales involved to a lot of the times there’s kind of configuring within their CRM. Like, I can’t tell you how many clients are on HubSpot that we just get them off HubSpot because they just don’t use it. They’re paying like four grand a month to basically just like send automated emails.
I’m like, God, no, we can strip this out
John: will do that. Right?
Ryan: exactly. So. Cool. Yeah. I mean, that, that’s what I’m interested in. Those are like, my first questions is like, what are you doing? What are your goals? What are your current acquisition costs? And that’s also where I come up with my left hook. Like my first left hook.
I’m like, you don’t have this. You’re not ready to talk to me. Like, no. I’m ready. I’m like, okay. Like, well, this is going to be a big part of what we need to do here before we can start talking about the sexy stuff, like tick tock or whatever it is that you came here thinking that we were going to do.
Like, yeah. You gotta get your numbers right. You know, [00:19:00] like we got to figure that stuff out.
John: Well, and I suspect that you’ve discovered that’s a huge differentiator, right? Nobody else is asking him those questions. And I think immediately, like, you’re different. This is different.
Ryan: Yeah. Because I think a lot of marketers are afraid to ask those questions because they don’t, they’re not comfortable handling. I say this all the time, John, my goal is to make people money. And if that makes you uncomfortable, then you’re on the wrong business, right? Like when you start thinking that way, cause I used to not, right.
I got into this business 15 years ago through SEO and SEO over time has become, I’ll just call it what it is, a fluff industry, right? And people are like fighting on Twitter about like the impact of links. I’m like, y’all are missing the big picture here. Like none of this stuff matters. Like, but only the only thing that matters is making people money.
This is like, and again, if that makes you uncomfortable, you’re in the wrong business. But when you start thinking that way, you start optimizing your business to deliver on that. Right. So I’m a firm believer because I’ve done this so much time and time again. And I look my clients in the face and I say, I do, I’m never going to make you sign a contract [00:20:00] because I want you every single month evaluating me on my performance.
Because if I make you money, I make money. That’s the only thing I’m here to do. Everything is going to be built and optimized around that concept. And I think a lot of marketers, because maybe it’s the experience thing, maybe the fact that they know that they’re selling something that doesn’t deliver to that are afraid to ask those questions.
I’m not afraid to ask those questions at all. I think you have to, if you’re ultimately going to solve that problem, you have to dive into it. And my thought is that like, we’re going to figure it out in the way, like I’m going to jump off this cliff and we’re going to figure out how to open the parachute on the way down when it comes to the tactics.
And I believe from doing it for 15 years that like, if we walk in the right direction, if we build the right content, if we get this content in front of people, it’s not rocket science here, right? Like this is just human nature here, right? People are going to react to it. And if. They don’t, then we’ll figure out the right messaging and refigure that.
But like, that’s how we make people money here. But like, you can only start that process by committing to that process for your own business, especially as an agency, you know,
John: One last question I love to ask people. Are there any channels [00:21:00] out there platforms that you think are being terribly underutilized that people ought to be taking a look at?
Ryan: I think everything is saturated now. And so I will say, no, I will say like, my stack is like YouTube, LinkedIn, and that’s really it.
John: yeah
Ryan: those are really
John: life, but do it better.
Ryan: Exactly. That’s what I’m going to say is that like, the problem is when you say that, is that people just And this is why, like, you know, to be blunt, like people, us we’ll continue to enjoy success because we’re concerned with the details.
It’s not about just being like, I’ll tell you, like YouTube is great, but like if you just get on YouTube and put up crap, like it’s not going to work, you know? So yeah, I mean, the answer to the question is not where it’s how good can I make this? Right. So yeah, I don’t have any secrets. I’m sorry.
John: No, you know, the thing is that’s the answer, right? I mean, fundamentally, marketing has not changed, you know, in the 30 years I’ve been doing it. And I think that’s, you’re absolutely right. People want to chase the new thing because they don’t want to put in the work that it actually takes to make the old thing work. Yeah. So. Ryan, I appreciate you taking a [00:22:00] few moments. Stop by the duct tape marketing podcast. You want to invite people to find out more about your work or connect any way you wish.
Ryan: Yeah. Just Ryan Stewart on YouTube put out a lot of stuff about basically everything we just talked about here. So.
John: Awesome. Again, appreciate you taking a few moments. Stop by and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.



Grid-Tied and Stand-Alone Solar Systems: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide

Grid-Tied and Stand-Alone Solar Systems


In the world of solar energy, there are two main types of systems: grid-tied and stand-alone. Each has its own unique characteristics and benefits, but which one is best for you? In this article, we will delve into the differences between grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems, helping you make an informed decision about which option suits your needs and preferences.

Understanding Grid-Tied and Stand-Alone Solar Systems

Grid-tied solar systems are connected to the local power grid. They generate electricity from solar panels and feed any excess power back into the grid. This allows you to receive electricity from the grid when your solar panels don’t generate enough power, and it also enables you to sell any surplus electricity back to the grid. Grid-tied systems are cost-effective and can help you save on your electricity bills.

In contrast, stand-alone solar systems are independent and not connected to the grid. They generate electricity using solar panels, which is stored in batteries for later use. Stand-alone systems are ideal for remote locations or areas with unreliable power grids. They provide autonomy and can operate even during power outages, ensuring a continuous supply of electricity.

When deciding between grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems, consider factors such as your energy needs, location, and budget. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s crucial to assess your specific requirements to determine which system is best for you.

Grid-Tied Solar Systems

Grid-tied solar systems are an increasingly popular choice for homeowners and businesses looking to take advantage of solar energy. These systems are connected to the local power grid, allowing them to generate electricity from solar panels and feed any excess power back into the grid.

Advantages of Grid-Tied Solar Systems

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: One of the main advantages of grid-tied solar systems is their cost-effectiveness. Since these systems are connected to the grid, you can rely on the grid for electricity when your solar panels don’t generate enough power. This means you don’t have to invest in expensive battery backup systems.
  2. Reduced Electricity Bills: By generating your own electricity with grid-tied solar systems, you can significantly reduce your electricity bills. In some cases, you may even produce more electricity than you consume, allowing you to sell the surplus power back to the grid and earn credits or monetary compensation.

Considerations Before Installing a Grid-Tied Solar System

Before installing a grid-tied solar system, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Local Regulations: Check the regulations and policies in your area regarding grid-tied solar systems. Some areas may have specific requirements or limitations for grid-tied systems, so it’s essential to understand the regulations before proceeding.
  2. System Size: Consider your energy needs and the available roof space or land area for solar panel installation. Determine the right system size that will meet your electricity requirements without producing excessive power.
  3. Financial Incentives: Research any available financial incentives or rebates for installing grid-tied solar systems in your area. These incentives can help offset the upfront costs and make the investment more financially viable.

By understanding the advantages and considering the necessary factors, you can determine whether a grid-tied solar system is the best choice for your energy needs and budget.

Stand-Alone Solar Systems

When it comes to harnessing solar energy, stand-alone solar systems are another option to consider. Unlike grid-tied solar systems, which are connected to the local power grid, stand-alone systems operate independently of the grid. Here, we will explore the advantages of stand-alone solar systems and the factors you should consider when choosing one.

Advantages of Stand-Alone Solar Systems

  1. Energy Independence: Stand-alone solar systems allow you to become completely independent from the grid. This means you can generate and store your electricity without relying on external sources, providing energy security even during power outages.
  2. No Electricity Bills: With stand-alone solar systems, you can virtually eliminate your electricity bills. Since you are producing your electricity, you won’t have to rely on a utility company for power.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Stand-Alone Solar System

  1. Energy Needs: Assess your energy needs to determine the required system size. Consider factors like daily power consumption and peak usage, as well as any additional appliances or equipment you may need to power.
  2. Battery Capacity: Stand-alone systems require battery storage to store excess energy for use during low sunlight or nighttime. Evaluate your battery capacity needs based on your energy consumption patterns and the duration of backup power required.
  3. Location and Sun Exposure: The efficiency of stand-alone solar systems relies on the availability of sunlight. Assess the location of your property, the orientation of your panels, and any potential shading that may affect the system’s performance.

By understanding the advantages and considering these necessary factors, you can make an informed decision on whether a stand-alone solar system is the best choice for your energy needs and circumstances.

Cost Comparison

When deciding between grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems, understanding the cost implications is crucial. Let’s compare the costs of these two options and explore the factors that impact the overall cost.

Comparing the Costs of Grid-Tied and Stand-Alone Solar Systems

Grid-tied solar systems are generally less expensive than stand-alone systems. This is because grid-tied systems do not require expensive battery storage. They rely on the local power grid for electricity backup, reducing the initial installation costs.

On the other hand, stand-alone solar systems involve additional costs for battery storage and related equipment. These systems need to store excess energy for use during low sunlight or nighttime, making them more expensive upfront.

Factors That Impact the Overall Cost

Several factors can impact the overall cost of both grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems. The size of the system, installation location, and labor costs can influence the initial investment. Additionally, ongoing maintenance and monitoring expenses should be considered.

It’s important to evaluate your energy needs and financial capabilities to determine which option aligns best with your budget. Consulting with solar experts and comparing quotes from different providers can help you make an informed decision.

Remember, the cost of the solar system should not be the only factor to consider. Other benefits such as energy independence and reduced electricity bills should also be weighed to determine which system is best suited for your specific requirements.

Environmental Impact

When considering the choice between grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems, it’s important to evaluate their environmental impact. Both options offer environmental benefits, but they differ in terms of their ability to reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainability.

Environmental Benefits of Grid-Tied and Stand-Alone Solar Systems

Grid-tied solar systems have a significant environmental advantage as they allow you to tap into clean energy while remaining connected to the local power grid. By generating electricity from the sun, you reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, any excess energy your system produces can be fed back into the grid, further promoting the use of renewable energy sources.

On the other hand, stand-alone solar systems offer a higher level of energy independence and resilience. These systems are typically used in remote areas or locations where grid availability is limited. By relying solely on solar power, you reduce your carbon footprint even more by eliminating the need for electricity generated from non-renewable sources.

Reducing Carbon Footprint with Solar Energy

Solar energy is a clean and renewable resource, making it an excellent choice for reducing carbon footprint. By harnessing power from the sun, both grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems help to decrease dependence on fossil fuels, which are the main contributors to climate change. Investing in solar energy allows individuals and businesses to take a proactive step towards a more sustainable future.

When deciding between grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems, carefully consider your energy needs, location, and the level of energy independence you desire. Consulting with solar experts can help you determine the best option for reducing your carbon footprint and promoting a greener environment.

Maintenance and Reliability

Maintenance Requirements of Grid-Tied and Stand-Alone Solar Systems

Both grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems require some level of maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. However, the nature of the maintenance varies between the two options.

For grid-tied solar systems, the maintenance is relatively minimal. These systems are connected to the local power grid, which means they can rely on the grid for backup power if necessary. The panels need to be kept clean to maximize sunlight absorption, and regular inspections should be conducted to check for any potential issues.

On the other hand, stand-alone solar systems require more attention to detail. Since these systems operate independently from the grid, they need to have a robust design and sufficient battery storage to ensure reliable power supply. Regular monitoring of battery performance, cleaning of panels, and upkeep of the inverter are crucial to maintain the system’s efficiency.

Reliability and Backup Power Options

When it comes to reliability and backup power, grid-tied solar systems have the advantage. Since they are connected to the local power grid, they can rely on it during times of low solar energy production. This ensures a constant supply of electricity, even on cloudy days or during the night. In the event of a power outage, grid-tied systems usually have an automatic backup power mechanism.

On the other hand, stand-alone solar systems provide a higher level of energy independence and resilience. These systems have their own battery storage, allowing for off-grid power supply. In remote areas or locations with unreliable grid availability, stand-alone systems are a more reliable option. They can continue to generate and store energy even when the main power grid is down.

When deciding between grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems, it is crucial to consider your specific energy needs, location, and reliability requirements. Consulting with solar experts can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your maintenance preferences and backup power options.


When deciding between grid-tied and stand-alone solar systems, there are several factors to consider. It ultimately boils down to your specific energy needs, location, and reliability requirements. Grid-tied systems offer the advantage of being connected to the local power grid, ensuring a constant supply of electricity even during times of low solar energy production. They also have automatic backup power mechanisms in the event of a power outage.

On the other hand, stand-alone solar systems provide a higher level of energy independence and resilience. They are ideal for remote areas or locations with unreliable grid availability, as they can continue to generate and store energy even when the main power grid is down.

Making a decision between the two options requires careful consideration. Consult with solar experts to evaluate your specific requirements and preferences. They can provide guidance and help you make an informed decision that aligns with your maintenance preferences and backup power options.

The post Grid-Tied and Stand-Alone Solar Systems: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide appeared first on LatestSolarNews.

The Great Shift: How to Master AI and Lead the Future of Content and SEO

The Great Shift: How to Master AI and Lead the Future of Content and SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing


The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Janstch

Julia McCoy

In this episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Julia McCoy, a leading expert in AI-optimized content creation. As the president of Content at Scale, Julia is spearheading major initiatives for what’s quickly become one of the most sought-after AI content writing tools for SEO marketers globally.

An eight-time author with a flair for building successful businesses, Julia grew her writing agency, Express Writers, to a remarkable $5 million in revenue with a team of over 100 staff members. Recognized as one of the top 10 content marketers to follow in 2023, she is acclaimed for her compelling content strategies that not only elevate business growth but also generate tangible revenue. And now, she’s at the forefront of teaching marketers how to leverage AI to exponentially increase their blog’s authority, volume, and traffic.

Key Takeaway:

AI-driven content creation is not just a trend; it’s a game-changer that’s reshaping the content marketing landscape. In our conversation, we uncover how businesses can tap into their SEO marketing potential by harnessing AI to produce high-quality, optimized content efficiently. We discuss the critical skills necessary for content creators to stay competitive and provide insights on the strategic integration of AI for bolstering blog impact and search engine rankings. This episode is a must-listen for those looking to elevate their content strategy and capitalize on the transformative opportunities AI presents in the digital marketplace.

Questions I ask Julia McCoy:

  • [01:08] What sets this era of the content game apart for you?
  • [01:32] You once said AI was evil, what triggered your shift in that perspective?
  • [04:36] How does Content at Scale outshine other similar tools?
  • [06:20] In what ways does AI excel in content writing that can challenge even human writers?
  • [07:56] What guidance do you have for content writers looking to embrace AI?
  • [09:50] How can we encourage individuals to view content as a central element of their business strategy?
  • [10:56] How do you create content that generates results?
  • [13:01] How does this AI tool optimize for SEO and what formats can it use?
  • [15:04] What’s your advice for marketers looking to repurpose existing content effectively?
  • [16:18] What’s the best way to start exploring Content at Scale?
  • [18:15] Where else can people connect with you and learn more about your work?

More About Julia McCoy:

Get Your Free AI Prompts To Build A Marketing Strategy:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!


This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the DeskTeam360

Desk team 360 is the #1, flat-rate, digital marketing integration team, that helps small businesses and marketing agencies with graphic, web design, and on-page marketing services.


John Jantsch (00:08): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Julia McCoy. She is the president of Content at Scale, where she is leading big initiatives for one of the fastest growing AI content writing tools for SEO Marketers on the Planet. She’s an eight time author and built a writing agency express writers to $5 million in revenue and over 100 on staff. She’s named one of the top 10 content marketers to Follow in 2023, and is best known for teaching powerful content strategies that bring real business revenue and growth, and now how to use AI to 10 x your blog and content authority, volume and traffic. So welcome, Julia.

Julia McCoy (00:56): Thank you, John. That was quite an introduction. I love it.

John Jantsch (00:59): Well, I don’t know, I just read what you gave me came from Diana, so it came from somewhere. Hey, so I mentioned Express Writers. We used to work together at Express Writers, and you sold that business got out of the content. Well, not totally out of the content game, but out of that business now you’re back in it in a different way, aren’t you?

Julia McCoy (01:17): Yes, in a completely different way. I can’t believe how much some days I pinch myself.

John Jantsch (01:23): So back in your former life, you had humans completely in charge of writing the content, and I think I actually even found a video clip of you on stage talking about how AI was evil for writing. I think I found that. So what happened?

Julia McCoy (01:44): This is the question, the million dollar question. Yes. So as you do too, I live in a very real world where if we can’t use something ourselves, we better not recommend it. If it doesn’t save time, if it actually doesn’t help us, then we’re looked at as trusted resources. So when Chat G Boutique came out last fall, didn’t do realtime research, it didn’t quote or find facts, it didn’t actually write with intelligence and depth and all of that is part of my process. It’s critical to the process of writing good content. So I was like, Ooh. And that’s where you found that clip of me on Digital Marketer Stage After Chat, GPT came out saying, AI is garbage. So yes, I was actually saying that, and then in January I was researching all the AI tools. I’m like, well, let’s see if somebody’s going to build it, the AI tool stack that could replace me as a writer.

(02:33): So as I was researching tools, I found one and I was like, whoa. What I was looking at was my entire workflow developed by somebody who obviously knew the SEO content workflow, and it was the tool on our work at T scale. So it had all this done inside the app, real-time research, a hundred percent original content. It’s telling you exactly where it’s sourcing every fact from, there’s a list of resources, a list of links, and then there’s an SEO optimization grade score right there in the app. So everything that I needed in one place, and it’s writing really good content all there in five minutes, a 2000 word piece. So I’m like, okay, this looks like the one. And I definitely was tough on the founder. I ask all these founders questions. I was doing this all last year, and I’m like, what are your thoughts on inaccurate content?

(03:24): Are you building any kind of barrier here? What’s your protocol for this? And he had good answers for everything they had thought through all of it. So I’m like, okay, well, I better go join the dark side before it swallows up my job. I kid you not. So I pitched a marketing plan, signed on as the VP of marketing a day a couple days later, and then in three months I just pitched the founder, can you just make me the president of the company because I was doing so much? And he said, yes, he’s a great person to work with Justin McGill. And now I’m a partner in the company. I actually sold Content Hacker, my consultancy to the company this August. So it’s been a wild ride. And this company just passed 2000 users. So it is in the clouds with growth right now. But what I love is it’s functional. It’s something that we can actually use that gives us original content and it doesn’t share the input of the user with other users, which is another big concern in ai.

John Jantsch (04:20): Yeah. So you just mentioned one, but in comparing the actual, let’s strip away all the other features that are part of the process in comparing the actual finished written product, so to speak, to what you would get with a similar prompt, say in chat GPT, how do you tell people, well, here’s why ours is better, or here’s why this process is better. Essentially using some of the same technology.

Julia McCoy (04:49): So chat, GPT is one LLM, and what you get, you get. So it’s predicting and detecting and it’s just one pattern. So oftentimes what happens is in that prediction detection, in that occurrence, you’re getting data that’s completely false. So it could say, John Jantz is the creator of the hot air balloon technique, and it could really go off the lines just because I think that sounds amazing actually. But it fabricates the facts. And so there’s no barrier there. And what ours does, it’s a stack of three LMSs plus a realtime semantic search crawler that goes and gets faxed the minute you hit write post and it’s current. That’s from the web real time. So that’s built into the technology. It’s much different than say somebody that’s remarketing chat, GBT as an API call because there’s a lot of those, but it’s just got other technology built in that actually makes it robust, something that produces useful content.

John Jantsch (05:49): So even when I would hire a good writer to write, say blog post a human being to write a blog post that was hopefully got lots of guidance, lots of research wrote the post and submitted, I always still felt like it was only 80% there for my own use because there were tone things, there were things that context things that there’s no way that person could know. Where would you say we are, and you can dispute my numbers, but where would you say we are with AI written content in that regard, especially using what you feel like is a better process?

Julia McCoy (06:26): Well, I completely agree. In 10 years of hiring writers, I feel like even the best writer got to 80% because of that client and their particular tone. I remember writing for some of your clients, they were tough. They had a specific style that kind of lived in their head. So here’s the crazy part, and I’ll tell you goosebumps here, and this is why I’m working in ai. I think that AI is actually better at that part than a human ever will be because we can feed this language model existing content that we’ve written that we love,

(07:00): And then that model uses ai, artificial intelligence to actually learn how to write and speak like us. And so what we’re seeing in these training models, which we’re building our own way to do this at Continent Scale, is pretty, I would say close anywhere from 90 to 95% accuracy to that specific user style. Once it’s trained on their style to a point where you can’t tell if I’m writing it or if AI is writing it. If I’m using our tool to write a blog for Content Hacker, it’s gotten that good. Now, it’s a little scary. I won’t lie, to open it up and read a blog hook that reads as good as the hooks. I spent nine years learning how to write, but AI is,

John Jantsch (07:46): So what you’re saying is that it could write run on sentences for me.

Julia McCoy (07:50): If that is your style,

John Jantsch (07:53): Ask any editor that is edited by writing. That’s my style. So if somebody is a marketer who has been on a content team, should they be thinking, I need to develop different skills, or I need to focus on different skills, I’m never going to have to write metadata again. So what would you tell somebody coming, especially somebody coming up that wants to be in that, do they need to have a different point of view about what content even is as far as their input?

Julia McCoy (08:23): A hundred percent. That’s a great question. Yeah. IBM did a study this fall and they found out of 22,000 workers, 1.4 billion, there’s a prediction made out of that 1.4 billion people will have to reskill in the next three years. That’s how much AI will shift our work. So in content, what I’m seeing is we’re going to have to step into the role of what we call AIO, which is artificial intelligence optimization. So you basically take the AI and you sit in the driver’s seat as the skilled writer, as the skilled marketer, and you drive that machine. You tell it what to do, you guide it with the topics, the research, and maybe that’s something you do for your clients as well. But if we are not using AI in our process, we absolutely risk going under because it’s just sometimes 25 times cheaper. I saw it in one specific use case, and you actually get better content sometimes. So we have to adapt. It’s adapt or die a hundred percent. And this is me a snobby writer. So I came over to what is unquote the dark sign, but we have to rescale and change how we work.

John Jantsch (09:31): Well, one of the things that I’ve been saying for a long time, content was king. Remember that statement, then it really became air, it couldn’t even exist, right? Well, I’ve been telling people for the last five years that I think content’s the voice of strategy, and a lot of people are still waking up on Monday and saying, what should I write for my blog posts this week? How do we get people to think in terms of really the overarching place of content in their strategy for their business?

Julia McCoy (09:57): Yes, I think it’s education. It’s like what you’re doing on this podcast, sharing with them behind what drives content, what’s actually the reason we should use it. I was just talking to a social media influencer today who sold 500,000 in courses, and she’s like, it’s 2023, and I’m still battling with the business owner doesn’t know they need a website, really. We’re still there. So it’s really up to us to educate and share that whole world, I think, and we just need to add AI to it. How do you reduce your workload of content creation by up to 80%? Because you can do that with ai, but we have to educate them so that they’re just not opening the AI generating content. And then, well, why isn’t this working? Because you need a strategy. You need a website. You need all your foundations first in order for that content to work

John Jantsch (10:49): Well. I do think that’s one of the temptations with a tool like this, it’s so fast that you can say, oh, I’ll just go gin up some content today. But how do you step back? How do you advise? So I agree with you education, but if you were educating me, how would you advise that I step back and look at content as like for the entire year, what the overall structure should be? Because the one blog post that I might create is obviously one little tiny tactic of that, but how do I think about content that’s actually going to help me achieve my business objectives?

Julia McCoy (11:23): Yeah, so first of all, you want to think about your goals. If your goals are traffic recurring revenue, then it’s your website. It’s the blog, because that is the only evergreen traffic stream other than above Instagram, TikTok. Those are not evergreen. So it’s always going to be the website in the blog. That’s your sustainable engine. So if you know, okay, I want evergreen traffic, then it’s, well, how do I get there? And then you’re going to break down a strategy of quantity and quality because you can’t have good results without quantity. You do need, the idea is topical authority. You need to build topical authority on your website and answer every question that someone would have on that topic. So if you’re talking about marketing, well, that’s a huge area, and you can literally write hundreds of posts. Now, you can use AI to do that so much faster to get more traffic out around that topic. As long as you’re doing keyword research, you’re finding the right keywords to talk about. You’re doing topical research, you’re looking into your topics, you’re making sure you’re not writing on the same thing twice and you’re not cannibalizing those topics. So the strategy there is going to be just as important as the content creation.

John Jantsch (12:33): Let’s talk a little bit, and again, I’ve actually demoed the tool, and so I’ve seen how it does this, but let’s talk a little bit about content structure. So I have found that just writing 300 or 3000 words on a topic is not enough to really make it without the right structure. So I mean, we can go back to writing 1 0 1 on that, right? But I’m obviously outlining with subtopics and all that. I mean, that’s just basic writing. How does the AI employ that kind of structure? And then also things like internal linking structures as part of the overall SEO picture or AI optimization picture that you’re talking about.

Julia McCoy (13:14): Yes, yes, you’re right. It’s not just enough to fill a word count. It really has to be the structures. That’s your headers, that’s your subheaders, and it’s the actual structure of the piece as it relates to the topic. That’s FAQ schema markup at the end. Are you covering all the outlying questions that somebody would have on that topic in that piece? So as you structure this piece, you want to think about all of that. Links is also critical. If you’re linking to a study, make sure it’s a high quality source, whether it’s like link or an actual IBM Capterra study. Make sure it’s an authoritative study. And then with internal linking, that’s critical. You want to map out your website in your content itself and send people out to related pieces of content. And what’s interesting about content scale in particular is it’s built to do all of that inside of the editor. So it’s formatting everything. It’s even doing interactive click to tweets, automating that inside of your blog, which you can turn on or off depending on what features you have. But those are things you want to think about in the content piece. So it’s not just, God forbid you’re publishing an essay, you need the structure and you need the links.

John Jantsch (14:27): I think you can make a case in terms of Google’s view structure. Is every business important as the overall topic itself? I think talk a little bit. Formats content is primarily a text format. Is that correct?

Julia McCoy (14:41): Continent scale

John Jantsch (14:43): At scale, not in demand at scale. Sorry. We’ve had a lot of podcasts today. So one of the things that we have actually found and we do with particular types of business owners is we find it’s a lot easier to get them to record 12 five minute videos in a month and then repurpose the transcripts of that in various formats. If I came to you and said, that’s what I’ve got, how would you advise a marketer then to use your tool to make the most of that?

Julia McCoy (15:13): Yes, I love that. And I think that video audio, just speaking, does come so naturally to especially the experienced business owner that really knows their stuff, which is a large part of your audience. So in our tool, in the input section we have, and it’s all secure, so none of this data actually goes out to any other user. It doesn’t build LLM, it doesn’t go into any of that. So in this input section, we have a place where you can upload a video as your input. And in that video, you could be talking about, oh, here’s the top three reasons to include TikTok in your marketing strategy. And then you talk for five minutes. So that can become a full blog that’s original written to rank and Google for that keyword. And RAI does all of it based on that five minute video, and all you do is upload it.

John Jantsch (16:01): Awesome. Well tell people, do you have a special offer for me today? Did you come with one of those? I’ll tell people how they could try this tool out and maybe give a little advice on, because I do think on a new tool, it’s really easy to jump in and go, let’s make it do this, because that’s pretty obvious. How would you tell somebody that if they’re going to get started with the tool, that they ought to think about it, approach it, give it a good thorough test?

Julia McCoy (16:27): Yes. Well, I always recommend if you have a writer and that’s the team member that’s producing a lot of content, or maybe it’s an SEO or a content manager, give them the tool. You want to put the tool in the hands of the person who’s actually producing content. So if it’s not, you give it to your writer. But if you’re the one producing content and maybe you have no time, this is the perfect solution. Because like we just said, you can upload a video or that could be an audio file even that you’re uploading, and it’s turning it into not just a transcript, but we’re talking a fully formatted 3000 word blog with all the embedded things ready to go with some optimization from you, human editing, we always recommend that. Look through it, make it your own, but ready to go to the top of Google. So to get started, why don’t we do this, John, after this call right away before this podcast publishes, I’m going to make this link live. So let’s draw consummate tape.

John Jantsch (17:23): And

Julia McCoy (17:23): What we’re going to do is make that a referral link for John, give you guys 20% in additional free credits. And then John gets all those. Everyone who signs up will be under his network. So that’s a great way to keep this to your audience, but 20% and additional free credits when you sign up with that link content tape. And the best way to get started is think about who’s going to use this. Secondly, just jump in. There’s really no better way to do it. And we have a guided tool tip tutorial series that will take you through every single step when you sign up. So it’ll highlight where to start with a tool tip, what to do. So you’ll be guided through pretty deeply there.

John Jantsch (18:06): Awesome. Well, Julia, it was great catching up with you. I appreciate you taking a moment to draw by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. We’ll have that link in the show notes as well. Anywhere else you want to have people connect with you and learn more about what you’re up to.

Julia McCoy (18:19): Sure. Yeah. Well, this was great to chat because something we mentioned before we hit record was we haven’t chatted since I ran a human writing agency.

John Jantsch (18:27): That’s right.

Julia McCoy (18:28): So different. I love

John Jantsch (18:29): It. Yeah. Awesome. Well, again,

Julia McCoy (18:31): Yes. Well, we can also connect on LinkedIn. I’m there, Julie McCoy.

John Jantsch (18:35): Awesome. I again, appreciate you stopping. Bye-Bye. And hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.