Anthony Prall: We show people there is another way” – Energy store turns up the heat

POSTED: 09/26/12 12:28 PM

St. Maarten – Two days after he started an advertising campaign opposite the main office of utility company GEBE on the Pondfill, owner of the Caribbean Energy Store Anthony Prall Jr. claims to have racked up more than $250,000.00 worth in sales. Prall Jr. says that it points to the need that consumers have for alternative energy, in this case solar power, to run their homes and businesses.

“I have the trucks with the signs because it generates the interest; it lets people know we’re in the business and that we are professional. Since I placed the sign on Monday, I got about $250,000.00 worth of business. I would call that a pretty good response within two days. We show people that there is another way; a way called solar energy,” Prall Jr. said.

His campaign attracted the roving cameras of Today, when he first placed a sign board at the back of a Toyota Hilux truck stating “Free electricity from the sun.”  The eye catching signage certainly stands out on the busy thoroughfare but there is actually more than meets the eye. Power from the sun is no doubt free but harnessing that power will not be free to consumers who may need to purchase from 17 to 100 solar panels, depending on the size of their home or business.

“If you have a big bill the only way to go is solar. Otherwise you’ll be married like a slave to paying electricity bills for the rest of your life. You can get a complete return on your investment in less than three years if it is designed properly.”

The Caribbean Energy Store’s approach to attracting enquiries is not entirely new. When the company installed solar panels at Lee’s Roadside Grill in Simpson Bay, it parked a truck there with a sign as well. This resulted in close to 20 calls daily but the ingenious idea to take the message of solar power in front of GEBE appears to be having a more profound impact, Prall Jr. says.

He however maintains that although his efforts may be viewed by some as combative towards GEBE, he is actually helping the utility company.

“William Marlin and GEBE’s management are on the same page now where they are going to have net metering. So anybody that puts a system in their home that feeds power back into the grid will be paid for that extra power that they feed back into the grid. It’s taken a few years and the rest of the world already has this in place. St.Maarten is one of the last countries in the world to go into redirecting solar energy back into the grid. By feeding power back into the grid, if enough people do it, GEBE won’t have to buy another 18 million dollars generator and then they won’t have to burn more fossil fuel.”

Prall Jr. anticipates that the government’s energy, announced by the deputy prime minister three weeks ago, will be released soon and bring much needed relief to consumers.

Caribbean Energy Store has been providing solar and wind turbines for 12 years throughout the Caribbean. It was recently selected to install solar panels at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library.  After the installation, Prall Jr. plans to teach on alternative energy sources, free of charge to the community. The schedule for this lecture series is still to be determined “but anybody that is interested can come to library and be educated with demonstrations on the benefits of alternative energy,” Prall Jr. noted.

For now he plans to continue his marketing campaign opposite GEBE where another solar power provider Go Solar is also making use of guerilla marketing.


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