If you are selling residential solar, then you don’t need to be told the market is tightening every year. There are more market challenges than ever, margins are being squeezed by all the new players and every solar integrator will need an distinctive edge in order to compete – something to offer that will differentiate them to prospective customers. While the Solar pie is getting bigger, there’s an increasing number at the table who are looking for their piece.
The SEIA tells us the U.S. solar market is anticipated to grow by 119% in 2016 with the addition of an additional 16 gigawatts of installed solar power. In fact, solar power is growing faster than any other energy source in the United States. At the same time, job growth in the solar market is booming. The number of solar jobs has increased by 20% since 2013 and there are now 174,000 solar-related jobs nationwide. This growth is due in part to the continued fall in solar prices. In 2006 the cost per watt of power generated by solar panels was $9.00 – today it’s $3.79. It took the U.S. Solar Industry 7+ years to install the first million residential systems. It will only take 2 to 3 years to install the next million.
All this growth also means an incremental increase in business opportunity, which is why there is more competition than ever. The number of solar installers vying for market share continues to grow. And no longer is the field restricted to dedicated solar system specialists. Electricians, Roofers, HVAC contractors and other construction companies are entering the market by adding Solar Energy to their existing business platforms.
So if you’re one of the thousands of businesses hoping to attract the next solar customer, how do you differentiate your solar company from this growing list of competitors?
One proven method is to offer superior installation packages that demonstrate your system is designed to last and will be more aesthetically pleasing. The Promise of Solar is threefold: Longevity, Productivity and Safety. Adding attractive and protective solar barriers to your rooftop array could be your ticket to delivering a superior level of solar value.
You wouldn’t think that a simple barrier could make such a difference in giving you a competitive advantage, but consider the statistics.
According to our research, 68% of installers recognized the need for a protective barrier, especially because it can increase the longevity and productivity of a solar array. They understand that nesting rodents, birds, and bugs are not only unsightly and unhealthy, but they can damage solar systems by chewing wires, causing short circuits, and contributing to structural damage. In addition, 76% of installers believe customers want protective barriers to safeguard their solar investment. However, only 23% of active solar integrators regularly offer protective barriers as an installation option.
In addition to the benefits of abating pests and ensuring uninterrupted and long term productivity, there are aesthetic benefits to be gained as well, assuming you choose the right type of barrier. Installers using chicken wire, or wire-cage products for pest control are missing a real opportunity to beautify their solar systems that can be achieved by subtly masking the vulnerable underside of the array with innovative aluminum barriers. Our research also reveals that 70% of solar system sales professionals have prospects that refuse to move forward with an installation because they deem solar arrays as too unattractive to put on the roof of their homes.
Surveys tell us that protective barriers are a value-added product with reasonable pricing that customers want, if the barriers beautify as well as protect. Of all the barrier systems currently available, only the SolaTrim™ protective barrier offers attractive, long-lasting protection. SolaTrim™ barrier is made from black, poly-coated aluminum and is stamped with a distinctive diamond pattern of openings which allow air to circulate while keeping pests and debris out. In fact, homeowner associations are beginning to insist on aesthetic skirts for solar systems and SolaTrim™ meets those requirements right out of the box.
Differentiate your business from the competition and increase your profits by installing energy-efficient solar systems that also ensure lasting protection and are attractive to boot. Stop spending time and money going back to clean-up and repair jobs that are already completed. Take advantage of the opportunity to offer value-added products you can include in your sales package, and eliminate the drain on cash and resources (and referrals!) that result with unnecessary truck rolls and repair jobs.
At the end of the day, everybody is looking to improve margins and claim a bigger piece of the solar market pie. Consider the potential profits from protective solar barriers: a value-added product that can keep you looking forward and focused on new customers while you combine beauty with protection…something the other guys don’t offer.