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The tricky game of selling solar

Solar energy is hot right now (no pun intended). With more than 1 million residential solar installations nationwide and record-breaking growth in the utility-scale sector, the industry is poised to nearly double year-over-year.(1) Helping potential customers make informed decisions about whether solar is right for their homes is a tricky challenge. Solar providers have to stay on top of what selling messages resonate, and how to pivot based on the homeowner and/or region. I've identified five compelling advantages of solar power and paired them with five related sales strategies that can help solar providers turn solid facts into solid sales.

#1 Lower utility bills

It seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating. The most immediate benefit of solar power to homeowners is lower utility bills. And in some states and regions, utilities have net metering programs that allow homeowners to sell any excess solar power back to them, reducing the homeowner’s energy bills even further. Finding the right sales tactics and the right moment to tap into this insight, can help start a meaningful dialogue with potential customers.

Sales strategy

Use local advertising to educate potential customers about the cost savings related to solar power and about the benefits of net metering, if it applies in your area. And, if you know when local utilities send out bills to their customers, it may be a smart move to leverage those days with geo-targeted digital ads, TV ads, newspaper, and radio commercials.

#2 Added value

The added-value proposition is also something that’s worth sharing, and it’s probably not something homeowners would have considered before. A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that homes with solar panels sell 20% faster and for 17% more money than those without. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the sales price of the average home increased $17,000 with solar panels.

Sales strategy

Tap into the power of the community. If you’re on site to do a solar installation, talk to the neighbors and tell them about the additional value a solar system could add to their homes. Do your homework, and use the most up-to-date facts, figures and research to help do the selling for you. And remember to leave flyers that contain this type of impactful information. Ask your customer to refer you to their neighbors. Put up signs that say who you are, and that this person trusted you to install their solar system.

#3 Tax credits and rebates

Federal, state and local government tax credits, rebates and other incentives can work in the solar provider’s favor when trying to sell a solar system. These incentives can dramatically lower the cost of a system and can often make solar power less expensive than power from the utility company.

Sales strategy

You probably already know everything there is to know about the federal, state, and local incentives available to your customers. But make sure this information is easily accessible for your potential customer. Sources like do a great job of making it simple. But additional tools, like savings calculators, are a great way to help homeowners to “do the math”. Make it easy, easy, easy. After all, these cost-reducing incentives may be the deciding factor about whether a household goes solar or not.

#4 Low maintenance and high reliability

No matter how large the potential energy savings, no homeowner wants a high-maintenance system on their hands — it’s just not worth the time and hassle. Luckily, modern solar systems are built to withstand normal and seasonal environmental conditions, they require very little maintenance, and they have a lifespan of 20+ years. Educating potential customers about the ease with which a solar powered system can be managed is another positive attribute you can use to help make a sale.

Sales strategy

Be able to speak with authority about solar system maintenance, reliability and longevity. Homeowners need to know that the system, once installed, will not incur high maintenance costs. In addition, serious solar manufacturers offer 20- or 25-year warranties with their solar panels, providing more peace-of-mind for solar system owners.

#5 Eco-friendliness

And finally, solar powered systems are so green, they make Kermit the Frog look anemic. So again, it may be beneficial to remind homeowners just how environmentally friendly solar power really is — since it creates no waste or harmful emissions, and can be renewed without damaging the countryside or disrupting animal habitats.

Sales strategy

Be the solar expert. Stay current, put your ear to the ground and pay attention to what’s trending with homeowners. Is it environmental and social benefits of solar? The website is a great source of up-to-date information about all things solar, and other forms of renewable and non-renewable energy, too.

The Takeaway

Residential solar, like many premium installed home products, is a tricky sell (the upfront investment alone is enough to turn off the average homeowner). Developing buyer personas, exploring the customer experience (CX), and pursing regional and local market insights are great places to start. Need help? We’d be happy to put together a proposal. Click the “contact us” link at the bottom of the page.



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