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Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

  • 1.  Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-11-2021 08:51 AM
    Good morning:

    Are others interested in networking to discuss the challenges we face in our individual markets to get solar sold? In Missouri, even though the industry wide marketing "slant" is--GET SOLAR FOR NOTHING AND EVERYTHING IS FREE AND YOU SAVE THOUSANDS AND YOU SAVE THE PLANET. Which of course is a pretty big bag of poo-poo.

    So, in Missouri, when you get in the trenches with a potential customer, not only do you have to explain stuff and show them how they eventually will realize some savings, you need to try to "undo" all the misinformation and snake oil salesman repercussions. You're also dealing with fairly low price per kWh electricity, often below 10 cents AND, really most of the time, the only other financial incentive benefit besides the ITC is net metering. But with roofs and shade, etc, most of the time, the true immediate budgeting consideration is that it will cost them, (usually) slightly more than they're paying now. Of course, then they WILL have solar and the future homeowner will have solar and the true benefit that accrues is huge.

    There is a way to sell solar, responsibly with honesty and integrity and get some customers, but it is tough generally, especially competing with the big dogs who seem to have scads of people walking around neighborhoods, who generally don't know squat about our real dilemma of climate change and how huge it is to start moving to solar.

    Also best practices of sales should be followed by members and standards need to be developed.

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    Winston RILEY
    Owner
    Bask Solar Company
    Lee's Summit MO
    basksolarco@gmail.com
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  • 2.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-12-2021 10:19 AM
    My problem is I'm in Georgia and my HOA has denied 15 black solar panels on my back roof, and no fighting chance now I either move or can not get solar panels installed.

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    Richard Alexander
    richardalexander40@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-12-2021 05:01 PM
    Richard, that is so disappointing to hear. Many HOA's have faced lawsuits and lost. Also many states have adopted "solar access rights."

    From an article CAN MY HOA STOP ME FROM INSTALLING SOLAR? From the Solar Gaines Blog, I quote:

    In the meantime, it can't hurt to try winning your HOA board members over with a few persuasive arguments;

    • Solar panels provide major environmental benefits and they fight one of our biggest challenges for the future, climate change. The production of energy pollutes our air even more than cars do– overall, the majority of power plants in the U.S. are polluting the air. That pollution not only impacts climate change, but also serious health issues like asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary disease, and lowers our resistance to infections.
    • Solar power increases the value of your home. For every $1 saved in annual electricity costs, your home jumps up $20 in value.
    • Solar panels decrease energy costs, thereby helping you save a bundle of money – something everyone can agree with.

    Additionally, keep in mind HOA board members abide by community bylaws, thus if you can win over 75% of the property owners with some persuasive reasoning, you can modify your HOA bylaws.



    ------------------------------
    Winston RILEY
    Owner
    Bask Solar Company
    Lee's Summit MO
    basksolarco@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-12-2021 05:19 PM
    SECTION #23 ENERGY CONSERVATION


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    Richard Alexander
    Owner
    Superior Services Investment Group, LLC
    richardalexander40@gmail.com
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  • 5.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-15-2021 06:25 PM
    I have exhausted all my remedies, and wish I could get a great attorney to sue, but there by laws say no Solar, and HR 2454 never passed and if it does then that's a win for me. At this point I will probably move within 2 yrs to another home that has no HOA and solve all the problems. 

    I don't have time to get all the neighbors to back this but will work on it we have a pretty big community. 

    Thanks for all the advice and help. Will keep fighting.

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    Richard Alexander
    Owner
    Superior Services Investment Group, LLC
    richardalexander40@gmail.com
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  • 6.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-15-2021 11:11 AM
    Richard A.  Have you thought about the new tiled solar panels?
    They look just like roofing tiles, this may help:







  • 7.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-15-2021 11:47 AM
    Thanks I'm very familiar with those but the coat is $50,000 vs $15,000 panels. 

    I would rather move out from the HOA instead of doing that. Find a home with no HOA before doing that. 

    I have kind of given up at this point

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    Richard Alexander
    Owner
    Superior Services Investment Group, LLC
    richardalexander40@gmail.com
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  • 8.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-15-2021 03:22 PM
    Edited by william fitch 11-16-2021 10:06 AM
    You might want to try these guys. I have NOT used their product so I cannot personally vouch for their product quality, etc., but the energy hit is less than 20% I believe, and they can blend in pretty well...
    One of the primary reasons MIT started the research for this product was the resistance of HOA's to solar panels on roof's. Go figure....
    Residential solar skin site.


    https://www.sistinesolar.com/

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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
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  • 9.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 11-12-2021 10:21 AM
    Sales does require an ability to straighten out facts for a customer with all the care of a kindergarten teacher helping non readers. Here at the New York Solar Energy Society nothing is peachy. We have similar issues. Since you are in MO and each state has a separate set of policies and regulations (or barriers) we have broad topics in common. Yes, their are solar black eyes like the lovely shiner delivered post Carter when Reagan tore the solar modules off Caroline's pony shed. I think Obama put a big array on the White House roof.
    It gets more complicated if you try to do community solar or a microgrid. Technically, dealing with the shade, the wrong way roofs, the cheap tariffs can be rewarding. "Does Your Town Have an Energy Plan" approach ties in the public utility, the town management and brings together community. The nay-sayers get a voice. They can point out the pollution from modules, the ugliness, the loss of utility jobs, etc. But, getting them energy security and using the utility for billing might be a better angle forward.
    The ASES Policy Technical Division is one spot we need to develop more. I'm over at Energy Economics Technical Division another area to discuss barriers to uptake of solar.

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    Wyldon Fishman
    Bronx NY
    wyldon1@gmail.com
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  • 10.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-12-2021 05:12 PM
    Thanks Wyldon. Good stuff. Thinking of a proposal last night. Going in, I knew it was a tough sale as the offset was less than 60%. But the system would still save her (probably), over 10K in the life of her loan. Naturally, her big argument is why get solar if I still have such a large utility bill? And, true enough, she would still have a utility bill but taken together with her new lower utility bill and her system cost (plus the large dealer fee for financing), her total payment wouldn't be much more than she pays now and as years go by, eventually she'll pay less.

    Hers was a tough one, but others are more frustrating. The homeowner immediately has a smaller payment of their tiny utility bill and the monthly cost of her loan. Still, mostly what we run into, because they "understand" that they should save "thousands," just a small monthly savings and a 20 year savings of over 10k, doesn't do it for them.

    I think the new approach would be to show people that it costs very little to go solar, in the short term, and eventually you have significant savings. But the point is, for very little "out-of-pocket" in the short term results in real savings and really you're using money you already will have to pay for electricity otherwise.

    Until a stronger mandate is issued, and with a "carrot" that it actually saves you money in the long term by diverting your utility payment to own your own power, and this message being echoed by sources, communities, associations, schools, etc--we will continue to struggle to make a living (IMHO).

    ------------------------------
    Winston RILEY
    Owner
    Bask Solar Company
    Lee's Summit MO
    basksolarco@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Marketing and Sales of Residential Solar

    Posted 11-12-2021 07:43 PM
      |   view attached
    Yes I am seeing some of those crazy promises, and no we are unable to put solar in for nothing down.  That said our business is crazy and we have more work than we know how to complete.  I just tell people the facts, can give them solid references, and tell them if they can get a better deal go for it.  But I know our margins are thin and overhead is low, so whenever they share an apples to apples comparison, we have always come out ahead.   If I feel they are leaning toward one of those "crazy" companies I show them where on line (PVWatts) where they can verify the promised production and I strongly urge them to get a few references for that company.

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    David Hrivnak
    Sales/Engineering
    EcoLogical (part time)
    dhrivnak@chartertn.net
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