The Complex World of Solar Sales
As we live in a world where information is at our fingertips and we often rely on what is in front of us to inform us correctly. Unfortunately information presented can often be confusing, incorrect and full of industry jargon.
Having experience in the renewable energy sector for over 12 years, we have come across many sale models in the solar world. The solar industry is an interesting one, with a huge increase in sale companies selling solar systems online/via phone calls they often then contract the “putting-the-panels-on-the-roof part” which often leaves customers with something completely different to what they expected.
So, to cut the BS out of the solar sales world I have summarised below my take on the sale continuum in the solar world:
1. Crappy Solar
A company who sells based purely on price is really infecting the whole culture of solar. Their motto is a race to the bottom and cutting corners along the way. They use cheap hardware and have poor workmanship (which is often non-compliant). They often breach Australian Consumer Law, but get away with it as customers don’t frequently know their rights.
2. Budget Solar
If your home/workplace has a simple layout, you live in a metro area and have no shading issues then this type of system might be right for you. The installer will usually opt for budget (lower to middle range products) to keep their cost down. The workmanship may not as neat as your #3, #4 or #5 models however is generally compliant. This is your basic, no-frills choice of solar. So if you are happy with an economy experience over a business class experience then this option could be right for you. Companies using this model often have ‘packaged systems’ so your system would fit into a cookie cutter mould along with the next home/workplace they sell too. There is little room for customisation in design.
3. Middle-Ground Solar
If you want good quality products, good workmanship, a simple energy monitoring system, a conversation on site with a solar professional, a customised solar system design to suit your energy demands and an ongoing relationship with your solar installer for system analysis and fault detection and rectification then this solar sales model might be perfect for you.
4. Quality Solar
Opting for a quality solar system, you will have tradesman who take pride in their installations with top standard attention to detail in their finishes. Along with a high quality installation you will also receive top quality hardware, including products which have excellent warranties and technical support should you need this down the track. This choice of solar design and installation will also see comprehensive involvement and discussion about your energy behaviour and how you can maximize your solar system, sophisticated monitoring system, battery storage (if this is an option) and other bespoke features including options of an energy diverter to heat your pool/hot water system. This category of install is your choice if you want the comfort knowing that you have the best hardware on the market which will produce high generation with sophisticated and customised features. This is your bells and whistles type solar system.
5. Over-priced Solar
Solar companies using this type of sales model to ultimately maximize their sales commission. They often are a ‘sale only’ companies who typically sell mediocre hardware to increase their commission. They are pushy, use unsolicited phone calls and put on the pressure for you to sign up right away. Be aware of this sale model.
The big take home message is… if you get a quote that is higher than another, there is generally a very good reason for this, but be weary if it is totally out of the park. It is up to you what level of craftsmanship and product choice you choose to go with however as professionals in the industry we recommend this:
A good solar system will be on your roof for decades and will be feeding into your home or workplace energy system every day, so please chose wisely!