The home solar industry has been one of the great business success stories of the past decade as technological breakthroughs, and government subsidies have made home solar systems compellingly affordable.
That’s why I’m thinking of getting into the solar panel resale market. Perhaps that’s something you thought of too?
Technology will keep improving, and despite the great savings available so far only a fraction of US households have made a move to solar. It seems like now it’s the perfect time to enter the business.
I’ve done a lot of research, and I want to share some tips and advice about how to sell solar panels with you.
Become an expert in the field (and stay up-to-date)
if you want to become a success at selling any product, then there is simply no substitute for gaining as much background information about the product, its technology, and the industry as you possibly can.
In the case of solar power then the best start you can make is to look at some of the content of this website. There are articles here that take you through solar basics, such as how solar panels work, how long do solar panels last and how to calculate the returns you can expect from installing a solar system.
You need to have answers to every question a potential buyer can ask. You also need a deeper understanding of the solar technology industry to structure your business to anticipate innovations and take advantage of government incentives and other factors creating demand in the market.
This article is a great place to find out where to go to stay up to date with everything that is happening in the solar technology industry, linking through to some of the key information sources.
Currently, the home solar market is heavily reliant on government incentives, so it’s crucial to stay abreast of federal and local tax breaks, rebates, and subsidized solar energy opportunities. Available Incentives differ from place to place and over time.
Fortunately, there’s a government-sponsored website here that gives you all the latest information on how your customers can benefit from solar system incentive schemes.
Demonstrate expertise through a certification
As well as learning all about solar technology, it’s a good idea to demonstrate your knowledge to customers by obtaining a certification from the North American Board Of Certified Energy Practitioners NABCEP. They offer a range of certifications at reasonable rates. This certification has been shown to increase earnings potential by an average of $11,000 a year.
PV INSTALLATION PROFESSIONAL (PVIP)
PV TECHNICAL SALES (PVTS)
PV DESIGN SPECIALIST (PVDS)
PV INSTALLER SPECIALIST (PVIS)
PV COMMISSIONING & MAINTENANCE SPECIALIST (PVCMS)
PV SYSTEM INSPECTOR (PVSI)
SOLAR HEATING SYSTEM INSPECTOR (SHSI)
SOLAR HEATING INSTALLER (SHI)
How has Covid-19 affected the solar panel market?
The unprecedented events surrounding Covid -19 have caused many changes to our lives, some temporary and some more permanent. One of the most significant changes has been a speeding up of the transition from physical to online sales.
Social isolation has forced even reluctant buyers to purchase products online, and the level of confidence in online shopping has never been higher. This means that if you’re looking to get into solar panel sales, you need to direct some or even all of your efforts into selling solar panels online.
What other sales channels can you use?
In the rush to sell online, it’s important to note that there will always be a place for well-established off-line sales channels too.
Customer referrals are still the gold standard of sales opportunities, offering the best conversion rates, but of course, these aren’t an option in a new business until you’ve made your first sale.
It’s always a good idea, to begin with, a starting customer base of friends, family, and acquaintances. These are the people who will believe in you, your drive, commitment, and vision. Leveraging your personal brand is a crucial first step in setting out in any sales business.
Other great ways to generate trade are by forming partnerships and attending and getting involved in solar-related events, like conventions and seminars.
Advertising your business both off and online can also reap great rewards.
And remember that even in this day and age, there’s still a place for door-to-door sales. Face-to-face is always a fabulous way to present your product to customers and establish rapport and trust.
How to get started
your next steps in how to sell solar panels are researching and getting your business established. Follow the steps below to begin to flesh out your ideas and establish a business identity.
Research the market and choose a niche
These days there are many ways to sell solar panels. Take time to look at how other people are doing it both in your local area and elsewhere. You may find ideas in other places that haven’t yet been implemented effectively in your area, and these can give you leverage.
Check out your potential competitors and form an opinion on what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.
Try to identify the needs of your potential customers. Is there anything you can see that solar system buyers may want that isn’t currently available?
You will build a successful business by understanding what your customers want and then developing a way to provide it more effectively than your competition.
Why not go through the questions below to help you to establish how you want to position yourself in the market.
- Will you sell just solar panels or solar systems?
There’s a lot more to a solar system than just solar panels. You can specialize in selling panels only or selling complete systems, including inverters, batteries, on and off-grid capabilities and the like.
- Will you sell wholesale or retail and to domestic and/or corporate customers?
Are the wholesale or retail opportunities better in your area? Does your preferred sales approach involve dealing directly with end-users or sourcing products to sell wholesale?
- What types of solar panels will you sell?
Will you specialize in one solar system provider or offer products from several different manufacturers? Will you go for high-end, highly efficient solar panels or ‘pile high and sell cheap’ with cheaper, less efficient equipment?
- Will you install solar systems or simply sell the products?
Are you interested in being a full-service provider, or do you just want to sell the hardware and allow customers to go to other contractors for installation, servicing and maintenance?
Talk to people who have been there before
whether or not you know anybody involved in the solar industry, it’s a great idea to make some contacts and find out how things work.
A very successful solar business always began by simply cold-calling people already involved in the industry. This is a very practical approach since it helps you to build a network of contacts while you learn from the successes and failures of people who have been there before you.
Establish your business and enterprise
there are several ways you can set up your business. One of them is to buy a franchise of an existing business. This approach allows you to skip some of the business-building and get on board with an established enterprise that already has a foothold in the market.
Clearly, you have to offset the advantage of a quick start against the cost of buying into the franchise and any ongoing commission payments. Still, it can be a great first step in the industry, so it’s worth researching what franchise opportunities are available.
The alternative is to go it alone and build up your own business from scratch. To do this, you’ll need to establish a business presence and meet regulatory requirements like registering the business and getting a tax identification number.
You’ll also need to obtain any relevant sales permits and make sure that you research the licenses you need to produce, install, and sell solar technology in the area or areas you plan to operate.
Designated solar contractor licenses are available in several states, so you should check if these are applicable in your area.
Before you do any trading, make sure that you take out some insurance for your business. General liability insurance is essential, and if you are going to employ staff or use vehicles in your company name, you will need the relevant insurance and liability policies.
How to get started in selling solar panels
to conclude, here’s a quick checklist of what you should do to get started in the solar system business.
- Conduct initial and ongoing industry research. Consider obtaining a professional certification
- Research the market and choose your niche. Look at what’s out there and decide what you can do better.
- Develop contacts in the solar industry and learn from their experiences.
- Decide what channels you will use to find customers.
- Define, establish and begin your business!
If you have any questions or comments on how to sell solar panels, then please share them.