The solar installers market in America is potentially around 40 million homes of which only a fraction of which have installed home PV. Though some of the solar rebates have dwindled in because of their popularity, there are some serious discussions going on regarding solar feed-in-tariffs. That is where you get paid fair market price for your excess electricity generated by solar.
However, having said that, what is preventing a homeowner from pulling the trigger on hiring solar installers? The’re informed, they know that performance and reliability have never been better and pricing has never been lower. What stops them from calling solar installers and getting panels on their roof?
A bay area solar company working with San Jose State University, performed a survey of consumer perceptions about solar installers and came up with some not-so-surprising results. The survey polled 163 single-family residence owners in Santa Clara County, California to analyze their attitudes on solar companies. Santa Clara County is deep in Silicon Valley and a bellwether county in a bellwether state.
Only 11 percent of the survey’s respondents believed a custom solar installation to be affordable, while 82 percent perceived solar as expensive. In a bit of a warning sign for the industry, only 6 percent of respondents were intent on making a purchase in the next year. Furthermore, 83 percent saw their purchase of a solar installation as being two years or more in the future.
The “Level One” items crucial to homeowners hiring solar installers were price, reliability, warranty, customer service and financial incentives. Lower on the list were solar installation ease, return policy, aesthetic appeal, and modular design. Interestingly, at the bottom of the list were financing options and zero-down loans.
On the subject of branding, 63 percent of solar respondents could not accurately recall any solar installers companies that provides solar systems for residential use.
88 percent of the respondents believe that solar panels are good for the environment but affordability and reliability remain a perception issue. The residential solar industry has some enormous challenges ahead in marketing and getting past the early adopters and innovators and reaching the early majority of potential solar roofs. There’s also the question of whether residential roofs are the optimum place for solar anyway.
Doug Payne, SolarTech’s Director came to this conclusion: “In terms of Where do we go from here?” as an industry we have to more clearly define “solar as a brand.” What that means is the total product definition, a simpler value proposition, and clearer messaging to the broader consumer marketplace. At the moment, there are some great solar installers leading the way, but that in and of itself won’t create a broader market.” Source: Greentech Media