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Listen Up: What's the Deal with Solar Distributors?

There are hundreds of companies that offer various types of solar equipment for sale in the U.S. — panels, inverters, racks, fasteners, wiring components, etc. Most of these manufacturers do not have the bandwidth or the marketing horsepower to sell to solar installers all over the country. So as in many other industries, the way solar equipment get from manufacturers to customers is via solar distributors.

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But solar distributors don't just serve as equipment middlemen. Some of them also provide solar design services, equipment selection advice (and filtering), job kitting, drop ship services, customer financing and paperwork assistance. These services are particularly valuable to small and medium-sized dealers who don't want to add the administrative overhead of bringing these capabilities in-house.

Indeed, as the solar industry grows around the country, distributors with local facilities are likely to become even more important. That leads me to our guest this week, Erez Dolev with Renvu Distributing. Several years ago Erez saw an opportunity to provide enhanced services to local solar installers. He started Renvu, which he characterizes as a "value added solar distributor" in Palo Alto, California to service solar installers all over Northern California. So tune into this week's Energy Show for Erez's view on the future of solar distributors, as well as his insights into pricing and product trends that we can expect for 2014.

Find more episodes of The Energy Show here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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