Lately, downstream is the place to be in the solar value chain. Unlike the manufacturing side of the industry, installer margins have been positive and revenues are growing — leading to relatively easy access to the debt and equity investments needed for rapid growth.
One of the key skills that downstream players need, especially companies targeting the residential market, is a cost effective way to acquire customers. When marketing, sales, financing and related overhead costs are included, installers are spending about $1/watt for each customer. Installers with less expensive ways to sign up customers will have a big cost advantage.
OneRoof Energy has an interesting spin on this customer acquisition challenge. In addition to finding customers the old fashioned way, they are working with partners — such as realtors, accountants and even utilities — to sign up customers. Not only are they jointly selling rooftop solar, but they are also offering packages of related residential energy services.
My guest this week is David Field, CEO and President of OneRoof Energy. Please tune in to this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World for David's take on leveraging partners in the downstream solar installation business.
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