Been following this with you since 2010 - wow! What an example of how long it takes anything to get done in Washington. Still, better late than never, though now we've lost at least 3 more years of PV production. Let's hope the administration takes the opportunity to show off how well the panels work - no gimmicks needed - and saves us taxpayers thousands of dollars over the duration of the systems' life
+1 to kfenske comment about SHW in the developing world - in a recent trip to South Africa you see these simple 'tank on the roof' systems EVERYWHERE but hardly any PV (except off grid) as the grid just can't handle it. One nation's 'expensive' is another places 'incredible value that can't be beat.'
I guess it depends on available local energy. Here in Northern New England, NG is fairly rare and there are some 500,000 oil boilers out there, many of them carrying the DHW load. In this situations you have a high-mass, inefficient boiler running all summer. Switching to a solar option saves hundreds of gallons of oil for these customers, for a ROI in 7 years or less (Maine and NH also have great state rebate programs, so that helps).
SHW is also great for customers who heat predominantly with wood, many will use wood for comfort heating in the winter, with oil as backup for heat and DHW, and in the summer that oil boiler goes dormant (in 'cold start' mode). The result is that the old boiler which was primary heating prior to wood/solar is now a seldom used backup appliance... quite a win!
FWIW in Maine we're seeing an installed cost of around $4/watt for most rooftop installations, under $4 sometimes for straightforward jobs not far from our offices.
SolarFred makes some good points. We feel that it's only a matter of time before you see little GTPV "kits" in big box stores that the homeowner can plug into their wall socket. Installers will never win on price alone in that environment. We feel we're in a good place because our customers love us (and we love our customers!). Our crews work well together and we focus on doing things right, which sometimes is a bit more money but the overall experience people have makes them want to tell their friends, neighbors, etc. about solar. As evidenced by Apple people will pay more than the commodity product for a special brand experience and we do everything we can for our customers to love everything about going solar.
These are great, I'm totally stealing these! (with proper attribution, of course :))
We do have FAQs on our website but they're not their own section. Making special effort to highlight them is a great idea.
Interesting that this post is mostly on vendors using social media to raise awareness - not on social media campaigns run by installers (which I expect is increasing dramatically).
Here in Northern New England we've had great success using blogging, videos, social media, etc. to inform people about solar - how it works, economics, dispelling myths, etc.
I look forward to seeing more about the SunReports app, empowering people to talk about system performance seems a great way to share excitement about solar!
Great study. I will be citing those slides!
To add one other point about Maine and New Hampshire's disastrous reliance on oil heat - most of these 700,000+ homes use a high mass oil boiler for domestic hot water heating. This wasteful practice has the oil boiler running during the dog days of August to heat water while plenty of solar energy is beating on the roof of the house.
We were recently cited in a study of solar hot water's potential to transform the domestic hot water heating situation in Northern New England: http://bit.ly/esIXKe
Our most common install, a retrofit solar hot water system on a home that heats water with an oil boiler, will save the homeowner over $1,000 of oil bills a year (i.e. a savings of ~300 gallons/oil/yr).
We also have a sister company, ReVision Heat, who specializes in helping get Mainers off of oil: http://www.revisionheat.com