Maintain Growth, Get Revenge & Worry Less

Article RoundupIndustry Issues

Here are some interesting articles I’ve come across so far for Feb/Mar 2017:

Can Residential Installers Make a Profit From Solar Price at $2.50 per Watt?

By Eric Wesoff (for gtm)

Wesoff walks through some highlights from a recent numbers crunching presentation done by Barry Cinnamon at the IEEE PV chapter in Palo Alto, CA. Cinnamon is always worth listening to, given his long experience in the industry and uncanny ability to deliver relevant insights to small and mid sized residential installers. Here he talks about strength in small markets, the future of maintenance and hardware and customer acquisition in the long tail.

Interesting quote: “I think what’s going to happen with the customer acquisition costs is that they’re going to start coming down, not because we found a better way to find customers, not because of technology and web funnel sites and direct mail. It’s going to change because the business model in the solar industry is going to evolve more toward local installers who, by necessity and inherently, have lower customer acquisition costs.”

Scaling and Streamlining Solar Business Growth

By: Chris Anderson, Amanda Bybee, James Hasselbeck, T.J. Kanczuzewski (for SolarPro)

SolarPro asked four executives at four separate solar companies to discuss strategies for efficiency and profitability. While Anderson of Borrego Solar acknowledges the difficulties of reduced incentives, he credits management and operational level improvements like value stream mapping, A3 problem-solving and increased validation and standardization as the secret to the company’s continued growth. Bybee of Namaste Solar attributes strong growth over the past three years to strategies around labor, procurement and financing as well as an employee owned company structure. Kanczuzewski of Inovateus Solar credits their success to an emphasis on core values, inclusive cross-disciplinary teamwork and clarification and improvements in their project proposal process.

Interesting quote from Hasselbeck of ReVision Energy: “The final, and perhaps most critical, piece of our company initiatives for efficient streamlined growth is identifying and leveraging key performance metrics.”

Small, Distributed Solar Companies Are Retaking the Industry. Here’s Why

By Andrew Beebe (for gtm)

Beebe offers smaller residential companies some good news about the near future of the industry. He argues that smaller installers will have their “revenge” on the big companies who have dominated the market recently. This is due to democratized and simplified financing and more affordable hardware and software.

Interesting quote: “While solar equipment prices are plummeting, the cost of acquiring new customers has been increasing for the largest players. Bottom line: Loans are a better solution for most customers, and working with local vendors simply makes more sense. This brings competition back to the local level for the national players.”

Why Donald Trump Won’t Hold Back Solar and Wind Power

By Tom DiChristopher (for CNBC)

DiChristopher articulates Trump’s fairly negative stance on alternative energy and then proceeds to lay out a number of reasons why his policies will not heavily impact the solar (and wind industry). He points to factors like pro-renewables state and local policies, adoption by large corporations in areas like tech and retail and supportive federal legislation.

Interesting quote: “Renewables have “had very competitive landscape versus natural gas. If natural gas were to jump 50 to 70 percent in price, all of a sudden, it will make renewables look a little better.”

US Solar Market Grows 95% in 2016, Smashes Records

By Mike Munsell (for gtm)

Munsell describes the highlights from the upcoming GTM Research and SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight report. The data show an extremely strong year for solar, with solar accounting for 39% of new capacity additions for all fuel types. While the utility scale segment grew by 145% from the previous year, community solar and project development had strong growth.

Interesting quote: “Solar’s economically winning hand is generating strong growth across all market segments nationwide, leading to more than 260,000 Americans now employed in solar.”


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