Predictions, Tips and Interviews

Article RoundupIndustry Issues

Below is a list of some relevant articles I’ve come across so far for Dec/Jan 2017:

The State of the Solar Industry

By David Brearley and Joe Schwartz (from SolarPro site)

The authors interview 9 movers and shakers in the solar industry on subjects ranging from policy wins and setbacks to the state of their particular organization and the international scene. Julia Hamm of SEPA talks about reprioritizing to be more in line with the changing face of the solar industry and Stephen Irvin of Amicus Solar Cooperative discussed the recent problems around EPC pricing and investor confidence and the creation of a Clean Energy Credit Union to help with financing. Rebekah Hren of NABCEP described the rise of the solar specialist while SEI’s Kathryn Swartz highlighted the impact of Elon Musk’s recent announcements about energy storage and roofing tiles.

As someone recently involved in designing software for the industry, I was particularly intrigued to read about The Solar Foundation’s push to help residential installers reduce soft costs.

Make the most of social media and digital marketing for your solar business

By Aimee Tuck of Corbae Creative and Glenna Wiseman of Identity3 (from Solar Power World site)

Tuck and Wiseman compile some solid tips for capitalizing on social media and digital marketing. They point to the need to reserve most of your content for your website (best place to capture those all important e-mails), discuss how to tap the gold mine of insights Google Analytics can offer and walk through how to engage with email marketing and platforms beyond Facebook.

One thing they don’t mention is Pinterest. The more I read about it as a burgeoning marketing tool and visual alternative to a Google search the more I think it is something to consider (particularly given that for folks who want to target women between the ages of 25-45, it could be particularly helpful).

10 Predictions for Rooftop Solar in 2017

By Barry Cinnamon (from the gtm site)

For the past few years Barry Cinnamon, long time solar business owner and advocate, has made predictions about the rooftop solar industry for the upcoming year (9 of his predictions for 2016 came true). For 2017 Cinnamon makes predictions like the continued growth of small and medium installers and decline of U.S. solar manufacturing, the increase in utility deployment of battery storage systems and the support of solar by the Trump administration.

Check out his radio show version of this article.

Why a referral based solar business makes for the best profits

By Pamela Cargill, principal at Chaolysti (from Solar Power World site)

I’ve read several articles by Cargill and her content is consistently on-point and well-researched. Here she highlights the significant impact of soft costs like customer acquisition for the average residential installer. She goes on to talk about how to target the most profitable customers and emphasize referrals and top-notch customer experiences.

I have certainly heard things like this from the guys I have spoken to – they’re frustrated about the high cost of acquiring new leads and sometimes struggle to deliver a terrific customer experience.

The U.S. solar industry is booming — and it isn’t afraid of Trump

By Chelsea Harvey (for The Washington Post)

After a brief reference to Trump and several potentially troubling appointees, Harvey discusses a mixed bag of predictions and observations made in a recent SEIA report about what things will look like for the solar industry in 2017. The report describes growth in the utility-scale solar sector and a slight decline in residential. It lays out several reasons for this decline but ultimately concludes that the residential sector will bounce back.


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