Solar power is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy. Rising fuel prices and mounting concerns over the environmental effects of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels have more consumers and businesses exploring solar as a viable alternative to carbon-based consumption. In recent years, solar panels have been appearing on more residential rooftops, office buildings and big-box retail stores across the United States.
Solar energy, which harnesses energy from the sun and converts it into usable electricity via photovoltaic (PV) technology, delivers a source of energy that is clean, sustainable and has remarkable potential. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the amount of sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface in an hour and a half is enough to handle the entire world’s energy consumption for a full year.
The ability to tap into this ubiquitous and free energy source has become increasingly attractive to consumers and businesses alike. Falling costs to install solar systems, along with tax incentives and a variety of financing options, has helped to boost residential sales. Likewise, the commercial market has been embracing solar’s cost-savings with leading-edge companies like Walmart, Apple, Target and Amazon installing rooftop systems on their facilities. In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that, over the past decade, the solar industry experienced an average annual growth rate of 49%.
The US government envisions a bright future for solar. More states are passing policies to move toward a 100% clean energy future, which will further bolster solar industry growth. Solar energy is a central factor in the California Energy Commission’s initiative to have at least 50% of the state’s energy produced from renewable energy sources by 2030, and 100% renewable and zero-carbon energy by 2045. The state, which boasts the largest solar market in the US, recently passed a solar mandate that requires all newly built homes to be equipped with a solar power system.
The high cost to acquire new customers, particularly in the residential market, has long been a critical challenge for solar companies. On average, customer acquisition accounts for 23% of the price of a solar system in the residential segment, according to research from SEIA and Wood Mackenzie. While high penetration in some markets drives up customer acquisition costs, hefty overhead expenses are also linked to a cumbersome sales process that calls for site visits and customized solutions. The following are key service- and sales-related challenges facing solar companies:
CustomerServ’s solar energy contact center vendors specialize in providing the following: