- The solar industry is ripe with lots of new customers and clients and is ever growing.
- There are lots of business entities which cater to the needs of residential or commercial customers or clients.
- They could all profit better and serve a lot more customers and clients if they work together or be partners.
Marketing and distribution can be just as important as manufacturing itself, without it, people would barely know how and where to purchase the manufactured product. As always in the modern world, an invention can sometimes only be as good as the people who present and sell them. Surely one would want to have their inventions popular, especially if it is for the good of everyone.
Solar power and the technology for harnessing it is no exception to this. Most of the time, the spotlight falls onto the solar panels themselves. After all, they are the technology which can pave the way for the future, until of course, the next big power source is ready for widespread use, such as antimatter. For now, however, solar power will have to do since it is becoming readily accessible.
This brings us to the unsung heroes among many in the solar industry– the marketing department. When we talk about marketing, we are pertaining to distribution, brokers, contractors, dealers, and the businesses in general. These guys are often overlooked but can be just as important as the research and development team, those guys are too busy in their own field to even promote and spread the solar panels.
Before we begin, it is important that we keep in mind these three terms in the solar industry:
- Dealer – A company that sells solar equipment to homeowners, businesses and other organizations; may sell products from one or many manufacturers and may also provide installation and maintenance services.
- Contractor – Construction professionals who are specially trained to install solar equipment, also called installers.
- Brokers – a single contact who guides customers and clients through the whole process, often working independently or as real-estate agents too.
How important are they?
Think of this, the solar panel manufacturing plants and factories offshore already provide a lot of jobs. Then we also have the research and development as well as engineering divisions which also promote employment. Likewise, the distribution and marketing departments are also contributing to the profession pool themselves, creating more jobs for everyone.
These jobs can be anything from solar panel installers, miscellaneous equipment manufacturers for the panels, delivery, real estate, brokers, and even contractors for some heavy duty solar panel setups. Now that is a lot of jobs, probably numbering in thousands depending on the projects, sometimes distribution and marketing can be just as busy as manufacturing itself, depending on the demand.
Right now, the demand is quite significant, a lot of people are switching to solar panels simply because the price of electricity keeps getting higher, especially in states like California. Then, there is also the fact that solar panels have become significantly more affordable in the past five years.
All this would not have been as solid right now without contractors, real estate brokers, and dealers to support the manufacturers. Circulation is key to making sure everyone is provided with clean and renewable energy, the invention is half the battle.
The flow of business
The business flow and model of a solar power company may vary per brand, but the usual situation begins with the initiative of a solar panel contractor or dealer. This part of the industry probably does most of the work since they have a lot of sectors to keep track of.
For one, if the company does not have an in-house factory of manufacturing plant either offshore or local, then they will need to find and partner up with a reliable manufacturer to keep the solar panel supplies flowing. Afterward, finding a suitable market for the panels can be quite challenging depending on the demand. Dealers can also choose to cater to either commercial or residential markets or even both if their infrastructure can handle the demand.
Once the panels are ready and the customers have invested, it then falls to the contractors or installers to attend to their needs. Again, how busy they can depend on the demand.
Sometimes, it would be easier and more responsive if the company has all the departments under one roof. SunPower does this and has its own manufacturer, dealer, and contractor/installer. This sort of company infrastructure can be quite alluring for a customer or partner since everything that they need is in one place, resulting in less confusion and in some cases, less cost.
Ideally, a dealer, contractor, manufacturer, and brand partnership would result in a better structure. The interaction among divisions will be a lot tighter and communication would be clearer. Of course, the scope of operations could even grow, leading to more customers both residential and commercial
The resale market
The solar power industry has grown quite remarkably in the recent years and actually continue to grow even now despite some hindrances, particularly in the U.S. As such, the growth of the solar market has it extending its reach to other sectors and businesses such as real estate.
There now exists brokers or real estate agents which cater to the needs of residents mostly for whenever they require or desire a switch to solar power. As you know by now, residential solar panels require a considerable home space to install, often on the roof of the house but there can sometimes be improvised locations.
Regardless, the solar panels would become a part of your home if you choose to install them. This decision actually increases the value of the house by as much as $10,000 or even more. If the owner ever decides to sell it or if a buyer wanted to purchase a home with a solar panel setup, then this is where the solar brokers come in. These guys can assist you in finding the right solar home for you or even help you look for buyers.
In fact, the state of California is now mandating that new homes be constructed with included solar panel installations in them. This policy will, however, increase the price of homes by thousands of dollars more but can be less of a headache for home buyers looking to save on energy bills. Also, this opportunity provides a lot of work for brokers and real estate agents to work with solar power companies.
Sometimes, they can even act as dealers themselves for solar panels and look for contractors to help you install the system. In this regard, the solar power brokers can certainly strike a partnership deal with some of the most well-known and reliable solar panel brands out there. It not only will provide a better business opportunity but will also be beneficial for everyone. Some real estate companies and firms even provide financial programs for solar panels in homes.
As always, having everything you need (dealers, manufacturers, contractors, and brokers) in one place can make all the difference compared to looking for each separate business entity.
The key is working together
So you have lots of different entities in the solar industry whose job descriptions often even overlap in many instances. For example, the work of a solar power dealer and a broker can be quite similar. Both look for potential clients and customers and are looking to help people set up their solar panel arrays while making profitable returns in the process.
Dealers, though, might have better capacities for locating potential clients since they sometimes handle both the residential and commercial districts. The brokers would certainly be able to multiply their profit opportunities by partnering up with some of the best dealers in solar panels. Not only would they have access to a wider portion of the market, they would also have been part of an established and reliable brand.
When matters like this are involved, it is best to start early on since the solar industry is still quite young. It is expected to continue growing in the next few years and this only means that the market for solar panels would only get bigger. Expansions would certainly be necessary in order to deal with the increasing demand.
Then, there are also separate solar panel contractor businesses which sometimes operate independently from solar businesses. Sometimes, they can even act as dealers and brokers as well depending on their departments and how many employees they have. As such, with the growing solar power market, collaborating and pooling efforts will not only result in better returns but also more satisfied customers.
Whether a contractor, dealer, or broker has programs involving purchases, leases, or solar electricity payment options, all of them benefit from the sun. We all live and breath under one sun and it surely would be best to create a stronger foundation so that everyone gets better access to solar power.
All the different business entities working together for the distribution of solar power need only grab the opportunity to work together to get more clients, more customers, and more power from the sun. Here at SunPower by EcoSolar USA, we are always ready to collaborate and help others grow, and in turn help, people attain affordable solar power and also save the environment in doing so.