What are some of the biggest changes you are seeing in the solar industry?
In the past couple of years, we saw some record-breaking growth—but 2016 was by far the biggest year yet for solar. The amount of solar power installed in the U.S. is expected to nearly triple in size by 2022, and pricing on systems continues to drop—solar power isn’t going anywhere. Neither is the sun! More and more people are realizing this, as evidenced by the numbers.
What’s the main thing you wished customers understood about the solar industry?
We want people to understand the potential that solar energy has to make a difference in their everyday lives. Solar power allows you to take ownership of your energy expenses and energy future. You’re harnessing sunshine, a consistent source of power that rises every single day, to take control of your energy costs and power your home for decades. By using sunshine as a power source, you are also taking ownership of your impact on our planet and doing your part to help our planet and resources so future generations can enjoy them.
What are some common mistakes you see homeowners making when it comes to the solar industry?
The most common mistake we see is when customers opt for a lease/PPA as their payment option. The main motivator for this choice is that the customer can go solar for $0 down. What these homeowners don’t realize is that they are missing out on some amazing solar incentives that come with solar ownership, like the 30% federal tax credit and state grants and rebates, or even options that speed up your solar payback, like net metering and SRECs. When you lease, these incentives go to the lessor instead!
Thankfully, there are loan options—many for $0 down—that allow homeowners to benefit from solar ownership if they don’t have the upfront cash for the purchase. Solar ownership is the option that we advocate so that our customers maximize their benefits from going solar. Why should someone else benefit from your solar energy system?
We sometimes see people focusing on price. The quality of your system determines how long it lasts on your roof, as well as its energy production. Don’t focus simply on price, as solar power is an investment in your energy future and you want to get the maximum energy output.
Also, a common tendency is to migrate toward the “big guy.” We like to remind our customers that solar is an investment that lasts you for decades, so it’s important to choose an installer you trust to take care of you for the entire lifetime of your system. Regional solar installers are your best option since they’re experienced in your specific solar market and employ dedicated teams.
What are the top five questions homeowners should ask when working with a company in the solar industry?
1) Is my consultation free and my quote accurate?
You should never have to pay for a quote from a solar company. And that quote should accurately predict your solar production and electricity savings for the next 20-25 years.
2) Do you have a performance guarantee?
If the output from your installation is less than what your installer promised upfront, this guarantee ensures the installer will correct the problem and compensate you for any losses. Be sure the guarantee stands for 20 years.
3) What is your installation experience in my area?
The benefit of choosing a regional solar installer—like Direct Energy Solar—is that they are experts in state and local incentives, as well as obtaining necessary permits. The more experience, the better!
4) Do you use quality solar technology?
Cheaper isn’t always better, as the components of your system can have a tremendous impact on your total energy output. Choose an installer who provides high-quality solar components.
5) Who will be installing my system, and do you stand by your work?
Avoid installers who outsource their work; choose an installer who backs their workmanship 100% for 20 years. Companies who employ their own in-house installation and electrical teams can ensure a consistent, quality experience. A well-installed system should continue generating electricity for decades.
How is your company being innovative in the solar industry?
The technology that we use to design each and every solar system has revolutionized the way we design solar systems for our customers. This 3D-modeling software not only provides accurate dimensions of your home, but precise measurements of the surrounding environment causing any shading to your home. We are now able to gather detailed electricity production data on thousands of points across your roof surfaces, so we know what your system will produce. These data points are then used to create a solar system that is more personalized to your energy needs than ever before.
We are in a unique spot in the solar industry because we are part of the Direct Energy family of brands. Our parent company, Direct Energy, is an alternative to a traditional utility, offering electricity at a lower cost. In several of our markets, we even offer solar/electricity bundles, so our customers can benefit from electricity price stability and the convenience of having one supplier for all of their energy needs. We are truly dedicated to lowering the cost of energy to our customers and being your “one-stop- shop” for energy.
What sets your company apart from your competitors?
Direct Energy Solar is part of the Direct Energy family of brands, which is dedicated to providing a lower-cost alternative to your traditional utility company. Direct Energy is a well-established brand with nearly 5 million customers in the United States, so when our customers decide to go solar with us, they can feel confident that we have the resources to support their system for decades.
In addition, Direct Energy Solar is a “customer-first” company. We are dedicated to providing the best going solar experience in the industry while offering the best value proposition to our customers so they get the most out of their solar investment. Our custom approach aims to meet each customer’s specific energy needs and financial goals. We are committed to saving our customers money, to making the going solar process easy, to serving our customers for decades, and quality customer service.
What’s your biggest focus for 2017?
Our biggest focus is helping the solar industry to have another record-breaking year! We want to educate as many of our neighbors as possible about the potential that solar has to make a difference in their lives and to deliver an exceptional going solar experience that maximizes solar benefits. Delivering exceptional experiences helps us grow brand advocates who spread the word about solar power to their friends and family, too!
What is your most popular product(s)? Why?
In our experience, higher wattage and aesthetics are two key things our customers look for in solar panels. For example, the LG panels we offer are a popular choice—they’re high-quality, mono-crystalline with black frames and black back sheets, so they look incredibly sleek on our customers’ rooftops. Our other primary panel offerings from Qcell and Jinko are also popular by way of price.
Do you offer any warranties? If so, please elaborate.
Solar power is an investment that lasts for decades on your roof, so we are proud to offer a 20-Year Production Guarantee and a 20-Year Workmanship Warranty. We stand by our production estimates and our work so you can be confident that we are taking care of your home and energy future. In addition, the system components we install carry manufacturer warranties.
Where can your products be purchased?
We serve customers in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, DC. The first step in going solar with us is to request a free, no-obligation solar consultation from our team of solar experts. This way, we can learn more about your energy consumption and take a look at your home to see if you’re a good candidate for solar.
In what ways is your company taking strides to be more environmentally friendly?
The fact alone that we install solar proves our commitment to the environment. While it is true that the manufacturing of solar panels does result in some emissions, that is completely offset within a few years of generating clean energy from your panels. We are involved in that part of the process—helping our customers harness clean energy from the sun to power their homes. Many of our employees come to work every day knowing they are making a positive difference.
Why should a customer purchase your eco-friendly products? Why are they more initially expensive, and how will they save money in the long term?
Now more than ever is the perfect time to go solar and be mindful about your energy future, as well as your impact on the planet. There’s nothing better than looking outside and then up at your roof, knowing that you’re a using a renewable source of energy to power your home and that you’re doing your part to help our planet.
This guest post was provided by Direct Energy Solar.