Beyond O&M: How to Thrive in the Future of Solar

 In The Future of Solar

The Inflation Reduction Act will make history as the biggest infusion of spending in U.S. history to tackle global warming. The $369 billion package is a long-overdue step towards the nation’s goal: at least 50% reduction of greenhouse emissions by 2030.

For renewable energies like solar, the bill couldn’t come at a better time. We’ve seen record levels of consumer demand within the past year; the proposed tax credits for solar panels will drive even greater interest among consumers, marking the dawn of the next stage of growth.

Now that the industry is transitioning from the early adopters to the early mass market, success in solar will require very different acquisition and retention strategies. The consumers entering the market have different priorities, concerns, and demands from their predecessors. What got us here won’t get us there.

To thrive in the future of solar, solar companies can follow three valuable lessons from other industries that have also undergone major transitions, like retail and financial services.

#1: Note the transition from early adopters to the mass market

As an industry transitions from early adopters to the early mass market, companies within its ecosystem must take swift action to maintain momentum. Solar is no different.

Unlike risk-tolerant consumers of the past, future solar buyers will come to the table with real concerns about performance and reliability issues. They want assurances about their systems’ utility savings, functionality, and longevity. It is our responsibility to instill confidence so that customers can go Solar Without Fear®.

#2: Vertical disintegration presents an ideal opportunity for growth

The unprecedented influx of demand driven by the The Inflation Reduction Act presents a powerful opportunity for solar companies looking to scale. However, this increased activity comes at a cost: it’ll become more difficult for a single business to cover all aspects of the solar value chain.

In any industry experiencing growth, the most successful companies are those that engage in vertical disintegration. Solar businesses seeking to harness the coming avalanche of growth should focus on core areas of expertise rather than stretching too thin across manufacturing, installation, system design, maintenance, and more. For example: while performance experts craft an exceptional post-purchase experience, installers can focus on sales and customer consultations.

#3: Take a page from the “retail handbook”

Think Nordstrom. The department store’s reputation was built not so much by what it sold, but by its unrivaled post-purchase experience. Returning an item? No questions asked. Dissatisfied with your purchase decision? They’ll make it right.

As systems age and fail, news of solar failures and underperformance will complicate consumers’ purchase decisions. Before signing a contract, they’ll seek out reviews and recommendations from those who’ve already been there. That’s why it’s important to continually delight customers, even after the initial purchase.

To delight and wow consumers, solar companies must leverage data to proactively solve problems before they cause issues.

Will you thrive in the future of solar?

The solar industry was built on a promise we collectively made: that solar was pain-free. Now, it’s time to keep that promise.

Starting August 15, Omnidian will be debuting a six part mini-series in partnership with Nico Johnson at SunCast. We’ll explore how successful companies across the nation and across business sectors are taking a proactive approach to solar asset management and client satisfaction.

From midwest residential to big city commercial and industrial, leading solar experts will share how they harnessed vertical integration to scale at the right time. They’ll also reveal strategies for building healthy partnerships with companies across the value chain and explain the importance of culture for solar businesses.

During this series, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of “vertical disintegration” for embracing a coming avalanche of growth
  • Best practices for selecting and engaging with high-quality partners
  • How to delight and surprise the next wave of clean energy enthusiasts through proactive engagement
  • How to leverage the post installation customer experience to move beyond simple O&M

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