The following article will discuss in detail the steps to move your WISP business into the Solar Industry. Initially, WISPs should focus on Sales & Install, since your existing business has the labor necessary to train with and use sunMAX software & hardware needed to sell & install the systems.
Week 1: Register Business & Find Partners
Register your Solar Business & obtain any licenses (whether via partner or yourself). Commoditize your business through different services ranging from Internet (airMAX), home monitoring/automation (UniFi-Video, mFi), and now, energy efficiency/savings (sunMAX, mFi).
Financing the customer system is vital ensure sale—look for banks that specialize in competitive, flexible Solar Loans with low interest rates (4-8%).
Although the sunMAX Profit/Savings Report already takes into account fees ($200) for contracted work, the huge profit margins enable you to contract help from licensed professionals & sell faster. Contractors provide valuable training & experience during the early stages of your Solar business. To find a sunMAX Contractor in your area, consult our Database.
Build an Ecosystem of contracted workers that you can solicit at any time to provide assistance & help ensure your sale:
- Electrician - Carries an Electrician's license & has background in solar/electrical work.
- Building Contractor - General background in home construction & carries contractor's license.
- Local Engineers - As needed. For example, a Structural Engineer would be needed if the local authority permit requirements required data & signature of approval prior to install.
- Roofer - Lead wants solar but roof is not ready for install.
- HVAC - Home energy efficiency, solar-tied energy system, etc.
- Solar Integrator / Installer - In case you want to focus on Sales & forward leads to qualified install companies.
Besides carrying a license (often required) to work with Solar, you should qualified Electrician/Contractor can provide On-The-Job training for your install team to learn basic electrical work.
When soliciting the help of an Electrician, present sunMAX as a straightforward, grid-tied solution. Your teams will handle sale, install & maintenance. The electrician/contractor should:
- Assess electrical site (ex. Main Panel) to ensure necessary infrastructure is on-site & ready.
- Assist with End-Run design, that is, path of conduit from install site to interconnection point (ex. Main Panel, Electrical Meter).
- Install wiring, properly ground equipment/system & perform terminations throughout End-Run.
After your first couple installs, you may decide to obtain your own contractor's license to work in the Solar field.
Week 2-3: Train Teams & Launch Marketing Campaign
Quickly add a Solar section to your website announcing your Solar Division. Then prepare advertising materials to distribute throughout your community.
Target your existing customers first. Your Sales Pitch should focus on the Economics of Solar—low risk, high yields, and immediate savings via subsidies. Reward customers with $$ credit for sales leads.
Practice analyzing Customer Electricity Bills in your neighborhood so you are familiar with Utility price costs. Use sunMAX to design a system that offsets up to 100% of the customer's annual energy consumption (kWh). Then use the Customer Proposal tool to determine a Cost/Watt (sale price of Install to Customer) that 1) offers competitive savings, while still providing 2) profit to installer.
Step 2-3: Begin Permits & Move to Install
Follow the steps in User Guide & Video Tutorials to safely install. Your first install may take a full day for a two-person team to complete. A qualified contractor should oversee that equipment is installed in compliance of local rules & regulations, including roof & electrical standards. After a couple of job sites, you'll become very efficient at installing sunMAX.
Coordinate with the Utility to ensure bidirectional metering at the customer premise—this may include an Interconnection Agreement.
After the install, provide Operations & Maintenance services for recurring revenue, such as monitoring, cleaning, etc.