When designing and proposing sunMAX- having the ability to adjust and best meet the customer's needs in designing and pricing a system is critical. Given the variety of customers and their varying needs/interests, knowing how to optimally size and price a sunMAX system will help ensure both the installer/customer get the best deal.
Solar is a unique business that lends itself to a cooperative/mutually beneficial install for the customer, the installer as well as the global community. With the lower cost that sunMAX offers, selling solar has never been easier. A lower price point means more flexibility and room to find a configuration that works for the both the installer and the customer.
The following graph demonstrates the role that changing sizing and price can play in providing profitable options for both parties:
In other words, as # of panels in the system goes up so does Customer and Installer profit. If system is priced more aggressively, the installer makes a higher profit but at lesser gains for the customer, conversely, at the lower end of $/watt- the installer makes diminished profits but the customer makes more. What this means is that each sell represents an opportunity to find a medium that satisfies both parties.
Using Customer Utility Data
A key factor in correctly deciding how to price/scale a system for a customer is their Utility data. When selling or preparing a sales pitch for a customer, it is extremely helpful to get bill data so that you can generate specific projections for them.
The following graphic provides a general idea of how to start designing a system once you have the customers electrical bills.
Types of Utility Consumers
Customer Profile: This customer consumes a lot of electricity, and at an expensive rate. As a result they are the customer most in need of a sunMAX system. The larger the system, the better for this customer, though any size will prove to be a very wise investment. There is less of a need to be concerned with efficiency in orientation/design than getting as much of their power from a more affordable source in sunMAX.
Where Found: Larger homes or homes that are less efficient. Densely populated areas (New England, California, etc.). Places with expensive utilities (Europe, Japan, etc.).
Provider Outlook: Best- most likely to be heavily targeted by Big Solar. sunMAX Providers are in a good position to succeed here by providing a much lower cost system to the customer and still making a large profit themselves.
Customer Profile: This customer consumes a lot of power at a lower cost/kWh than most. As a result, a sunMAX system needs to be a higher scale to offset a greater portion of the cost. For these homes or businesses, given the amount of panels needed to be offset, it is often best for the Customer and Installer to pursue a larger install which because of its scale can be afforded to be discounted at a lower price per watt. Most commercial sites will fall in to this category as commercial rates for power are much lower.
Where Found: Commercial installs. Large houses. More likely to be in rural/lower population areas. Humid and hot environments where air condition is needed but where there is ample power available to residents (Southeastern United States, i.e. Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, etc.)
Provider Outlook: Good- Rising costs in utilities encourage residents to move to solar. Less viable in areas with worse sun exposure, though incentives can improve outlook considerably.
Customer Profile: This customer is often found in areas where moderate temperatures lessen the need to use air conditioning and keep power consumption low. Dense population and higher demand for power have driven prices up. Many of these customers have insulated their homes/built their lives around a more energy efficient lifestyle. For these installs, smaller to mid-size installs can offset 100% of the consumption greatly decreasing utility costs. In some locations, because of the high price of electricity- incentive programs have been created that encourage home-owners and businesses to install more solar than what their consumption requires and to provide excess power to the grid in exchange for money. In these states, increasing the install size to a larger install can not only save a lot of money on utility bills but represent a potentially large source of additional income.
Where Found: Smaller/more efficient homes. Moderate environments. Densely populated cities/areas (i.e. Hawaii, California, New England, etc.)
Provider Outlook: Excellent- lower price point of sunMAX hardware makes smaller installs for smaller homes/lower income areas more possible. Can go to homes where Big Solar has tended not to.
Customer Profile: This customer has access to affordable utility rates but whose lifestyle doesn't require as much electrical consumption. Customer is likely to be found in colder locations where heating is more of a concern than air conditioning. While these may seem to be a poor option with sunMAX- the amount of solar installed in these markets is minimal. Accordingly, many of the state governments in these locations out of need to incentivize green energy have had to create some of the strongest incentive programs. These customers are best suited for the most efficient installs- south facing roofs, 45 degree angles, etc. Lower cost/watt may diminish provider profit, but the need for efficiency lends itself to ongoing revenue from maintenance agreements for snow cleaning, servicing, etc.
Where Found: Small, efficient homes in affordable utility areas. Colder regions where gas is in higher demand (i.e. Midwest- Minnesota, Michigan, etc. Washington, Alaska, etc.)
Provider Outlook: Decent- although diminished profitability means need to sell at lower cost, the lack of solar presence in these regions means less competition and the ability to do more installs.