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Some Good Solar Industry Data and Tips for Increasing Solar Sales

Some Good Solar Industry Data and Tips for Increasing Solar Sales

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  • Let me start with a question, just to get to know who’s in the room…. How many here have already installed at least one solar system for a customer?How many of you have over 10 employees, over 20, over 30? Would someone want to volunteer why they decided to get into the solar business?
  • Just a little bit of my background. . . Key things to know are that I won’t be presenting from the same tack as many othersI am a lifetime sales person, so I am very focused on growth and revenue
  • One thing you’ll hear a lot in this presentation is GROWTH. I’m going to spend some time illustrating and explaining the growth industry, then move into the ways that you can best participate in it and manage it profitably.
  • How the market is setting up… Over the past couple of years we’ve seen some important things happen on a global level…
  • Let’s walk through some of these, some you’re aware of, but others maybe not. It’s important because these benefits are the basis for why we have government incentives around the world that are sustaining these incredible growth rates. .. .
  • Now, this slide is a little more fun to look at. Here’s how we got to that 13.9 Gigs Look at the growth curves. Country by country we’ve gone to hockey-stick growth.Japan was the first country to start providing incentives for PV, and it created a steady climb in growth in the earliest years of the technology. In recent years, they’ve actually begun to roll-back the incentives they had in place and continue to see a steady growth curve. How about Germany, when do you think they put their Federal Feed-In Tariff in place? - right, 2003. How about Spain?Now look at the U.S. Line. As you may all know, we have no national standard for PV production, we do however have some attractive incentives which we’ll discuss later.
  • . . . So what’s driving this growth?
  • Here are the things that are making the U.S. start to get serious about solar
  • What’s most important is that renewable energy in general, and solar more specifically have strong support from all power centers. Heads of global corporations, Government at all levels, small businesses such as many of yours, and entrepreneurs universally support and work to help grow the solar business. Moreover, business and government have aligned in many ways with environmental groups and consumers, who also support solar.
  • What’s most important is that renewable energy in general, and solar more specifically have strong support from all power centers. Heads of global corporations, Government at all levels, small businesses such as many of yours, and entrepreneurs universally support and work to help grow the solar business. Moreover, business and government have aligned in many ways with environmental groups and consumers, who also support solar.
  • So, with the support we get from the end users, business, and government, here’s what we’ve been able to accomplish. We have grown over 12x from 2000 to 2008. I’d put the same chart up here for our economy in general, but it’s too depressing. But what about last year when we had all of the bank failures and other issues around the globe… It was our first year installing over 1GW of capacity. Major milestone.But what about 2009, when the financial crisis hit. . .
  • Well, pretty good news there too. We added a total of almost 470MW more than we did even in 2008 when the financial markets were completely different. This is probably the best indicator of things to come. We got hit the hardest by the recession and banking crisis. Yet in spite of having an economy on life-support from the Federal Government we were able to grow by over 1/3 in solar. This year, we’re looking to double from 2009. - And we still don’t even have a Federal production incentive!
  • As you can see, the policies initiated in 2009 brought about a rise in solar installations at both the residential level as well as Utility-Scale. Many believe that within the next few years we will see an equal distribution of market share for each of the Utility Scale, Commercial, and Residential markets.
  • So, long story short we’re doing very well and the train doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. . . But….
  • Here are the recent developments in coal. Well the good news is right here…
  • Well, here’s some other recent news…
  • Not bad! But here’s another stat that kind of tempered the excitement…
  • That’s a full 14 years lower than the national average. So we have to ask ourselves something.
  • Maybe we should start to diversify our energy infrastructure a little more.
  • Economics. PV technology has very unique properties that make it more attractive with every passing year.. . .
  • Economics are about the move to this…
  • Here’s what the cost of solar looks like across the country vs. standard utility rates. As you can see, we’re already at par with the grid in some major markets. Mostly those with high utility rates and good sun. Red – at or below parOrange – within 5% of the grid priceYellow – between 5-10% of the grid priceWhite – not even close.
  • Now, it’s important to point out that this map only assumes a 1% annual increase in utility rates, but we already know that the national average is somewhere around 5% with some high-use metro areas increasing at double-digits every year. With this much of the market at or below grid-parity, there will be No More Need for government incentives. At least not on the Federal Level. That’s only five years away.
  • But it’s not just the pricing situation that makes a difference to you. When supply is abundant, the buyers get control in a number of ways.
  • Still, we have to be smart to succeed for the long-term and maximize our profits. With new capacity available and financing on the mend, end Users are the biggest issue. We also need to watch for changes, expiration, or tapped out incentives. Competition will get better, still fragmented and unpredictable, and prices can fluctuate so we need to be prepared.
  • 30% credit for any new installation at the residential or commercial level. Now, it’s important to delineate this vs a production incentive. This is an investment incentive meaning that it stimulates the construction of new projects, but does not offer an incentive for the amount of production. So, if you spend $35k on a 5kw system, you’ll get 30% back, but if the system only produces 2/3 of what it’s meant to, it’s not a factor. This could potentially affect quality and design.
  • This is the best resource for following all of the reams of information you’ll need. Bookmark it and refer to it regularly.
  • DSIRE will give you all the updated incentive information you need. It’s a very robust resource, and for single-source research it’s the one to go with. . . Here’s an example of one of the maps on their site. You just pick your state and it will take you to everything you need to know and in most cases quite a bit more.
  • One thing we can say is that if state and local incentives drive installations, these would be the top ten states based on recent capacity expansion and total MW installed.
  • This is the new hot topic in solar. It’s a way of financing solar so that residents make a positive cash-flow from day one of the install.
  • PPA’s are different, they allow the owner of the building to buy electricity from a PPA provider at a fixed price. These are great for non-profits and government facilities where they’re not qualified for any tax incentives. By buying the power from a 3rd party for-profit company, they allow that company to use the incentives giving them the ability to offer a better price for the power.
  • And then there’s one of my favorites. LeasingNo money down… gets ‘em every time. Like a PPA, the company actualy owns the equipment, but rather than selling power, they essentially “rent” it to the owner for a fixed price. Usually the offset from the electricity bill is more than the lease payment. So even with $0 down the owner can have a positive cash-flow from day one. You want to know how SolarCity got so big so fast, this is how.
  • This is where a lot of companies lose their edge, they concern themselves with things like material costs and labor rather than the overhead and other costs that really waste time and money. By focusing on the best customers and dominating in a specific niche, you can take a major chunk out of that 20-29% in overhead and permitting. That’s money straight to the bottom line. Once you learn the process you’ll get better and better rather than having to re-learn each time you need to pull a permit. and money.
  • This is a cool site called Meetup.com. It’s for people who actually like to communicate face-to-face. I pulled groups interested in “solar” in the state of Arizona, and here’s what I found… Affinity, yes! Low tech, absolutely! Listen, you don’t have to become a high-tech company… All it takes is the ability to know what tools are available and to know how to use them. = You should spend less than 20 minutes a day online looking at this stuff. = If you think it’s expensive, you’re in for a pleasant surprise… websites are cheap, and the major components of a brand are extremely cheap. They’re so valuable I would really recommend that all of you find a resource.
  • Do your research, sales isn’t dependent on charm anymore, tools are available.Get the basics and fill in the form in advance, they will appreciate it – it’s a “give”Diff between market knowledge and product knowledgeListening to the questions they ask more imp than giving them all possible info.Group settings make you valid, use tools to create an affinity group – do NOT abuse access if granted. “Friend” and do not do anything else – use media. Offer group education, a webinar, or something of value without a pitch!
  • Market Knowledge – Much more important that product or service knowledge
  • The process of self-qualifying is fun! Customers love it and pass on to others. Media gets a kick out of it and features them all the time.

Selling Solar Selling Solar Presentation Transcript

  • Selling Solar
    How to enter, compete and win in the solar business…
  • About Joe Boyce
    President of Gaia Worldwide and Solar Visionaries (Cambridge MA)
    Lifetime Sales Person – Pragmatic, non-academic
    Knowledge of Solar, Finance, Tech, Marketing, Recruiting, Org Dev.
    Some experience in residential construction and remodeling – 1 roof
    Started in Solar in 2005 at Prometheus Institute
    Launched Greentech Media with co-founders in 2007
    Here to help you get started on the right foot – reach goals
  • GROWTH
  • Global Market Has Turned the Corner…
    • Proven as a “Bankable” technology
    • Viable alternative to fossil fuels for power generation
    • Considered highly scalable, no longer fringe
    • Energy policy and energy security being taken more seriously
    • Government support is very high mainly due to climate change
    • Supply / Demand balance has been a problem. Maybe no more
    • Recent price declines putting solar on par with fossil fuels
  • Unique economic benefits
    • Creates good jobs at blue collar, white collar, professional level
    • Stimulates economies locally– easy to target hard-hit areas
    • Rapid growth during global recession - positive outlier
    • Billions in Venture Capital raised each year - #1 cleantech sector
    • Stable hedge against energy prices
    • Grid parity will create explosive demand and economic growth
    • “Distributed Generation” deployable anywhere there’s sunlight
  • Global Growth in Cumulative Capacity
    United States ranked #4 in total installed capacity in 2008 with around 1.2GW
    Source: NREL
    Germany Remains #1. Spain surpasses Japan and US in 2007 Due to New Feed-In Tariff
  • Surprising Growth in 2009 Beat Everyone’s Forecasts
    “The global solar photovoltaic electricity (PV) market counted an additional increase in installed capacity of about 7.2 GW in 2009, reaching a total capacity of over 22 GW world-wide.” - EPIA
    2009 New Global Capacity: 7.2 GW = approx. 1.5 Million US Homes
    Cumulative Global Capacity: 22 GW = approx. 4.6 Million US Homes
    Almost 1/3 of existing PV capacity was installed in 2009 – In spite of the Global Financial Crises and recession
    “This has been the most important annual capacity increase ever and is particularly impressive in light of the difficult financial and economical circumstances during the past year.” - EPIA
  • Primary Drivers of U.S. Solar Industry Growth
    • Strong policies at the state and federal level (solar investment tax credit, removal of $2,000 residential cap, Treasury Grant Program)
    • Declining prices (PV module prices down more than 40 percent)
    • Strong interest (92 percent of Americans think it is important for the U.S. to develop and install solar
  • Business, Government, and Consumers Aligned In Their Support
    U.S. is depending on solar to create jobs and economic growth
    Abundant and safe source of domestic energy
    Energy Security has become a major problem
    Good for our environment and quality of life
    Plays to Our Strength - Maintains Global Competitiveness
    Provides political capital, voters from all backgrounds favor solar
  • “Widespread Adoption”
    Government Stepping Up
    FY10 $225M
    Recovery act $117.6M
    FY2009 – $175M
    The administration and Congress have demonstrated interest and support in solar over the past several years
  • USA Solar Market By Connectivity 1997 - 2008
  • USA Solar Market By Connectivity 2009
    +429 MW
    +40 MW
    2009
  • Looking Forward
  • U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review
    • Despite the Great Recession of 2009, the U.S. solar industry had its best year ever
    • 2009 U.S. solar industry revenue grew 36% to almost $4 Billion
    • The solar industry supported 17,000 new U.S. jobs in 2009
    • U.S. Solar manufacturing grew 7% in 2009 despite recessions
    • In 2009 Solar Electricity surpassed 2.200 MW in total capacity
    • 2009 Annual solar electric installations grew by 37% from 2008
    • Solar Hot Water installations rose over 10% from 2008
    • Solar Thermal Grew to nearly 24,000 MW
    • Only decline was in solar pool heating, down 10% due to housing crisis
    Source: American Solar Energy Society
  • What About Our Biggest Competitor?
  • Coal!
  • Positive: Coal remains the United States’ #1 source of energy with over 50% market share
  • Positive: Coal remains the United States’ #1 source of energy with over 50% market share
    Negative: Tragic mine collapse kills 25 injures dozens more. Massey Energy being investigated for safety violations.
  • Positive: Coal remains the United States’ #1 source of energy with over 50% market share
    Negative: Tragic mine collapse kills 25 injures dozens more. Massey Energy being investigated for safety violations.
    Average Coal Miner Wage: (10 years experience – Kansas City MO)
    $23.83 per hour
  • Positive: Coal remains the United States’ #1 source of energy with over 50% market share
    Negative: Tragic mine collapse kills 25 injures dozens more. Massey Energy being investigated for safety violations.
    Average Coal Miner Wage: (10 years experience – Kansas City MO)
    $23.83 per hour
    Average life expectancy:
    59 years
  • Are These Really The Jobs Of The Future?
    Can We Really Build A New, More Competitive America This Way?
  • ECONOMICS
  • Solar Economics 101
    U.S. Electricity prices increase 4% a year on average
    PV Prices have declined an average of 5-7% a year for the last 20 years
    Last year ASP of solar modules declined between 30 and 40%
    Polysilicon, the main raw material used in well over 80% of all solar panels manufactured globally is derived from the most abundant material on earth – sand
    PV O&M costs are the lowest of any major energy source
    As demand grows for PV manufacturing and logistics costs are reduced
    There are tens of billions of dollars invested in R&D aimed directly at reducing cost the U.S. alone
    All of the solar deployed in the U.S. to date produces less than 0.5% of our annual energy demand
  • GRID PARITY
    The point at which renewable electricity is equal to or cheaper than grid power.
  • 2009
    NREL study of 1000 largest utilities across the US servicing over 95% of grid electricity consumption.
    Major population centers are already at or near grid-parity
  • 20151% annual increase in grid electricity prices
    2/3 of the U.S. is at or below grid costs
    95% of the U.S. is within 5 cents a kwh
  • Recent Developments For
    Downstream Players
    • Margins have shifted in your direction
    • Service levels are improving with higher availability of product
    • Rapid price declines have not been met with reduced incentives
    • Banking crisis led to a host of new, innovative financing vehicles
    • Environmental, Geopolitical, and other factors creating higher consumer awareness, stimulating demand in residential and small business markets
    • Vertical Integration is the trend - Manufacturers acquiring downstream partners to stabilize sales
  • But We Still Face Major Challenges
    Consumer perception
    “Solar is still too expensive”
    “Only works if you get a lot of sunlight”
    “Payback Period is over 20 years”
    “Solar will get much cheaper, so it’s better to wait”
    Incentives Are Inconsistent and Constantly Changing
    Staying current can be a challenge
    Many markets still lack incentives
    Budgets can be spent quickly – no more cash available
    Growing Competition
    Highly fragmented market could create price wars
    Your biggest competitor is the grid, and prices vary widely
    Price Instability
    Many believe they have stabilized and are starting to increase slightly already
  • Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
    30%
  • Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
    What Qualifies?
    Solar PV
    Solar water heating
    Most Energy Efficiency Solutions
  • State Programs
    www.dsireusa.org
  • State Programs
  • Top 10 States for Grid Tied Solar Electric (PV + CSP)
  • Financing
  • PACE “Property Assessed Clean Energy”
    Removes a major barrier to wide scale adoption
    • 20 year financing via special assessment on homes and businesses
    • Eliminates upfront costs to consumers – Biggest deal breaker
    • Federal/city/state/utility rebates still apply
    • Save money from day 1! Typically Utility+PACE less than original bill.
    • Noaffect city budgets or non-solar tax payers
    • Transferrable to new owners after certain period (usually 5 or 10 years)
    • Get familiar with them PACE iscatching fire across the country.
  • PPA’s “Power Purchase Agreements”
    • Very common for large commercial and utility-scale installations
    • Low (not zero) up front cost
    • Usually 15 to 18 year term, transferable to a new owner / tenant
    • Negotiate a rate that commonly includes an annual increase
    • PPA provides maintenance and repairs + monitors your system
    • PPA gets tax benefits or State rebates or Renewable Energy Credits
    • Usually has an option to buy or renew PPA at the end of the agreement
    • You need to have an excellent credit rating to qualify
    • Often complicated with major tax and legal implications
  • Solar Leasing
    • Simpler than a PPA
    • No Money Down!
    • Usually 15 (or more) year term, transferable to a new owner
    • You pay the lease payment plus any extra power you need from utility
    • Can include maintenance, repairs, monitoring – not always
    • No tax benefits or rebates or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
    • Usually includes option to buy at the end for a set residual price
    • Require good/excellent credit rating depending on the program
    • SolarCity fast becoming the 800 lb Gorilla – www.solarcity.com
  • Gaia Worldwide Survey of Small and Mid-Size Solar Integrators/ Installers – November 2009
    84% - “Need more sales” was number 1 Priority 99% - Put it in the top 3 <1% - Expect to Reduce Staff in 2010 >50% - Expect to add staff in 2010 Average revenue growth in past 3 years – Flat Average staffing level down 5-10%
  • Gaia Worldwide Survey of Small and Mid-Size Solar Integrators/ Installers – November 2009
    ConclusionsEveryone who got in recently expects great thingsFew are prepared to handle business opportunitiesMost are misrepresenting / mismanaging qualified opportunitiesDo not or are not accurately measuring results
  • Control what you can control
    Manageable
    Little or No Control
  • The Big Question for the startup…Where Are the leads?
    Professionally Oriented Social Network
    Over 20 Million Users
    Background Info, Location, Work Experience
    821 “Solar” Groups
    Fastest Growing Social Network
    Over 300 Million Users
    #1 website on the web – Bigger than Google
    Thousands of “Solar” Pages
    “Real Time” Social Networking
    Very good way to evaluate market potential
    Can grow to thousands of followers very fast
  • If You Don’t Believe…Consider These Facts…
    Facebook now gets more traffic than Google
    1 out of 8 American Married couples met via social media
    If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest
    100+ hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 5 minutes
    74% of people trust peer recommendations, 14% trust advertisements
  • 817 Members
    904
    Members
    www.meetup.com
    Groups that share a common affinity organize live events online
    FREE
    94
    Members
    33
    Members
  • Establishing Validity
    Even if everything goes great, you are just a stranger until you are validated
    Know as much as possible beforehand
    Avoid “low value” questions
    Offer industry expertise
    Answer only the questions they ask
    Add “dimensions” to the interaction
  • What Gives You Validity?
    Thought Leadership
    Get Recognized as the Industry Expert
    Share Market Knowledge with the community
    Meet and educate groups
    Get active in the community
    Partner with local businesses to reach customers
    Present at their facilities
    Local media interviews, topical discussions
    Keep your message clear and consistent across all communication
  • How you know you’re building a brand
    People start looking to you for general industry information
    Invited to speak at industry, government, or community events
    Web traffic increases – time on site increases
    Leads come in more complete
    Someone says “I’ve heard of you guys”
    Employees bring in friends / family as new customers
    Media starts calling you
  • Great Websites Do The Selling For You
  • Great Web Presence: Sungevity
    • Leads with Solution
    • Highlights Customers
    • Interactive, fun
    • Easy to pass on to friends
    • Sign-Up for communication
    • Featured Solar Install
    Whitehouse
  • Interactive Site Makes Customers “Feel It”
    The Most Profitable Investment you can make
    • Mapping Software
    “That’s My House!”
    • Customers walk through the entire qualification process right online!
    • Staff get to choose only the most qualified ones to follow up with
    • On-site visits down over 90% - Saves $300 per visit!
    • 50%+ Closing Rate!
    • Plan up front – Execute to your plan
    • Budget, Forecast, set milestones and timelines
    • Share market and industry knowledge – not product
    • Align your team, customers, community and technology around your business and sales goals
    • Compete hard – a little innovation is all you need
    • Continuously look for new areas of opportunity
    • Track your results and stay nimble
    Key Takeaways
  • Joe Boyce
    1 (877) 331-4280 | 1 (617) 312-3866
    jboyce@gaiaworldwide.com
    www.gaiaworldwide.com
    www.solarvisionaries.org
    Twitter:@josephboyce | Facebook: solarPV | LinkedIn: Joe Boyce