Listen Up: Primary Solar Market Research Insights

The worldwide demand for energy is almost inexhaustible. Couple that demand with the need for clean energy — especially energy we can afford — and the picture gets a lot more complicated. Fortunately, good market research helps us to get some perspective of the potential for PV to meet these energy demands.

There are two types of market research available in the solar industry: primary research and secondary research. Secondary market research related to the solar industry is relatively easy to find on the internet. This information is based on studies that were conducted by industry groups, government agencies, or extracted from other publicly available sources. This secondary information is often generalized and not targeted towards addressing a specific business need. On the other hand, primary market research studies are more specific, particularly useful in the solar industry to answer a specific question.

For example, one can find secondary research on the percentage of homeowners who lease a rooftop system as opposed to buy a system. But it takes a more specific series of questions — often as part of a survey or focus group — to determine how satisfied homeowners are with their lease or purchase of a solar system.

Paula Mints has specialized in primary research in the solar industry since 1997 — most recently as the Chief Market Research Analyst with SPV Market Research. Please join me on this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World as Paula talks about her experiences in the "solar coaster," and talks about some primary market research insights that come directly from manufacturers, developers, installers and customers.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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