Solar panels are commodities — not very different than the bottled water you find on a supermarket shelf. Granted some panels are more efficient, some cost less, some may be easier to install, and some may have better warranties. But to the average consumer — and for that matter experienced installer — there is really not much difference between one manufacturer’s panel compared to another.
So why are some companies selling more solar panels than others? To a large degree it is the sales and marketing efforts they make to reach their initial customers: solar installers. Generating awareness, interest and sales for solar panels — as well as inverters, racking and installation services — is a textbook marketing challenge.
There is one person in the industry who has carved out a reputation for himself when it comes to marketing solar products: Tor Valenza (AKA Solar Fred). Tor literally hangs his hats these days as the Chief Marketing Officer at Impress Labs. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World as Tor talks about the best (and worst) marketing practices at solar equipment companies, installers and financiers.
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