Solar Panel Customer Journey

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Solar Panel Customer Journey

Residential Solar Panel Purchase Journey

Residential customers have a relatively simple decision process in the purchase of solar panels. The first marketing encountered by residential solar customers is either an internet search or an unsolicited interaction with a solar salesperson.

Decisions

  • The first major decision is what type of solar panels to chose.
  • The next major decision point in the consumer solar panel purchase journey is deciding which solar contractor to use.
  • Lastly, consumers need to decide how to finance the purchase.

Common Questions

  • Based on multiple solar FAQ sections geared towards residential customers, common questions include questions about the benefits of solar, financing, and how solar panels work.
  • Benefit questions include the environmental and financial benefits of solar and how solar impacts property values.
  • Financing questions include questions regarding tax breaks and state incentive programs, how much money can be saved by going solar and what financing for solar panels is available.
  • Technical questions include if solar panels work when the sun is not out or if there is snow on the panels, how the panels work in general, if solar panels still work when the electric grid is out, and questions on if their specific roof could support solar panels.

Research Process

  • The research process for most residential solar customers beings with online research, including reading blogs from solar companies.
  • Potential customers are convinced by success stories from past customers. They also enjoy solution oriented content like calculators or informational articles.
  • Consumers also use social media for research about solar panels. 52% of solar consumers surveyed said Facebook influenced their purchase.
  • In-person referrals from neighbors and friends also play a big role — 50% of solar customers chose their solar provider based on recommendations of friends and family.

Older Solar Consumers

  • Consumers over the age of 55 are also a key demographic for solar panel purchases. The consumer journey for these customers is a bit different, usually beginning with an ad seen in a newspaper.
  • The main motivating factors for older consumers in purchasing solar panels are to control electricity costs as they move into retirement and decreasing overall electric bills.

Marketing Encountered

  • The first marketing encountered by consumers was internet searches and websites (21%), a solar company salesperson (21%), personal recommendations (17%), news media (14%), community involvement and events (13%), advertisements (9%) and social media (5%).
  • Consumers generally get more than one quote when deciding which solar company to use. In fact, consumers that get five or more quotes are the most likely to actually purchase solar.

Commercial Solar Panel Purchase Journey

Commercial clients are motivated by price, environmental benefits, and marketing benefits to potential employees and customers. Their purchase journey is more complicated than that of residential customers.

Motivations

  • Motivations for businesses to go solar include reducing operating costs, adding to financial stability, decreasing carbon footprint, saving during tax time, adding value to business property, appealing to prospective employees, and demonstrating social responsibility to customers.

Barriers

  • One barrier to purchase for commercial solar is that many times, multiple businesses rent a shared office space. As such, the financing and tax incentives can become complicated to divide.
  • Additionally, the payback on solar is longer than many C-suite Executives and Chief Financial Officers would like.

Purchase Journey

  • To decide if they should pursue solar, commercial companies will first have a technical assessment to see if their site is suitable for solar panels and what amount they could generate, as well as completing a financial assessment to determine if and how they could finance the project.
  • After deciding to pursue the potential of buying solar panels, commercial businesses first assemble a team for the project.
  • Then, they solicit bids for the project and select a company. Once a company is selected, they enter the construction and commissioning phase.
  • Lastly, they enter the maintenance and monitoring phase.

Research

  • A commercial client usually begins the purchasing journey by receiving or soliciting and personal recommendation, or seeing a solar provider at a trade show.
  • Commercial clients generally use case studies, white papers and e-books for their research into solar panels.

Marketing

  • Commercial clients can be targeted at trade shows and on professional social media sites like LinkedIn.
  • Providers can also require commercial consumers to submit their email addresses before downloading white papers or e-books so that they can follow up via email
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