Solar business owners have had a rough time leading their teams through this pandemic year. In addition to managing their current projects and staff (often from a distance), they’ve also been tasked to keep their business above water despite:
- Their teams’ reduced ability to generate leads, assess sites, and close sales
- Newly changing solar policies and delayed permitting processes
- An unpredictably fluctuating economy that affects financing for solar projects
The good news is that these challenges also present new opportunities to practice new strategies. And these strategies, if implemented correctly, might actually help your business not only weather this economic storm, but have you come out of it stronger and busier than ever.
To help share these strategies with the solar community, we’ve put together EMPOWER 2020, a virtual summit that gathers together acclaimed solar industry leaders to share their advice on some of today’s most pivotal questions, including:
1. How Can I Finance Solar Projects in This Economy?
By May 2020, the renewables industry has shrunk by 620,000 clean energy jobs. While solar workers are now returning as shutdowns lift, demand for solar has shrunk because of the diminished work hours, furloughs, or unemployment in many households.
It’s easy to feel down from these sobering statistics, but it’s important to remember that solar demand will rise again. Our industry has a strong foundation to build on:
- In Q1 2020, the solar industry was one of the fastest-growing segments in the nation, growing by 10.4% since March 2019 to almost 3.4 million jobs.
- Also in Q1, the U.S. installed more solar than in any previous quarter (3.6 GW).
But while we wait for the economy to recover, how can solar installers finance their current projects during this economic downturn?
A good first step is to look into installer-focused initiatives such as:
- Mosaic’s Solar Financing
- Sustainable Capital Finance’s Commercial Solar Program
- KwH’s Solar Risk Management
- And Energize Ventures.
Speakers from each of these companies will be addressing solar installers’ financial questions at EMPOWER2020. You can sign up for their talk Show Me the Money: Solar Project Financing in a Downturn.
2. How Do I Get New Leads & Grow Sales Without In-Person Meetings?
Due to the need for social distancing, in-person solar meetings and presentations have been almost non-existent. Now that most solar sales teams are remote, many of them are left asking: how can you open a conversation and close a sale with a prospect you can't meet in person?
Fortunately, with today’s technology you can easily nurture solar leads from start to finish if you have a solid remote sales process. With the right tools and techniques, solar teams can boost sales even during a pandemic, especially for emerging growth areas such as energy storage, which represents both a brand new solution as well as a significant retrofit installation opportunity
For most solar sellers, creating a remote sales process is a fairly new skill. A good place to start your education is by learning effective digital marketing and sales methods from the most successful in the industry. Solar marketing experts, such as Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza, will share their own methods for cultivating high-quality leads through digital channels at the following EMPOWER 2020 talks:
The talks will feature digital marketing and sales best practices that are specific to the solar industry so that you can increase conversions, not only during social distancing, but long after the world returns to normal.
3. How Do I Get Permits During Social Distancing?
Another 2020-specific worry for installers is the reduced access to in-person permitting because of the need to socially distance. Each region has responded differently to this limitation, with some municipalities even resorting to sliding solar applications and permits under doors.
Thankfully, this isn’t necessary for all solar business owners. No-touch permits provide a streamlined way to get approval for solar projects without risk of infection or breaking social distance guidelines.
Since multiple states are changing their permission policies to accommodate no-touch online solar permits, it’s essential to keep up with your state’s requirements and abilities.
To help you quickly update yourself on current no-touch permit policies we’re bringing together four solar industry leaders at the EMPOWER2020 session, “Pushing the Industry Forward: Local Policies, Permitting, and Advocacy.”
Watch EMPOWER 2020 On-Demand
If you’re interested in learning real-world pandemic strategies with experienced solar industry leaders, you’ll find Empower 2020 to be just what you’re looking for.
With 20+ experts across 7 sessions, the virtual summit has something for everyone. The live event was a huge hit, so we decided to share the replays with those who couldn't attend. You can watch the replays on-demand here: empower.aurorasolar.com
We look forward to seeing you next year!