5 Ways to Accelerate Solar Sales with Utility Data

Amy Hou  |  April 27, 2018   |  Energy & Sustainability  


This is an excerpt of the infographic: 5 Ways to Accelerate Solar Sales with Utility Data. Check out the full infographic here.

The U.S. solar industry continues to gain momentum. The U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) estimates that the solar market has grown at an average rate of 59 percent every year in the past decade alone. But while growth is surging, margins for solar are increasingly thinning, as a plethora of new regional and national players are entering the market in attempt to gain a slice of the pie.

In an environment of increasing competition, utility data can help solar companies create a competitive advantage and dramatically improve their sales process and results. Here, we outline five ways for solar companies to leverage utility data to accelerate their sales:

1. Use aggregated utility data to enhance lead qualification and identify better targets.

While most companies spend ample time evaluating software tools to simplify and speed up their solar installation proposal process, far fewer are focused on improving lead qualification. Solar companies can utilize up-to-date aggregated utility invoice data to identify utilities and specific regions with the highest tariffs and rate increases in recent years. These are the areas in which they will have the strongest value propositions because they can save their customers more money. With insights into seasonal effects, demand charges, time-of-use rates, and energy costs for both residential and commercial energy users, solar companies can make much more informed decisions about where to target their sales efforts and improve their conversion ratios.

2. Link monthly payments to escalating utility tariffs.

An innovative way to sell solar is to link monthly payments to escalating utility rates. Since most utility rates tend to go up over time, this is a good way to lock in new customers who may have been more risk averse, especially if their rate increases are higher than expected. In this scenario, solar companies will need utility bill data on an ongoing basis to keep their pricing commitments.

3. Present a stronger value proposition with prospects’ utility bill data.

Before investing in solar, most potential buyers want to compare what they would be spending with a solar solution to what they are currently spending on their utilities. They want their potential savings to be forecasted as accurately as possible, so they know that they will be able to cover their costs. Without this information, they are far less likely to invest in a solar system and make their decision quickly.

To accurately show a prospect how much he or she can save with solar, solar companies need access to the prospect’s historical utility bills and interval data, which contain valuable usage and cost data. Solar companies can take this personalized data and show the prospect how much they would save with differently sized solar systems and different financial arrangements, including leases, power purchase agreements, and loans. These savings can be represented in both energy units and dollars.

4. Improve customer retention and upselling with ongoing utility bill and interval data.

Leveraging utility bill data not only helps solar companies improve their operations and value propositions, but also plays a vital role in customer retention and upselling. After the sale, customers are interested in how much they are actually consuming and saving per day on a continual basis. By pairing interval data with tariff information from a customer’s monthly utility bill, solar companies can accurately calculate and show exactly how much customers are saving in dollars.

To go one step further, this data can be integrated into an app provided by the solar company. Users can compete against each other in the app to reduce their energy consumption and costs. This visualization and ongoing customer engagement will increase word-of-mouth referrals and improve customer retention. Additionally, having access to this data will help solar companies better understand their customers and better execute upselling strategies.

5. Monitor utility bill data to increase access to capital and drive growth.

Solar projects are generally financed either by a third-party financing company or by a solar company’s internal finance arm. Utility invoice data is extremely valuable to these groups for two main reasons:

  1. It enables them to calculate an ROI by comparing solar loan payments to the decrease in monthly utility costs after installation. With a solid ROI in hand, solar companies can grow revenue via bigger installations and better market their solutions in the form of case studies and customer references.
  2. They can command a higher resale price when selling their portfolio of solar loans in the larger market. They can do so because their data on utility savings and loan costs helps reduce the risk on their portfolio.

In summary, solar companies can leverage utility bill data in a variety of ways to sell more faster and increase growth. In order to realize the full benefits, they must have a scalable process in place to quickly access accurate utility data when needed. With these advantages, solar companies can edge out their competition and succeed in the long run.

To uncover more tools to accelerate solar sales, check out the full infographic.

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About Amy Hou

Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.

Tags   Solar   |   Urjanet   |   Utility Bill Management   |   Utility Bills   |   Utility Data   |