Unless you work in the solar industry, the distinction between the residential and commercial solar markets may not seem apparent, or important. It’s all panels on roofs, turning the sun’s energy into electricity, right?
Not quite. There are key differences between the two markets which make a one-size-fits-all sales approach destined to fail. Here are our top five.
1. Size matters
The size of the systems, the size of the panels and the amount of energy produced by commercial and residential solar systems is an obvious difference. The scale of the installation and the size of the panels themselves also varies, with commercial solar panels featuring 96 cells on average compared to 72 cells for home solar panels.
Commercial panels also produce energy much more efficiently than their resi cousins. This increased efficiency equates to huge savings over time – a fact which appeals strongly to business owners facing cash-flow challenges and enormous power bills.
2. Price shock
Size also matters when it comes to total project cost.
As a homeowner, setting aside £4,000 to ‘go solar’ sounds achievable. But for an organisation, facing tens – even hundreds – of thousands of pounds for a system which meets their needs could seem an impossible hurdle.
The amount of capital required is unmanageable for many organisations – which is why offering them £0 upfront with a payment solution can make the difference between closing and losing a sale.
3. Buying drivers
A 2021 study conducted by the UK Government revealed that there are three triggers for SMEs in adopting solar. These are:
- Economic uncertainty driven by Brexit and COVID (and now, presumably, the Russian invasion of Ukraine).
- Super deduction on capital allowances for equipment announced in the Mar 21 budget.
- Effective communication from solar providers portraying the process as easier than before.
Of course, for SMEs, cash flow is always top of mind and capital is often in short supply. Demonstrating that solar will literally save an organisation money each month (even taking repayments of their Smart Ease Payment Plan into account) is powerful.
Add in £0 upfront costs and you have a strong incentive to book that solar installation in.
4. Sustainability and ESG concerns
While homeowners installing solar may be sustainability focussed, any environmental goals they have are self-imposed.
In the commercial sector, however, an added factor is brand perception and community goodwill. There is growing pressure on organisations to lead the way on sustainability and have an active plan to achieve Net Zero. Installing solar is an easy, simple and highly visible way to do so. Offering free publicity of their solar uptake by sharing their story on your own (and, where suitable, on the Smart Ease) website and social media can be a nice bonus.
5. Bang for buck
With commercial systems being typically larger than residential, it means each job has the potential for a larger profit. And when the cost barrier is eliminated through a payment plan, the path to closing the sales is a lot easier. It means for each sale, your likely to achieve more reward for your effort.
With so many more untapped prospects commercial is where smart, future-focussed operators are turning.
Transitioning from residential to commercial solar sales? Speak to an Account Manager to get insider advice
Photo credit Unsplash.