One of the most difficult aspects of selling solar—whether solar thermal systems or solar PV—is that the sales person promises a predicted level of solar production and customers must generally take their word for it.
That leap of faith by customers can actually be a significant level of mistrust between the salesperson and the prospect, perhaps leading to the customer seeking another quote instead of signing a contract.
The good news is that modern solar hot water systems no longer have to be sold based on trust alone. Installers can now confirm their production estimates with customers by offering our SR1000 monitoring system from Sun Reports.
The SR1000 is able to display actual versus estimated performance data with online portals, providing system owners with relevant performance information and providing installers with the data they need to easily manage their installations with a Google-maps based interface.
With a few mouse clicks, installers can see the status of their entire installed base. The SR1000 systems can also plot a “predicted performance” line on the graphs for both kWh and BTU, enabling the installer—and customers if the installer chooses to share the data—to have tangible evidence of the accuracy of performance predictions.
If a system goes offline or doesn’t meet with the predicted performance by an installer-defined percentage, alarms alert the installer to the performance deviation. In addition, both installers and customers can see graphical representations of the system performance.
In addition to building trust by matching the actual system performance to the predicted performance, the installer may also be able to offer other revenue-creating services, such as performance-based panel cleaning, performance assurance, or energy guarantees.
Commercial solar thermal customers can also benefit through being able to show patrons a public display of the green benefits of their solar installations. Already upscale health club facilities, laundromats and car washes are doing this.
The bottom line is that performance monitoring is a useful sales tool to build trust, but also to gauge your own designs. In a price competitive world, customer service and trusting relationships can make the difference to a skeptical solar public. And if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
If you have more questions about solar monitoring for your customers, please contact us. Thanks.