Solar installers: How to educate homeowners on battery storage
Solar installers: How to educate homeowners on battery storage
As most solar installation companies have experienced, a significant component of working with residential customers is education. Not only do solar installers need to provide quality workmanship and products, but you also need to help homeowners understand the scope of their solar setup and how to evaluate products. Then you can work together to create a PV system that best serves your customers' needs.
"We're really trying to be as educational as possible," says Markus Virta, Director of Sales and Business Development for Bellingham, Wash.-based Western Solar. Founded in 2002, Western Solar, a Panasonic Elite installer, specializes in commercial, residential, and industrial solar energy installations.
"With our sales and system design process, we're bringing customers along so that they understand the benefits and drawbacks of every application," Virta says.
And when it comes to battery storage, the educational component is especially important. Virta's team focuses on helping customers determine the storage solution that works for them and clearing up misconceptions so that homeowners can make smart investments for their future.
A balancing act — talking about financial, eco and durability considerations
Successful solar installation companies are helping customers balance environmental, financial, and resiliency goals, Virta says. There's no one correct answer that works for everyone. But instead, the sales process should focus on helping homeowners clarify their goals and providing solar energy solutions that meet them.
With battery storage, talking about resiliency is an excellent place to start. The reasons that homeowners want and need backup power may vary by where they live. For instance, Virta notes that harsh weather can cause relatively frequent outages in Washington state, especially in the winter. Discussing how a battery storage system can help a customer maintain power through an outage—and what that looks like—can spur the homeowner to include storage at the outset of an install (rather than adding it after the fact).
However, solar installers also need to be aware of how they can help match a homeowner's resiliency needs with their budget. Battery storage systems can become expensive, especially if the customer wants to back up the power needs of a whole house. "You don't want to oversell and then lose the project because the customer couldn't fit the storage solution in their budget," Virta says. He advises that solar panel installers "sharpen their pencils and make sure the system design meets the customers' needs for resiliency and their financial goals."
Establishing trust by finding the right fit
One of the best things about current battery storage solutions is that customers can start small and grow their storage capacity. Virta notes that the modular aspect of the Panasonic EVERVOLT is one reason he recommends it to customers.
For example, homeowners can begin with a system that backs up their refrigerator, lights, and garage door. Then if they realize they want more storage, they can add more later down the road. "Our goal isn't to sell homeowners as much as possible," Virta says. "It's actually to sell them as little as possible and still meet their needs."
The Panasonic EVERVOLT 2.0 battery storage system is outdoor-rated with an expandable modular design.
Education, again, comes into play. You may want to let a customer know that they can back up their hot tub with battery storage, but in doing so, they'll blaze through all their stored power in an afternoon. Conversations highlighting flexibility and showing technical expertise regarding battery storage help build trust between homeowners and solar installation companies. And that trust leads to better relationships and more referrals.
Addressing objections and misconceptions
Your customers will likely research how to add battery storage to their solar panel system. But they may come across inaccurate information or land on false conclusions. A successful solar installer will provide new information to customers and help clear up confusion about products, system design, and the environmental impact of solar panels and storage.
Virta says that potential customers sometimes question the sustainability of a battery storage system—and whether it helps the environment or creates its own problems. Providing more context can help homeowners understand the issue and ease their concerns. For instance, Virta often advises customers to look at their utility's power mix and whether stored solar power would be a better alternative.
As previously mentioned, sales teams should go into the benefits and drawbacks of products. Yes, creating batteries impacts the environment, but how does that compare with a homeowner's need for long-term sustainability and resiliency. "You don't need to sugarcoat anything," he says. "Instead, just be open to questions, criticisms, and having an informed conversation."
Helping homeowners evaluate products is also essential. For example, the Panasonic EVERVOLT comes with a 25-year warranty. The company's longevity and the reputation and performance of Panasonic products mean that homeowners can trust Panasonic will be around for the long term. Compared to smaller or newer manufacturers, the company has a high ability to deliver on the warranty and ensure the quality of the battery storage system.
Solar modules have a long-term legacy
Investing in solar panels and battery storage systems isn't a short-term solution. Instead, it's a long-term investment in a home that impacts the current and future homeowners. "By installing solar and storage, you're leaving a legacy," Virta says. "It's not just for you and your family, but also for all the families that end up living in your home."
This legacy means a higher-value, lower-impact home. That's the kind of impact many customers want to have. By ensuring they understand the ins and outs of solar systems and battery storage and the role high-quality products play, solar installation companies can help homeowners turn their solar dreams into an affordable reality.
Is solar + storage on your radar? Check out Panasonic's Total Home Solar Energy Solutions and find out the benefits of going solar with one of America's most trusted brands.