Solar Companies – Who is Going To Be Around?
A potential customer “interviewed” me about my company the other day. Instead of diving right into the fun stuff, solar panels, the tax incentives, money saved, the aesthetics, things like this; I was asked, “What happens down the road should there be a need for a repair?” I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t ever remember this being an opening question, ever.
When I meet customers for the first time I have a goal of answering their questions and sharing information with them in a way that allows them to have a better understanding of what solar system ownership really means. A well-informed customer is a very happy customer. I believe we have a ton of very happy customers based upon their feedback, their calls for additional work, and, their referrals of us to the family, friends, and associates.
Back to the customer’s question. First, I paid a sincere compliment for this question. Solar systems last & perform for a very long time. Sometimes there are hiccups. When a hiccup happens what would a customer do? Of course, they would call their solar company. We get calls almost weekly these days from people who are not our solar customer. We ask them why they didn’t call their solar company. Most always the answer is, “They went out of business.” As time moves along I anticipate we are going to get more and more of these calls.
The sad truth is that lots and lots of “solar companies” are out of business. And, for that matter, so are a lot of panel manufacturers. Many of the “solar companies” were actually high powered “sales companies”, in for the very quick kill and then moved on to the “next best thing” after a lot of the early adopters eagerly purchased a system from them. Unfortunately for those customers, they chose a slick sales organization instead of a local, tried and true electrical company that included design and installation of solar systems in their list of equipment and services they offer to their customers. Simply put, the “quick buck” sales companies made the sale and left their customers to suffer the consequences in the not so distant future.
New systems almost always work well for the first 5 to 10 years or so. But, if less than top grade materials are used to install them and hold them up to the elements things are likely going to go bad. Same goes for installation techniques.
Over the years we have been called out to repair some shoddy installations of some VERY WELL KNOWN, highly advertised solar companies.
Back to the original question. I mentioned that I earned my electrical contractors license in 1978. (yep, 40 years ago in July). And, that I did my first alternative energy installation the next year, 1979. So, that makes me what I guess would be called “old” these days. So, what happens if something happens to a system say 10 years down the road? Currently we have 1 electrician in his early 50s here with us. And two more in their early 40s. And one in his 30s and one just getting started in his early 20s.
Same with our office staff. They have ages spread from 50s down into 20s. The staffing plan for longevity is simply to ask people to join us IF, they are a high caliber performer, IF they are truly nice people, and IF working in this industry is their passion and not just a “filler” along the job path. I feel very blessed to say that we have people who are following their passion for this industry and for serving our customer’s needs.
With the depth of talent and their career passion to work inside this industry, and inside this company, we are going to be able to serve our customers, past, present, and future, for a very, very long time. I hope you become one of them, too.
FYI, we design and install solar systems of just a few panels up to systems well over 100 panels, residential, commercial, and agricultural. Call me and let’s discuss what you’d like to do.
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