Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The New Era Of Solar

By Joe Bono, CEO / Founder

It’s been seven years since I launched Solar Universe; where did the time go? There are moments when it feels like we moved through time at warp speed, and then there are the memories of challenging times where we bested competitors and charged the Bastille. After seven years, I can honestly say, it’s been worth it and I could not be more proud of the great company we’ve created or the good partners we’ve surrounded ourselves with. 

Shepherding a solar company in such a highly competitive and quickly maturing market has been one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my career. Part of our mission is to be nationally known and locally owned, and we now operate 40 franchises across the U.S., from Hawaii to Puerto Rico.  Solar Universe has over 10,000 customers, we employ over 700 across our network, and are on track to add another 300 in 2015. I am proud to say that in 2014, Greentech Media ranked Solar Universe as the fourth largest residential solar integrator in the U.S.!

Certainly, the recent growth we’ve seen in residential solar was partially due to the combination of lower equipment costs and finance programs, which have made adoption of solar significantly more attractive. However, despite all the efforts of the industry, only about 1% of the U.S. market has adopted solar.  To survive and grow, solar players in the industry will need to do something they haven’t done well in the past: put the customer first. Gone are the days of pressing customers to buy solar with hard sell tactics. We’re now moving beyond the early adopters to a wider early majority audience who already understand the benefits of solar.

This year, solar consumers will get smarter and they will do their homework on social media and the Internet. By the time we meet the prospect, most will have already made a decision to go solar, and the salesperson will simply help the customer to make a buy decision based on the value proposition they can offer. Speed, collaboration, a sophisticated sales process, and a high-tech touch will all be required, but the consumer experience will need to be fun, easy, approachable, and simple to understand.

What will Solar Universe or the solar industry look like another seven years from now? Given how much we, and the industry, have changed in the last seven years, I couldn’t posture to say. I am certain residential solar is an enormous market opportunity, and it will take decades to install solar on every home in America that it is suitable for. As for our aspirations as a company, we intend to continue the vision of creating a national solar brand for sales, installation, and finance of solar, one that stands for quality and one that delivers the most outstanding customer experience in the industry.


Joe Bono
CEO / Founder
Solar Universe

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