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Energy

Solar Solutions at Home: Key Stakeholders and Their Impact

The home solar ecosystem includes key players that perform diverse but critical roles in providing a source solar and storage solutions. Throughout the process of consideration, purchase, and installation, there are multiple opportunities to engage, provide services, and improve the buyer experience or hinder the process including slows installation or a bad experience. Parties involved in a common residential solar installation include:

Solar Panel Manufacturer Utility
Wholesaler Installer
Designer and Planner Site Inspector
Financing Salesperson or Sales Organization

 

Solar companies, like Sunrun and Sunnova, are key to the customer relationship in regards introduction and education, installation, and services for solar panel and energy storage solutions. The sales team moves the customer through a complex process, with the promise of clean energy, and lower or no energy bills in the end.
 

The large solar providers have in-house teams that design and plan a custom solar solution for each home’s unique needs. Site inspectors take photos of the rooftops and collect data on the home’s electrical panel. The companies work with wholesalers to select the devices to be included in the solution, and work with local installers to plan installation. There may also be a permitting process to work through, based on state and local regulations regarding exterior renovations.

Consumer Adoption and Purchase Channels

While consumers still have low familiarity with solar and other home energy management solutions, adoption levels have been increasing slowly the past few years. Now, 7% of internet households report they have solar panels, and 14% report they have battery storage. Ownership of major home energy equipment has increased over the past 10 years.

Consumers have many purchase channels for solar PV and battery storage. As the market grows, these channels will work hard to provide the best education, pricing, installation, and integration with other home services. Naturally, energy providers and utilities rank highly, but other appealing purchase channels include the manufacturer themselves, retailers, or a companies specializing in energy solutions.

Cost Savings and Backup Power at Home

The importance of storage for solar panel solutions will rise alongside energy costs and grid concerns. Protection against blackouts remains the most important benefit of battery storage for solar panels, albeit by a narrow margin. The availability of storage will be a crucial aspect of driving future consumer demand for solar panels/energy. Storage brings with it new benefits for connected device users, especially those with multi-device ecosystems in their home. Devices are only as reliable as the energy source(s) used to keep them powered and operational.

In 2023, Schneider Electric announced a whole-home connected home solutions centered around energy management and power stability. Solar energy can be managed and monitored by a suite of Schneider products that include an EV charger and a battery. The ability to store backup power is relevant, not just in the instance of power outage, but also for general home energy mangagement. Connected devices are being used in the home more and more often, so consumers need more insight into how they use energy in their home, both in real-time and in retrospect (monthly, weekly, daily).

 

Purchase Drivers

Consumer demand for costs savings and energy indpendence is the main purchase drivers of solar panels. According to Parks Associates’ consumer data, 48% of internet households value the energy bill savings brought about by panels and 34% value the energy independence, especially when an outage is happening. The expected increase in battery storage availability will reinforce the importance of these drivers to households deciding to purchase solar solutions. The ability to store solar-generated power for later usage has applications not only for the buyer’s home but also for utilities managing the load on the grid. Households benefit from reduced energy bills and from credits for excess electricity sent back to the grid.

The growing number of installers and rising interest in battery storage are transforming the solar market. Utilities will be able to take advantage of battery storage with strategies such as distributed energy resources (DER) and Virtual Power Plants (VPP). Educating consumers on these concepts can unlock potential for grid stability for a community, flexibility for energy providers, and reinforce the more well-known benefits of owning home solar and storage systems for consumers.

Parks Associates will host its 15th annual Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer on February 27-28 at DISTRIBUTECH. Smart Energy Summit sponsors are SkyBell, SmartThings, Arcadia, Resideo, and Universal Electronics.

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