Tesla stirred the pot earlier last week. An article from The New York Times details Tesla’s intentions to drastically reduce customer pricing and implement process improvements to drive down soft costs in the highly competitive solar market. The article mentions that Tesla looks to eliminate site visits by allowing customers to provide their own home photos and expedite the sales and design process.
A look at Tesla’s solar industry predecessors, however, may illustrate the challenges that accompany homeowner involvement in the sales process. Sungevity made a name for itself in its ability to scale selling solar remotely but failed to be profitable. No other company has proven the concept that you can 1) sell solar remotely at scale, 2) get the homeowner to take action and provide the necessary information on their own, and 3) do it profitably.
We commend Tesla for its ambitious goals. Sometimes, the best motivation is to put it out there for the world to see and force yourself to make it happen. We’re certainly rooting for them.
However, several technologies are quickly shifting the way solar is sold, designed, and installed and can reduce soft costs associated with installation.
SiteCapture is a technology platform that allows field resources to gather customizable information and photos from a mobile app for instant processing. Solar contractors, designers, and install teams can use SiteCapture to streamline the site survey and installation process so that designers and operation managers can instantly access what is happening in the field.
Some customers have taken the process a step further and put SiteCapture in the hands of their sales teams. At the sales appointment, the solar sales rep will take critical photos of the property’s interior that are necessary for a permit-ready design.
Last month, SiteCapture launched a new integration with EagleView to take that process even further. Now our customers can take the necessary interior photos and access EagleView SunSite measurements to learn about the home’s exterior.
EagleView delivers precise roof measurements and 3D models designed to meet the needs of solar installers and designers at multiple stages of a photovoltaic (PV) project. With EagleView, solar installers have access to critical roof measurements, including area, pitch, azimuth, and penetration locations.
The combined power of SiteCapture and EagleView enables solar installers to shorten sales cycles and minimize change orders and costs. The process is faster, more accurate, and less expensive—and may reduce unnecessary trips onto the roof during sales calls.
You don’t have to be Tesla to strive for reduction in soft costs. You can, however, achieve these goals by testing and adopting technology.