Virtual solar panel consultation is a relatively new concept for most homeowners and solar companies alike. Traditionally, solar companies executed door-to-door sales tactics to bring in new customers. Though the utility of rooftop solar panels is more complex to explain than encyclopedias, cleaning products or a fancy set of knives, the general technique for selling them has been used for over a century. And industry investigations have found, despite the current global pandemic, companies continue to practice these antiquated methods of sales.
Even some of the largest solar installers in the United States have yet to find a way to avoid in-person, door-to-door sales. Sunrun and Vivint Solar, two solar companies that have merged and accounted for about 15 percent of installations nationwide in 2020, confirmed they are using in-person sales “everywhere it’s allowed.” Meanwhile, New Jersey-based Suntuity knocks on doors in states including South Carolina and Florida and has only suspended those operations in a couple of states.
The Problem With In-Person Sales
Many companies contract with separate sales organizations, and door-to-door sales are largely unregulated. But for even those who have in-house sales teams, conducting in-person sales has its risks. It is nearly impossible to enforce safety protocols in private homes.
These door-to-door sales also require substantial conversation. As a result, salespeople can spend between 30 minutes and multiple hours in close interaction with homeowners. Some door-to-door salespeople will interact with up to 100 homeowners a day! This much in-person interaction during a global pandemic comes with a lot of risk.
Consider this figure with the current politicization of mask-wearing and other preventative health recommendations, and you have a recipe for disaster. Only about half of U.S. adults surveyed in a recent national study from the University of Southern California said they wear masks when interacting with people outside of their households. The American Industrial Hygiene Association has assembled protocols for at-home service providers. These would apply to electricians and plumbers, in addition to at-home sales.
John L. Henshaw of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration who helped write those recommendations said the following:
“I do think it’s a significant risk, at least currently. Primarily because you have a person traveling from home to home.”
How Virtual Solar Panel Consultations Work
Some companies, however, have used the various quarantines, lockdowns and public safety restrictions to rethink their approach, investing in innovative technologies and solutions.
By implementing AI-powered geo-measurement tools and aerial imagery, solar experts can complete full site assessments and virtual solar panel consultations without ever even seeing a property in person. This, coupled with the accessibility of autonomous scheduling systems, allow home and business owners the ability to schedule and receive a consultation without ever leaving their home or even speaking with anyone!
Which Option Is Better?
While many solar installers across the country will try to argue that in-person consultations are a necessary part of the process, the reality proves otherwise. The truth? Door-to-door sales often have higher close rates. They also allow salespeople an opportunity to pursue high-pressure sales with the goal of closing on-site.
And while this may seem appealing to solar companies, homeowners have obviously differing opinions. Most homeowners prefer the convenience of virtual solar panel consultations. They don’t have to worry about the intrusion of high-pressure salespeople in their home or running the risk of potential health concerns regarding the current health crisis facing the globe.
NRG Clean Power’s Virtual Consultation Process
NRG Clean Power is one of the industry disruptors that fully embraced innovative solutions in light of COVID-19. Our team of energy advisors and solar experts are fully equipped to offer top-tier virtual solar panel consultation. They bring the added levels of safety and convenience to homeowners who feel uncomfortable with in-person sales.
A key aspect of our mission is to increase accessibility of clean energy to homeowners across the country. In today’s climate, that means offering virtual solutions to ensure safety and ensure streamlined services. Home and business owners can simply click a link, fill out a form and get scheduled appointments for virtual consultations. Then from there, our team uses industry-leading technology to provide accurate, tailored quotes online.