Written By Jonathan Doochin, Soligent CEO
Selling an additional fifteen to forty thousand dollar storage system isn’t easy, but with the right basic approach you can build it into your solar sale and satisfy your homeowner at the same time. Oftentimes homeowners shy away from the “addition” of storage due to price, but they often miss the true value of what storage can do for their existing or soon-to-be purchased system and their long term billing cycle. Though the need for storage can change geographically, the basic approach can work anywhere in the United States.
There are three key drivers of the value proposition to walk a homeowner through that supports and drives the decision to purchase storage: the economics, the security, and the technology.
1. The Economics
The economics of storage do not always have a payback profile. That said, the economics of a solar plus storage system do have a positive payback almost everywhere in the U.S. Most homeowners would pay for a solution that gave us peace of mind during blackouts, natural disasters, or severe weather; so the ability to have an investment pay itself off is a great selling point for something that also offers security, resiliency, but is not always necessary for the rest of the system to work. A history of generator sales in the U.S. demonstrates payback is not always the most critical factor. There is little economic return to a prestigious automobile, pool, and heck potentially a home cooling system or fancy roof, but these are decisions that homeowners feel strongly about every day. That said, there is a payback and we will talk about it in the last section, “the pitch.”
2. The Security
We are homeowners because we treasure having a safe space, independence, and something that is ours. Rolling blackouts, fires, and utility rate increases, all put our security at risk. If a homeowner has medical needs, is aging, has young kids, then consistent power can be very important. Storage is an opportunity to support the safety and resilience of homeowners. It is a stark reality that without the electrical utility, a home cannot fully function much less stop the items in our refrigerators from going bad in a blackout or not even having a way to charge your phones or basic electronics. Moreover, with families working from home more regularly now, there is an economic argument to protect employment by assuring a family can have power to do their work. Storage offers a solution to why we all work so hard: independent, security, certainty, and having the luxury of affording the safety of their family through thick or thin.
3. The Technology
Buying a battery today is not the same as buying a battery twenty years ago. These relatively small units can power a homeowner’s critical needs with ease and safety. They have powered the millions of electric cars on the road which we trust our lives to (car owner or nearby driver). They have sophisticated capabilities that allow homeowners to be their own power supply and not be subject to the utility. Solar without storage puts power back onto the electrical grid, but most solar does not give a homeowner access to their own solar production in a critical situation when they need it most. Storage changes that with a simple often phone-based interface that allows a homeowner to choose how and when to use their power – a choice solar does not routinely present. Finally, the chemistries of many of the technologies are designed to not catch fire and support the needed safety and security of a homeowner. When thinking technology, think safe, technology enabled interfaces, and control of one’s destiny when thinking technology.
I would want my energy advocate to walk me through the impact storage plus solar would have on my life, so I know my options.
For example, I would appreciate the honest walk through of why you would choose this option if you were me. “With this solar system, you will be saving fifty thousand dollars over the lifetime of the system. I would suggest that we add a battery storage solution to the solar system to assure your home can utilize the power during power outages and is fully protected. Frankly, with changing weather patterns (fires, storms, hurricanes, etc.) and adverse weather events being at peak levels, not having to fear weeks of power outages, assuring your family is safe and happy (including online for work and school, or worrying about a fridge full of food going bad, family medical needs, etc.), while saving a large amount of money on your power bill by installing a solar and storage system, ..it is what I advise all of my customers to do. You will always have power even when all your neighbors are blacked out.”
This is just one example of how to start a dialog that opens up a conversation around the economics, the security and safety that is presented in having storage, and the technology leadership that every homeowner would want if they can afford it; and this decision is easier because they are saving. You can further use the above points to deep dive on partial versus full backup solutions, incentives and timing, and why each deep dive leads to additional points of value for the homeowner.
The largest barrier to helping a customer make a critical decision such as storage is our mindset which comes from our understanding of the value proposition as well as understanding how to present the simplest path to sharing such. What is your path?