Marketing Solar Power for Homes

by Solarexpert on January 2, 2010

For years I’ve been an advocate of using solar, wind and other alternative power systems to power our homes and businesses.  While there are clear advantages to having a solar system installed…lower utility bills, a good feeling that comes from saving the environment and control over your own energy destiny, the high cost of such systems have kept these types of systems from enjoying widespread use throughout the country.  As a result these alternative systems have very low levels of penetration, even in areas like Phoenix, Las Vegas and the Southwest where you’d think having such a system would make perfect sense.

Why aren’t there more home solar power systems?

Home Solar Power Panels

I think this is a marketing and perception problem.

I believe there are two types of people who will invest the money needed to install solar power and other alternative energy systems in their homes and businesses.  The first type, and this is the one we hear the most about, is the person concerned with the environment and saving the Earth.  Sure, this person is interested in the money they can save on their utility bills, but the real reason they are installing solar power is because they believe that they are benefiting the Earth.  Nothing wrong with that, as renewable sources will cause less environmental damage than some fossil fuels like coal, but I think framing alternative energy in this manner is limiting in its appeal.

Marketing to this type of person is done very rationally and in a logical manner, but people simply don’t buy based on logic.  People buy based on their emotions and then rationalize what they bought with logic. Every salesperson learns this.

Besides, I don’t really think you need to market to the first type of person anyway. They know about the technology and already have their reasons to invest in a solar system. Their going to save the Earth from environmental destruction or climate change or something like that.  For these people it’s merely a matter of helping them finance the system.  For the solar systems salesperson this group constitutes what we salespeople refer to as a “lie down sale.”  They are going to buy something.

The second type of person is completely different.  They aren’t actively involved in saving the Earth or battling climate change – they simply want to have as much cheap power available as they need.  The cheaper the better, and since solar and wind systems have tended to be more expensive than typical fuel sources like coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear these people have no interest.  Sure, they pay lip service to the idea of renewable sources but they don’t want to put there money where their mouth is, not only for a home based system but for utility based systems that will result in higher electric bills.

This second type of person is the largest portion of the population and they represent the largest potential market for solar power companies.  But how to get around that high cost thing?

We need to appeal to a different set of emotions than the idea of saving the Earth, reducing carbon emissions and saving energy.  These appeal to the altruistic side of people and altruism doesn’t sell to a large group of people.  People say they are motivated by altruism and doing the right thing but they are moved to action by fear and emotion.  Solar Power systems need to be framed such that they will benefit the person now.  Once this is done we can set about justifying the sale with an ROI approach.

Picture this…energy freedom!  With the installation of a solar electric and solar hot water system on your home you’ll be able to keep all the lights on all night long, run a  TV in every room and keep your home at a toasty 78 Degrees all winter long for free!

Solar Hot Water Shower

Is an endless supply of cheap hot water interesting?

How’s that for a different approach?  For most people that’s a lot more appealing than the idea that I’m reducing my carbon foot print.  Reducing my carbon foot print is about denial while giving myself an abundant source of clean, prepaid (cause it’s not really free) energy is about treating myself like I deserve to be treated.

Just an idea, but we need to start thinking outside the traditional box.

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