What is the Difference Between a Solar Lease and Cash Customer?

This is the last interview in the 5 part series we did with BrightGrid Renewable Energy Finance on residential solar leases and it’s one of the best. We focused most of the interview on specifics of what solar sales and marketing professionals need to do to increase revenue.
Sign up for the full free course here: How to Use Solar Leases to Grow Your Business
The premise of the interviews and the free course is simple. Solar leases are becoming  a standard in the solar industry so we wanted to provide detailed information about how they work and how solar companies can use them best.

I spoke with Bret O’Neal, who is a channel manager at BrightGrid. Bret works with all of BrightGrid’s installers on selling residential solar leases. Bret has great insight and pragmatic advice for contractors on how to best sell a lease, what new solar contractors need to focus on, and the difference between cash and lease customers.

Watch the full interview here: 

We spoke for 18 minutes, and here is what we talked about:

Question: What are the top 3 characteristics that make lease customers different from cash customers?

1 – The largest is that lease customers are the majority of the market and that cash customers are a small percentage of the market.
2 – The next difference is that the lease customer is more motivated by simplicity and convenience. A cash customer is more focused on the specifics about the technology and their financial return.
3 – Finally, the lease customers are primarily driven by money and not the environment.

Q: When you’re dealing with managing the sales team, what would you say is really important for a residential installer to understand about the difference between lease and cash sales? How does the difference impact their day-to-day operations?

Selling cash projects is a different sales process all together
The details of the cash sales will be more on the specifics, both in technology and finance.
Selling a lease requires a sales person to really dumb it down and keep it simple and stupid. Going into details will only complicate the sale.
All the lease customer wants to know is how much it will save them every month and what will their obligations will be.


David vs. Goliath: How Can Small Companies Win in the Solar Industry?

In the last few years a small number of big companies have gotten heavily focused on the residential solar market.  SunRun, SolarCity, Sungevity, and Real Goods Inc, have raised a ton of money from both private and public investors to grow in the residential market. SolarCity has $1 billion dollars to fund solar projects and Real Goods is a public company.

This begs the question, if one of these solar behemoth enters the market that you, a small solar company, are operating in, will you be able to compete?  If so, how? It’s the classic David vs. Goliath, solar style!

Before we begin to address this question, let’s back up for second. While I do believe it’s extremely important for small businesses to be able to compete with the large companies, I am not saying that large companies are bad.

Like everything in the solar industry, this is a complex issue with at least two sides.


November 30th, 2011|Categories: Solar, Solar Design & Installation, Solar Sales & Marketing|Tags: , , , , |