“If Banks Only Understood Solar, My Commercial Solar Business Would Grow”

We’ve had over 800 people download our commercial solar PV finance model. If you haven’t, you can download the Commercial Solar Model here. When our readers, students and alumni download it, we ask them what the is the #1 obstalce that is stopping them from financing commercial solar projects. Commercial meaning anything between 200kW and […]

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.


How to Select a Top Solar Manufacturer To Work With

For the fourth part of my interview series with BrightGrid Renewable Energy Finace, I spoke with Tim Slavin, VP of Credit and Operations at BrightGrid. We talked about a solar installer should be asking from their manufacturing partners and how solar installers should select a partner to work with.

The BrightGrid series is for residential solar […]

How Do you Handle Your Customers’ Tough Questions About Solar Leases?

This is the third video in a five part series that HeatSpring created with BrightGrid Renewable Energy Finance to help residential solar contractors learn more about solar financing and leases. The goal is simple, we want to help installers to determine if their business will be helped with a solar lease and if it will be, the basics that they need to understand to offer a lease profitably.

In the third part in the series I spoke with Jeanne Rice, Marketing Director at BrightGrid, to learn the most common objections their installation partners are seeing in the field and the tips they use to get around those objections.

You can watch the two previous articles here:

Part 1: What Residential Solar Companies Need to Do to Successfully Offer a Solar Lease
Part 2: How Does a Solar Lease Work and How do You Sell its Value
Watch all 5 videos now in the free course”How to Use Solar Leases to Grow your Solar Business”

Here are the two highlights that stuck out most to me. 

If a customer wants to purchase cash, do not stop them. Selling a lease is all about qualifying and profiling the right customers. You need to be VERY SPECIFIC about who your lease customers are. By qualifying correctly, you will avoid most objections.
Keep the conversion super simple! Do not bring up extremely complicated technical or financial jargon. Lease customers tend to be mainstream customers. This can be hard for many installers because THEY LOVE the technology and want to speak about it. Just remember, talk about what your CUSTOMERS CARE ABOUT, not what you, the installer, cares about.


What Residential Solar Companies Need to do to Successfully Offer a Solar Lease

According to the State of California Energy Commission, in Q3 of 2011, the majority of residential systems were financed. What does this mean for solar installers? Simple. The solar lease is becoming the industry norm and you need to be offering it if you plan to remain competitive in the solar market place.

We reached out to BrightGrid Renewable Energy Finance, experts in residential solar leases, to answer some of the most common questions we get from solar installers about offering a solar lease. We created a 5 part mini series that answered the most common questions solar integrators have about offering a solar lease. To view all the videos, sign up for HeatSpring’s Free Course: How to Use Solar Leases to grow your Solar business. Here is the outline:

Part 1. Should your Business off a Solar Lease?
Part 2. How does a Solar Lease Work and How do you Sell It’s Value
Part 3. How do you Handle Customers Tough Questions About Solar Leases?
Part 4. What should you business consider when Selecting a Solar Manufacturing Partners?
Part 5. Who is a lease customer and how do you sell the leases value?

In Part 1, I spoke with Roger Franco VP of Sales and Marketing at BrightGrid and we discuss when solar businesses should offer a solar lease. Here’s what we talked about: