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 contractors that are looking to use a solar lease to build their business. We created the series because solar leases are becoming the market norm and are key to selling mass market clients on solar. You can watch the full BrightGrid and HeatSpring series here. If you’d just like to watch an individual interview, here they are:

Here are a few highlights from our discussion.

  • The solar market is not just about product anymore, but solutions. Solutions like financing programs for client, financing for equipment sales support. Look for manufactures that can be complimentary to your business and not just sell you product.

Here’s the full agenda of what we talked about

  • Q – If you’re new to the solar business, what role are manufacturers and distributors playing?
  • Q – How is their role changing and how is it different then distributors and the supply chain in the traditional trades?
  • Q – What do you think the reason is for the solar supply chain changing so rapidly? Why are manufacturers moving from just selling product to other services?
  • Q – With that being said, I’m a new solar company and want to offer a lease. What are the top 3 questions I should ask when selecting a distributor or manufacturing partner to work with?
  • A – Tim’s short answer:
  • 1 – Do they have training? Both sales and technical. Are they giving you a tool box of marketing material and saying good luck, or are they backing it up?
  • 2 – Do they help you in the field helping you to close sales. Lead generation and creating proposals is great, but you need to close deals.
  • 3 – What is the “point of sale” experience like for you, the installer, and for the client. Is it easy to use and understand? What are the online capabilities? Can you use a mobile device to close a sale, approve credit, provide online documentation, all on site?
  • Q – What do you tend to find is the most common mistakes installers make when selecting a partner?
  • A – Tim’s short answer:
  • 1 – If I offer it (the solar lease), they will come and buy it. This is simply not true.
  • 2 – The other common mistake is that a lease and cash sale are the same and you can sell the two inter-changeably.

If you are a solar installer and have more questions, or would like to work with BrightGrid, you can more information about their residential financing product here.

You can watch the full BrightGrid and HeatSpring series here.