Solar Builder

MAR-APR 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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26 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 1. Create a terrific online presence. A completed profile and lots of positive reviews are the building blocks of your future success. 2. Give customers what they want. Most solar shoppers on EnergySage input specific preferences when joining. Be respectful of their preferences, whether it's interest in a type of panel or their request to communicate via online messages instead of telephone. 3. Be as responsive as possible. If a customer sends you a message or calls and leaves a voicemail, try to respond within the same business day. 4. Every word you write matters. Everything you write online will leave a big impression. Proofread twice before submitting. 5. Don't bash the competition. Solar technology is still very new to the majority of shoppers, and criticizing certain manufacturers or installers will only lower the consumer's confidence in the industry as a whole. Instead, be positive and reinforce why you're the best company for the job. 6. Absolutely no hard sales tactics. Solar shoppers join EnergySage specifically because they want to avoid the pushy sales tactics of door-to-door salesmen. Instead, be a helpful advisor. This has been proven to increase their likelihood of going solar by 5 to 10 times. 7. Utilize good time management. Spending more than 30 minutes to upload a quote is too long. Spend most of your time with the leads that engage with you, but don't forget to follow up with everyone. contractors to make more profit as they grow their volume across any or all of its product lines. In 2017, EnerBank came out with a 20-year loan term in response to customer demand for a longer-term loan that would reduce their monthly loan payment so that it is comparable or lower than their monthly utility bill. This PowerLoan provides flexibility by allowing the borrower to obtain their solar tax incentives, repay that portion and lower their payment for the rest of the life of the loan through a re-amortization feature. Alternatively, they can keep their initial low monthly payment for the whole life of the loan and use the tax credit for something else. A 12-year loan term is also available. "The PowerLoan is an unsecured loan that does not require appraisals or liens," Harris says. "Therefore, customers can be approved in minutes, as opposed to days or weeks when using conven- tional financing methods. In addition, these loans offer a fixed interest rate, rather than a variable rate, common to conventional financing methods, such as home equity credit lines. With home equity loans tax status changing under new tax laws, the PowerLoan becomes even more attractive." Mosaic, currently ranked No. 1 in this category by GTM Research, has 10-, 15-, and 20-year tenors with various interest rates available that are tied to a solar dealer fee — the higher the fee you pay, the lower the interest rate you will be able to offer your customers. Available rates range from 8.49 percent all the way down to 2.99 percent. Mosaic's under- writing formula has the highest approval rates and conversion in the industry. "As we built out our program in 2015, we elimi- nated risk-based pricing from the product menu, which improved the marketability of our program," says Ted Fawcett, EVP of sales for Mosaic. "Traditional bank products historically provide dif- ferent interest rates for low credit quality borrowers versus high credit quality borrowers. That creates complexity given the monthly payment may be dif- ferent in those scenarios. We have eliminated that, although we are anticipating a shift back toward risk-based-pricing as the industry's understanding of how to sell a loan product evolves." Traditional loan products may not require any vetting of your company because contractor risk is calculated into the underwriting criteria, but to take advantage of most favorable rates and non-FICO borrowing, quality of contractor will be a factor. "We do vet the dealer and do proper underwrit- ing on them to ensure they are a quality business that delivers good value to their customers, has a solid reputation and a reasonable amount of time in business," Fawcett says of Mosaic's process. "Doing 7 TIPS FOR SALES SUCCESS After three years of data on thousands of sales across the country, EnergySage has identified these seven features from the most successful solar installers in its marketplace.

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