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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Page 5 of 47

6 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 editor's note Forget tariffs, let's talk tipping points Solar Builder (ISSN 2166-5362) is published bimonthly by Benjamin Media Inc., 10050 Brecksville Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141 USA. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. One year subscription rates: complimentary in the United States and Canada. Single copy rate: $10. Subscriptions and classified advertising should be addressed to the Brecksville office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Solar Builder, 10050 Brecksville Road, Brecksville, OH 44141 USA CANADIAN SUBSCRIPTIONS: Canada Post Agreement Number 40830553. Send change of address information and blocks of undeliverable copies to: KML Logistics Group Inc., 118 Herald Ave., Oakville, ON L6K 1S2 Canada. TM PUBLISHER Robert D. Krzys EDITORIAL Associate Publisher Keith Gribbins Managing Editor Chris Crowell SALES+MARKETING Marketing Director Kelly Dadich Brand Sales Manager Hannah Schiffman Conferences Sales Coordinator Brittany Cline PRODUCTION+FULFILLMENT Production Manager Chris Slogar Graphic Artist Sarah Haughawout Director of Web/Audience Development Mark Gorman Audience Development Coordinator Cayla Poteete REPRINTS Wright's Media (877) 652-5295 • Fax: (281) 419-5712 Chief Executive Officer Bernard P. Krzys President Robert D. Krzys Controller Marianne Saykes 10050 Brecksville Rd. Brecksville, OH 44141 USA (330) 467-7588 • Fax: (330) 468-2289 T his is just my gut talking, but, even taking into account the #TrumpTariffs and all of the local regulatory battles, the solar industry might be on the verge of a tipping point — the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change. Stuff like improved solar business models, cost-effective and efficient PV technology, advances in storage, the shifting mindset of the public, etc. I might not be alone in gut-thinking this either. The CEOs on stage at Solar Power Northeast seemed fairly optimistic (page 8), and solar installer confidence continues to climb nationwide, according to the third annual Solar Installer Survey. Conducted by EnergySage and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) during one of the most worrisome, pre-tariff times in the industry (between Dec. 14, 2017, and Jan. 13, 2018), nearly half of the 590 respondents said they are actually more confident in the solar industry now than in prior years. Confidence rose in key states such as Massachusetts, North Carolina and Washington. Obviously not everyone agrees. Customer acquisition challenges did result in a 27 percent drop in installer confidence in California. These insights also stood out from this year's survey: 1. Demand for solar-plus-storage surges. Nearly one in three solar shoppers are also interested in a home battery, according to respondents. Close rates for customers who receive quotes for solar- plus-storage are nearly 50 percent in some markets. 2. Installers may absorb solar tariff. The recently announced 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and panels by the Trump administration may have less of an impact on residential solar than initially expected. Two-thirds of solar installers say they plan to absorb some or all of the cost of the tariff, rather than pass those costs along to the consumer. That last one really stood out to us (me and my gut), and added to the confidence behind our thesis at the outset. There is still work to be done and obstacles in the way of hitting that tipping point, but in terms of the available resources and maturity of the market, there hasn't been a better time to be a solar installer. This issue is all about taking advantage of those small changes to both grow your business and lead the charge to officially tip this thing. We get into using new technology to add more customer service elements and followup services (page 30), offering a variety of flexible financing options (page 25), using software to design and sell more projects (pages 28 and 34) and more. Chris Crowell, Managing Editor

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