Marketing of Solar Panels


The need for renewable energy is obvious in today’s world. The problem is trying to get as many people as possible to recognize the need and to spend their hard earned money on this technology. That is where marketing comes in. Marketing is a central part of running a successful renewable energy business.

Step 1:   Make the customer the center of the marketing efforts

  Understand their needs and wants, and do everything possible to satisfy them.
How much can they spend? How much electricity do they consume?
   Are they trying to save money or are they trying to protect the environment?
 In order to do this you need to segment the market in to groups that have common needs and will responds similarly to a marketing action.

Step 2: Segment the Market

1. Geographic Segmentation:
o   Solar panels are most efficient in areas of no shade and have a southern facing roof.
o   If a potential buyer lives in the woods with his house covered with tree shade, don’t bother because the system won’t work.
o   However if the buyer has a large south facing roof, with little daytime shade, they are a prime candidate for solar installation.

2.  Demographic Segmentation
o   Two types: residential and commercial buyers
  §  Residential: small roof, low demand for electricity, less money to spend.
  §  Commercial: larger roof space, lots of energy consumption, more money to spend.
o   A brand new solar panel system can be quite expensive, ranging from a few thousand dollars for a small home, to well over five million dollars for larger commercial projects.
  § Spend bulk of marketing resources to attract customers with lots of money and a willingness to spend it.

3. Psychographic Segmentation
o   People interested in buying solar panels have common values and needs. They want to save money of electricity, and they want to help protect the environment.
o   Marketing action: tell them how many pounds of C02 emmissions that will be saved over the lifetime of the panel, how much money they will save, when they will break even on their investment, and their overall rate of return.

4. Behavioral Segmentation
It is
important to know electricity consumption, the customers technical awareness , and their intentions for use.
o   Use this info to select the panels with the features that are most beneficial to the customer.


Step 3: Use the 4 P's of the Marketing Mix to create a marketing plan.

1. Products
§  Goods: panels, transformers, inverters, necessary construction equipment. In the proposal include all the equipment needed, spec sheets, and warranty info to better inform the client of what they are buying.
§  Services and ideas: have expert and experienced salespeople, engineers, and installers. Perform analysis of the property and financial implications of the purchase. Perform maintenance at no charge  if anything breaks.

2. Price
   Give the customer a detailed accounting of all equipment and service fees, tally it up, and come up with a total. This total is usually pretty high. Use marketing to get the client to think of the purchase as an investment, rather than a huge expense.

3. Place
Salespeople need to be available to travel to the individual sites to perform the analysis, and go wherever they need to close the sale.

4. Promotion
o   Advertising: newspaper, TV, radio, billboards, anything to get your message across
o   Personal Selling: very important. Solar Panels are complex and customized. Meet face to face with the potential buyer to  understand their goals and resources.  Give them immediate feedback.
o   Public Relations: media is constantly reporting about new developments in the renewable energy industry. Informs the public of the benefits of solar without having to spend money on advertising.
o   Sales Promotions:  Local and federal tax credits and rebates are available to those who invest in solar. Under the right circumstances, the government will pay for nearly half of the total purchase. This drastically reduces the net customer investment and increases the motivation to buy.
o   Direct marketing: uses direct communication to generate a response in the form of an order or a request for further information. Example: a website visit or a call to the office for more information.


Step 4: Understand the environmental forces that are outside the control of the marketing decisions.

o   Social forces: growing concern over global warming and climate change. Makes solar panels more attractive. Result: higher sales
o  Economic forces: Recession has left people and organizations with less capital to spend on solar panels. Harder to get financing on large projects because banks are lending less money. Result: lower sales
o   Technological forces: Each year the panels being manufactured are cheaper, lighter, quicker, and more efficient than the last year.  In the future solar panels will be more affordable, productive, and widespread. Result: higher sales.
o   Competitive forces: each year more solar panel companies come into existence.  In order to differentiate your company from the other you need to have the best employees and the highest level of customer service possible.
o   Regulatory forces: in order to sell and install solar panels you need the correct licenses, permits, and be aware of safety regulations. Need to be aware of building codes and land use regulations.  Also need to be aware of and understand the process for receiving government rebates.


People have known for years about global warming. They have known that driving big gas guzzling SUV’s are bad for the environment. They have known that coal burning factories spew out millions of tons of C02. Many people still continue to drive their Hummers and keep their lights on all day, but things are changing. On July 17, 2008 the national average gasoline prices hit an all time high of $4.11 per gallon (AAA fuel gage report).When the cost of energy hits people in their wallets, they tend to listen. Today, people are starting to drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Solar and wind energy projects are increasing. “Green” is the future, and the future is now.

Website Referenced: