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Want to sell more solar? Include utility rates in your pitch

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A lot of homeowners think that sunny weather is the most important factor when it comes to getting the most out of a solar system. They assume that less sun equals less savings on their electricity bill. As a result, many installers have to fight an uphill battle of convincing the homeowner a solar system is worthwhile. The easy way to win this battle is to talk about utility rates.

While it’s true that solar panels produce more energy in places with a lot of sunshine, as most installers know, living in a less sunny state doesn’t mean you can’t save money by going solar.

The real question is: How can we convince the homeowner of this without confusing them?

One key metric to focus on when selling solar to a homeowner is the utility rate.

In general, the rule is: The higher the utility rate, the bigger the potential savings.

Here’s an example:

California is a sunny state with an average solar radiation of 5.62 kWh/m^2/day. This means that anyone who has solar panels in California can expect high electricity production from their solar panels. In contrast, if we look at a state like Massachusetts, the average solar radiation is lower (4.59 kWh/m^2/day), which means production may not be as high.

If this were all we looked at, we would assume that California is a better sell, but this isn’t true. Because utility rates in Massachusetts ($0.23/kWh) are higher than in California ($0.18/kWh), the overall savings in Massachusetts are actually higher.

CA vs MA Utility Rates
Source: https://www.energysage.com/solar/101/impact-of-electricity-rates/

Why it’s important to use utility rates to sell solar

One of the main reasons for homeowners to go solar is to save money on their utility bill. A solar system is a big investment and if the customer doesn’t know how much they can expect to save – and how fast the system will be paid off with those savings – it can be a very hard sell.

Electricity rates vary from state to state – and even from provider to provider – so it can be difficult to provide an accurate forecast with utility rates constantly changing. The good news is that in most cases the rates are increasingly growing – and they have been for the last decade.

Bar graph showing growing utility rates
Source: statista.com

Using this fact to sell solar can be highly effective, but you still need accurate data to make a compelling case. Without an up-to-date rate engine to pull rates from we’re simply guessing what the savings will be. And, if we guess incorrectly, we risk a lot of customers canceling their installations because of inaccuracies in the calculations or because they don’t have a clear ROI.

Thousands of new utility rates give you the most accurate data

To take the guesswork out of utility rates, Aurora has added thousands of utility rates to its database. The new built-in rate engine helps you get quick access to accurate utility rate information right inside the Aurora platform.

All you have to do is select the utility plan your customer uses and the on-demand rate engine then pulls up the most current data. This allows you to show your potential customers exactly how much they can expect to save with a solar system. 

This is just one of many tools that make Aurora the most accurate solar design platform on the market. Try the new feature for yourself and say goodbye to change orders for good.

Learn more solar selling techniques with the Pocket Guide to Selling Solar.

(Photo by israel palacio)