In the final section of the Solar Survival Guide, we explore how an installer can make decisions today that protect profits tomorrow. The most basic strategy for managing O&M is to install quality products that are designed to last a lifetime and offer remote O&M. A less obvious, but also important, strategy is to factor in customers’ future needs.
Managing the long term value of a solar customer means not only maintaining the solar system they have, but also selling additional technology for future needs as they arise.
Just think of the things on today’s customers’ wish lists that may not have been foreseen ten years ago: EV chargers, additional panels to meet higher demand created by an EV or a growing family, an integrated smart home thermostat, and consumption monitoring to understand and manage loads. If you design today’s system for future flexibility you are installing a system that enables expansion over time and integration with new technology.
It’s also important to design for changes in the environment the system operates in, such as new regulations, changes in utility rate structures, or changes in grid settings. While often existing systems are usually grandfathered in, recent changes in some markets show that choosing technology that offers flexibility makes more sense than ever before.
So when you choose your solar technology, look for:
- Bi-directional communications in your inverters and monitoring systems so grid profiles can be updated and firmware can be upgraded over time
- Smart-grid ready inverters to handle potential changes in the grid
- Compliance with coming electrical codes, such as rapid shutdown compliance which is being rolled our across the U.S.
- Storage-ready designs that enable adding AC-coupled storage without changing out the system’s inverter
- Consumption monitoring technology so that you can size a customer’s storage system if rate changes make storage attractive in the future
To look at the decisions that you can make today to minimize future O&M costs and create future upselling opportunities, download the Solar Survival Guide Challenge Six: Streamlining O&M today.