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Sungevity Hits The Home Solar Sweet Spot

| Wednesday May 7th, 2008 | 7 Comments

9c2e1.jpgWith the rising cost of power, and the greater awareness of the human impact on the environment, home solar power has long since moved beyond deep green people and would be militia and out into the broader society. But who to go with? And how to to do it, at what cost? For many, this is likely a very new concept, fraught with lots of unknowns and insecurities. Berkeley based Sungevity has one of the most well thought out websites I’ve long seen for selling solar to the masses. Other solar providers, take note.
Whereas other companies either seem to take a kitchen sink approach, presuming you’re already interested, tossing a heap of links and text your way, or looking impressive but not so accessible to the newbie and strongly making the case on a personal level, Sungevity gives a human face to the process. Literally. A friendly woman greets you on the site – no, not those creepy animated talking heads mouthing pre recorded human voices – a real person talks to you with empathy, enthusiasm, and interest, literally pointing out the various sections of the site, and why they’re relevant.
Wisely, they don’t lead with the environmental benefits of solar, but rather, education on how it works, how much you’d need, and what to do if you move. It continues with how solar is a shield against rising energy costs, and the many rebates available to make it affordable. Appeal to people’s basic needs first, then go for the higher purpose. Well done. They ease past the cost question by suggesting financing via your mortgage or their financial institutions. As they put it,

This makes solar electricity like utility electricity, except our costs don’t go up with increasing energy costs.

Bingo.


Only after that do they go into the environmental benefits, keeping it brief, impactful, and compelling. In one sentence, they hit another key concern of those not deeply invested in being green,

You can reduce your carbon footprint significantly with a home solar system without having to alter your lifestyle.

Some may have qualms with this being portrayed as all you need do to play your part, but it’s a powerful start, pardon the pun.
They finish strongly by again removing another roadblock – the numerous visits typical previous to an installation, making ample use of the burgeoning availability and quality of satellite and aerial images. Through this they allow everything previous to the installation to happen remotely, and at a savings to the customer.
Sungevity has chosen to take a much more focused route, serving strictly residential customers. And from the looks of it, they will do quite well.
Readers: What are some other examples of renewable energy sold well out there? What’s been your experience shopping for and/or getting renewable energy sources for your home?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. His overarching talent is “bottom lining” complex ideas, in a way that is understandable and accessible to a variety of audiences, internal and external to a company.


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  • http://www.gogreensolar.com Deep Patel

    Most solar professional use satellite technology to give estimates over the phone. What sungevity is doing is nothing new. The problem is not all jobs can be quoted 100% accurately through the internet. And the trips back and forth isn’t necessarily costing the customer the bulk of the price, its solar panels, limited silicon supplies that costs the end user so much money.
    It seems like sungevity has a good grasp on what sells solar, obviously its a financial decision, very few consumers do it for the environmental benefits, the environmental benefits are just an added bonus.

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    Ah, I sit corrected. Thanks Deep. Yes, it would seem they know how to sell the various points, minimzing home site visits being one of them.

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    PS Perhaps I should say the (mis)perception among consumers that there’s typically going to have to be lots of site visits, which has long been the case for this industry.

  • Meryn Stol

    Very well executed.
    I really like how she’s standing, moving around silently. Very human.

  • http://www.sungevity.com Danny Kennedy

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Just a quick word about our technology– We think we have something unique here because our software uses multiple satellite images (top-down plus others) of a home to create a 3-D view on which we base our design. This basically allows us to create quotes that are as accurate, sometime more accurate, than sending a guy up on the roof. Streamlining this process is an important step, we think, toward making solar available and affordable for more homeowners. To put this in context, in the last two weeks Sungevity completed close to 500 solar quotes. Using conventional methods, creating 500 home solar quotes (conservatively budgeting 2 hours per a site visit) would take 1000 hours or 140 days of work.
    Shine on,
    Danny Kennedy, founder of Sungevity

  • http://www.solarpower4home.net/ solar power for home

    Great stuff. I really like your writing style.

  • http://www.solarpower4home.net/ solar power for home

    Great stuff. I really like your writing style.