Headline: “Low Cost Rooftop Solar.” What’s not to like? If you’re a homeowner you can save thousands of dollars shopping around for the right installer and financing. If you’re an installer you are undoubtedly under competitive cost pressures — and strive to find ways to stay competitive even with the ITC extension.
So why does a standard rooftop solar system still cost about $20k before incentives (about $14k after the ITC)? The good news is that prices for solar panels have plunged from $1,000 each down to about $200. Inverter and racking costs have also declined. But overhead costs — items like marketing, sales compensation, contracts, financing documents, warehousing, engineering, back office labor and maintenance — have not seen much of a reduction (or in some cases have actually increased).
For installers, it is possible to lower total installed costs — mostly by simplifying and standardizing business processes, and taking advantage of new technology. Not only will these improvements save customers money, but they will also reduce the time it takes to complete an installation. And the great news is that these “overhead reduction” techniques are very inexpensive — or free. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show for five easy to implement tips for lower cost rooftop solar systems.