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#SolarChat Explores Consumers Want from Solar Energy Installers

The #SolarChat on 7/25/12 covered a very important topic, because it was all about how best to serve and inform you, solar-curious customers.

If you’re considering solar, you might want to listen in to our next #SolarChat and get to know some of the industry members working hard to make it possible. If you already have solar PV for your home and find yourself becoming passionate about its potential, #SolarChat is the place to meet like-minded individuals with lots of solar knowledge to help you spread the word!

Whether it was the week’s topic, the ongoing momentum of #SolarChat, or the expanded efforts of our new social media specialist, @KendraHubbard — a combination of all three, perhaps? — we’re proud to say #SolarChat trended during its lively discussion time.

The folks at @MercurySolar called it “our favorite hour of the week.” And @SolarSarahDara addressed a very sweet tweet to @KendraHubbard and @EcoOutfitters (Raina Russo): “You two leave me motivated and inspired after every one of your #solarchats.” But enough tooting our own horns. What insights did industry members share that can help you, our EcoOutfitters blog readers?

The specifics: The panel was titled, “What Information Do Homeowners Really Need to Go Solar?” Our panelists were Jim Jenal, chief executive officer and founder of Run on Sun; Eugene Rinehart, marketing and customer care associate at Sunrun, Inc; Kathleen Troy Maier, marketing manager for the mid-Atlantic region for Real Goods Solar; and Heather Moos, regional marketing manager for Real Goods Solar.

Burning Questions of the Solar Curious
The chat first identified the top questions consumers ask when shopping for solar. Many deal with cost, financing, or ROI, which supports statistics showing that most people who go solar do so to save money.

Here’s a list of the most commonly asked questions based on some of the tweets.

1 – What’s the upfront cost?
2 – What’s the long-term payback or ROI?
3 – What about reliability, especially in areas with frequent snow or rain?
4 – How do solar panels actually work? Will they work on my roof/in my area?
5 – Why should I go solar now instead of waiting?

Even the questions that don’t seem to be about money actually are. If you’re wondering about whether solar will work in your area, because of rain, snow or clouds, you’re really asking about the performance of your solar panels, which relates to how much energy they will produce and how much money you”ll save with solar.

Likewise, if you’re wondering if you should go solar now, with solar technology advancing as fast as it is, you’re actually asking if you’ll save money by waiting. As @Sunrun said, “Many homeowners want to know what happens when tech gets better. (Note: The whole time you’re waiting for solar panels to drop in price or improve efficiency, you’re paying full-price for your electricity. The time to start saving is now!)

Other #SolarChat questions explored homeowners’ motivations for going solar. Chat participants revealed three primary motivations, with the first leading by a landslide.

- Saving money (number one on most lists!)
- Helping the environment/sustainability
- Because they like the technology

Finally, #SolarChat explored what should be included in a solar proposal, a topic that we’ll cover later this month, so that you know what information installers should share as you “shop solar.” (But there’s no need to wait. You can take the first step toward lower electric bills with your free solar savings report today.)

See a full recap now.

Post Written by
For Raina Brett Russo, taking care of the environment is a necessity, not an option. Having grown up in Israel, a place where conservation is required and solar hot water heating is the norm, Raina knows the importance of solar energy. Through her work with the EcoOutfitters.net team, Raina found a way to help grow the solar industry in a significant way. As the founder and host of #SolarChat, a bi-monthly "gathering" on Twitter, Raina and her team have created an engaged solar think-tank community that comes together regularly for collaboration and networking with the ultimate goal in mind of spreading the solar message.

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