A major shift is occurring in the solar industry, particularly in the solar sales model. Powur Solar®, many times simply referred to as Powur®, and Apricot Solar are leading this shift. Each company has adopted a very different model from the model that traditional solar sales companies use. The result for both companies is rapid growth and a scalability factor that will help solar market penetration from the existing 4% of homes in the U.S. The traditional solar business model has failed in that effort and has seen many solar companies grow and then retract, and some fail altogether.
The Compensation Model
The primary factor is that both Powur Solar® and Apricot Solar have adopted different commission structures. Many solar companies use a redline compensation model that penalizes only the salesperson when the price of the solar system must be lowered to win the deal from a competitor. Or when additional equipment or costs (adders) need to be added yet still trying to make the system affordable for the homeowner. This creates a very fragmented situation where new salespeople learn the business with one company and leave to go and find better compensation elsewhere.
The Powur Solar® and Apricot Solar commission models are based on the Costs of Goods Sold method. If the system price is lowered, each participant in the commission stack gets a reduced amount. This model has allowed for more competitive pricing and more loyalty from sales reps. Instead of continually looking for a better commission plan, sales reps stay where they know they are being treated fairly. This commission model also allows solar sales reps to compete for sales in markets with a lower average price per sale or price per watt (PPW).
The old sales model also required sales reps to train their own people so recruiting and building a team wasn’t possible until they had gained a lot of experience. Powur Solar® and Apricot allow a new solar sales rep to start building a team immediately. They have devised a way for new Mentees (Powur®) or Trainees (Apricot) to be trained by others in the company. So, a new mentee/trainee can start building their business immediately to take advantage of bonuses and overrides later.
Other similarities between the 2 companies include support for solar sales reps in building solar designs. Powur Solar® does all that for their reps whereas Apricot simply provides the option. In that way, a seasoned solar pro can keep control of the solar design and pricing of the system.
One other similarity is in the tedious project management of the installation. Again, Powur® manages this for their reps while Apricot provides the option of managing this but allows reps to do their own project management if they choose.
Sales & Installation Opportunities
However, there are of course differences between the 2 companies. Powur Solar®, according to their website can install solar systems in 21 states and Puerto Rico. Apricot Solar, although not yet in Puerto Rico, installs solar systems in 29 states including all the states where Powur® is currently installing systems.
States in which Apricot Solar Installs
Who Does the Installations?
Another difference is that Powur Solar® uses many different general contractors around the country for installations. This can lead to issues regarding the actual installation of the system, including the time it takes and the quality of work. Apricot Solar represents one company, Freedom Forever. Freedom Forever is the #3 solar company in market share in the U.S. with well over 100,000 successful residential installations nationwide. Freedom Forever is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Providers (NABCEP) which is the highest certification in the solar industry. Because Apricot represents Freedom Forever which installs all solar systems, it creates a better workflow in dealing with the myriad of steps it takes to get systems installed in a timely manner.
Apricot's Partnership with Vivant
All Freedom Forever customers receive a Vivant Net Zero Essentials alarm and smart home system at a significant discount. The Vivant system integrates with the solar system. It is typically installed within a week of the customer signing the solar contract. The result is that approximately 90% of the sales follow through to completion (realization rate) whereas the rest of the industry, which includes Powur Solar®, remains at 55% to 60%. The difference to the sales rep in getting paid on 90% of sales versus just 60% is huge.
Another minor factor is that with Powur Solar®, reps must pay an enrollment fee of $99.00, a monthly technology fee of $49.00, and a $35/month fee for advanced training. With Apricot Solar there is no enrollment fee nor fees for training for their Solar Advisors.
The Biggest Difference in These Companies is in the Compensation
Even though both companies use a cost of goods or revenue share compensation model there are differences between the two. With Powur Solar®, when someone starts, they must complete 3 training sales with a Mentor unless they are considered a Solar Pro. A Solar Pro needs to only do 1 training sale with a Mentor. To be considered a Solar Pro that person must have at least one year of solar sales experience. In any case, commissions are split 50/50 between the Mentor and Mentee. Once the training sales are completed, the sales rep, whether they are new to solar or a Solar Pro, must complete 5 of their own sales. Then they may take additional training and testing to become a Mentor.
With Apricot Solar, someone new to solar also must complete just 1 training sale. However, a Solar Pro need not complete a training sale and can start selling on their own, and/or become a Trainer, right away. If someone has no prior experience and completes the 1 training sale, they may now take additional training and testing and become a Trainer. A Trainer can work with new Trainees, split those commissions, and make full commissions on their own sales. Therefore, the road to full commissions and splitting sales with new people is faster with Apricot Solar.
Powur® claims that the average full commission on a sale is $7,000 as does Apricot. So there is virtually no difference in the payout of commission if you want to just do sales yourself. If you want to be a Mentor/Trainer as we discussed above, the path is faster with Apricot.
Overrides on Your Team
There is no requirement with either company to build a team. You can do sales on your own your entire career. However, the biggest difference in the commission category is when you look at overrides on your team’s sales. With Powur® you receive overrides 6 levels deep in your organization ranging from $150 to $600. The amount you receive depends on what level the sales rep is on who did the sale. According to the latest information we’ve received as of the date of this article’s publication, to get paid as deep as your 6th level, you must recruit a minimum of 40 people yourself.
In comparison, Apricot pays average overrides of $1,000 on any sales in your organization once you reach the level of Junior Partner. Junior Partner is achieved once you have just 3 people on your team and that team installs 20 solar systems in a 60-day period. At that point, you will be paid these overrides down to the next person at the Junior Partner level. You therefore can be paid on every sale within your organization. The amount that can be earned on overrides with Apricot is significantly more than with Powur®.
In summary, we are comparing 2 very good companies. They both provide a better avenue for someone that wants a part-time or full-time career in solar sales. However, because of its relationship with Freedom Forever, Apricot Solar has the ability to install more solar systems and do so in more states with a higher quality of installation. If an individual is not going to build a team and just do sales on their own, that is the biggest difference between the 2 companies. The other difference is that with Apricot a sales rep has control over whether they want to build their own solar designs and manage their own projects. With Powur®, you do not have that choice.
If solar salespeople want to create leverage in their business and gain the benefit of residual income so they don’t have to sell the rest of their career, Apricot provides a faster path to making more money than Powur Solar®. And they provide greater team overrides long term.
To learn more about a sales career with Apricot Solar, visit Solar Sales from Home. There you'll be able to watch a detailed business overview video. If you like what you see, you can schedule a phone appointmentto get all your questions answered and join the fastest-growing team in the solar industry.
*The information contained in this article has been obtained through web searches and was not directly provided by either Powur Solar® or Apricot Solar. We do not make any claims that any or all of this information is correct. Please do your independent research by visiting the websites of either or both of these companies.