Whether or not you ever make a decision to become part of the solar industry, you should watch a 45-minute video hosted by Chad Towner of Freedom Forever interviewing the company’s CEO, Brett Bouchy. For those of us in the solar industry, it is a must! What Mr. Bouchy discusses in this video impacts every citizen of this country, and perhaps the world. Solar disruption is the goal. What that means is the disruption of the solar industry because as it stands now, the solar industry as a whole is doing a poor job of attaining the goal of large-scale renewable energy adoption by homeowners.
The Biggest Challenges the Solar Industry is Facing
Why is the solar industry failing? What are the specific goals that must be achieved by the industry? How must prevailing thoughts about selling and installing residential solar systems change? Why must this all take place quickly? And what is Freedom Forever doing to disrupt the solar industry to achieve the goal of having 50% of the homes in the United States go solar in the next several years? All of this and more are discussed in this video.
Brett Bouchy believes that the adoption of solar in the U.S. is the greatest wealth creation opportunity of our lifetime. And that over the next 100 years, the world economy will be controlled by renewable energy. That makes sense given that fossil fuel energy has dominated the world economy in the last 100 years. It further makes sense considering that we have experienced devastating climate change during that time which must be reversed.
So, what are some of the problems and issues in the solar industry that has stopped and will continue to stop a large-scale adoption of solar in the U.S. if they are not solved?
Make Solar Make Financial Sense for Every Homeowner
Solar disruption will be a major benefit to homeowners and to the environment if Bouchy succeeds. He believes that instead of dealers trying to drive up the price of solar systems to homeowners, they need to drive the price down. Only in that way can we make solar appealing to all homeowners across the country and therefore increase the adoption of solar countrywide. Homeowners in states that have lower energy costs will never adopt solar if we cannot show them a first-year cost saving.
Freedom Forever’s overall business strategy is focused on automation and economy of scale so that they can drive costs down and therefore the price of solar for the homeowner. In doing so the goal is to increase country-wide installations from 200 a day to 75,000 per month in the next few years. To achieve this, Freedom must continue to scale installations and project management and continue to drive down costs.
Lower Sales Commissions?
Solar disruption will also benefit those that work in the industry although it may not look that way at first. If prices are reduced to the homeowner it makes sense that there will be smaller commissions in those sales. Bouchy talks about this and makes the point that if we can demonstrate to every homeowner that they will realize a lower first-year energy cost and every year thereafter, sales will increase 5X, perhaps 10X. In that way, salespeople will make more money than they do currently.
Inconsistency in the Solar Industry
Mr. Bouchy believes that another problem in the solar industry is the use of small subcontractors that create a variable degree of workmanship and experience for the homeowner. Currently, Freedom Forever is installing solar in 29 states from more than 40 locations. Every installation is performed by Freedom Forever employees ensuring a consistent degree of control, workmanship, and a more positive homeowner experience.
Rising Costs of Equipment
One of the biggest challenges to the goal of massive residential solar market penetration currently is that the cost of equipment has risen by 50% in the last year or so. Not discussed in this video is the fact that Freedom Forever now installs its own solar panel, The Freedom Forever 400W. This has abated some supply chain issues that most smaller companies will not be able to contend with.
Solar Industry Fragmentation
There are thousands of solar dealers. Small companies that represent solar installation companies. In many cases, they are competing against other solar dealers in their area that represent the same solar installer. This is incredibly dysfunctional according to Bouchy and is a block to the concept of scalability. Instead, Freedom Forever works with a small number of dealers around the country.
Impact on the Homeowner
Bouchy points out that consumers in the U.S. typically don’t know how much per kWh they are paying for electricity. Yet they know exactly how much they are paying per gallon for gas. That is about to change. With the increased manufacture and sales of Electric Vehicles (EV) people will be paying much closer attention to electricity costs.
Adding 1 EV to a household increases the monthly electric bill by 50%. Adding 2 EVs will then double a consumer’s electric bill. So right now, 96% of homes in the U.S. do not have solar yet each homeowner’s bill will likely double in the next 10 years. Therefore, there is a major opportunity for the solar industry, but we have to do it right.
This video contains more nuggets that I can possibly include here. So, I have included the video for you to watch. If you are involved in the solar industry, perhaps a solarpro, you are concerned about the environment, or you are interested in the future of business, this is a must-watch.