Fatten up your wallet selling solar energy

If you are not in the renewable energy business and are thinking about making some extra income, using solar energy is not a bad way to go. Everyone knows people and every company in the business is looking for new business, so connect the dots. Whether you are looking for extra cash on the side, or a full time career change, you may want to look at teaming up with a solar company as a referral partner. We get calls frequently from people that want to be in the business, but don’t know where to start. Hopefully we can help you with that.

There are many companies that get paid very healthy sums to find a customer, go through the sales process, and hand it over to the financing/installation company. There is not much difference in that company and yourself. You have a large network of people you know, have done business with, family, friends, and connections with social media. Use those channels to help grow the clean energy industry and make some good money on the side. Who knows, you may even be so good at it you want to make it your full time career!

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with your Utility bill. They charge you per kWh, however most Utilities have certain line items that are either “generation” based or “demand” based. Generation based is billed as cost per kWh. Demand based is billed as cost per largest load you demanded within the month. Figuring out the difference between power (kW) and energy (kWh) is half the battle. Knowing how to sell solar system is very different than knowing how they work. Sell now, educate later.

Step 2: Buy a book on solar energy. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) can point you in the right direction. Photovoltaics: Design and Installation Manual was the book I bought that started an Arizona based solar Sales and Installation Company. Reading and research can do wonders. Use the internet, its free.

Step 3: Find local solar companies that are already have the products and process in place and talk to them about being a “customer acquisition” representative. To find a local directory, you may want to use www.watthub.com and search for a Pro. You’ll be able to find most solar companies in your area. Set up a meeting with a few of them to figure out which one gives you the warm and fuzzys. Some good questions to ask; how long they’ve been in business, what type of equipment they use regularly, and what types of financing do they have to offer their customers. If they don’t have solar financing, you’ll need to find another company for the financing, but most are teamed up with larger financing institutions to offer the full package. Most solar companies have referral fee program that you can negotiate fees for bringing them closed deals. Being new to the business you could ask for $.20 – $.30 per watt which is market pricing. This would equate to $1,000 – $1,500 for a typical 5kW residential solar system customer. If you are wanting to do commercial sales, the system sizes are bigger, but the fees are smaller. Still lucrative for both residential and commercial.

Step 4: Get all over social media. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Work your network like Kevin Bacon works the dance floor in the movie “Foot Loose”. The only thing needed to do a solar energy proposal are electric bills. Heck, some companies just take word of mouth on how much their average electric bill is. Once you know their electric consumption and rate plan you are off to the races. Let the company you teamed up with do the heavy lifting. Keep on marketing.

There are many people in the solar business doing this now and making extra money. Solar offers not only financial rewards, it offers environmental rewards, and best of all saves money. It’s a win all the way around. And with all the big solar companies and advocates advertising how great solar is, you can ride the buzz all the way to the bank.

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