Recent headlines have caused people to call me, worried that Sungevity would feel threatened for our place in the sun. These included “Solar by Satellite: Who Has the Best System?”, in which we did get the yellow jersey, and news that one of our excellent coopetitors, SunRun, has been backed by a VC firm that helped Facebook in order to improve their online consumer brand and process’ (go here).
For the record, we’d love to let you all know we think these are great developments. Not for the simplistic reason that competition is good and will make us improve our game (although that too is true); but because the internet is a great channel to sell solar solutions to a mass audience. We have known this for two years now, since before we launched our “online sunshine” in April 2008, and are excited to see more come to that conclusion. Our gameplan is and has always been to spread solar for universal need, and by pioneering this approach to the market we feel we’ve added to that end.

Many barriers lie in the way of mass adoption of solar power solutions to climate change and one of them is ease and of convenience. We’ve made it easier, and while we can always improve our service and customers’ experience, it is clear that others want to emulate what we’ve got – straightforward shopping for information and solar options on the internet. Coming to our customers get a firm quote usually within 24 hours and can communicate direct with a professional sales team on the phone or email to make their decisions, buy their system and arrange their install.

Over time, more and more of the industry will move to this and related business models, passing the work of installation on to local contractors and so streamlining the sales process. Our software advantages in remote solar design (where we engineer systems without a site visit to produce firm quotes); plus auto-generation of documents (to kill the pain of paperwork for customer and contractor alike), will continue to hold us in good stead to sell solar direct. And long-term we want these and other innovations to become widespread; to become standard so that middle America can access solar power more simply.

So, we welcome Global Solar Center, SunRun and others to the race to take solar to the masses via the internet. There’s a growing number of us on this track and we look forward to a Tour De France like effort to sell enough solar to stop global warming. Shine on!

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.