While the solar industry keeps growing, the residential solar market still faces very high customer acquisition costs, which can have an impact on the growth of solar. As the latest Energy Sage Installer Survey shows, 70% of solar installers say that customer acquisition costs stayed high, or increased, last year.

High customer acquisition cost is a problem for solar installation businesses

Some innovative installation companies have made progress in differentiating themselves from their competition. But most solar installers are still competing with the same solutions over the same pool of prospects. This lack of differentiation causes high customer acquisition costs, slows growth, and lowers margins. With almost every solar shopper comparing multiple quotes, often pricing becomes the only differentiator. But this can diminish margins, and it is painful for solar sales teams to spend hours with a prospect, educate them, create a proposal, only to lose the sale to a competitor.

So, what are customers really looking for? To answer that question, it is crucial to look at the needs and desires of solar shoppers. These shoppers are looking for efficient performance, high reliability for peace of mind, and a great return on their solar investment. How can solar installers satisfy these needs?

How to meet solar customers’ needs

System performance depends highly on proper system design and the right inverter technology. Studies have shown that modern string inverter technology outperforms DC optimizers in both shaded and unshaded conditions. While DC optimizers can recoup some of the losses caused by shade, they also consume energy, lowering the annual energy output, as shown by an independent study by the University of Southern Denmark. Thus, software-based shade mitigation features of modern string inverters perform better, and do not require additional hardware. For example, the Fronius Dynamic Peak Manager (DPM) is an enhanced MPP tracking software that scans the entire I-V curve of a solar module to continuously operate at the global maximum power point, effectively mitigating the impacts of shade.

Thus, modern string inverter technology gives system owners the high performance they are seeking. Combined with the lower upfront cost, this delivers a high investment return that makes going solar more attractive.

Given the size of the investment, and the fact that solar is still a relatively new industry, customers are looking for assurance that their investment is safe. And they are also looking for reliability. To achieve that, high-quality equipment from trustworthy brands is essential.

However, since most solar shoppers do not know specific solar manufacturers, installation companies can differentiate themselves by offering their prospects protection plans and proactive services for their peace of mind. The assurance provided by such service plans makes prospects more comfortable, and thus increases the purchase intentions and improves a salesperson’s win rate. With a field-serviceable string inverter and a partnership with the inverter manufacturer, protection plans become a source of additional revenue and profit.


By offering a differentiated solution—both in terms of equipment and add-on services—a solar installation business can close more deals at lower customer acquisition costs, which sets the foundation for more growth. Delighting these customers with high performance, reliability, and proactive services over the system’s lifetime will turn them into advocates, accelerating the growth of the installation business with referrals.

Fronius offers modern string inverters for single and three-phase applications. With Fronius SuperFlex Design, installers can choose a suitable inverter for any application, from single-phase residential systems to three-phase commercial systems, from multiple roof angles to specific module counts. Once an engineer has designed with one Fronius inverter, the rest of the product line will come intuitively thanks to similar design philosophy, thereby streamlining the system design process.

To read the studies quoted in this article and learn more about how Fronius helps grow your solar installation business faster, visit the Fronius website here.

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BayWa r.e. Solar Systems LLC supplies residential and commercial solar installers in the United States with quality solar + storage components, forecasting, business planning advice, and a community of experts. Visit www.solar-distribution.com to read our industry insights articles and stream our Solar Tech Talk and Solar Town Hall podcasts on YouTube and Spotify. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to stay connected. Ask us about our Split Pay financing program and use our industry-leading Webstore to save time, get gear shipped, and get jobs done! Part of the BayWa r.e. Global family of renewable energy companies.