2021 is here at last, and it can’t possibly be worse than 2020! In the solar industry, the new year brings with it some key trends that will define the trajectory of the market and, more importantly, determine which organizations can rebound from 2020 and thrive, and which will fall victim to the ongoing economic struggles from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following represent three key trends that solar sales organizations should pay attention to in order to ensure they’re ready for what the new year has in store and 2021 represents a year of recovery and growth rather than further contraction.
3 Predictions for Solar Sales in 2021
1. Storage Will Take Center Stage
The downside of solar power is that it’s intermittent. On days the sun doesn’t shine, no juice flows. On days the sun shines all day, excess power is often wasted. That makes batteries an important part of any practical commercial or residential solar setup. Battery capacity has traditionally been limited by two things: cost and size. Lead-acid batteries take up a lot of space, and while compact lithium batteries solve that problem, they’ve always been extremely expensive. Improvements in manufacturing technology are now driving down those costs, making a boom in the storage-side of the industry a real possibility in 2021.
According to Deloitte’s 2021 Renewable Energy Industry Outlook, 32% of all new storage projects coming online in 2021 are paired with solar, and falling costs are making large-scale “solar-plus-storage” projects attractive options for utility companies looking to shore up shortfalls in capacity. For solar sales companies, the battery boom represents an opportunity to expand cross-sales on new installations and also to sell additional storage capacity to previous customers who could be harnessing more from their existing setups.
2. Residential Installations Will Continue to Be a Challenging Market
Residential solar installations represent a “nice-to-have” for most buyers, and even the most committed environmentalists can have a hard time swallowing the relatively long payback periods that solar tech still carries. With the coronavirus pandemic decimating the economy and putting a large chunk of the population out of work, the nice-to-haves were the first thing to go. That meant 2020 was a rough year for residential solar, which fell 20% in the second quarter.
With the spread of COVID-19 still increasing as we enter 2021, and with widescale vaccine distribution still projected to go well into the late summer or fall, there is no end in sight to that lull in residential installations. The economic damage from the pandemic will also linger even once the virus is gone, which means it’ll likely be 2022 at the earliest before residential sales recover to pre-pandemic levels. Once that happens, growth should be explosive, but until then, residential solar sales will continue to be a grind.
3. Solar Sales Organizations Will Turn to Tech to Stay Competitive
An already-competitive industry made more difficult by the pandemic-induced recession will require solar sales organizations to adapt to carve out a larger share of a shrinking market. Technology is unquestionably the highest ROI force multiplier available, and that means 2021 should see many solar companies looking to adopt new tech in order to streamline operations and gain more efficient access to potential residential and commercial customers.
Customer resource management software has already gained a hold in the industry thanks to its value as a prospecting and sales tool, and 2021 should see that trend accelerate significantly. A high-end CRM offers solar sales companies a number of benefits across all areas of operations, including:
- More efficient lead acquisition and management, enabling solar companies to categorize leads more accurately and keep potentially hot leads from slipping through the cracks
- More effective use of customer data to drive a faster and more frictionless sales process
- Integrated scheduling tools to minimize rebookings and wasted time by ensuring sales and installations teams are always on the same page
- Web-based customer support systems to ensure smoother ongoing support and assistance and, in turn, happier customers that will drive word-of-mouth marketing
- Deep analytics capable of providing the business intelligence necessary to identify opportunities for new revenue generation, cost-cutting, and more targeted sales training
Solar CRM systems like CRMDialer offer all that and much more, including a fully integrated power dialer that puts an enterprise-level call center just a click away and requires nothing more than a headset and an internet connection to use from anywhere.
To see first-hand how CRMDialer can help you make 2021 a breakout year by streamlining and enhancing your solar sales organization’s lead management, sales process, and business operations, click here to start your no-commitment free trial today.