The cost of acquiring new residential solar customers for installers has disappointed predictions, increasing in costs over the past several years, and will continue to increase before beginning to decrease in 2019, according to a new report from GTM Research.

While the overall costs have gone down, the reduction comes mostly from hard costs such as solar panels themselves.

Hard Costs for Residential Solar Panel Installation:

This is what you’ll pay for the solar panels themselves, inverters, solar mounting racks, a battery for storage, etc. Solar panels can account for about 25 to 30 percent of the total solar panel system cost.

Soft Costs for Residential Solar Panel Installation:

Soft costs include administration costs for the company, customer acquisition and marketing. Additionally, it consists of system design, permits and fees for connecting to the grid, and labor for installation.

Soft Cost Reduction Solutions:

Various permitting, entities and laws throughout various jurisdictions can slow down the process of solar installation and raise costs. Through systematizing and unifying solar, SEIO is working to cut red tape and prices.

They also fund research for new ways to streamline solar company operations. Better software and processes to help solar companies reach new customers and run more smoothly helps tame soft costs. Through these efforts, the savings can be passed on to solar customers.

Report finds two-thirds of solar installers plan to absorb some or all tariff costs:

Demand for solar-plus-storage surges. Nearly one in three solar shoppers are also interested in a home battery, according to respondents. However, Close rates for customers who receive quotes for solar-plus-storage are nearly 50% in some markets.

Installers may absorb solar tariff . The recently announced 30% tariff on imported solar cells and panels by the Trump administration may have less of an impact on residential solar than initially expected. So, Two-thirds of solar installers say they plan to absorb some or all of the cost of the tariff, rather than pass those costs along to the consumer.

Customer acquisition remains difficult . 37% of respondents stated that customer acquisition was harder in 2017 as compared to 2016. Also, that confusion created by competitors is still their number one challenge. Additionally, installers are prioritizing growth in market share over margins.

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Misbrener, K. (2018, February 21). Report finds two-thirds of solar installers plan to absorb some or all tariff costs. Retrieved from

Categories: Solar Panels