Tackling 8 tough objections to renewable energy
Going solar is an investment and is commonly met with objections, many of them the byproduct of misconception or perspectives askew. That said, solar companies should never let the fears of a solar prospect intrude on what he or she knows.
The best way to handle objection to solar power is to break down the roadblocks forming the objection. Here are some effective ways to convince the powers that are, well, in power but not necessarily in the know when it comes to power, about the value of solar.
1. “I can’t afford solar.”
If you can afford a power bill, you can afford at least half of what your power bill will cost, which solar, at the very least, makes possible.
Ask the person at what time and how long ago they drew the conclusion that they can’t afford it? The cost of residential solar has dropped 70 percent between 2010 and 2016 and is still on the decline.
2. “I’m refinancing my mortgage on my home.”
So, you’ll be paying less over a longer period of time, and therefore are likely have to pay a higher interest rate, which will require you to either change your lifestyle or save more money. Even if the refinancing saves you money, you can use the leftover change to help pay for a solar loan. Solar is one of the few ways you can passively save money. That said, this is one of the many reasons these conditions wouldn’t disqualify you from solar power.
3. “I’m getting a new roof.”
Replacing the roof is something that will happen when you get solar. The conservative lifespan of one of our systems is 30-40 years, and, for instance, an asphalt shingle roof should be replaced every 25 years. Because of this, we offer to remove the system for the cost of labor whenever you need to replace your roof so the roof will be able to support the panels. This is not a service solar companies profit from.
If you bought the panels and had put them on top of a bad roof, you’d have to do a take down and reinstall. A new roof ensures you get the maximum ROI on the panels themselves.
4. “I’m not sure whether I’m interested.”
Are you satisfied with paying $1,000 to $2,000 every year to the power company for the rest of your life? If you’re 40, that’s $52,500 on average. Most people don’t think this is something they can change. You can, but if you are satisfied with this situation, I don’t think solar panels are right for you.
5. “I have too much debt.”
Do you know your credit rating? If it’s over 670, the debt is not too much to have affected their credit score, which qualifies them for solar energy. Or ask them a simple question: What exactly is debt to them? You are in debt to the power company. You are forced to make a monthly payment for energy. At least when you get solar, you are only in debt for a few years, as opposed to forever with the power company, and every single time you turn on a light switch.
6. “I’m moving.”
Depending on the time frame, a full-service solar company licensed in the area can either wait to schedule an install at a new property or do the install, take down, then reinstall.
7. “Solar is too pricey/I don’t see the ROI.”
When beginning your solar journey, you may be doing so with a set of underlying assumptions about the cost of solar power.
This all depends on what is important to the prospect. Return on investment? Return on impact? Return on incentive? Stressing non-monetary features like security from battery backup, being able to power devices when the grid goes down and other options are helpful persuaders.
Remember that estimates these tools produce are exactly that: rough estimates.
8. “I thought it was free.”
Solar is an investment which, like any good investment, makes you money. Making money is always better than not spending it, which is all that any free item gives you.
We do not recommend free solar.
“Free” panels are really “leased” panels, so companies that do these systems don’t actually give you the panels. Instead, they own the panels, put them on your roof, then charge you for the power they produce. We recommend purchasing the panels through financing them (if you can’t pay with cash). After about 12 years, you own them and the energy they produce.
Your power bill will fluctuate, increase over time, and be there forever. A solar bill remains at a steady amount for a few years and then you own the system, no more power bill.
Sunlight is free, but the solar panels and setup themselves are not. And, if you are connected to the grid, you will still have a small power bill no matter what. Remember, there’s a difference between going solar for zero down with no upfront payment and going solar for free. Community-based solar programs are the closest to free that you can get.
Scott Cramer is CEO of Go Solar Group.