In this special edition of Contractor’s Corner, solar sales and design software provider Aurora Solar talks about the rights, the wrongs and the needed transparency in solar sales. Based in San Francisco, Aurora Solar provides solar design and sales software meant to make those processes simpler and faster for installers. Aateeb Khan, product manager at Aurora, touches on the company’s Sales Mode platform, streamlining the solar sales process and overall customer experience.
Below is a portion of the company’s Solar Spotlight podcast with Solar Power World, but be sure to listen to the full episode here or on your favorite podcast app.
What have you seen top solar companies doing to stand out from their competitors when it comes to sales?
First, transparency. The top solar companies are always transparent about their prices. The customer or the homeowner is always clear on what they’re paying for and to that extent the components that they’re buying. Whether it’s the inverters or the modules, we work with a lot of companies that sell premium modules, but also sell budget options, so being very clear about what the components are, the glass on the roof, etc. And then, I think, also savings. Given that solar is a complex product, savings are not super clear. Why am I getting paid in year one for the ITC instead of year zero? So along every step of the way, the top solar companies are really focused on transparency, and we see that really helps them in terms of top-line sales.
What are the biggest mistakes you think solar companies make when it comes to solar sales?
So everything we said they can do right certainly applies. More transparency, more delivering and installing on time. But I think the one place where there’s probably still some room for growth is demystifying solar. There’s so many competing narratives out there. Some people choose solar for independence from the grid, some do it because of the savings, some do it because of the environment. But every one of those comes with a whole swath of questions. Anecdotally speaking, I’ve heard a lot of issues recently where homeowners are having difficulty understanding how to resell their home with solar or what solar does for home their resale value.
I think it’s not so a mistake as I think of room for growth particularly as the industry grows is understanding all of the different objections and having the assets to really speak to those questions. Whether it’s home resale value, whether it’s how exactly does a solar + storage system work? How do I maintain the system? Making sure that you’re really demystifying solar is going to be the next big growth area for companies as they mature.
What is Sales Mode and how is it different from other solar proposal software?
Sales Mode is the newest product coming out of Aurora Solar. And to start I want to share a little history of where Aurora was and how we got to today. Traditionally speaking, Aurora has always been the tool of choice for solar designers, in particular for residential solar designers, in our industry. It’s because we have the best 3D modeling software in addition to our proprietary simulation engine. Which, time and time again, whether it’s validated been NREL or by the various rebate authorities or financiers, it’s been considered the industry standard on solar design.
So, what that’s meant for customers is we can really reduce on when we’re talking about what’s installed. We can really reduce change orders or cancellations because you have a really high sense of fidelity that if you design this in Aurora, it’s what will ultimately get installed.
What are the biggest benefits that sales reps will gain when they use sales mode?
I think two things come to mind. The first is that the sales rep when they’re in the home or on the Zoom call with that homeowner, that they’ll have every single tool at their disposal to do two things. One: To make sure they can configure the deal exactly to the customer’s needs. They’ll have that accurate 3D model, they’ll be able to toggle panels on and off, see performance and savings updates in real-time, configure pricing correctly and make sure you find the right financing options.
The second thing is that confidence for the sales for what they’re selling will and can be installed. We know at the end of the day that sales reps get paid their commissions based on when the solar gets installed, when the glass actually hits the roof.
This podcast is sponsored by Aurora Solar