As a solar installer, you may find yourself educating consumers on available systems and solutions to help them make informed purchase decisions that best suit their needs. Here is a quick and easy way to guide the conversation.
1. Tap into national trends
Any homeowner who does research on energy storage systems (ESS) will see the market’s explosive growth in recent years. During the past decade lithium-ion production has increased, making energy storage much more attainable for both residential and commercial applications.
Publicized setbacks, such as pandemic-induced supply chain issues, may be causing concern among would-be ESS customers. According to American Clean Power, despite temporary setbacks, energy storage saw growth over the last quarter of 2022, finishing the year as its best one yet. Installers should view this as an opportunity to educate customers about ESS and capitalize on national trends to help instill confidence in their purchase decisions. The momentum is there. For a growing number of customers, the question is not “if” but “when.”
2. Address the benefits – to them and to the planet
Reinforce to customers that energy storage systems bring homeowners a host of benefits. As seen in states like California, the grid can sometimes be unreliable due to a multitude of factors including heat, excessive energy consumption and other natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires. ESS not only reduce dependency on the grid but also allow homeowners to store energy for later use – which is particularly helpful in situations where power outages last for an extended period of time.
Consumers should also understand that energy storage systems are beneficial beyond emergency situations; they can help homeowners cut costs daily. Homeowners with a time-of-use plan can delegate when, where and how their energy is used. It is especially important to reinforce that an ESS can store energy to be used during peak periods when energy costs are the highest.
If sustainability is a top priority for your customer, make sure to emphasize the clean energy aspects of an ESS. Doing so will help homeowners make an informed decision that benefits both their personal and environmental needs, so they can feel good about their decision as they do their part toward the goal of a carbon neutral world.
3. Emphasize available financial incentives
Many states already have or are implementing energy storage-related incentives, such as New Jersey and Massachusetts. New York recently proposed a roadmap to achieve 6 GW of energy storage by 2030, which would allow existing incentives in the retail market segment to continue for the foreseeable future.
A major piece of federal legislation is the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which provides homeowners with an opportunity to claim a tax credit of 30% of eligible energy storage installation project costs when filed with the IRS through 2032. The tax credit for residential battery systems is currently uncapped, and with the huge demand in the current market, there could be additional incentives at a state and federal level in the years to come.
Helping consumers navigate the changing landscape of incentives can be an additional valuable service that installers can provide. For example, California has long been known as the leading state to adopt clean energy solutions, yet in December 2022 the California Public Utilities Commission passed a proposal that significantly reduces the potential savings of new customers who install solar systems — without storage. As of April 13, 2023, in California, grid-tied systems will almost never be installed without an ESS.
4. Reinforce cost savings
When speaking with customers, make sure to reinforce the ongoing savings they will see from installing and using an ESS. It is also important to provide them with resources to compare quotes and make sure their quotes are within their personal budget. Resources like EnergySage offer free and detailed advice to homeowners on renewable energy installations to help them determine the right installer.
Your customer can also receive a quote directly from the ESS manufacturer’s website. Cost considerations should factor in the long-term savings that reward those who make the commitment to install an ESS. It’s like an annuity – the gift that keeps on giving over time.
5. Promote the three “E’s”
When communicating with customers, you might aim to relay three main points – ease of installation, ease of use and easy on the eye. Some ESS systems, such as those offered by LG Electronics, can be easily installed and AC-coupled with an existing solar system, or they can be connected directly to the grid. When compared to fossil fuel or diesel generators, today’s energy storage systems are much more sleek, quiet and aesthetically pleasing. Some units, such as LG’s recently introduced Home 8, are also floor-standing, wall-supported and can be installed inside or outside to create a clutter-free environment. When paired with the LG ThinQ app, and monitored by the installer through the EnerVu app, use and maintenance are seamless and simple.
Chris Canfield is the Director of ESS Sales at LG Electronics USA. The LG Electronics Energy Storage Systems business represents a fast-growing new area for LG in the United States, leveraging the company’s renewable energy expertise to unlock value for customers and plug into the new era of sustainability. Based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., LG Electronics USA Inc. is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics Inc., a $63 billion global innovator in technology and manufacturing.