With Solar Power UK’s ‘Restarting the Market’ roadshow in full swing and currently touring the country, Renewable Energy Installer went along to Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool on Thursday 14 February to find out more.
Almost 50 delegates were present to listen to an expert line up of speakers including Ray Noble (STA), Paul McGonagle (DECC), Andrew Padmore (Egnida) and Richard Rushin (Trina Solar).
Martin Cotterell, founder of Sundog and member of the MCS PV Working Group, was also on hand to highlight the key areas of the newly updated MCS PV Guide which are likely to impact on installers.
“The old guide was getting longer and longer so we thought it was better to thoroughly rewrite it,” he said.
“The most significant change which installers need to go away and read about is performance estimates. The previous method was based on SAP, but it was quite crude and did not take into account geographical location. We have now taken location, pitch and orientation into greater account.
“The second thing is shade analysis. It is now more scientific and a horizon chart is supplied to calculate a shade factor. The completed diagram will need to be given to the customer to leave a clear audit trail.”
He added: “You will now be expected to produce a shading diagram for each quote – which is probably the single biggest change installers will notice.
“The guide is fully downloadable (by clicking here) and becomes mandatory for installers to follow from May 07 2013.”
Cathy Debenham, founder and director of YouGen, presented at Aintree a host of valuable marketing tips to give installers the edge in a competitive market.
She said: “Start where the customer is. What do you sell – off the peg or tailor fit? Do you ask your customer what they want or do you just have one product to sell?
“Customer service is a great way to add value to your service. If you provide a great customer service then you can probably charge more. Customer perceptions of quality are important.
“Take the risk out of the proposal with aftersales support. We know the technology works but they don’t. Providing reassurance will make customers more comfortable that it is not a ‘fit and forget’ process. For example, offer Apps to track performance and a long warranty period,” she added.
“Think beyond ROI and payback. It may sound daft, but research shows that most potential customers will prioritise fuel bill savings over payback.”
Dates, locations and venues for Roadshows
20 Feb – Liberty Stadium, Swansea
27 Feb – Leicester Racecourse
28 Feb – Exeter Racecourse
12 Mar – Hamilton Park Racecourse