This article is part of our new State of Solar Adoption 2021 Series which will interview a diverse mix of solar experts with the goal of better understanding their perspectives on the current state and future of solar adoption, what is holding the industry back, tips on how to boost adoption, and more.
The following is an interview we had recently with Geraldine Gray, CEO of Endiem.
“I would strongly recommend that solar providers invest in technology that allows a seamless customer experience from the first inquiry, to quote, to financing, permitting - all the way through to installation and follow-up. Providers that can take all the friction away from their customers will be the winners in the next decade of solar.”
What is the state of solar adoption today?
GG: Overall, solar adoption is booming. Financial subsidies, along with the falling costs of installation, have all sent the pace of transition into the stratosphere.
Solar has grown faster in some states than in others, but every state is now rapidly catching up. Here in Texas, traditionally the heartland of O&G, things are looking particularly exciting right now for renewables. We're also thrilled by the growth we're seeing in our customer's activity around wind power and the success they are having contributing to renewable energy production with some of the largest wind farms in the US.
We will likely see solar go from strength to strength as Biden sets the course to achieve ambitious renewables targets, combining incentives with legislative imperatives to move away from legacy energy sources.
What are 3-5 things holding back the mainstream adoption of solar energy?
GG: The cost has to be number one. As soon as there is an initial financial outlay to invest in solar, there is a barrier.
Secondly, from the perspective of the consumer considering installing residential solar panels, some people are waiting for solar technology to peak before they invest in adoption.
Thirdly, a lack of knowledge or engagement by consumers - some people think that consumer solar is not for them or they don't understand the value it can bring not just to the planet but to their family's budget.
Finally, lack of legal/financial sustainability imperatives will have played a role in slowing adoption for businesses.
What more can be done to drive mainstream adoption of solar energy?
GG: When it comes to selling to consumers, I would strongly recommend that solar providers invest in technology that allows a seamless customer experience from the first inquiry, to quote, to financing, permitting - all the way through to installation and follow-up. Providers that can take all the friction away from their customers will be the winners in the next decade of solar.
As for corporate solar adoption, businesses could take notes from Salesforce who are baking sustainability into their procurement processes and insisting that every supplier meets strict targets on reducing their carbon footprint in their supply of goods and services. It is a great example of ‘trickle down’ sustainability and could be another driving force in solar adoption. When we moved into our new building, we set out to reduce, reuse, and recycle and that included ensuring we picked an energy provider who uses renewable energy, and we had an "energy audit" to identify where we could save on our consumption.
How would the world be different if 75% of all Americans used some form of solar energy?
GG: Cleaner! The environmental impact would be huge, and realistically we could expect to see a deceleration of the devastating climate crisis. But beyond the environmental impact, economically, we would see the worldwide influence of solar job creation plus the spin-off innovation that new industry brings.
Why are you so passionate about working in solar?
GG: Quite simply, along with other renewable sources, solar is the future of energy.
As a Texas-based Salesforce consultancy, energy + innovation is in our blood, and that is why we are passionate about solar.