Big-box stores could help slash emissions and save millions by putting solar panels on roofs. Why aren’t more of them doing it? (Shutterstock)
In the 1990s, I worked as a solar installer for a local solar company. I took part in a nationwide solar installation conference for the country’s most recognized solar installers. I got the chance to walk among solar installers and talk to solar installers who had been out in the field for many years. And I watched as the solar industry has become more professional, while at the same time, the solar industry has gotten more consumer-friendly. But perhaps the most striking change I observed was that the solar industry became more professional, while at the same time the solar industry has become more consumer-friendly.
As solar installer, I saw the industry change its attitude from one of “oh sure, I got this job,” and “oh sure, I got this job” to one of “I’m going to do this job,” and “I’m going to do this job” when a new business opportunity arose. In short, solar installation morphed from a job to a business opportunity.
Over the past decade or so, a new movement has emerged – solar companies that actually do install solar energy systems on homes and businesses. They’re called “Big Box” solar installers, and they are taking the solar industry from “job to business opportunity” to “business opportunity to business opportunity.” There’s a reason for this: Big Box solar installers have the knowledge, resources, and marketing power to help solar companies in other industries and markets grow their business, which is good for solar companies, good for the economy, and good for the planet.
So why aren’t solar installers more like Big Box solar installers? I believe that there are many reasons why solar installers are not embracing “Big Box” solar installers. But I’d start with the most obvious and simple reason that solar installers do not view solar installers as “Big Box” installers – the profit motive.
Solar companies may see themselves