Power Forward! A Solar Business Discussion Series with BayWa r.e.

Power Forward

Episode 15: Solar business takeaways from NABCEP 2024 CE

The NABCEP CE conference is a great education and networking event for solar installers. On this edition of Power Forward! Solar Builder Editor Chris Crowell discusses the most important takeaways for solar installers from the 2024 edition of the NABCEP CE event with Jordyn Dollarhide, communications and media manager with BayWa r.e.

  • 0:50 – Vibe of the industry heading into the event
  • 1:56 – This year’s theme: Scaling your solar business
  • 2:40 – Saying no to bad business, and focusing more on quality customers
  • 5:32 – Example of ‘bad’ business
  • 7:47 – Standout comments from sessions and our conversations
  • 10:21 – Products that stood out
  • 12:05 – Final thoughts from NABCEP 2024

Read part of the transcript here


Episode 14: Surviving the NEM 3 California solar market

California solar installers experienced a disastrous 2023 as soon as the NEM 3 rate changes took effect. The California Solar and Storage Association reports about an 80 percent drop in rooftop solar projects since April 2023. To make matters worse, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) closed out 2023 by approving further changes that impact the payback on battery exports. The CPUC also ended the self-consumption of solar for most virtual net metering projects. Is there any way to Power Forward! in California? We discuss with David Dunlap, VP of Product Strategy for the US, with BayWa r.e.

  • 1:04 – Summing up latest NEM 3 rule changes
  • 2:18 – Scale of 1-10: How worried should solar installers be?
  • 7:08 – Given the new California market, how can installers maintain profitability?
  • 11:43 – What else can I do to diversify, and not totally rely on solar sales?
  • 14:15 – Overview of Virtual NEM program changes: “This looks wrong”

Read part of the transcript right here.


Episode 13: State of the solar market heading into 2024

What went wrong for the solar industry in 2023? Did anything go right? What can we expect in 2024 in terms of residential solar demand and solar panel supply? What should solar installers be cautious about? What opportunities should they seize? We discuss with David Dunlap, VP of Product Strategy at BayWa r.e. in this episode of Power Forward!

  • 0:26 – What defined the year in solar in 2023?
  • 2:26 – What did we miss in our 2023 projections this time last year?
  • 4:05 – Update on UFLPA detentions / 2024 supply outlook
  • 6:37 – Residential solar demand forecasts
  • 9:19 – Questions solar installers should ask themselves right now
  • 11:07 – New opportunities to keep an eye on? Electrification.
  • 12:45 – How worried should California installers be right now?

Read part of the transcript right here.


Episode 12: Takeaways for residential solar installers at RE+ 2023 | Power Forward!

RE+ 2023 was the largest solar industry conference to date. What were the key takeaways and important product trends to note for solar installers? On this edition of Power Forward!, Editor Chris Crowell discusses with BayWa r.e. Marketing Relationship Manager Daniela Schwartzman and VP of Product Strategy David Dunlap. Topics include:

  • 1:57 – Overall solar installer vibe of RE+ 2023
  • 2:32 – Surprising observations from RE+?
  • 5:07 – Module supply and pricing outlook into 2024
  • 7:49 – Strategies for buying modules in this environment
  • 11:04 – Trends in energy storage market now
  • 11:45 – There’s 1 million ESS options. What’s an installer to do?

Read the transcript here.


Episode 11: Post-NEM planning: How solar + storage can be a better business model

Battery storage systems are more than just home energy backup – they can also back up your solar installation business. David Dunlap, VP of product strategy with BayWa r.e. joins Power Forward! to explain how energy storage system (ESS) sales can create a more financially sustainable business model for solar installers –regardless of net metering policy. We discuss …

0:49 – Key updates in energy storage (ESS) product market
1:56 – Is NOT selling ESS risky for solar installers?
3:35 – How California solar installers adjusted to NEM 3.0 with ESS
5:32 – Design tools for NEM 3.0 solar + storage
7:13 – The financial case for selling ESS regardless of state and NEM policy
8:24 – Operational changes I’ll need to make to add ESS business
11:14 – Post-install? Build a service department as an income stream
12:19 – Does ESS brand power help?
13:50 – The change that’s coming for solar businesses

Read the transcript here


Episode 10: How to Start Selling Energy Storage (The Right Way)

Pairing energy storage with home solar is more important than ever – but selling and designing a system that meets a customers’ needs – and fits their budget – is not easy. Today on Power Forward! we learn how to start selling energy storage the right way with Aaron Bingham and Blake Akin from BayWa r.e. We discuss …

0:33 – Common problems selling energy storage five years ago
3:26 – What are those absolute first steps to take before selling energy storage products?
5:05 – Tips for marketing ESS and the power of brand familiarity
6:40 – Energy storage systems that stand out right now
9:12 – Key differences from a solar-only sale
10:48 – How to handle the “whole-home backup” expectation
13:42 – How to handle the longer sales process?
15:16 – The impact of main panel upgrade avoidance
16:00 – Preparing customers for the future of the all-electric home


Episode 9: State of the Solar Industry Heading into 2023

The solar industry had many big storylines in 2022, but nothing was perhaps more pressing than solar module supply. We have clarity on AD/CVD. Next up to figure out is the Uyghur Force Labor Protection Act (UFLPA). How reliable is supply right now and going forward? In our State of the Solar Industry episode of Power Forward!, David Dunlap, VP of product strategy with U.S. solar distributor BayWa r.e., discussed all the key challenges in the market, plus products to watch in 2023. Read the transcript here.


Episode 8: Solar installer strategy planning in 2023 and beyond

Solar installer business strategy is not one size fits all. On this Power Forward! we chat with Robert Wolff, VP of Strategy with BayWa r.e., about the questions solar leaders should ask of their business to best lay that strategic foundation. With the market potential in 2023 and beyond (as well as the ongoing supply struggles), strategy planning might be more important than ever. Read the transcript right here.


Episode 7: Inflation Reduction Act and RE+ 2022 preview

David Dunlap and Scott Snyder from BayWa r.e. join Power Forward! this week to discuss impactful aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for solar installers, to highlight new partnerships, and to preview some standout events at the 2022 RE+ conference in Anaheim (Sept. 19-21). Read part of the transcript right here.


Episode 6: Crash Course in Solar Installer Financial Health

On this episode of Power Forward, we get a crash course in solar installer financial health. What are “healthy” installers doing that struggling installers are not doing? And if you’re not struggling now, how can you best protect against the market’s volatility? Rachel Shapira, residential finance director at BayWa r.e. gives us some in-depth insight. Read the transcript right here.


Episode 5: How to be an agile, resilient solar installation business

The last week of March started with the sold-out 2022 NABCEP CE conference and ended with the Department of Commerce initiating the anti-circumvention trade case. On this episode of Power Forward!, BayWa r.e. VP of Operations David Dunlap and VP of Sales Keith Ostwald help us put it all in perspective. We recap some NABCEP highlights and then discuss how solar installers can remain resilient amid the market uncertainty. Read the transcript here.


Episode 4: Growth paths for solar installation businesses in 2022

Congrats: you own/run a solar installation business. Now where do you go from here? How do you get there? We ask Tiernay Marsh, regional sales rep with BayWa r.e. Solar Systems all about solar installer “growth.” What are the questions to ask? What are typical stumbling blocks? What are examples she’s seen of successful growth strategies? Read the transcript here.


Episode 3: Solar supply chain overview and an outlook for 2022

We’re diving deep into solar supply chain issues with David Dunlap, vice president of operations with BayWa r.e. Solar Systems. We pick David’s brain about the current state of things from his vantage point. Read the transcript here.


Episode 2: How to Grow a Solar Business in Uncertain Times

Preston Booker, Head of Key Accounts with BayWa r.e., explains how solar businesses can team with a partner to navigate these challenging times and maintain (or exceed!) their growth trajectories in the coming year. Read the transcript here.


Episode 1: Talking energy storage systems, solar panel recycling and policy

Kate Collardson and Aaron Bingham, product experts at BayWa r.e. and hosts of the Solar Tech Talk podcast, chat with us about energy storage products to watch, solar panel recycling and local policy issues heading into 2022. Read more here.