Tesla has been betting on word of mouth to promote most of its products and solar has been no exception since it has acquired SolarCity
Here’s how Tesla has been taking over neighborhoods with solar energy thanks to the help satisfied customers.
SolarCity, like most other solar installers, were using many different sale channels ranging from retail partners to door-to-door to call centers.
When Tesla bought the company, they initiated a transition to using their own sales force in Tesla retail stores and their usual customer-driven marketing.
The main goal was to reduce costs, but Tesla’s legion of fans and owners is also proving to not just be good at selling cars.
When Tesla installs solar on a home, it’s not uncommon for neighbors to inquire about the process and the benefit of a solar installation.
If the customer in question is good at explaining the benefits, solar can spread in the neighborhood pretty quickly.
We are starting to see it happen more and more.
There’s a good example in Venice, Florida where Rich Blair had Tesla Energy install solar panels on its home and he has been telling his neighbors all about it.
It has quickly spread in the neighborhood where now 10% of the homes already have Tesla solar systems.
This is an exceptionally high penetration rate since less than 1% of US households have residential solar.
While many of them appreciate the environmental aspect of it, the financial aspect is what is driving the demand here.
Rich told Electrek what it did to his energy bill:
“My power company bill went from $400 per month to $8 per month (minimum charge to be connected to the grid). My energy bill was reduced by 25% (compare electric bill to cost of solar system). With zero down and the 30% ITC (federal solar incentive), it is a no brainer for those who don’t have the cost of replacing an old roof first in order to take advantage of the solar technology and federal incentive.”
Of course, Tesla also has a solution for those who would need to replace their roof, Tesla Solar Roof Tiles, but the ramp-up of the product has been quite slow.
For now, solar panels are probably the best options for most people looking to save money on the electric bill by going solar.
The customer-driven marketing is also creating a snowball effect and now even local media are reporting on it, which could push more locals to do the same.
Rich shared a fun drone video going around to all the houses in the neighborhood that got Tesla solar installations:
This makes a lot of sense because the benefits of solar vary greatly per region based on sunlight, electricity rates, and local regulations, and also based on the electricity needs of a household.
If it makes a lot of sense financially for someone, like it was for Rich, then it’s likely that it also makes sense for many neighbors who also pay the same electricity rates and who are also likely to have similar energy needs.
Some of them, like Rich, also have Tesla vehicles – resulting in the complete loop of sustainable energy production and consumption.
After buying SolarCity, Tesla has been saying that it expects its existing customers to represent its biggest market for its energy business and vice-versa.
It looks like we are starting to see evidence of that happening.