How Can Solar Contractors Solve Supply Issues?

June 30, 2023

A major weakness in America’s solar industry has been harshly exposed in recent years. Our dependence on international imports for solar products and installation materials caused serious supply chain disruptions during the pandemic.

These bottlenecks continue today, making it difficult for many solar contractors to reliably source panels and other essential components for their projects. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is currently stimulating growth in domestic manufacturing, but there won’t be consistent, high-volume production of all module types until at least 2027.

So what can contractors do to maintain supply in the meantime? Resilience will require adopting a number of strategies.

Top 5 Strategies to Beat Solar Supply Dips

  1. Diversifying Suppliers: A lack of supplier diversity is what caused this trouble in the first place. Contractors can mitigate risks by not relying on a single manufacturer for their solar panel equipment. Building relationships with multiple suppliers allows for more options when one isn’t able to deliver.
  2. Planning and Forecasting: Contractors can use demand forecasting tools to predict their future needs and schedule their orders well in advance. This approach can ensure products are secured before shortages become critical.
  3. Utilizing Storage: If space and resources allow, it’s wise to stockpile essentials during times of plenty. This strategy can provide a buffer during shortages, allowing contractors to pull through without having to delay projects.
  4. Increasing Efficiency: Improving the efficiency of installation processes can make the most of available supplies. Examples include training to reduce waste during installation, and using software to optimize system design and planning processes.
  5. Exploring Alternative Technologies: Offering single product types will always come with a risk of shortage. Broadening installation types will prevent operations from coming to a halt when supply of one technology is stalled. Consider training to accommodate alternative solar panel options, and even solar shingles.

Beyond Materials: Assuring Supply of Solar Leads

An ebb and flow of supply doesn’t only affect materials. Shortages are also commonplace when it comes to customer demand. Between changes to state policies, incentive programs, and even seasonal weather, there are many factors that can and do impact how many sales contractors can close at any given time.

It’s essential to establish a reliable stream of sales opportunities as a fundamental, even before product supply. Without consistency in customers, having resilient supply practices won’t save a company from dry spells.

Thankfully, achieving this is simple with the right strategy. Teaming up with an outside supplier of exclusive pre-set solar appointments is a key way to diversify – and thus strengthen – lead sourcing. Rather than rely on the natural cycles of organic lead generation, contractors can guarantee that they have enough customer meetings every month by purchasing leads directly from a reputable agency.

Grid Freedom is widely known as one of the best companies for this service, namely because it provides pre-set solar appointments that are only shared with a single contractor. No competitors ever get access, giving the purchaser the one-on-one advantage. Moreover, every lead is put through intensive live screening to verify their readiness to buy.

Installers who source via Grid Freedom enjoy no contracts, bulk requirements, or membership fees. Terms are entirely in contractors’ favor, allowing for flexible, low-risk lead generation that can always be relied on.

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