2018 update customer acquisition costs in the solar industry

A 2018 report released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) has shown that the average customer acquisition cost faced by residential solar installers across America has fallen from $0.31 per watt in 2017 to $0.30 in 2018.

However, these figures are distorted by the fact that they include EPC contractors. EPC contractors source a significant amount of their work from financing platforms for which they are contractors for, so they do not have lead generation costs associated with their jobs.

The better figure to use is $0.44 per watt, which NREL associated with full-service solar companies that offered financing options, as well as cash options, to their customers.

NREL Q1 figure 15

Figure 15. Q1 2018 benchmark by location: 6.2-kW residential system cost (2018 USD/Wdc)

When using this number, we see that customer acquisition costs have actually increased from $0.42 per watt in 2017 to $0.44 per watt in 2018.

Given that the report showed the average size of a residential solar job in American at 6.2 kW, the average cost of customer acquisition in the residential solar market in America stands at $2,728.

The concern for installers is that over the same one-year period, the selling prices for a 6.2 kW residential solar system have fallen by about $0.14.

Herein lies the difficult position solar companies are now in - selling prices are falling faster than customer acquisition costs. Now, solar installers are asking themselves what solar leads are the best to purchase? How much can I pay for leads before it becomes uneconomic? You can use our solar leads calculator to figure out just that.


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