Solar Companies Tap Post-Installation Revenues
There are now more completed big solar projects in the US than those being installed or planned, which presents a rich services opportunity for system providers seeking to diversify their revenue streams and prop up their margins, reports NPD Solarbuzz.
There are roughly 2,000 completed US solar projects with capacities larger than 50 kilowatts (kW) that could benefit from post-installation services that span individual or multiple sites, such as maintenance services like cleaning and repairs.
"Over the lifetime of the PV installation, equipment has to be maintained, cleaned, and repaired," says Christine Beadle, analyst at NPD SolarBuzz. "Securing service contract business has therefore become a highly lucrative source of on-going revenues."
The same model has become widely used across the high-tech industry as desktop computers and servers became commoditized.
What's more, service contracts put solar PV companies in a better position to get contracts for future expansion and technology upgrades.
Solar system providers are taking note, beginning to target completed installations for new business.
First Solar is the most successful example so far of how diversification into project work - including maintenance and repair services - can help solar PV companies improve margins that have been battered by cutthroat pricing and panel oversupply.
Other companies, such as Canadian Solar, are following their lead, signaling that as the industry matures, more companies will stake claims in the solar services market.
Here's the Solarbuzz report: