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Power to the People: Solar’s New Standard for Customer Care 

With the rise of global warming, the dependence on fossil fuels has become lessened due to the utilization of natural resources leading the way in the energy industry. Solar has been steadily on the rise since the year 2000, with over 1,460 megawatts installed, and 80% of that in the past four years. Besides wealthy classes who can easily afford paying cash for a residential solar energy system, the eco-conscious, middle-class Americans are generally left with mid range solar panel installation options that are priced lower, however contain little to no customer value or longevity. However, there is one organization resetting the narrative on customer service, transparent strategies, and employee morals within the solar industry. 

Solar Energy Partners (SEP) is a Los Angeles-based solar solution that goes above and beyond the initial renewable energy consultation; their focus is dedicated customer service, and providing long-term, personalized care unique to each client. SEP’s growth over the past couple years has been exponential, with locations across the USA in California, Idaho, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, and Colorado, and more regions on the way (currently servicing 33 states). The organization’s foundation exists in partnering with the best installers and providers in each region to pair clients with a specific fulfillment partner that is best fit to meet their home’s unique needs for the future. 

Although it may seem elementary, their differentiating factor in the residential renewable energy field is Solar Energy Partners’ somewhat exclusive approach to what they do: most of their business is done on a referral-to-referral basis. As a general statement, initial consultation services are where any solar project begins, however SEP’s expertise and value in creating meaningful customer relationships begins here- no stone is left unturned with the initial process, which looks something like this…

Because data is key when it comes to solar, all initial proposals offered through Solar Energy Partners are handled with care; based on the home’s utility bill- there is really no “one size fits all” when it comes to power consumption, so everything must be customized, not “guesstimated”, to achieve true satisfaction with a solar project. Proposal information is put together based on criteria like the home’s power needs, sun hours, irradiance, and solar compatibility. From that point, any garnered information is deliberately relayed in a comprehensive presentation so the entire process is clearly laid out for best results without any confusion. The final step of the initial process always comes down to qualification: in some cases, homeowners will not be able to go solar based upon the integrity of their roof, or a number of other criteria (usually resolved by the end of the presentation). Assuming all goes well, the project is then delicately managed with communication from homeowner to consultant only a text away from step one, forward. The project must then move through the process to install, which encapsulates things like site survey, engineering, CAD, plan sets, revisions, and permitting before install can be scheduled- all of this handled by the consultant and a dedicated back end team without the homeowner ever raising a finger.

A solar install day is cause for celebration, meaning all necessary hurdles have been overcome: the home has been stamped and approved to go green. SEP then furthers their hands-on approach, mediating and reinforcing the customer / installer relationship. Information about next steps to best optimize the home’s solar journey is readily available in the moment and the installation is then streamlined for efficiency and customer satisfaction. At completion of the home’s installation, the journey is only beginning as SEP’s focus truly exists in dedicated, long-term care. Quarterly post install / Permission To Operate follow ups to ensure everything is rolling along as expected are the norm.

It’s not a secret the American solar industry has infamously gotten to a paltry point of customer satisfaction over the past decade. Business entities that sought profit over valuing customer experience soured the taste of many towards residential solar energy. Though difficult to argue the effects of solar energy have not had positive impact on a number of conditions, many have been deterred from going solar themselves by hearing these nightmare stories. The quantifiable facts still exist: solar has benefitted the universal financial ecosystem; we know that going solar has saved homes money in an objective recession. The overall benefit on our planet is also undeniable from a scientific perspective: existing solar projects have reduced greenhouse gasses, and are actively reversing hundreds of years of pollution, thereby improving the quality of our air.

While there may seem like a multitude of evidentiary reasons to get behind the solar revolution, for many homeowners over the past decade, the process has (unfortunately) been full of miscommunications and overall letdowns. Solar Energy Partners saw the gap in the industry and made it their mission to make a change in the solar process. When making an upgrade to one’s most cherished belonging, their home, SEP’s mission hinges on the most important element of a homeowner’s choice to go solar: long term customer satisfaction. 

With most modern companies also stemming from solutions; Solar Energy Partners found a unique niche in bridging the gap in the customer service experience of going solar with a personalized approach that goes layers deep. What seems self evident in the process of going renewable has been a ball that’s been dropped for the better part of ten years, and SEP has grabbed that ball, taking on the energy of greats like Kobe Bryant or Lebron James… the company prides itself on the human element, inevitably leading to an exemplary experience as they solve the lack of communication that seems to have haunted the solar energy ecosystem with negative experiences for so long. With a mission to ensure the homes SEP work with feel supported and understood throughout and beyond the entire process. SEP consultants are trained to be aware of the aforementioned legacy issues, and their unique approach leaves very little question as to why they’ve received accolades from national press as well as government entities like members of various city councils and the United States Congress. 

Beyond solar, making a difference from the ground up; giving back and “doing the right thing” is a palpable key mantra from the backbone of the organization since the company’s inception. With an effort to touch each office’s respective communities with outreach like community cleanups, public facing givebacks benefitting homelessness, food drives, etc., it’s fairly clear that it’s not just about a “sale” or a “switch to solar”. SEP’s philanthropy team is a niche and specialty group that understands the long-term effect their corporate efforts are having on their environment, but aim to go further, benefitting those that do not have the means to go solar. “It’s about humanity”, says Trent Edmond, the head of Philanthropy for the company, “With every home that goes solar, we’re benefitting generations to come, but people need help now. We’re here to make a difference on every single level.” 

The bottom line is going solar is a fairly simple decision, however, one that should not be made on a whim; not because the item is the cheapest on the market. Putting solar on your roof should not only save your home money, but also function properly for decades. The value in solar needs to be heavily scrutinized based not on panels or equipment, but on service.

Solar energy currently exists in a duality: it is beneficial to the planet, yet the drop-off in positive experience when going solar has caused many that once perceived an ordeal that should have been universally beneficial to find nothing but apathy and lack of care in their personal experience. The mainstay reason why many grid-connected customers are unwilling to make a change is generally because they know that the utility works; going solar should be no different, but there’s still a disconnect. SEP aims to be the best; they’re actively changing the solar standards for customer care by exuding a mantra of “having your heart in the right place”, and furthermore understanding and working off of the pitfalls of the industry; utilizing them as the driving force of their organization. It’s clear that to SEP, giving back to their communities is the true reward, but by helping those they work with through ease of consultation, installation, consistent check-ups, and the communities they serve through philanthropic efforts, Solar Energy Partners makes it clear that the difference is tangible: change must be made from the front lines.

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