I've been getting large amounts of information pressed into my gray matter as I learn how to do my new job. I have a couple of roles to play; I'm helping re-direct the marketing effort and I'm selling solar electric (photovoltaic) systems.
"Sales" in this realm includes a fair amount of estimating and design/layout. Each solar panel system, although made of rather standardized components, is unique, and I haven't yet learned enough to cover every situation that I might face. Our engineer is teaching me some things to watch for, and I'm glad anything I work on passes across her desk.
People are responding to the new federal tax credit structure, and the phones are starting to ring. Along with the increases in PG&E rates, even people who are rather modest consumers can begin to see some financial incentives to switch to solar. For instance, any residence using more than 22kWh per day and subsequently paying over $1500 per year for electricity, should consider generating their own electricity using solar panels. An optimized system would pay for itself in five years.
On the marketing side, I'm realizing that the PV industry as a whole doesn't seem to know how to sell PV. It's "green?" Well, yes, but at tens of thousands of dollars, it better do something for me. If I spend $38k on a car, it makes me feel good and all the ladies want a ride to the club, right? Can I take my solar panels for a spin around the block? No? You mean, they just sit there?
See, it's just not sexy. It's not exciting.
In fact, it's sort of the opposite of exciting. Getting a $300 or $600 electric bill, now that's exciting-- but in the wrong way. It's the stressful kind of exciting, to get a big electric bill. Your own PV system frees you from that stress. Solar panels give you the warm fuzzy feeling that you are in control of your energy costs, the security that you are free from the tyranny of the large energy players. While that's not sexy, it is certainly reassuring.