Could San Diego Solar Companies Become Obsolete?

Solar energy has become so popular and so affordable in recent years that you can buy home installation kits online.  You can even find do-it-yourself (DIY) solar panels at select hardware stores across the country.

But now, IKEA is jumping into the solar game.

It’s a relatively limited pilot project (in the UK only), but if the company’s gamble pays off, you can expect Stateside IKEA stores to begin offering DIY solar panels as well.

If that happens, does this mean professional installers (including San Diego solar companies) will be out of work?

Perhaps.  But it’s pretty unlikely.

Let’s explore why IKEA’s campaign could be troublesome – and then we’ll look at how the company might actually benefit solar installers.

Why San Diego Solar Companies Should Be Worried

IKEA’s entrance into the market is a pretty big win for solar (and the environment).  But the PV panel and installation industries are quite competitive.

So not everyone will necessarily greet IKEA with open arms.

Here are 3 potential reasons why San Diego solar companies should worry about IKEA:

1.  Big Brand Name

IKEA is a huge name, meaning that solar will receive a lot more exposure than it already does.  This is clearly a plus environmentally.  More solar = cleaner planet, regardless of who does the installation.

But… IKEA is a big name.  Its success could potentially push many installers and solar retailers out of the market.

2.  Tactile Marketing

IKEA could do for solar what Apple Stores have done for the iPhone and Macbook Pro.

Both companies feature their products in lavish arrangements, allowing shoppers to touch, feel, and kick before buying.

This is another huge win for solar (in general).

Most Americans are already familiar with solar technology at a basic level.  But not many have actually held a panel in their hands.  Solar is simply an abstract concept.  And IKEA could help change that.

That’s a pretty big plus environmentally.  And it’s a potential minus for IKEA’s direct competitors (including Sunline Energy).

3.  In-Person Marketing
In addition to having panels on hand, IKEA will also have on-site consultants to help walk customers through their solar options.

That’s pretty cool.  But this also means fewer opportunities for solar installers to educate their customers.

Let’s look at why IKEA’s solar campaign doesn’t pose a serious threat to installers.

Why San Diego Solar Companies Shouldn’t Be Worried

We don’t know how the UK solar market works.  But if it’s anything like what we have in San Diego, there’s a good chance that DIY solar panels won’t put many installation companies out of work.

Here’s why.

In San Diego, most solar incentives are reserved only for installations completed by licensed contractors.  There’s no law preventing you from installing panels on your own, but your installation won’t necessarily qualify for tax credits, rebates, and net metering.

Without these perks, the cost of installing your own panels is very close to the cost of hiring a professional (including parts AND labor).

Moreover, the energy generation potential of a professional installation is usually much higher.  This means you enjoy larger electricity bill savings and higher returns.

So at the end of the day, we applaud IKEA’s solar efforts.

The company will help make alternative energy more widespread.  And if their sales really take off, global solar panel costs will become even cheaper than they already are.  This will make it even easier for San Diego solar companies to market their own installation services.

In other words, there’s very little to dislike about having more retail competition in the solar game – especially if consumers walk away with a better understanding of how the technology works.

For more information on the limitations of DIY solar panels, check out this article.

To learn more about our premium solar installation services, contact us today for a free consultation.