Will Small Solar Energy Companies in San Diego Survive for Long?

In early December, solar experts and professionals from across the country descended on San Diego for Green Tech Media’s US Solar Market Insight conference.

One of the key topics of the event was whether larger solar energy companies will eventually beat out the small guys.  In other words, will national solar installers dominate the industry?  Or will small outfits (like ours) continue to remain the backbone of America’s solar boom?

During the conference, there were great arguments for both sides.

Let’s review.

Why Larger Solar Power Companies Have a Natural Advantage

Size equals power.  Larger solar energy companies are able to leverage economies of scale more easily.  And they can pursue standardization and cookie-cutter business models.

This often leads to lower pricing (often – but not always).  Customers looking for solar bargains might be more receptive to marketing campaigns launched by the big guys.

In a previous post, we explained why price should never be your main consideration when researching solar power installers in San Diego.  But even still – it’s hard to walk away from a great deal.

Why Smaller Solar Energy Companies in San Diego Have It Good

Big brands like Nike, GM, and Apple are household names.  But small businesses are the ultimate source of jobs and innovation.  This is as true for shoes and electronics as it is for clean energy.

We might not have the name recognition of the bigger guys, but there are so many solar companies in San Diego.  Taking out all of us would be very difficult.

In addition, solar is not a technology that lends itself to standardization.  Every home and business is unique.  No 2 roofs are exactly the same.  And thus, no 2 solar installations are exactly the same.

Where Do We Stand on the Small vs. Large Solar Energy Debate?

In an earlier post, we covered a whole bunch of reasons why smaller San Diego solar companies are preferable to national installers.  You can check out that article here.

But where do we really stand?

To be honest, we embrace the competition.  Throw in more large companies.  Add some more small ones too.  It’s all good.  And here’s why:

  • More competition raises solar energy’s profile.  This increases awareness and overall demand.
  • More competition = more players.  And more players = more allies in our fight against utility companies and Big Oil (yes – there’s a fight going on).
  • More competition raises the bar for everyone.  This means greater innovation and larger investments in R&D.  That’s good news for everyone (except utilities and Big Oil).

Most companies in most industries don’t want increased competition.  Profits shrink.  Expenses go up.  And market share diminishes.

But to be perfectly honest, we like our chances.  As San Diego’s highest-rated solar installer (on Yelp), we have a pretty solid track record to build on.