6-23-2015 How to Survive the Solar ITC’s Expiration
The Solar ITC is set to expire at midnight on December 31, 2016. That seems like a long way away now, but small solar installers need to start preparing for the ITC’s expiration. There are dire implications for the solar industry if the ITC is allowed to expire. Small installers won’t be able to escape them. However, with the right strategies, solar installers can survive the solar ITC’s Expiration.
Excess staff, repetitive procedures, and idle time all cut into your profits. They make your business inefficient and cumbersome. If you want your business to survive the solar ITC’s expiration, it will need to be as lean as an Olympic athlete.
One of the best ways to increase your income is to streamline your business. Analyze its operations and determine where you can reduce extra work. Do you have two employees filling out the exact same paperwork for every installation? Figure out your business’s problems and fix them.
Creating a critical path map is a great way to get a sense of how your business does an installation and where you can more effectively streamline your process. To survive the solar ITC’s expiration, most installers assume they need to reduce their workforce.
Letting extra employees go should be the last thing you do. After you analyze your business operations, you may find that there are a few vital tasks that aren’t being done consistently because they’re not in anyone’s job description.
Instead of reducing your workforce, reassign an employee or two to the tasks that aren’t being done. You may find that reassigning an employee instead of letting him go will actually help streamline your business.
There will more than likely be a sharp drop in the number of solar customers you have after the ITC expires. Don’t give up your solar installation business. You can survive the solar ITC’s expiration. The solar market will see a recovery, albeit a slow one.
The important thing is to not let people forget about solar. Let them know that it’s still a viable option, even without the ITC. There may still be local and state incentives that homeowners can take advantage of.
Let them know what incentives they can qualify for and how they can apply. To see what incentives are available now in each state, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
Prepare for the Worst
Pessimists often get a bad wrap, but sometimes it pays to be one, especially if you prepare accordingly. The solar industry is trying valiantly to stop the solar ITC’s expiration. Whether or not it can is another matter, one that the nation won’t know for a while.
Instead of sitting around hoping that everything will work out, go ahead and prepare for the worst. It’s one of the best ways to survive the solar ITC’s expiration.
If the solar industry manages to pull off an extension, that’s great. Your business will come out way ahead of other solar installers. However, if the solar ITC expires, you’ll be ready to face the tough times ahead.
Diversify Your Business
If you focus only on solar installations, now is a good time to look into a related field. You could add a home repair or energy efficiency side to your business. To survive the solar ITC’s expiration, you’ll need to have a relatively steady stream of income. If the solar ITC does expire, a non-solar business option can help you make it through the inevitable solar dry spell.
If you already have a non-solar component to your business, you may want to consider strengthening it in the coming year. Ramping up your non-solar business may help you survive the solar ITC’s expiration. Be sure you inform any solar customers you have of your other business. If your business cards don’t mention that you specialize in solar and another home energy or improvement area, change your cards to reflect that.
Will the Solar Industry Survive the Solar ITC’s Expiration?
Most experts agree that the solar industry will survive the solar ITC’s expiration. However, it will suffer a setback. Many analysts are forecasting that the solar industry will take years to reach 2015 levels again. Unfortunately, small installers will be hit the hardest. The best way to come out on top if the solar ITC expires is to prepare, streamline, diversify, and persist.