How to sell battery storage to early adopters

In case you hadn’t noticed, the return on investment (ROI) of battery storage for households isn’t flash.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of early adopters out there who will buy batteries regardless of ROI, because early adopters like the technology and the independence it offers. The way to sell batteries to them is to target sales message to the reasons they like batteries, which include:

  1. Using their excess solar energy at night rather than exporting it to the grid for a pittance.
  2. Avoiding ridiculously high peak electricity prices by charging their battery at low off-peak prices (or from the sun) and discharging their battery during peak price periods.
  3. Reducing their dependence on the grid
  4. Having protection against blackouts
  5. Going completely off grid.

So, if you’re going to successfully sell to early adopters, you need to be able to demonstrate that your battery will do each of these. Because early adopters like facts and figures you’re also going to need to quantify how much your battery will do each of these.
Now battery calculations are complex, far more complex than even solar calculations, and already most solar salespeople only estimate how much solar power will be exported or self-consumed. That kind of guesswork isn’t going to cut it with early adopters. Which is where PVsell steps in.
The battery results dashboard of PVsell has been specifically developed to directly answer the questions of early adopters, in a language they understand. Though PVsell calculates the financial return and bill reduction, it de-emphasizes this in the results dashboard, and instead focussed upon clearly and simply communicating the sophisticated technical information that early adopters demand.
Three panes are dedicated to visually communicating the typical energy flows between grid, solar, battery and load. One pane indicates when the battery is charging from excess solar (or charging from the grid) or serving the load when the sun goes down across the course of a day. Another pane visually depicts the energy flows between each node for a typical day and a stacked bar chart provides an understanding of the overall balance between supply and demand.
The number of battery cycles per year, the percentage of solar generation that is export, and the independence from the grid is also depicted. Taken together these panes communicate to the customer what’s happening with their energy, and what their battery is doing for them.
PVsell also calculates a set of ‘Grid Independence KPIs’ that communicate to the customer how far they are along the journey of grid independence, and how much their battery will satisfy their grid independence objectives. Importantly, the Grid Independence KPIs also communicate to the salesperson whether the battery is appropriately sized.
Let’s look at each KPI:

  1. Energy self-generation: How much solar power is produced, as a percentage of the user’s overall consumption, regardless of whether it is export or self-consumed. This tells the customer whether they are generating all their needs on site, which will be imperative when they transition to off-grid, even if this is at a later point.
  2. Reduction in solar export: Compared to the no-battery option, what percentage of the excess solar energy is the battery absorbing. This addresses the customer’s wish “Using their excess solar energy at night rather than exporting it to the grid for a pittance”.
  3. Reduction in peak charges: compared to the no-battery & no-solar option, by what percentage is the customer’s consumption during peak periods reduced by. This addresses the customer’s wish “Avoiding ridiculously high peak electricity prices”.
  4. Reduction in grid draw: compared to the no-battery & no-solar option, by what percentage is the customer’s overall import volume reduced by. This addresses the customer’s wish “Reducing their dependence on the grid”
  5. Days fully charged: what percentage of days does the battery reach a fully charged state. This provides feedback as to whether the battery is under-sized – for example if the battery is fully charged every day of the year, then there is plenty of excess solar power going to waste.
  6. Days with spare capacity: what percentage of days does the battery have some capacity remaining at the end of the day? This also provides feedback as to whether the battery is well-sized: if the battery is fully drained each day then you’ll maximise utilisation (and typically improve ROI) but you won’t be sized to meet the needs of an ‘off-grid’ system, which requires enough storage to ride through multiple cloudy days.
  7. One Day Storm Blackout Protection: This KPI indicates how long the battery will last in the event of a blackout (and a cloudy day), expressed as a proportion of a day.
  8. Days 100% self-sufficient (Off-grid ready). How many days of the year does solar and batteries completely provide the energy needs of the premises – i.e. no power is imported from the grid.

Warwick Johnson is head of Sunwiz, which develops and markets the PVSell product.

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