Despite the prevalence of solar technology, and its growing importance worldwide, the general public has surprising little knowledge of the solar industry. Photovoltaics? Concentrated Solar Power? You’d be hard pressed to find even well-educated folks that could define these terms well, if they weren’t an engineer or in the solar industry (now of course this is not true for everyone, my point here is just that for its growing importance the general public has a lack of knowledge about solar systems and products).
So who cares? Why does this matter?
1. It is much tougher to sell when the customer doesn’t know what he or she wants.
2. A large amount of customer service turns into on-site troubleshooting instead of a customer self-fix.
3. You spend more time educating than selling! Significant resources are wasted educating the customer, instead of building the product.
Solar installers and manufacturers have to pay for these overhead costs, and they pass those costs down to the consumer! If the mass public had a better understanding of solar, the cost of implementing it would be much cheaper.
So how will the general public ever get this information? Basic information about solar technology seems within reach, but selecting the proper solar product and system is not something most people can do, at least.. right now. But, we’ve got a few ideas brewing at Elegant-Focus to fix that.
If the cost of solar is going to come down, its got to reach the mass market without needing individual engineering for every household!
To learn more about the basics of solar energy, I recommend the following sources:
1. NREL Solar Energy Section (National Renewable Energy Lab)
2. DOE – Solar Section (Department of Energy)