In the fall of 2014, through one of our distribution contacts we stumbled on an extremely good deal on good quality solar modules. The problem was that one had to purchase the entire shipment of 720 solar modules for the deal. Through our networking with Cowichan Carbon Busters, we were able to garner interest and were able to secure the order. This allowed people to purchase modules at far below market price.
In addition, because we were able to secure a set amount of installations in a fixed time period we were also able to purchase the racking, and inverters at volume pricing, passing on the deals to our clients.
All in all, our clients received some of the best pricing on solar in North America. Our systems from the 2014 bulk buy went in at the highest $CDN3.50/watt installed. In comparison, the US Solar Market Insights Report for 2014 Q3 showed that residential turn-key roof top systems ranged from $US3.60-$US3.83/watt, so our clients are doing very competitively in the value they received given our generally higher costs due to location, exchange rate amongst other things.
We learned a few key lessons through the first bulk buy which we are hoping to make better this time round and continually improve our relationships with our clients.
1) Communication: There was so much confusion in the first time round because there was many different sources of information both inside and outside Viridian giving various versions of information. This cause confusion and concern among several people who had put down money for their solar modules.
2) Understanding and Education: We also learned that some clients were buying without a full understanding of the complete system costs. Some got caught up in the low cost of modules without realizing that modules are generally only 25% of the full installed cost of a system. A second issue was that some people did not understand the industry term of cost per watt that was being used. In some cases, by the time we got to doing full estimates at their homes, the full system price was higher than they expected. To solve these issues we resized systems to suite the clients budget or in some cases bought the panels from them.
Both of these were really communication issues and this time we aim to control that better by communicating to the group via this website and via the bulk buy mailing list which you can sign up for on the sidebar of this page. Clients can also contact us directly through email or phone. Our contact details are listed on the contact page.
In addition, we want to make sure our clients know their complete cost up front before making any investment so we will complete site visits and quotes before any commitment to the bulk buy is made the next time round.