Charlotte Business Journal Fast 50, No. 3 PowerHome Solar
Advertising push opened up new markets for solar installer’s expansion prospects
With all eyes on television advertising during stay-at-home orders in the pandemic, PowerHome Solar was able to grab new customers with a focused marketing pitch. The six-year-old company added television ads to its sales strategy in 2020, putting its offerings in front of homeowners stuck working remotely. The chance to trade monthly payments to their electric utility in return for investing in their own solar-powered system made sense to customers, and sales grew from a projected $250 million to nearly $600 million.
PowerHome Solar last year was No. 5 among the fastest-growing companies in the Charlotte region, and this year it moves up the list to third. It posted an average growth rate of 137% from 2017 to 2019.
“The pandemic was not the reason business exploded, but it helped,” says CEO Jayson Waller, who sold his Lake Norman home in the early years of the business to get it off the ground. “Eyeballs on the TV helped us educate customers that solar is not only the right thing for the climate but, with more customers working from home, having uninterrupted power became more important.”
A full 99% of PowerHome Solar’s business is residential, though its commercial installations have been in high-profile locations, including five NFL stadiums.
PowerHome Solar does its own installation. It has nearly 1,300 employees in 10 states, with expansions to Georgia, Texas or Kentucky ahead in 2021.
A partnership with generator company Generac added a new line of revenue.
“We install more batteries than any other solar company in the country now,” Waller says. About 80% of customers who add solar panels now also add a Generac battery to store energy in case of a hurricane or other storm.
While the pandemic helped drive business to homebound customers, Waller says difficulty hiring enough installers challenged the business.
“We spend 80% of the cost of an installation before we see a dollar,” Waller says. As sales took flight through late spring and summer, the lead time for installations stretched from 45 days to 70 days. The executive team went off payroll to help build up cash. Waller says there was some discussion to close the business for health safety, but the management team opted to keep those employees working who felt safe on the job.
“There was a lot of fear and uncertainty. The most inspiring part was we had employees choose to give back 20% of their paychecks to help with cash flow,” Waller says. “It was emotional for the executives that we were all in this together.”
To read the full article it can be found on the Charlotte Business Journal.
Source: Tracy-Williams, Laura. “Advertising push opened up new markets for solar installer’s expansion prospects,” Charlotte Business Journal, 4 December, 2020, 6:30 am, https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2020/12/04/fast-50-powerhome-solar-opens-new-markets.html.