With solar installations growing robustly, installers and homeowners alike are increasingly focused on adding home battery storage to their photovoltaic (PV) systems. In 2023, 13% of residential solar systems installed in the U.S. included a home battery system, and the industry expects batteries to become a standard part of a behind-the-meter solar system.
Installers can set themselves and their customers up for success by providing a top-of-the-line battery system and outstanding support. That means it’s crucial to choose the right battery supplier and partner. With so many options on the market, where should you start?
Installers looking for an edge in a competitive market should consider the following three factors when seeking out battery suppliers:
1. Training pays dividends in customer satisfaction
Getting an installation right the first time is key to building a great customer relationship. Furthermore, installation teams must be experts in the battery systems and PVs they’re installing and be able to communicate the features and functions of those systems to homeowners. That requires training.
Panasonic, for example, offers a certified installer program with multiple training options to ensure installer success. “We provide a technical deep dive on our EVERVOLTⓇ products, information on choosing the correct site and installation best practices,” says Nathan Garvey, senior application engineer for solar and energy storage at Panasonic North America. “We have virtual training with a certification test, and we also send engineers on-site to assist in person,” he explains.
The depth of these training sessions and hands-on support during the first few installations provided invaluable experience for Nick Blalock’s team at Blalock Electric & Solar in Riverside County, California. “Nothing is better than hands-on training, and my team really works well with that approach,” he says.
Expert familiarity with the systems means better designs that meet each customer’s unique needs. And, with support from Panasonic always available, certified installers can be confident they will get questions answered and make each installation a success.
2. Prioritize modular systems
Because every home is different — and every customer’s energy needs are different — installers should provide flexible, modular solutions that can be tailored to each project. Modular systems allow installers to add more batteries if a location requires additional storage. They can also include load management solutions like Panasonic’s EVERVOLTⓇ SmartBox, which connects the battery, home loads, grid power and solar panels all in one place.
SmartBox transfers home circuits to battery backup power in the event of an outage and can control up to six loads. This backup capability isn’t available on typical battery systems, which often leads to customer confusion about what their systems can do when the grid goes down. A modular, configurable system provides more options for homeowners — and more solutions installers can offer.
“When you have a modular system where everything plugs and plays, basically creating a centralized system, that’s a huge advantage,” says Dan Goldberg, president of Advance Solar & Spa in Ft. Myers, Florida.
And it’s not just the technical capabilities that make modular solutions so valuable — they also simplify installation. “Costs are coming down for equipment, but installation time is always a factor,” Goldberg says. Lighter-weight batteries that can easily be handled by a two-person crew or even a single installer will speed up installations, and integrated modular pieces from one supplier are easier to connect and troubleshoot.
Modular systems such as the EVERVOLT can make a significant difference in installation time and complexity, and technicians don’t have to struggle with batteries weighing hundreds of pounds. “If I can cut my installation time, I can bring these systems to my customers at a better value,” Goldberg explains.
3. Instill customer confidence with a trusted brand
Customers need to know they’re making a wise investment in solar and battery systems. No matter how much an installer explains the benefits of various components or systems, homeowners must be confident they’re getting a quality product from a trustworthy source.
“Being able to show customers how they’re saving money with these systems and offering household name recognition — these things make the difference,” says Blalock. “And who’s better than Panasonic? A company that’s been in business for more than 100 years and one of the biggest in the market — you can’t beat that.”
The importance of a trusted brand can’t be overstated, and by backing up its reputation with an industry-leading warranty, Panasonic provides confidence for installers and their customers. “Our new lithium-iron phosphate batteries reach 6,000 cycles, so we know they’ll last well over 10 years,” Garvey explains. “We have a 12-year warranty on them — one of the best in the industry right now — along with our 25-year warranty on our solar panels.”
These warranties give customers peace of mind that if any equipment does fail, it will be replaced free of charge. Panasonic’s warranty also covers labor charges for repairs, so installers can guarantee their customers won’t be surprised with hidden repair costs if something needs replacing.
The value of long-term strategies
Despite market turmoil in recent years, the solar industry is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, and this upward trajectory is set to continue. Installers will increasingly incorporate battery storage solutions into their portfolios, and customers will soon expect these components in their residential systems.
To stay ahead of the curve, installers will win with industry-leading partners who provide outstanding training and support, modular solutions that are future-proof and brand-name recognition to increase customer confidence. “Working with us side by side, providing versatile systems, having a household name — for us, working with Panasonic is a no-brainer,” says Blalock.
With partners like Panasonic, the future business landscape will remain bright for residential solar industry professionals.
Talk with your local Panasonic solar & storage expert about becoming an Authorized Storage Installer.