Can peer pressure really affect buying patterns when it comes to solar? The answer is an astounding yes. Research published in the Journal of Economic Geography by University of Connecticut’s Marcello Graziano and Yale’s Kenneth Gillingham has shown that someone is almost 50% more likely to go solar if their close neighbor has solar panels installed. In fact, the findings even show that peer pressure has more of an effect on a potential customer going solar than socioeconomic and demographic factors.
Direct Energy Solar has harnessed this peer pressure buying power by hosting open houses with our current customers. The homeowner is tasked with inviting their contacts and becoming an active party in the whole process. In turn, Direct Energy Solar covers event costs and pays the homeowner a referral fee for each closed sale resulting from the event. The program saw early success during its pilot period and has prompted Direct Energy Solar to expand the initiative into 2015.
“Direct Energy Solar has always had so many solar cheerleaders within our customer base that we figured they would be great outlets for us to host referral events.” Events Manager Lindsey Williams states. “Solar is growing at a rapid pace and can be a very lucrative investment for homeowners, but why should anyone take our word for it? Wouldn’t it hold more weight coming from your neighbor, friend, or colleague who can show you the proof is in the pudding?”
One of the most successful open houses was held in Lexington, MA where Direct Energy Solar customer Ivan Basch harnessed his connections and put his own personal spin on the event.
“I reached out to select Facebook friends (those who own a house) by inviting them to a Facebook event,” Ivan explained. “On the Facebook Event page, I provided information about my solar system including the power produced. I also showed a portion of my electric bill that shows zero kWh Usage for 5 of the last 7 billing months because of my solar panels. I also sent an email to my neighbors letting them know about the event.”
A BBQ aficionado, Ivan took this a step further to raise interest among his contacts saying that he “promised to serve some BBQ, which is something I am well-known for.”
During the event, Ivan showed visitors his solar panels and introduced them to Kevin Kristofeld, the Direct Energy Solar Consultant to allow him to engage with the visitors. Kevin was able to conduct instant research on the solar viability of the attendees’ houses using Google Earth.
“Overall, this program has proven that Direct Energy Solar has some of the best customers and they really care about increasing the amount of solar in their communities. The attendees of the events have been eager to explore their own solar viability and we look forward to expanding the open house program into 2015.”
Interested in hosting an open house?
At Direct Energy Solar, we’ll help you host an open house so you can demonstrate to friends and family how solar technology works. We provide a solar consultant and marketing materials for these free events. And for every neighbor who decides to go solar, you receive a generous cash reward.