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Summary:

A direct marketing company majority-owned by Guthy-Renker — the Proactiv infomercial folks — is being acquired by solar panel installer SolarCity. It’s time for solar panels to enter the modern marketing age.

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Plain ole’ marketing is becoming a major factor in the race to sell rooftop solar panels to homeowners. On Tuesday SolarCity announced that it’s spending about $120 million on a solar marketing unit majority-owned by direct marketing company Guthy-Renker called Paramount Energy Solutions, based in Sacramento, Calif. Guthy-Renker is the company behind those celebrity-endorsed acne wash infomercials for Proactiv.

SolarCity is looking to use the marketing acquisition to grow its solar installations to 1 million customers — or 6 GW worth of panels installed — by the summer of 2018. It’s expensive to bring in new solar customers, and the purchase could help SolarCity reduce those costs.

The rise of marketing in the home solar rooftop world highlights how cheap solar panels have become, but also how solar installers have to differentiate themselves with their brands to compete against each other. Solar marketing companies like Sungevity have been growing dramatically in recent months and years.

On a side note: how awesome would it be if SolarCity made celebrity-endorsed infomercials about rooftop solar panels. Though, Paramount says it mostly focuses on online ads, direct mail and radio ads.

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  1. Reaching the goal of a million customers may be difficult now that consumers are becoming aware of the availability of $0 down, non collateralized solar loans with interest rates as low as 4.99% along with $0 down FHA, no equity needed solar loans from dealers with substantially lower pricing than Solar City offers. In addition more and more consumers are beginning to discover that it is far more difficult to sell their homes with a solar lease attached to it. Furthermore Solar Home as in .com, a solar system retailer with a well established nationwide customer base has a far lower customer aquisition cost than SolarCity or Paramount as well as substantially lower retail pricing of less than $3.15 a watt before any financial incentives with full consumer system ownership and full consumer financial incentive retention.

  2. Is that a typo? Are they buying the company for $120M, which would seem absolutely insane, or are they saying that they plan to invest $120M in direct marketing using Paramount over the next XXX years?

    $120M would be an incredible sum to pay for a direct marketing organization in solar.

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