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September 28, 2011

by Jeff Spies – Solar Energy International Business Services Manager, President of SolarSpies Consulting and Secretary for NABCEP

7 reasons why quality solar training is key to solar business success

1) Successful PV companies take training seriously

The top solar installation companies have placed a priority on quality training to insure their employees are current on the latest code considerations, product innovations, design intricacies and installation procedures.

2) Technical knowledge required to succeed

PV is a technical field requiring strong knowledge of the electrical and mechanical aspects of PV design and installation.   View Full Article »

The failure rate among new solar installation companies seems to be rivaling that of restaurant startups, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Quality solar training can change this trend, and one of the major lessons I have learned in my 20 years in sales, marketing, and technical training is the pot quality training can have on business success in the technical arena.

First, some history. Prior to entering the solar industry, I had a successful career working in the field of industrial automation. My background included a degree in mechanical engineering, View Full Article »

Solar Power International is hosting a 2 day workshop on solar business and finance as part of it’s conference workshop program.  ”Understanding Solar Business and Financefeatures 2 of the industries most experienced and compelling speakers.

Jeff Spies – President of SolarSpies and Secretary for NABCEP will join forces with Lee Feliciano – President of SolarCapital LLC to conduct a 2 day training workshop outlines the best practices that help successful solar businesses succeed and identifies the potholes that swallow many solar business alive.

This powerful program will help contractors, finance, and business professionals understand the fast paced solar PV market and learn the key steps to succeeding in an increasingly competitive field. Gain insights on the practices and programs used by successful solar contractors to outlast the competition and stay profitable. Attendees will gain View Full Article »

Intersolar Training July 12-14

SolarSpies and Solar Energy International are pleased to offer 3 one day workshops at Intersolar 2011.  Each one day workshop costs $245 and you can register by clicking the links below:

July 12 – SolarSpies: Solar PV – An Insiders Guide to Success (Sales, Marketing)
July 13 – Solar Energy International: Technical Introduction to Solar Electric Systems (Entry Level)
July 14 - Solar Energy International: PV System Installation (Intermediate Level)

Workshops will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco next to Moscone Center.  For a full listing of free and paid workshops click this link.

Electric cars like the Nissan Leaf could be a real game changer.  After crunching some numbers, I calculated that the cost per mile driven in a Nissan Leaf could be noticeably cheaper than a comparable gas vehicle.

This is an exciting development for the solar industry since you can produce the electricity for driving your electric car with a solar PV array. This makes electricity a more significant competitor to oil and could help increase solar implementation rates for consumers.

I ran the following calculations on the cost to drive 10000 miles per year in an electric car compared to a 30 mpg gas engine car.  Here are my findings.

View Full Article »

How to make your trade show booth stand out

I have found a few things that really make a trade show booth stand out compared to others…

Hardware – People love the hardware. Have quality interesting displays that are easily touched. When a prospect touches the products, the likelihood they will buy from you goes up considerably.

Big smile and friendly demeanor  - People love friendly booth staff. Gregarious outgoing booth staff attract more prospects.

Handshakes – When you touch a prospect (handshake, high 5, shoulder slap, and even a hug) you increase the potential to turn the prospect into a customer.

View Full Article »

The NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification Resource Guide is finally available for download at this link.  This guide will assist those that plan to sit for the  new NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification and it also serves as a helpful resource for anyone interested in understanding the solar selling process.

NABCEP has announced that the application to sit for the PV Technical Sales Certification Exam is now available online at

This certification will help solar sales professionals elevate their standing with employers, customers, and industry peers.  

The resource guide to assist applicants in their preparation should be available by Nov 20.  For more information, check this link

October 7, 2010 – White River Junction, VT

groSolar, the nation’s premier provider of solar energy solutions and a leading installation company in North America, announced today the launch of its new “groSolar Dealer Training Program.” The program will feature training from Jeff Spies, president of SolarSpies, and will offer web training starting in October and regional workshops starting December 2010.

View Full Article »

Solar Energy International has opened registration for it new PV206 Solar Business and Technical Sales online course.

PV 206 Solar Business and Technical Sales is for those currently working in the solar industry or hoping to work in solar sales. Through insightful presentations and instruction from working experts in the field, SEI’s PV206 Solar Business and Technical Sales course covers marketing and sales techniques you will need to be successful.
Concepts discussed in detail include: customer qualification, solar site analysis, creating conceptual design proposals, system costing, incentives and rebates, cost-benefit analyses, financing options, and the non-financial benefits of photovoltaic systems.

Click this link to register or for more information