The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in 2022, is meaningful climate action that moves the United States toward our goal of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Beyond the benefits to our planet, the bill offers considerable tax credits for homeowners, businesses and organizations seeking to use cleaner, more efficient technologies.
Not only are heat pumps, electric vehicles and solar panels now more affordable; this landmark legislation also creates a huge opportunity for building and solar installation companies.
In this guide, we will discuss how solar installation companies across the country can harness the growing excitement around solar to grow their business and reach new customers. Here, we cover the ways you can use the solar panel tax credit in your sales and marketing materials to better educate leads and guide them through the process of solar panel installation.
How to Market Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Costs Savings
The benefits of the law are simple: it makes adding clean energy technology more affordable for homeowners and businesses. Not only are they saving on installation, but adding solar panels, heat pumps, and other efficient technologies will also help them reduce energy consumption and lower overall energy costs for years to come.
No matter where you live, everyone is feeling the energy cost crunch. We’re based in the Northeast, where many people use oil and gas to heat their homes. As we’ve seen at the pump and in the headlines, these prices hit record highs in 2022. Electricity is up in many places as well, prompting people to look for ways to save energy and in turn save costs.
While aimed at reducing greenhouse gasses, the IRA also includes many ways to reduce the energy cost burden. Energy policy experts have estimated that by taking advantage of the many benefits in the IRA, households can save between $1,800 and $3,000 on annual energy costs.
That’s an appealing prospect.
Many of the early adopters of solar did so because they care about the environment, knowing that it also came with a cost benefit. Today, the environmental benefits are still a draw, yet there are going to be many more who start researching solar for financial reasons.
Just as cost is a driving benefit, it is also the biggest concern. Homeowners and businesses will have a lot of questions about the price of a solar installation, payment plans, and the tax credits. Giving clear answers on your website and marketing materials will help build trust with potential customers, expedite the sales process, and differentiate you from the competition.
Before we dive into our list of 10 easy ways to market solar panel tax credits, let’s first cover what’s in the IRA and who’s eligible.
What Does the IRA Say About Solar Installation?
Solar Investment Tax Credit includes a 30% tax incentive on the gross cost of a solar system installation. This includes tax credits for businesses and the Residential Clean Energy Credit for homeowners.
The key benefits solar installation companies should share with customers include:
- A 30% solar tax credit that goes toward the taxes owed that year. If the credit is higher than what is owed, the remainder can be carried forward to future tax years.
- A retroactive provision that makes the 30% solar tax credit available for 2022 installations.
- Credit for stand-alone battery storage starting in 2023.
- Extends the 30% solar tax credit through 2032.
- A new “direct pay” option that allows tax-exempt entities, such as non-profits, churches and local governments, to take advantage of the tax credit as well.
Homeowners can claim the tax credit for the year the solar panel system was installed. Commercial installation tax credits are available the year the installation began. The one exception is using the credit for storage batteries. That tax credit is available to homeowners for the year the storage was installed, even if it is an add on that occurs a year or more after the solar panel installation was completed.
What Equipment and Services are Eligible?
The Solar Investment Tax Credit covers the same things covered in the previous solar tax credit law, such as:
- The solar photovoltaic, or PV, panels.
- Labor for the installation process.
- Equipment needed to run the solar system, including mounting equipment and wiring.
- Fees for things like permitting and inspections.
- Sales taxes on eligible expenses.
- PV panels used to power an attic fan.
- Storage batteries.
Who Qualifies for the Solar Investment Tax Credit?
The Solar Investment Tax Credit is available to all taxpayers for installations at their primary or second home located in the U.S. Taxpayers can take advantage of the credit no matter their income level or whether they itemize or take the standard deduction.
The credit is also available to businesses, municipalities and organizations.
These eligible taxpayers and businesses are your target audience. That’s a huge number of potential customers. Let’s discuss the best ways to reach them.
How to Talk About the Solar Investment Tax Credit
Many Americans are intimidated by the complexities of the income tax system. It’s certainly not easy to navigate! Here are a few marketing tactics you can use to set leads and customers at ease and make the decision process easier.
Get your FAQs
You’ve likely already answered questions about the Solar Investment Tax Credit. Start by compiling a list of those common questions and concerns. Next, write out clear, concise answers in layman’s terms. Use these solar tax credit FAQs far and wide. Provide them to your sales team, create a handout for customers, or place them on your company website.
Create a one-stop shop
When potential customers are doing research on solar panel installation, they may land on your website (and your competitors’ sites) looking for guidance on cost, tax credit eligibility, process and how to pick the best company. Make this job easier for leads by creating a comprehensive Solar Investment Tax Credit webpage with a clear call-to-action form they can fill out to connect to your sales team. Include your FAQs, links to federal information on the residential and commercial tax credits, testimonials from happy customers, and some numbers on what they could expect for savings.
Create an infographic
Our brains have an easier time processing complex information when presented visually. Using an infographic that explains the solar tax credit on your website and in sales meetings will help your potential customers see for themselves the benefits available to them. An infographic can also be helpful in guiding them through the process of obtaining the tax credits, too, relieving that pain point.
Need help creating an infographic? MAYO has a solar tax credit infographic you can download and use as your own. It even has a spot for your logo. With just a couple clicks you’ll have a visual guide your sales and marketing teams can start using today. Learn more and download your infographic here!
Address eligibility early
When cost is a driving factor, it’s good to have the cost savings discussion early in the process. For most homeowners and businesses, there is significant savings available, but that savings might have to be deferred to another tax year. Being clear about eligibility and the financial details on your website and sales materials will prevent frustration later in the process–and will ultimately save your sales team time.
Keep talking about the benefits
Whether it’s on your website, blog, social media posts or email, keep the tax credit front of mind. Continuing to talk about the benefits and in different ways helps potential customers understand the details. They’re also more likely to remember your company when they’re ready to buy.
Here are 10 specific examples of how you can remind prospects of the solar tax credit benefits:
10 Easy Ways to Market the Solar Investment Tax Credit Benefits
- Highlight your new one-stop shop webpage in a colorful call-to-action banner in emails and on social media.
- Create a solar tax credit calculator that provides a general estimate of cost and cost savings.
- Create a graphic that highlights the 30% savings you can use in newsletters, emails and on social media.
- Continue to remind people about the new law, its details and who’s eligible in “did you know” type social media posts.
- Create urgency by reminding leads they need to book by a certain date to ensure the start of installation by the end of the year–and ensure they get credit for that tax year too.
- Record a video of the top five tax credit FAQs and post the video on the one-stop shop page.
- Create a one-page guide to the tax credit process, from booking the installation to gathering paperwork to filing early in the year.
- Working with an accountant or tax attorney, host a webinar where attendees can ask an expert their solar tax credit questions–and ask you about the installation process.
- Create an email drip campaign to past customers about the battery storage tax credit and offer a free consultation.
- Build a solar tax credit editorial calendar that includes important dates such as Tax Day (April 15), seasonal specials and deadlines for booking. Add quarterly blog posts that explain the tax credit, eligibility, information for both residential and commercial customers, and tips for vetting solar installation companies.
How to Get Sales Up to Speed
As a solar installation company, you want customers to believe you’re the experts. Nothing kills a sale faster than sharing inconsistent or incorrect information, so it’s essential to educate your sales team fast on the ins and outs of the law.
To get your sales and marketing team fully up to speed, consider reaching out to an accountant or tax attorney for professional insight. Invite them to meet with your sales and marketing team to cover tax credit eligibility. Ask if they’d serve as a sales team resource when questions from customers arise
In addition, arm your sales and marketing team with the tax credit talking points they need to answer questions and make the sale. Make sure to use laymans terms and keep each bullet short and to the point. The FAQs you built are a great place to start.
As you add information about the solar tax credit to your website and marketing campaigns, make sure what you’re saying and how you’re saying it is the same everywhere. If you decide to focus on long-term cost savings as the top message, your website and sales materials should reflect this, too.
Working With a Marketing Team
It’s an exciting time for builders and solar installation companies. To fully take advantage of solar’s projected growth, you need the sales materials and marketing to support your efforts. That also means investing time, effort and resources. Updating marketing strategies, your website, producing videos and written content may put a strain on your internal team.
To get your marketing on track quickly, consider bringing on an agency that has the expertise and bandwidth to support your company’s marketing needs. From design to branding to creating social media posts, having an experienced marketing agency in your corner helps you more easily tap into the opportunities the tax credit offers.
MAYO has a proven track record of working with solar clients and can offer expertise that’s aligned with your industry. We’re available to discuss additional ways to leverage the solar tax credits and grow your company.