Alan Kemp presents Solar Outsiders – Episode 4 (Solar Demand Through The Roof)
It’s been a big week in solar! Solar wholesalers recently told solar retailers that because of trouble in China, there was a panic buy of existing stock. Some wholesalers have run out of solar panels because retailers over-purchased. This led to an increase in prices, not just in panels, but also in the inverters.
In this episode, we’ll chat with Lewis. He’s a seller and is knowledgeable on all things selling and solar. We also have a call with telemarketers that call us, and we’ll show you how to deal with it.
Our Chat with Lewis
What’s going on in the wholesale world?
The first round of price increases was in July, which was strange. Wholesalers typically purchase by the quarter. The majority of brands will see a 40% increase in price, according to Lewis. This is in part because the cost of materials has gone up. Polysilicon has doubled in recent weeks, for example.
Shipping companies have also claimed they don’t have space available to ship things. According to Lewis, trying to find space on a container ship is like a bidding war. In addition to little space, there are major delays at major ports.
It’s almost impossible for smaller retailers to organize their shipping. As a result, some wholesalers have taken over shipping but smaller retailers may be disappearing in the near future. Many leading manufacturers are not currently accepting orders because they’re not sure what the future price of materials will be.
The Chinese Market Affects Global Solar
The Chinese market has also slowed what’s available to the world, according to Lewis. As China works on its own renewable energy, it creates more demand for its own solar panels. This leads to less panels available for export.
Lewis also claims that there have been serious blackouts across the country. He believes they may be trying to encourage businesses to lean more on solar to help with this. He believes this will slow down in the winter months but will still cause significant delays for Australia and the rest of the world.
Why is there congestion in the ports?
Lewis believes it’s because of the pandemic. More people are purchasing more products. He also believes Australia may see issues because it’s more profitable to ship to Europe. Shipping ports in Australia were also congested during the pandemic because of a shortage of labor and supplies.
In order to keep shipping ports operational, workers needed to be hired, but they were in demand all over the world. The shipping companies could not find enough people to work at the ports.
The shortage of labor also meant that the shipping companies could not get any supplies like fuel and food. This became an issue because ships needed fuel and food in order to stay afloat so that they could travel across oceans.
What advice does Lewis have for the solar industry?
First, he says to only make quotes valid for 1 week, or 7 days. Be transparent with your clients, you can let them know that prices are on the rise and prices may be very different 2 weeks from the date you deliver your quote.
He also says, If you are in a position to gauge how your month will go, then do your best to buy the stock you will need. If manufacturers can continue to produce and get the stock shipped, then things will look up. But Lewis believes we won’t know how things will proceed until November.
Alan also has recommendations:
- If you’re a customer interested in solar, call your solar company and try to get installed as soon as possible.
- If you’re a solar company, go ahead and call your wholesaler. Find out what’s left and try to place an order.
Stopping of Sales for Isolators
This episode was recorded before the sale of isolators was stopped. On the day of recording, Alan received the following notice:
We will be stopping all sales of DC isolators for ZJ Beny and Suntree effective immediately as ‘SAA Approvals Pty Ltd’ has stopped issuing of SAA certificates of DC isolators. Brands that have been affected include ZJ Beny, Suntree, and others. SAA certificates of those DC isolators expired on the 29th of September 2021.
You MUST NOT install the DC isolators to comply with electrical safety requirements and return the stock to our warehouse with a proof of purchase if purchased in the last 7 days.
We will keep you updated if we receive any update. Thanks for understanding the situation.
Dealing with Telemarketers
When you’re a small business, telemarketers can be a real headache. They’re annoying, and we hear from a lot of them at Queensland Solar and Lighting. Here’s how we recommend you deal with them:
1) Be professional. At the end of the day, you’re still a business and they are a business as well.
2) Don’t hesitate to firmly decline. If you don’t want to talk to them, tell them so. You represent your business and your time is valuable.
3) Be brief and direct about why you’re not interested in what they’re selling at the moment. If it’s not right for you right now, there’s no need to explain further—they’ll understand if you say something like “I’m sorry, but this isn’t something that fits with my company right now.”
If you’d like to hear exactly how Alan deals with telemarketers, check out the YouTube video for this episode. On it, Alan receives a call from a telemarketer trying to sell SEO and digital marketing services.