Where do solar panels, batteries and inverters come from? No, they don’t come from solar elves or a retail store. They come from distributors who order in huge quantities directly from manufacturers. These distributors then pick, pack and ship efficiently in smaller quantities to contractors who do the installations. Essentially the same manufacture-distributor-contractor supply chain as in the HVAC, electrical and plumbing industries.

Distributors provide a tremendous service to solar and storage industry. Even though they mark up the equipment slightly to make a profit, they significantly reduce costs for contractors by eliminating overhead and all the hassles with dealing with dozens of vendors and thousands of components. These lower costs flow to the businesses and homeowners that are purchasing systems.

I have learned over the past 20 years in the solar industry that it is more efficient and actually cheaper to order equipment through a good distributor rather than purchase in huge quantities direct from a manufacturer. One of the best distributors in my experience is BayWa r.e. or Baywa for short. They are based in Santa Fe New Mexico, and their parent company is an $18b multi-national equipment/energy company based in Germany.

Other companies distribute solar equipment, but one of the reasons I like working with BayWa is that their team is responsive, efficient and likes what they are doing. These benefits are a result of their corporate culture…yes, I know, a fuzzy term – but it really makes a difference in the competitive solar industry.

Please listen to this week’s Energy Show as we speak with Boaz Soifer, CEO of BayWa. He’ll explain how he has shaped their culture to drive success at BayWa, and also discuss his insights into the common elements of successful solar companies.