BuildDirect, an online marketplace for home improvement products, is launching a Clean Energy section within its Home Marketplace to make it easy and cost-effective for mainstream consumers to bring sustainable energy into their homes. This division is currently focused on offering solar energy products ranging from photovoltaic (PV) panels, invertors, full off grid kits, batteries and all types of energy storage solutions.
BuildDirect enables solar suppliers to efficiently move heavyweight solar products outside of their traditional markets in an entirely new way that saves them time, money and resources. Solar suppliers can choose to ship to warehouses or directly to consumers. Additionally, BuildDirect opens up a new channel for suppliers to reach homeowners across North America, particularly those who live in geographic areas where a strong solar presence has yet to be established.
“We are at a tipping point as residential solar energy goes mainstream, with California leading the way declaring that all new homes must be net zero by 2020,” said Rob Banks, BuildDirect co-founder and executive officer. “Millions of consumers want to move to solar because it is an endlessly renewable resource that yields zero emissions and reduces power bills. And BuildDirect has a unique opportunity to eliminate inefficiencies and confusion in this growing space by helping connect homeowners with suppliers.”
Clean energy has been in the marketplace for decades with advancements happening at a rapid pace, but adoption has lagged because the market has been difficult to navigate. Suppliers have challenges getting to market and consumers are unclear where to turn for answers to their solar energy questions or how to go about purchasing products once they decide what they want or need. This is one of many ways in which BuildDirect can help.
In addition to connecting consumers with a broad range of products at affordable prices, BuildDirect seeks to make the process of going solar simple, by informing homeowners about all of their options. BuildDirect’s education hub demonstrates how solar energy works, why it increases a home’s value while dropping utility bills, and what equipment is necessary to get started.
Expense has been a major hurdle to mainstream residential solar adoption. While the hard costs of solar equipment have dropped dramatically over the past 10 years (i.e. price of solar PV panels has dropped over 70%), substantial soft costs associated with things like labor and supply chain inefficiency remain. These soft costs continue to make solar unattainable for many consumers. This is where BuildDirect makes an enormous impact. Its supply chain is specifically designed to efficiently deliver heavyweight goods, such as solar batteries, from the point of manufacture, directly to consumer’s homes. This can potentially shave thousands of dollars and several weeks off of an installation project.
To solve these pressing issues, BuildDirect has collaborated with numerous cleantech experts. The company formed an advisory board that includes Greg Bohl, former president and CEO of Solar Logic, and Ramez Naam, computer scientist, author, cleantech angel investor, and co-chair of the Energy and Environment program at Singularity University at NASA Ames.
“There have been tremendous advances with solar energy, but most homeowners have no way to get it,” noted Naam. “With BuildDirect’s Home Marketplace, suppliers gain access to new markets and homeowners have a wealth of information and solar energy products at their fingertips to help make solar a very practical and affordable solution for their lives.”
The BuildDirect heavyweight supply chain connects the U.S., giving solar suppliers the opportunity to break through the geographic limitations of their existing distribution networks. Now, a solar supplier on the East coast can easily connect with potential customers on the West Coast and everywhere in between. Direct market access offers the added benefit of testing new solar products and innovations with a concentrated group of customers.
— Solar Builder magazine