Sunrun is a third-party owned solar power business (TPO). They install photovoltaic solar power arrays on homes and lease the array to you, the homeowner, for 20 years. Sold to the homeowner as a cost savings program, the contracts have an annual lease increase built in such that eventually, they cost more than the local electrical utility – while the TPO receives huge government subsidies for installing solar. The homeowner, over time, ends up spending more money than before they signed on to the alleged cost savings program.
The essence of their sales pitch is to instill fear in the target customer, a typical method of persuasive messaging:
One former Bay Area employee sent me a Sunrun training manual he said was current when he resigned in April 2017. It’s called “Power Play 2.0: The Guide to Successfully Sell Sunrun.” (The company confirmed its authenticity.) It instructs salespeople to sow distrust in and disdain for traditional utilities and appeal to customers’ emotions. Over 61 pages, pain is cited at least 31 times and fear at least a dozen. When reviewing a customer’s traditional utility bill, the trainee is told, “amplify the pain significantly.” Among “components of success”: “creating pain and fear.” Among the “five fatal flaws” to avoid: “failing to build pain or fear.”
As documented by Bloomberg, Sunrun lied about the monthly costs of the residence’s electric bill to persuade the homeowner to sign up for Sunrun services. It is likely that many TPO customers are victims of persuasive sales techniques and are not aware that the information they are provided is biased and potentially incorrect.
The sales pitch used a combination of false assertions, lies, cherry picking (emphasizing the early years savings) and fear. Just like propaganda messaging.
Interesting observation in the article – California now mandates all new homes have solar PV arrays installed and it is expected that most will end up using the TPO model, as it is so profitable to the companies involved. In effect, California is de facto mandating that everyone participate in this phony cost savings.
Note – this post is not intended to be in opposition to solar PV, only to the marketing tactics of third-party owned solar PV companies. I had my own home built solar PV array in the 1990s. I do not currently have solar PV as where I live there are only 68 clear days per year (on average) and about 80 partly sunny days per year. The remainder are cloudy and rainy making this a poor environment for solar PV electricity generation. We hope in the future to move to a location with more sun and will seriously consider solar PV when that happens.