The Cost of Doing Nothing

December 29, 2016 MODsolar Admin

The most compelling reason for a home or business owner to “go solar” is cost savings. Install solar modules on a property, and over the lifetime of the solar array, it’s possible to predict how much you could save. One of the core features of the MODsolar Platform is its ability to perform the calculations as accurately as possible to yield those predictions. We consider annual electricity rate increases, annual rates of solar module “degradation,” up-front costs, financing costs, rebates, tax credits, performance-based incentives, installation location/ orientation/angle, shading, etc. The Platform supports full customization of sales proposals, and virtually every single proposal generated by our clients includes some illustration of the cost savings.

One effective way of spurring a potential customer to action is to illustrate “the cost of doing nothing.” It’s just another way of saying “this is what you’ll save by going solar,” but it can have a greater psychological impact when it’s considered a “cost” (and that’s avoidable).

This week, we’ve added some newly calculated values that you can use in your proposals, to show the lifetime cost of electricity (both with and without the solar system proposal), as well as the lifetime cost of the solar system (for each financing option). These new values are available for you to insert into any “Rich Text Paragraph” component so that you have full flexibility in how you present the numbers — including the ability to show the actual “cost of doing nothing.”

In the Rich Text Paragraph component, you can access the new values via the “Insert data value” drop-down:

insert data values

They’ll look like this in the proposal template editor:


The first value represents the amount that the home or business owner would spend on electricity, over the lifetime of the solar system, if he did NOT install it. The owner’s electricity usage, as well as projected annual electricity cost increases, serve as bases for the calculation.

The second value represents the amount that the home or business owner will spend on electricity over the lifetime of the solar system, after installation. It is based on the same projections of electricity usage and cost inflation, but also the projected electricity generated each year by the solar modules (accounting for annual module degradation over the lifetime of the system).

Note that you can easily calculate and display the total savings in electricity costs over the lifetime of the system — the difference between the pre-solar cost and the post-solar cost — with the following formula:

$math.sub(${misc.lifetimePreSolarUtilityCost}, ${misc.lifetimePostSolarUtilityCost})

If you want to calculate and display the final NET savings over the lifetime of the solar system, you also need to consider the cost of the system itself. Choose the appropriate system cost value (for the type of financing you’re proposing), and subtract that as well. For example, with a cash system, it would be:

$math.sub($math.sub(${misc.lifetimePreSolarUtilityCost}, ${misc.lifetimePostSolarUtilityCost}),

Note that you’ll get a “raw number” from the above calculation; to format it as a dollar amount — with two decimal places, commas for readability, and a $ symbol — wrap it in the $number.currency( ) function, like this:

$number.currency($math.sub($math.sub(${misc.lifetimePreSolarUtilityCost}, ${misc.lifetimePostSolarUtilityCost}),

If you’ve selected multiple financing options in your proposal (for example, Cash and Loan), you can show both values, for comparison. Something like this:

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Your 1-year cost of electricity: $number.currency(${proposalData.yearlyBillPreSolar})

Total cost over the ${proposal.systemLifetime}-year lifetime: $number.currency(${misc.lifetimePreSolarUtilityCost})

Here’s how much you can slash those costs with a solar system installation:

Lifetime cost of electricity after installation: $number.currency(${misc.lifetimePostSolarUtilityCost})

Electricity cost savings: $number.currency($math.sub(${misc.lifetimePreSolarUtilityCost}, ${misc.lifetimePostSolarUtilityCost}))

Your lifetime savings:

If you pay cash: $number.currency($math.sub($math.sub(${misc.lifetimePreSolarUtilityCost}, ${misc.lifetimePostSolarUtilityCost}), ${misc.lifetimeSolarSystemCostCash}))

If you finance: $number.currency($math.sub($math.sub(${misc.lifetimePreSolarUtilityCost}, ${misc.lifetimePostSolarUtilityCost}), ${misc.lifetimeSolarSystemCostLoan}))

Here’s an example of how that would look in a finished proposal:

The Cost of Doing Nothing Screenshot

Of course, you can format the information any way you’d like, add your emphasis and messaging, etc. You know what works best in your market.

We’re happy to provide these newly calculated values and encourage you to take advantage of the full power of the MODsolar Platform to create your own customized and highly effective solar sales proposals.