How Solar For Car Dealerships Will Save The Day

124863818_mThe automobile industry is approaching it’s biggest paradigm shift since the rise of the assembly line - the shift from fossil fuel-fed machines to electricity-driven machines. This change has been coming for years and is now accelerating with new initiatives such as the Michigan Ave Corridor project. These new infrastructure projects are giving consumers the confidence they need to own and operate an electric vehicle (EV) with ease. Furthermore, EV’s have begun to hit travel ranges, price points and levels of efficiency that now make them just as, if not, more attractive than traditional combustion engine vehicles. 

So what’s the catch? As a result of this revolution, every aspect of the vehicle supply chain - from manufacturer to the owner, to the dealership, to the third party shipping company - is going to have to re-evaluate where they will source their new fuel - electricity. They will need to look at the best, source, price, and distribution point for the electric power required to operate in the new EV world.

Solar power generation for a car dealership at this point in history is an incredible value proposition because of the timing of the rise of EVs. As of now, the EV is still in the “early adopters” stage of its product lifecycle; meaning those that are purchasing them are doing so because they like to be at the forefront of technology or the EV aligns with their values (i.e sustainable living practice.) Buyers today are acting from a mindset that values sustainability over other considerations including price. Car dealerships that add solar as their source of power will have a unique opportunity to appeal to and attract customers who fit the early adopter category. They will appreciate dealers that are not just selling EVs but also embracing the revolution around it.

As EV’s inch towards product maturity, we will begin to see dealerships changing their processes, offerings, and physical appearance. Having a fleet of EV’s on the lot is going to require a different operating procedure than gas-fueled cars. For example - there may be a stipulation from the manufacturer that the batteries must be topped off at least once a week as they sit on the lot. The cars will need to be charged after test drives and while they are undergoing service repairs. Ultimately this means that electricity usage at the dealership is going to increase. 

Let's consider the example with gasoline, when a car returns from a test drive and needs gas where do you take the car? Do you fill up at the gas station selling at $2.15 a gallon or the gas station selling at $3.00 a gallon? The answer should be clear. Now apply this to electricity - why not source that electricity as cheaply as you can - with solar? Until recently, the only choice for purchasing electricity was the local utility company where you get no choice in electricity pricing. Dealerships that own their own solar power are exercising their right to choose their electricity source, and choose cheaper.

The solar advantage for dealerships recently hit home for me while I was sitting down with one of our newest car dealership clients. I asked the president of the operation, “Why are you doing this solar project?” He told me, “In the next 10 years all the cars on this lot are going to be EV’s, and I need to prepare this dealership to maintain its competitive advantage.” 

In the past 50 years, dealerships have claimed their competitive advantage to be what almost every other dealership claims - “We’ve been here the longest!”, “We will treat you right!”, “Our financing is the best!”, and so on. Being the first to get out in front of the electric vehicle shift will truly differentiate your dealership.

When sourcing your newly increased electrical load with solar as opposed to the grid, you will become more price competitive. Your costs will be lower than the dealership down the road. Remaining competitive is never easy, but the multi-value stream associated with going solar can give your firm the competitive edge you’re seeking by cutting costs on your electrical expense. 

Finally, we recognize that for a car dealership the most important capital investment is that into new stock. Check out our blog on going solar and avoiding the capital expense while doing so!

In summary, it is absolutely a no brainer for car dealerships to consider a solar project to begin aligning themselves with industry changes that are happening. With value streams including cost savings, market leadership, and EV readiness, solar can improve your business’s outlook as EVs hit the lot. It’s also worth noting that it’s very easy to install solar power generation and EV charging stations at a dealership with no capital financing required. Give us a call today at (248) 923-3456 to learn how.

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If you or another business is interested in having an undeniable impact on your triple bottom line give us a call for a free consultation to see if solar is right for you! Call (248) 923-3456 or request a Free Online Solar Analysis for Your Business.

Michigan Solar Solutions is a commercial and residential solar installer and electrical contractor that has served the lower peninsula of Michigan since 2007. We have installed thousands of panels and have a happy customer near you, check out what our customers think of us Guild Quality.

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John Jevahirian, Commercial Solar Consultant

Written by John Jevahirian, Commercial Solar Consultant

John graduated from Xavier University in ’17 with a degree in Sustainability; Economics and Management and a Minor in Environmental Studies. John represents MSS as a professional stakeholder in the Detroit 2030 District and as a member of the Detroit Green Task Force.


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