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  • Senior Design Project Survey

    Hi everyone,
    I am very new to this forum, so I apologize in advance if this post is in the wrong place.

    I am a senior in a Project Lead The Way Engineering Design and Development, and essentially this is a capstone course. My group of three other friends and I is currently working on a project related to solar panels. We are in the market research portion of this project.
    So far, we have not received many responses on the survey I sent around on facebook from people who actually have solar panels on their house, and I figured this would be a great place to put such a survey to receive results from solar panel owners.
    We are only at this market research stage in our project, so we do not have any information as to how we are going to make our project work or anything like that.
    There have been concerns with our survey's last question asking what price a user would pay for this product. What we want here is basically how much money, above the price of already installed panels, would you be willing to pay per panel for this product. Since we do not know how effective our product will be, this question will essentially answer for us whether our market would prefer a cheap and slightly effective solution, or if they would prefer a high-tech and effective expensive product.
    Also, we are wondering if you know of any solutions that already solve this problem, and what competitors we have. Our problem would not quite be valid if there were many existing solutions, so since you all are relative experts in this field, I was wondering if you knew of any.
    Apart from that, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions you can reply here in this thread. The link to the survey will be posted below.

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1F...HK8kQ/viewform

    Thank you so much for your time!
    Last edited by nathanpltw; 01-16-2017, 10:27 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by nathanpltw View Post
    There have been concerns with our survey's last question asking what price a user would pay for this product. What we want here is basically how much money, above the price of already installed panels, would you be willing to pay per panel for this product. Since we do not know how effective our product will be, this question will essentially answer for us whether our market would prefer a cheap and slightly effective solution, or if they would prefer a high-tech and effective expensive product.
    If that's what you want to get an answer to, then that's the question you should ask.
    As it is phrased now, it's not clear if it's $20, $20-50, etc. per panel or for the system or what.

    From my view the product would need to show a clear economic benefit.
    ex: 5% higher production for the same system with only a 4% cost increase. (Or a 1% cheaper system that gives the same production)
    Or at the top end maybe you have 5% higher production with a 10% cost increase, BUT that's the only way you can reach that level of production. (ex. the top-end modules have that sort of price premium over the lower ones in the same family.)


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    • #3
      I would not be interested in such a system. Being off-grid my system is sized for highest loads and winter insolation factors. Since high heat happens in the summer when my system over produces there would be no return on investment to solve the problem.

      WWW

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      • #4
        Hello students - from your survey I applaud at a young age for the group of 4 of you starting to explore the world of business as part of your project. Solar is an interesting industry and is primarily driven by return on investment - but as in any market place there are those 2+ sigma folks willing to spend on early unproven technology or aesthetics. I'm assuming that your project is a hypothetical project as part of your curriculum. In terms of your survey - placing a per cost on a panel is not how the majority of your market will look at the issue, they will look at it as a return on investment problem. Thus an absolute price is not the issue - how long does it take to recoup that investment is the bigger question. Your market is mainly not the end user getting solar but on the professional contractors that are selling complete systems and they are primarily driven by cost and thus their profit. That includes the marketability of your product - how do they sell it to the customer (better ROI etc) and what costs the contractor will incur related to the product - installation costs, warranty costs, etc. If your thinking that is was an add-on type of product that end customers would want to put on an existing installation - I think you have grossly misunderstood the average customer.

        Good luck on your education and the learning process.
        Last edited by tyab; 01-11-2017, 02:00 PM.

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