November 14, 2022

Partner spotlight: Complete Solar

Complete solar banner

“We are a partner-centric business.”

This is a drastic understatement by Complete Solar, a California-based residential solar company that has established innovative and strategic partnerships to help other installers deploy solar more efficiently, connect them to more customers, and even lower barriers to entry for non-solar companies with complementary business models.

Today, Complete Solar’s partnership reach spans 23 states. It not only provides its own turnkey rooftop solar solution for homeowners, but it also has helped its nearly 100 channel partners grow their businesses. These channel partners range from small organizations that sell a few systems a month to much larger sales organizations generating upwards of a MW of sales per month.

In a competitive and often complex industry, Complete Solar sets a shining example of how collaboration and shared expertise can increase efficiencies and expand market opportunities for everyone.

Horizontal growth, vertical integration

Complete Solar was founded in 2010 when the solar industry was just starting to gain momentum and the country was still recovering from a crippling recession. “We wanted to find responsible ways to deploy capital at a time when the economy had been struggling,” said Chief Marketing Officer Dave Anderson in a recent conversation with Enphase. “So, we created an innovative platform that would allow credit unions and banks to easily lend on fantastic solar assets – and Complete Solar was born.” Because the industry was still nascent and lacked external support, the Complete Solar team evolved to specialize in every step of the solar value chain, from sales origination to solar fulfillment and ongoing system care.

By 2013, the industry had matured enough that Complete Solar could scale its operations with other growing solar professionals. While some businesses would take this as an opportunity to focus on simplifying internal operations, Dave and the Complete Solar team began to look externally for partnership opportunities that would drive process efficiency for others in the industry and lower barriers to entry for new entrants.

“We wanted to find horizontal growth that would allow our team to apply its expertise to serve others in the space,” Dave commented. “As a vertically integrated company, we had the in-house expertise to help other solar companies take their projects the last mile – or support companies at any stage of the project.”

Dave Anderson complete solar

Creative partnerships for new entrants

Complete Solar’s commitment to partnerships extends even beyond existing solar businesses with +Solar—a creative partnership approach that enables other residential services companies to offer solar as a secondary component to their core business.

“We’ve found that one of the most effective ways to help a homeowner go solar is through a trusted advisor relationship,” Dave said. “So, we paved the way for new entrants to come into the space by providing businesses that already have an established homeowner customer base with the technical expertise to deliver safe, quality systems to their customers.” Through +Solar, home security and other door-to-door retailers tap into their networks to sell solar to their homeowner customers and Complete Solar handles all the back-end fulfillment for them.

“We help manage the complexities of the solar industry to allow businesses without in-house solar expertise to participate in this exciting market,” Dave added. “There are literally thousands of residential service companies with tens of thousands of customers across the country. We can have a much bigger impact and broader reach by working with them.”

Partners in efficiency and customer experience

Since its inception, Complete Solar saw a technical and practical advantage in partnering with Enphase. “We became early disciples of Enphase because it standardized the install process, no matter how big or small the project,” Dave said. “Labor remains one of the high costs of solar, and the standardization enabled by Enphase equipment allowed us to increase efficiency and reduce costs.”

Enphase microinverters also maximize solar production by ensuring that the system keeps producing energy even if a single panel fails or becomes shaded. “If you take the same solar panel and point it to the sky or the ground, it will still cost the same to install and operate,” Dave reasoned. “So, anything you can do to increase the panels' efficiency is important. For the dollar per square foot of roof space, Enphase has given us an advantage in that way.”

“Enphase really cares about the customer and seems to try to do what’s right,” he added. “That’s core to what we are. At the end of the day, we are a business, but we really want to create a fantastic experience for our customers and partners. This is why we have valued our partnership with Enphase for more than 10 years.”

Expanding solar through partnerships

The industry competition in residential solar can be cutthroat, with many installers jockeying for a share in a seemingly limited market. However, Dave and the Complete Solar team believe that there’s more than enough for everyone. “Solar is still very much the wild west,” said Dave. “Even though it feels very established for veterans, it’s still an emerging marketplace at very insignificant market penetration. And we aim to grow the market for everyone through our amazing partnerships.”

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