Distributed energy resources
This report is part of the ARENA ‘DER Customer Insights Series’, which investigates the experiences of customers involved in ARENA-funded distributed energy resource (DER) projects. Customer insights were drawn and analysed from almost 100 reports from 20 projects.
About the report
DER Customer Insights
In 2019, ARENA partnered with the UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures to investigate the experiences of customers involved in ARENA-funded DER projects.
Nearly 100 reports from 20 ARENA-funded projects were analysed to produce insights on customer values and motivations, and on the customer journey of buying, installing, maintaining and retaining a DER product.
Key findings on the customer journey
The DER customer journey was broken into four stages
- Engagement and acquisition
- Operation and maintenance
Six key ‘ingredients’ were identified as contributing to a happy DER customer
- Customer knowledge & understanding: know who your customers are and the values that drive them.
- Clear value proposition: the customer value proposition and the benefits are clearly articulated.
- Smooth customer experience: provided throughout the entire customer journey.
- Market-ready product: the DER products are of sufficient commercial maturity.
- ‘Super installers’: installation is a critical moment – enlist well-trained, knowledgeable installers who know their customers.
- Earned trust: trust is critical in public acceptance and advocacy.
This should be earned along the entire customer journey.
Key findings on Customer Values
This report examines:
- the types of customers targeted in the projects
- how to find the right types of customers for future projects
- what motivates the type of target customer
- what engagement strategies could encourage customers to participate in future projects.
The overarching finding is that DER projects can benefit from better understanding their target customer base before developing and communicating the product offering.
The report proposes a values-based approach as an effective way to engage and tailor messages to many types of customers.
A simple way to survey customers’ values is to use a ‘values modes’ method. This categorises the main set of customer values into three modes: Settlers, Prospectors and Pioneers.
Projects approaching the mass market are likely to be more successful if they communicate their product in multiple ways to appeal to all three values modes.