During these uncertain times, it’s always nice to get some refreshing news. According to EnergySage’s recently published Special Report about COVID-19 impacts on residential solar consumers and installers, there is some good news for the solar industry.
EnergySage surveyed more than 500 consumers from 41 states between March 30 and April 14. All survey participants were individuals over age 18 who said they were actively looking to install solar in the months prior. The organization also surveyed 118 different installer companies from 39 states and Washington, D.C.
The report highlights the resiliency of the residential solar industry and provides promising insights for the near future.
Increased consumer interest in solar
From the consumer side, the report’s main takeaways include:
- Despite the shutdown, consumer interest in solar has actually increased.
- Most consumers’ timelines remain unaffected, while some have accelerated decisions.
- For solar shopping, 66 percent of consumers say they’re now moving online.
- Solar interests and timelines vary from state to state.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers who were actively looking into solar are now even more interested in moving forward with solar installations. When asked how the current situation altered their timeline, 34 percent of consumers moved up their timeline, while 16 percent made no changes. Meanwhile, half of the respondents pushed back their timeline from a few weeks to a few months.
One of the main drivers for the increased interest in solar stems from the fact that people are spending more time at home, and have become more aware of their energy usage. This shift in energy-use patterns is reflected in the aptly termed “duck curve” and may have long-term ramifications for solar power markets.
Desire for energy resilience and independence has also boosted consumer interest in solar. EnergySage reported that the uncertainty arising from the COVID-19 situation is causing many consumers to seek out the security and control of having their own power supply.
In light of the shutdown, 66 percent are moving their solar transactions online instead of making in-person purchases. This tracks with the results of EnergySage’s Solar Installer Survey: 2019 Results, released in February 2020, which also showed a growing shift to online solar sales.
Installers remain busy
From the installer standpoint, the report’s main takeaways include:
- Ninety-one percent of installers are still offering installations.
- Nearly half of solar companies have retained full staff.
- Delays are more prevalent than cancellations.
These figures point to a residential solar market that remains quite active. More than half of installers say they’re moving ahead with projects on schedule, while 31 percent say customers have only wanted to postpone their installations. Only 13 percent of installers say customers have cancelled their solar installations due to the shutdown.
Meanwhile, although about half of installers have cut staff or plan to, the other half don’t plan on any employee reductions.
Among the silver linings installers anticipate coming out of the pandemic, the two most common ones include greater opportunities for selling solar online and consumers’ desire for more energy resiliency. With increased consumer interest in solar, and installers staying busy and optimistic about the future, the residential solar market remains strong as ever.
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