Despite the pandemic, solar installers had an all-time high in industry confidence, according to the results of the sixth annual solar installer survey recently published by EnergySage and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Over 650 residential and commercial installers across the country took part in this year's survey.
As for any person and sector, 2020's story for Solar has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report captures key observations made by local, regional, and national solar installers about the US solar industry and provides a detailed overview of the current state of affairs and the mentality of future installers and their plans for growth.
Over half of those surveyed said that their companies were negatively impacted as a result of the pandemic. Still, installers have expressed more confidence in the industry than any previous installer survey. Only 18% of installers said COVID-19 decreased their confidence. Nationwide, three-fifths of installers said they had more confidence in the solar industry than in 2019. When asked about their three-year plans for growth, 67% of those surveyed still place more value on gaining market share than on increasing the gross margins of each installation.
When asked when they would like to resume selling solar energy in person, the majority of respondents said they are already doing so or planning to do so too soon, while many do not expect to sell in person for a few more months – if at all. However, 12% of solar installers plan to continue selling 100% remotely due to adjustments made during the pandemic.
Last year was the best year yet for residential energy storage systems in the US, a trend that solar installers are confirming. According to survey respondents, both consumer interest and storage retention rates increased by over 30% between 2019 and 2020, resulting in a national average retention rate of 20%. Registrations for solar and battery deals on EnergySage.com rose 392% in Texas, with interest continuing to be high in the weeks following the recent storms.
“Like so many solar installers across the country, we look forward to the future of the industry and our ability to help people feel safe and resilient,” said Vikram Aggarwal, founder and CEO of EnergySage. “Faced with extreme weather events and subsequent power outages – not to mention an aging power grid – consumers are turning to our industry for solutions and we are well positioned to deliver.”
EnergySage, an online comparison shopping marketplace for solar roofs, solar finance, energy storage and community solar, conducted the survey throughout January. In addition to EnergySage, NABCEP, a certification organization for renewable energy professionals, sent the survey to their own installer networks.
The latest Solar Installer survey can be downloaded for free here.
Photo: Vikram Aggarwal