EnergySage 14th intel report: Solar industry highlights

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14th EnergySage Intel Report

Last month, our team published the 14th EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report. While our biannual check-in on the state of the residential solar market has certainly evolved since publishing our first report in 2015, what hasn't changed is our commitment to making the solar industry more transparent, affordable, and accessible.

We’re hopeful these reports can continue to contribute in some small way towards achieving that vision. This article highlights some of the most interesting findings from our most recent Intel Report 14.

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Key takeaways

  • For the first time since we began tracking solar prices in 2014, prices increased – likely driven by supply chain constraints.

  • The top three most quoted solar panel brands in the first half of 2021 (Panasonic, REC, and LG Solar) all lost market share in the second half of the year.

  • For the second Intel Report in a row, Silfab was the most quoted solar panel in the most states but didn’t have the most market share nationally.

  • Financial savings was the most significant driver of storage interest.

  • Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes for solar or solar-plus-storage systems.

To start, we’ll explain what we saw in the residential solar market last year when it came to pricing:

Solar prices increased slightly during the second half of 2021

Chart of solar prices from 2014 to 2021

Following seven years of consistently decreasing solar prices on EnergySage, the median quoted price of solar increased between the first and second halves of 2021 from $2.67 per Watt (W) to $2.68/W, or 0.4 percent. However, $2.68/W represents a nearly 30 percent decline in solar prices over seven years, reflecting an almost steady four percent annual decline on EnergySage from the second half of 2014 until today.

Interestingly, the distribution of prices in solar quotes and the average quoted system size remained nearly unchanged between the two six-month periods, implying that neither installer quoting behavior nor a change in the type of system quoted influenced the rise in prices.

Quoted solar prices increased steadily from August through December 2021

Chart of cost per watt of solar in 2021

Taking a closer look at the monthly solar pricing trends on EnergySage helps elucidate how the solar market has evolved on EnergySage over the second half of 2021. After a spike in quoted solar prices in July (to exactly the median price per Watt from the first half of 2021), the median solar price rose steadily from August through December, increasing five percent in five months.

Supply chain constraints present a likely culprit for rising prices

Chart of sales impact of supply chain constraints

Over the first couple of months of 2022, EnergySage fielded our annual Installer Survey in conjunction with NABCEP, collecting responses from solar companies throughout the country both on and off the EnergySage platform. Initial results from the Survey provide insight into why solar prices are increasing: supply chain constraints. 58 percent of solar installers say that supply chain constraints have harmed year-over-year sales, pointing specifically to the impact of freight delays on their business. Additionally, 60 percent of installers indicated that the availability of both solar panels and solar batteries decreased slightly or significantly.

From recent news about LG Solar leaving the industry to ongoing concerns around supply chain constraints, now is an important time to closely follow the ins and outs of the equipment landscape. We’ll explore how the solar market has changed in terms of the top quoted brands:

Movement at the top among the most quoted panel brands on EnergySage

Chart of top panel and inverter brands 2021

The market for solar panels quoted on EnergySage is a dynamic one: the top three most-frequently quoted panel brands of the first half of 2021 (Panasonic, REC, and LG Solar) all lost market share in the second half of the year, while Silfab gained about nine percentage points of quote share. While LG Solar remains the fifth most quoted panel brand on EnergySage, we’ve watched them steadily decline since the second half of 2018. For the first time since 2014, they dropped below 10 percent share on our Marketplace.

On the inverter front, the breakdown of brands quoted to solar shoppers on EnergySage is more straightforward: Enphase captured almost two-thirds of the market share, and SolarEdge mainly dominated the remaining third.

State-level equipment dynamics provide context for national market share on EnergySage

Map of top panel and inverter brands by state

For inverters, the dynamics of individual states’ solar markets mirror the trends observed nationally. In the second half of 2021, Enphase was the most frequently quoted inverter in over 75 percent of the states EnergySage serves, while SolarEdge was the most quoted inverter in 22 percent of states.

Looking at the state level's most frequently offered solar panels paints a different picture than the national market share on EnergySage. For the second Intel Report in a row, Silfab was the most quoted solar panel in the most states, despite not having the most market share nationally (which Panasonic still maintains). However, Silfab overtook Panasonic as the most quoted panel in some key states, including Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Enphase batteries gain market share on EnergySage

Chart of brands' marketplace share 2021

Despite being the most frequently quoted battery on EnergySage in 2020, Tesla dropped considerably between the first and second half of 2021. Meanwhile, Enphase’s market share has continued to rise on EnergySage, with Enphase batteries quoted nearly 50 percent of the time in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. The same three storage companies (Tesla, Enphase Energy, and LG Energy Solution) have maintained control of at least 85 percent market share on our platform since we started tracking storage quote trends in 2020.

Energy storage continues to increase in popularity in the U.S., with residential installations increasing 85 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association. Our data also reflects this trend: in 2021, 70 percent of all solar shoppers on EnergySage requested quotes that include both solar and storage.

However, storage install and quote request numbers are only half the story: to better understand the dynamics of the residential storage market in the U.S., it’s important to dig further into the data. We’ll look at storage pricing on EnergySage, the motivators for consumer adoption of storage, and how that interest in storage varies by state.

Storage pricing trends are less settled than solar pricing trends

Chart of storage price in H2 2021

Since EnergySage began tracking storage pricing in 2020, the median quarterly dollar per kilowatt-hour stored ($/kWh) price has fluctuated by nearly 20 percent, from a low of $1,128/kWh in Q3 2020 to a high of $1,344/kWh in Q3 2021. Interestingly, despite the impact of supply chain shortages, quoted storage pricing actually decreased in Q4 2021 for the first time since we began tracking data.

The most frequently quoted battery system sizes on EnergySage were 10 or 13 kWh of usable capacity, indicating consumers received quotes for storage between about $13,000 and $17,000 in the second half of 2021.

Financial savings is a slightly larger driver of storage interest than resiliency

Chart explaining consumers' interest in energy storage

When solar shoppers on EnergySage were asked to select as many motivators for storage interest as they wanted (prior to H2 2021), resiliency was consistently the primary driver of consumer interest in storage. However, after we required solar shoppers to select only their primary motivator for storage interest, the order of importance changed: financial savings overtook resiliency as the primary motivation for consumers’ interest in energy storage on EnergySage at the national level.

Consumer interest in storage varies widely across the nation

Chart showing the percent difference in state storage interest from national average

As somewhat of a surprise, consumers in North Central and Northeast states generally express greater interest in receiving quotes for energy storage than consumers in Southwestern states. Interestingly, states with the best storage incentives–California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, to name a few–showed lower storage interest than the national average.

Looking to install solar on your property? Join the growing list of those going solar through the EnergySage Marketplace! You can compare quotes from local installers to find a system that meets your needs at the right price. Also, if you found our Intel Report insightful, be on the lookout for our soon-to-be-released annual Installer Survey, which dives even deeper into the solar installer mindset around these topics and more.

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