Boston, MA and Clifton Park, NY – March 3, 2020
Today, EnergySage and NABCEP released the results of the fifth annual Solar Installer Survey, the largest and most comprehensive business survey of solar companies nationwide. The 2019 report captures key observations about the U.S. solar industry from local, regional and national solar installers. Over 770 residential and commercial installers across the country participated in this year’s survey, which was fielded and authored by EnergySage in partnership with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
Among this year’s central findings is that confidence in the solar industry continued its upward trajectory. Despite market and policy uncertainty, the percentage of nationwide installers who expressed growing confidence in the industry doubled from 2016 to 2019. At the state level, installer confidence remained high in California, with a number of respondents attributing their optimism to amplified consumer interest in solar due to utility power shut-offs. On the flip side, installer confidence waned in New Jersey due to changes in the state’s incentive program.
Other major insights from the 2019 Solar Installer Survey include:
Storage installations rise as consumers seek backup power
The percentage of consumers interested in energy storage has increased steadily over the last few years, as has the number of actual installations. This year, 76% of respondents noted that they install batteries, up from 69% in 2018, while the number of solar + storage installations doubled nationally between 2017 and 2019. According to installers, the primary driver for this is resilience in the face of storms or power outages, but that costs remain the largest barrier to adoption.
Installers are split on decreasing prices post-ITC step down
Although a majority of installers say that the step down of the investment tax credit (ITC) will have a negative impact on their business, installers are evenly split on whether or not to lower prices to remain competitive with the sunsetting incentive.
Customer acquisition remains a barrier to growth
Nearly half of this year’s respondents say customer acquisition remains the primary barrier to growing their business (though about one-third reported it got easier in 2019). It’s also not getting any cheaper, as 37% of installers report no difference in price and 34% say that customer acquisition has become more expensive. However, one notable change from 2018 to 2019 concerned installers' most frequently used customer acquisition channels: while the use of all other channels remained flat (or declined) year-over-year, installers' use of online bidding platforms more than doubled.
EnergySage fielded this survey between December 13th, 2019 and January 25th, 2020. In addition to EnergySage, NABCEP, the leading certification organization for renewable energy professionals, as well as several large manufacturers, distributors, publications, and industry associations sent the survey to their own installer networks. In total, 772 solar installers participated located across 48 states and four territories: Washington DC, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.
“NABCEP is deeply committed to providing Board Certification and credentialing programs of the highest quality and integrity, and having good data from PV professionals is vital to achieving that goal,” said Shawn O’Brien, President & CEO of NABCEP. “Information collected from this annual survey provides valuable insights into the state of the PV industry, which allows us to improve our programs and offer more effective services for people working in the renewable energy industry.”
“Now in its fifth year, we greatly appreciate everyone who took the time to take this year’s survey, as well as those who continue to help us reach as many solar installation professionals as possible” said Vikram Aggarwal, CEO and founder of EnergySage. “By gathering, analyzing, and publishing these insights, we hope to better the industry’s understanding and preparedness for future trends, and most importantly, better serve the solar consumer.”
The latest report can be downloaded for free at: www.energysage.com/data/#2019-survey. All solar installers who download this survey will be invited to participate and have their voice heard in the 2020 edition. For questions and feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About EnergySage, Inc.
EnergySage is the leading online comparison-shopping marketplace for rooftop solar, energy storage, community solar, and financing. Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, EnergySage is the trusted source of information for over 10 million consumers across 35+ states. In 2019, the company sent over $5 billion in solar installation requests to its network of more than 500 pre-screened solar installation companies, and serves as a high-quality lead source for solar financing companies and powerful distribution channel for solar equipment manufacturers. EnergySage is unique in that it allows consumers to request and compare competing quotes online, unlike traditional lead-generation websites. For this reason, leading organizations like Environment America, Connecticut Green Bank, Duke University, National Grid, and Staples refer their audiences to EnergySage to empower them as they consider solar. The EnergySage formula of unbiased information, transparency and choice helps consumers go solar with confidence – at a higher rate of adoption, and lower cost. For more information, please visit EnergySage and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.