EnergySage and NABCEP released today the results of the third annual Solar Installer Survey, the largest and most comprehensive business climate survey of solar companies nationwide. The 2017 report captures key observations about the U.S. solar industry from local, regional and national solar installers. Nearly 590 residential and commercial installers across the country participated in the 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: installer confidence continues to climb nationwide with nearly half of respondents stating they are more confident in the solar industry now than in prior years. Confidence rose in key states such as Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington. However, customer acquisition challenges and changing regulations in the country’s largest solar market, California, resulted in a 27% drop in installer confidence. Additionally, installers called for better customer service and support from manufacturers, financiers and software providers as they try to win more business in an increasingly competitive solar market.
“We worked with EnergySage on the 2017 Installer Survey to get a better understanding of the solar energy market, in particular the PV labor market,” said Shawn O’Brien, executive director of NABCEP. “EnergySage operates in a unique position within the solar installation market while NABCEP has the largest directory of PV installation professionals in North America; strategically partnering with them to get a clearer picture of what’s going on in the solar energy market made sense. The more closely NABCEP’s certifications are tied to growth and changes within the marketplace, the more valuable they become for NABCEP Certified Professionals.”
Other insights from the 2017 Solar Installer Survey include:
- Demand for solar-plus-storage surges – Nearly one in three solar shoppers are also interested in a home battery, according to respondents. Close rates for customers who receive quotes for solar-plus-storage are nearly 50% in some markets.
- Installers may absorb solar tariff – The recently announced 30% tariff on imported solar cells and panels by the Trump administration may have less of an impact on residential solar than initially expected. Two-thirds of solar installers say they plan to absorb some or all of the cost of the tariff, rather than pass those costs along to the consumer.
- Customer acquisition remains difficult – 37% of respondents stated that customer acquisition was harder in 2017 as compared to 2016, and that confusion created by competitors is still their number one challenge. Additionally, installers are prioritizing growth in market share over margins.
“For the second year in a row, confidence in the solar industry among installers is on the rise, with a meaningful jump in 2017,” said Vikram Aggarwal, CEO and founder of EnergySage. “From speaking with our installers across the country, we believe there are several reasons for continued optimism. Consumer interest in solar energy and home energy storage has never been higher. Given that prices remain competitive and the solar tariff is expected to only have a limited short-term impact, solar installers have much to look forward to in 2018 and beyond.”
EnergySage fielded this survey between December 14, 2017 and January 13, 2018. In addition to EnergySage, NABCEP, the leading certification organization for renewable energy professionals, as well as several large manufacturers, distributors, and industry associations sent the survey to their own installer networks. In total, 587 solar installers located across 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participated.
The latest report can be downloaded for free at: www.energysage.com/data. All solar installers who download this survey will be invited to participate and have their voice heard in the 2018 edition. For questions and feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
News item from EnergySage