The ongoing pandemic caused by COVID-19 continues to have a wide ranging effect on the Singapore and across the globe. Compared to the distressing and heart-wrenching health impact of COVID-19, the impact of the pandemic and resulting shutdown on the solar industry is comparatively small.
That being said, the solar industry is our expertise, and we’ve been closely tracking the needs of solar shopper, keeping our finger on the pulse of the market.
In April, we fielded surveys to consumers to ask how the ongoing crisis has impacted their solar sentiment. With that in mind, I wanted to share some positive–and somewhat surprising–news from the residential solar industry:
Consumer interest in solar energy is increasing as a result of COVID-19.
Consumer interest in solar is increasing for 3 reasons
63% of people who were researching solar before are more interested in solar now than they were pre-COVID. This appears to be the case for 3 primary reasons:
1. People are spending more time at home and are more aware of their energy usage:
Many open text responses from throughout the country paint a picture of increasing consumer awareness of their energy consumption concurrent with an increase in their monthly electricity bills.
2. Consumers are seeking resilience and control:
Nearly two-thirds of consumers say that the COVID-19 situation is accelerating their plans to become more energy-resilient, while three-fifths of the consumers are interested in battery storage.
3. People want to lower their electricity bills due to current financial constraints:
More than half of respondents anticipate that their income will decrease due to COVID-19. At the same time, 60% anticipate that their electricity bills will increase. Consumers see solar as a mechanism to bridge this gap and as an opportunity for both near- and long-term savings.
Solar is open for business, and moving full-steam ahead
There is 7% of consumers said that COVID-19 has delayed their timeline for solar by a year or more, while 34% say the pandemic has actually accelerated their timeline for solar.
Solar Era sees benefits to moving solar online
We are already very or extremely comfortable prospecting and selling online, a quarter say that COVID-19 will force installers to become even better at selling online. Crucially, this is increasingly where to find solar shoppers: two thirds of consumers say they are more likely to shop for solar online now than they were prior to COVID-19.
Additionally, the move towards online permitting and inspections has the potential to further streamline the solar installation process, helping to trim the last remaining barrier to cost reductions in residential solar: stubborn soft costs.
The current situation is certainly dire for the physical and fiscal health of the country, and the solar industry has not been spared: Solar shoppers and installers has taken a hit financially as a result of COVID-19. In fact, more than two-thirds of consumers surveyed say they are cutting back on spending, and must be careful with their money, while 51% of installation companies surveyed say they have had to reduce staff due to the pandemic.
It is important, however, to bring forth the optimistic and positive stories where they exist now more than ever, and I hope that the data included in this report will provide a ray of sunshine at a cloudy time for both our nation’s and our industry’s health.
Thank you for reading and stay safe.