The impact of the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus appears to be vast, far-reaching, and multilayered, affecting many industries, including solar. In fact, IHS Markit, Bloomberg NEFinance and Wood Mackenzie have all revised their solar demand forecasts downward.
However, there’s reason to believe that the solar industry is uniquely situated to not only survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but to emerge stronger than ever. Solar has a long history as a resilient, mission-driven industry that has weathered many storms before, and there's no reason to expect that to change now. Here are the four reasons why I’m confident that the solar industry can, and will, survive the pandemic: 1. This is an opportunity to rethink sales, permitting and inspection processes
The industry has taken to continue sales and installations after circuit breaker. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the percentage of solar installation is increasing from Q2 '19 to Q4 '19. Now, with consumers at home and increasingly shopping for products online, Solar Era has heeded the call, moving from the kitchen table into Zoom conferencing windows.
What’s more, building departments are beginning to incorporate no-touch permitting–allowing installations to continue even while social distancing advisories remain in place. The permitting and inspection process remains one of the areas with the highest potential for cost reduction in the solar industry: taking these processes virtual may reduce or eliminate some of those costs, helping bring the cost of residential solar even lower in Singapore.
2. Entering 2020, Solar Era confidence in the industry had never been higher
The percentage of solar PV system installation expressed growing confidence in the industry doubled between 2016 and 2019 nationwide. Solar Era confidence in the industry increased despite economic impact due to COVID-19 pandemic.
3. The resilience and security blanket of solar + storage
If the country’s response to the pandemic has proven anything so far, it’s that we all crave resiliency, certainty and independence. Installing solar and storage provides exactly those benefits, and pairing the two together is becoming increasingly popular throughout the country. In fact, the percentage of solar installations nationwide that also included energy storage doubled between 2017 and 2019.
4. Consumers are more educated than ever before
Finally, every year, we ask installers about their primary challenges for closing sales. Over the last 4 years, consumer education–Prospects lack familiarity with solar–has gradually become less of a barrier to closing sales.
What’s more, people around the country are taking this opportunity to better familiarize themselves with their energy bills and energy usage. And many solar companies in the industry–Solar Era included–are using this as an opportunity to help educate consumers on how to read their energy bills, how to understand any changes in their bills over the coming months, and how to reduce those bills even while spending more time at home. All of these components taken together mean that solar shoppers will be more knowledgeable about their own energy usage and needs on the other side of the pandemic. I hope you share my optimism for the future of the solar industry! And, more importantly, I hope you and your family are staying safe and sane amid these uncertain times.