EnergySage and NABCEP solar installer survey shows customer want batteries for backup power

Costs remains a major challenge as solar-plus-storage installations double between 2017 and 2019

This week EnergySage and NABCEP released the results of their fifth annual Solar Installer Survey. There were over 770 residential and commercial installer participants who took the survey, which was authored by EnergySage in partnership with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This survey took place between December 13th, 2019 and January 25th, 2020.

NABCEP, a certification organization for renewable energy professionals, manufacturers, distributors, publications, and industry associations, sent the survey to their networks as well. 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.

Despite market and policy uncertainty, this year’s findings predict solar as a growing industry. According to the survey, California’s installer confidence remained high with a number of respondents attributing their optimism to amplified consumer interest in solar due to utility power shut-offs. In contrast, New Jersey’s installer confidence waned due to shifts in the state’s incentive program.

Major insights that EnergySage and NABCEP believe are crucial include:

Storage installations rise as customers seek backup power

The survey concluded that customer interest in energy storage has increased, as has the number of installations. About 76% of respondents noted that they install batteries, while the number of solar and storage installations doubled between 2017 and 2019. Customers are telling installers that resilience of storms or power outages is their primary concern; however, cost remains a barrier.

Installers are split on decreasing prices post-ITC step down

According to the survey, all installers state that the decrease of investment tax credit (ITC) will negatively impact businesses but they are evenly split on whether or not to lower prices to help resolve the issue.

Customer acquisition remains a barrier to growth as

EnergySage and NABCEP said that around half of this year’s respondents believe that customer acquisition is the primary concern for growth in the industry. Cost continues to rise, said the survey respondents, with 34% concluding that customer acquisition has become more expensive. Further, installers use of online bidding platforms more than doubled.

Shawn O’Brien, President & CEO of NABCEP stated, “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.”

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