EnergySage Report: Consumers value solar install price transparency

EnergySageEnergySage published its second semi-annual Solar Marketplace Intel Report, providing further visibility into the residential solar market in the United States. By aggregating, analyzing, and publishing research based on millions of transaction-level data points, EnergySage looks at how the solar industry will evolve as it becomes more efficient and transparent, and as consumers are more empowered throughout their buying experience.

Everyday, thousands of consumers interact with hundreds of pre-screened solar installers and financiers in the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. In 2015 alone, EnergySage helped over 500,000 solar shoppers research and explore solar, facilitating more than $30 million in solar PV system transactions. Based on statistically valid transaction-level data, EnergySage’s recent report reveals insight into solar price trends, consumer buying behavior, market share statistics and more for the period of January 2015 through December 2015.

Key national findings from the 2015 EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report include:

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Consumers shopping around, seeking price transparency. Only 4% of shoppers in the EnergySage Solar Marketplace expressed an interest in receiving a site visit from solar installers before they review their solar quotes, which is counter to the model employed today by the country’s largest solar installers. Additionally, one third of solar shoppers on EnergySage signed up after receiving a quote from a solar installer – typically one of the large solar leasing companies – evidence that consumers are shopping around.

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Solar prices continue to decline. From the second half of 2014 to the second half of 2015, gross costs per watt dropped from $3.86 to $3.69 – nearly a 5% reduction. Payback periods for consumers were 7.8 years on average. Most common prices in the Marketplace ranged between $3.50/W and $3.75/W, and had a standard deviation of $0.54 in 2015.

High price dispersion exists nationally and state-by-state. Nationwide, solar quotes were as low as $2.00 per watt and as high as $6.50 per watt. Within states, prices differed by over $2.00 per watt – resulting in a price variance of up to $15,600 for an average 7.8kW system.

Despite high fragmentation, top five manufacturers and lenders hold large market shares. Of the over 40 panel types offered on the Marketplace in 2015, the top five made up over 60% of the quote volume. Greater consolidation existed for inverter brands, with the top five holding 90% market share. This consolidation is also apparent with solar lenders. Of the 46 financiers offered in the marketplace, the top ten comprised 90% of all solar loan offers.

“The Solar Marketplace Intel Report is representative of where the solar industry is headed,” said EnergySage CEO Vikram Aggarwal. “As the market continues to mature and become more transparent, the buying and selling of solar will naturally become easier and more efficient, for all parties involved. And as our data shows, we’re seeing this trend hold true for consumers who are increasingly seeking the benefits of online comparison-shopping through our Solar Marketplace.”

Click here to view the full report.