Your weekly residential solar COVID-19 crisis update from SolarWakeup: Is it getting any better?

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Solar Wakeup has circulated and compiled a survey of how companies in the residential solar industry are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis each week, and how they’re responding. Results thus far have shown residential solar sales are down significantly, companies have quickly scaled-up virtual sales, and some permitting offices are (slowly) shifting to virtual approval processes—but still present a significant roadblock.

Here’s the most recent update through April 6

Sales still way down

Residential installers are reporting new sales are down 37.5% compared to the average week in Q1 prior to the global pandemic. What’s worse is that’s good news this week because it’s an improvement over last week’s reported 50 percent decline compared to the Q1 average.

Solar Wakeup says the difference is either statistically insignificant or (maybe? hopefully?) installers are getting better at closing remote sales. On that front 52% of residential installers say that they closed a sale via Zoom or video.

Here’s some advice from the marketing experts at Generac on how solar contractors could do this:

Budget cuts?

The majority of installers responding to the survey last week are prepping to make some big reductions.

  • 12% report no change to their forecast.
  • 14.6% will reduce 2020 targets by 20%.
  • 29.2% will reduce 2020 targets by 30%
  • 24.3% will reduce 2020 targets by 50% or more
  • 4.8% say they are increasing their forecast by 10%.

Reminder: Governments can (and should) help

Not all of these woes can be chalked up to low customer demand or lack of cash. Some of the problems experienced by solar installers in our unprecedented predicament could be helped by just a little bit by both local and federal governments.

  • 33% of responses state that a building department has closed
  • 76% report that inspections are delayed, a potential barrier to payment for installers

And of course, if Congress were to simply pass an ITC extension …

  • 66% say that would increase headcount by at least 10%
  • 87% would increase their 2020 budget forecast

There’s a ton more data. Head to Solar Wakeup for more.

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