Last Updated on May 12, 2022 by Summer Rain Ursomarso

Each year, EnergySage and NABCEP survey hundreds of solar installers from around the United States. Their goal is to understand the pain points and highlights of the solar industry, with specific focus on those doing the boots-on-the-ground work to build PV projects. The 7th Annual Solar Installer Survey 2021 Results came at a perfect time for many in the solar industry this year. As we reach the half-way point of 2022, looking back on all the industry has learned in the previous year is important to understand how we can excel this year and for many to come.

Data Collected From:

Over 500 residential and commercial solar companies of all sizes across 43 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico

Key Takeaways from EnergySage’s CEO, Vikram Aggarwal:

Supply chain constraints hurt solar sales in 2021
Three out of five of respondents’ businesses were harmed by supply chain disruptions in 2021. Supply chain constraints primarily manifested as freight delays, adversely impacting the availability of solar panels and batteries in particular.

A lack of trained labor is the biggest barrier to industry growth
For the first time, survey respondents stated that a lack of trained labor was the largest barrier to growing their business, exceeding both customer acquisition and the availability of equipment. At the same time, a third of installers say the biggest gap in training is in installation best practices.

A 10-year ITC extension would immediately create more jobs
Half of survey respondents say they will begin hiring more people if Congress extends the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for 10 years. Seven out of ten installers say the introduction of a direct pay option for the ITC would result in greater consumer demand for solar.

For our team at BayWa r.e., the 2021 Survey Results help us support our solar customers to continue building their businesses, even during tough times.
“The EnergySage Installer Report allows me to have a conversation about what is currently happening in the solar market and work with customers to plan for supply chain issues,” says Eddie Hernandez, a BayWa r.e. Account Manager serving the Northeast. “As this report reflects, most customers I have spoken to would like to add more employees to their company but are hesitant because of supply chain challenges. So, instead, they are focusing on keeping their current staff happy and trying to grow their businesses at a steady pace.”
Aaron Neeley, a BayWa r.e. Account Manager from the Midwest finds the report’s data gives him tools to help his customers feel more comfortable with the current state of their cashflows. “There is so much data here,” he says of the report. “I have talked over many different points with our solar installers. So, with the current situation, my customers and I are working to plan out as far as they feel comfortable that their cashflow will allow. Prices will not be going down anytime soon, and availability will be tight for the foreseeable future. It only makes sense that if they can store product (at their location) and pay for it today that it will be beneficial to them in the long run.”

 

While the Annual Solar Installer Report reflects the challenges of 2021 – a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain interruptions, and regional legislation troubles – it also shows a strong undertone of resiliency throughout small, medium, and large PV companies. Solar installers know how to adapt. They know how to build strong and flexible teams, stand up for their rights, garner community engagement, and support their customers. This data is a primary tool to help them continue to excel.