Massachusetts — This is the conclusion of the seventh annual Solar Installer Survey released by EnergySage and NABCEP. Over 500 residential and commercial installers across the U.S. participated in the survey.
The report captures key observations about the U.S. solar industry from a wide cross-section of local, regional, and national solar installers. It provides a detailed look at the current state of the industry and the mentality of installers going forward and their plans for growth.
Major insights from the survey include:
Supply chain constraints hurt solar sales in 2021
Three out of five of installers reported that their businesses were harmed in 2021 due to supply chain issues. According to installers, supply chain constraints overwhelmingly manifested as freight delays, decreasing the availability of solar panels and batteries in particular: 57% of installers stated it was more difficult to purchase and receive the solar equipment they wanted to sell.
Lack of trained labor became 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 customer acquisition and equipment availability.
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. Conversely, a complete phase out of the ITC would lead most installers to scale back their businesses or business-related spending. Additionally, 70% of installers say the introduction of a direct-pay option for the ITC (an upfront cash rebate as opposed to a tax credit post-installation) would result in greater consumer demand for solar.
“2021 saw supply chain disruptions, a global pandemic, and more regulatory headwinds. These challenges remind me of how very proud I am to be part of an industry that continues to overcome such hurdles in an effort to combat climate change while helping millions of Americans save money with renewable energy,” said Vikram Aggarwal, CEO and founder of EnergySage.
EnergySage fielded this survey from January through March 2021. In addition to EnergySage, NABCEP, the leading certification organization for renewable energy professionals, as well as several large manufacturers, distributors, publications, and industry associations sent the survey to their own installer networks. In total, 501 solar installers participated across 43 states and two territories: Washington DC and Puerto Rico.
“It cannot be overstated how important this information is to the solar industry and the future of the renewable energy sector,” said Shawn O’Brien, President & CEO of NABCEP. “We feel that our organization can play a significant role in meeting the nearly one million solar jobs needed to meet President Biden’s clean energy target by 2035. This report contains crucial data that credentialing bodies like ourselves can use to bolster our current programs and continue our devotion to grow the solar workforce.”