Solar installations by homes and businesses across the U.S are set to decrease a third this year resulting in thousands of job losses, as the coronavirus pandemic knocks a booming industry off course.
According to a joint report by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), installations of distributed solar capacity have plunged in the second quarter after a bumper start to the year.
New capacity installed this year is expected to fall 31% to about 3.4GW.
The SEIA estimates that out of a total of more than 260,000 employed in the sector at the start of the year, some 72,000 jobs, from salespeople to electricians, had been lost by the end of May – a figure it expects will continue to rise into June.
In spite of the hit to small-scale projects, overall new solar capacity installations are still set to increase this year.
Larger scale utility solar projects, which make up about two-thirds of the market, take between a year to three years to complete, meaning most of those that will be built this year are already under construction.