COVID-19 has disrupted almost every household, business, and industry across the world. The solar industry has not been spared, suffering massive layoffs, significant project delays, uncertainty, and a downgrade of commercial solar demand. At the beginning of 2020, the global markets were strong. Market predictions were seeing an upward trend for the outlook of solar, with community solar being the fastest-growing segment of the solar industry. According to NREL, as we entered 2020, the United States had 1.3 GW of community solar already built with another 1.8 GW in the works.
Despite the challenges that the novel coronavirus has presented, community solar has shown promising results of weathering the adverse effects of the pandemic. While the whole solar community is still showing some degree of pain, community solar has remained a resilient segment of the solar landscape. Many attribute this to persistent consumer demand and new market expansions in major global markets, including Massachusetts, Colorado, and New Jersey.
Given the adaptability, flexibility, and reliability of community solar, many agree this segment is well-equipped to handle almost anything, including the fallings out due to the pandemic. Many community solar projects are even hiring additional workers to support current and upcoming projects.
COVID-19 has caused many drastic changes in everyday life—from social distancing practices being the new normal to many offices and businesses before forced to shut down or pivot to remote work. Despite these changes, community solar has aligned well with many of them, including:
- Many more people are spending time at home, which means more online shopping. This integrates seamlessly with community solar’s digital sign up process.
- Many residents are also tightening their budgets, and we’ve seen the immense savings solar installations have granted to individuals in the last few years.
- Community solar has a “touchless” customer experience, which perfectly aligns with recommended social distancing guidelines.
- Community solar is a great way to support local businesses as the growing demand for keeping track and knowing where your services are coming from is becoming more and more popular.
All these reasons just further prove how community solar can help homeowners’ transition into the new normal. The adaptability of the solar community has helped customers with their financial worries because electricity savings are especially important during this time of economic uncertainty. Many community programs don’t require an upfront cost, which allows customers the ability to offset all or only some of their electricity usage. The flexibility of community solar has given residents the freedom to adjust or cancel their subscription as they see fit. Gone are the days of being locked into a 10+ year contract, with many community solar projects offering a waitlist to customers to fill a project and continue its growth.
In addition to the many savings community solar has provided to homeowners, the solar programs also support tax or PILOT revenues for the cities, townships, and communities where the installations are constructed. The money stays within the community, proving to be especially important during the pandemic.
In the wake of the economic turndown, one thing is clear—the growing need for the transition to accessible and affordable renewable energy. As more consumers turn to community solar for its affordability, resiliency, and adaptability, we believe it will just continue to grow stronger. Here at Intersect Energy, we’re a Distributed Energy Resource developer dedicated to providing turnkey services to our customers in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. From initial assessment and design services to construction management and financing, we can help you achieve clean, green energy for your commercial or industrial solar energy development project. To stay up-to-date with all the latest solar news, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.