Residential solar continues to grow while national solar companies report losses, indicating that fierce competition at the local level keeps solar panel systems attractive and affordable to homeowners while the megacompanies struggle with problems of scale. The competition drives down rooftop system prices, and homeowners win.
Wall Street is looking more favorably on big solar now that Tesla has crossed the $1 trillion valuation threshold to join the ranks of Microsoft, Apple, and Alphabet (Google). The viability of green tech is undeniable now.
But during the pandemic, the whole energy sector was under scrutiny, and the losses reported by national solar giants like Sunrun and Sunnova cooled investor enthusiasm. Supply-chain issues and rising material costs challenge the industry, but all the while, "mom and pop" solar companies did steady business, reports the New York Times. They offered something people wanted: rooftop energy generation.
New home solar installations are expected to grow 7% this year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Right away, we can think of two good reasons for this growth. First, solar is a good home improvement. Second, solar adds value.
Solar Is a Popular Home Improvement Project
Solar panels have long been a popular home improvement project, and this didn't change during the pandemic.
"As people have spent more time at home, some have realized that solar panels could help them reduce monthly energy costs while protecting them against blackouts," wrote Peter Eavis and Ivan Penn in the New York Times. "Recent wildfires in the West and a record hurricane season in the East have increased interest in solar and battery systems."
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Few home improvement projects bring a solid return on investment (they are more about enjoying the home while you live in it). Even fewer projects can actually make money. A solar energy system stands out as the kind of project that does both. You save money on your energy bills and increase your home's value.
The Value Proposition of Rooftop Solar
In a nutshell, here are the factors that strengthen the value proposition of going solar.
- Technology improves, lasts longer
- Energy prices keep rising
- Solar installations grow more flexible, creative
- Owned solar energy systems increase home value
The success of small, neighborhood solar businesses shows that they can convey the value of panels to homeowners. Local companies have an advantage when it comes to building and maintaining relationships in the area, too.
"It is not clear if it makes economic sense for the solar business to be dominated by national operators like Sunrun and Sunnova," note the writers in the NYT article. "Hundreds of small installers around the United States have already figured out how to make money from what they describe as the kind of home improvement business that local firms typically dominate."
We think neighborhood solar companies continue to succeed because they offer something the public wants. The value proposition of solar panels keeps getting stronger, and homeowners appreciate it. While fierce competition keeps the industry tense, the customer ultimately wins.
Let EnergyBillCruncher find you a friendly local installer today so that you can explore your solar options.