EnergySage is a solar marketplace that connects customers with solar installers and financiers across the country. This model allows them to capture some interesting data points from all interested parties connected to solar – consumers, solar businesses, researchers and policymakers. With its first Solar Marketplace Intel Report, the company is using this insight to provide visibility into the residential and small-scale commercial solar market in the United States such as consumer buying behavior, hardware manufacturer and solar financier market share statistics, the return on solar investment and more for the period of July 2014 through June 2015.
Key national findings from the 2H 2014-1H 2015 EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report include:
- Installers are not committed to a specific panel or inverter brand. The report shows that installers paired panels with a diversity of inverter brands. Ten of the top 12 panel manufacturers were paired with four or more inverter brands.
- Solar installation costs are continuing to fall. In 1H 2015, consumers paid on average $3.79 per watt in gross cost and achieved payback in just 7.5 years. The costs range from $3.21 to $4.37 for standard to high efficiency equipment packages. This data shows that by shopping around first, consumers can save thousands of dollars and select the equipment package that offers them the best value.
- Online solar shoppers are buying their systems outright – instead of leasing. Ninety percent of EnergySage’s solar shoppers elected to own their system, either by paying in cash or financing with a solar loan, rather than sign up for a third-party lease or PPA. This statistic is significantly higher than the 40% of solar shoppers nationwide that choose to own their system.
- Solar is meeting the majority of electricity needs for homeowners. Solar is helping homeowners generate almost 85% of their electricity needs in 2015. The average 7.9 per kilowatt (kW) system generates about $2,000 worth of electricity each year.
- Increasing fragmentation of solar equipment manufacturers & financing companies. In 2H 2014, there were 36 panel brands and 20 inverter brands bid out in the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. By 1H 2015, those numbers increased by 20% to 43 panel brands and 24 inverter brands – with SolarWorld and SMA America maintaining the largest share of their respective markets. Additionally, there are nearly 40 loan providers actively offered to solar shoppers in the online marketplace.
“The residential solar market is a vibrant $7 billion industry, and on track to generate more revenue by year-end 2016 than Major League Baseball,” said EnergySage CEO Vikram Aggarwal. “The economics of solar are rapidly changing for solar shoppers, installers and financiers alike. As demonstrated by the data within our Solar Marketplace Intel Report, it’s becoming more affordable for U.S. households to adopt solar. And, with the increasing consumer adoption of marketplace solutions like EnergySage, it’s also becoming easier for solar installers and financiers to find their customers.”
— Solar Builder magazine