Solar prices, payback periods fall in latest Solar Marketplace Intel Report

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EnergySage released its third semiannual Solar Marketplace Intel Report, providing the most detailed analysis of the U.S. residential solar market to date.

In addition to its comprehensive analysis of solar price trends, consumer buying behavior, and market share statistics, this most recent report features several new additions, including national and state-level pricing benchmarks from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). For the first time, this report allows readers to compare EnergySage Solar Marketplace prices against median residential prices for solar in each state.
Other key findings and analyses found in the latest Solar Marketplace Intel Report include:

Solar prices, payback periods continue to fall: From the second half of 2015 to the first half of 2016, the average gross cost per watt quoted to EnergySage shoppers dropped from $3.69 to $3.57 – a reduction of 3.3 percent. According to the most recent LBNL dataset, the national median gross cost per watt for residential systems was $4.39 in H2 2015 – significantly higher than the $3.63 median installation price offered on EnergySage for the same time period.

System ownership still dominates on EnergySage: Over the past twelve months, 96.3 percent of solar shoppers on EnergySage opted to purchase their solar energy system in cash or with a solar loan. However, according to LBNL, just 44.9 percent of residential solar installations nationwide were customer-owned in H2 2015. A breakout section on solar loans has been included in this report to provide further detail on the loan products offered to solar shoppers on EnergySage.

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Consumers shop around, enter Solar Marketplace with quote in hand: When joining the Marketplace, 30 percent of users stated that they had already received a quote from a non-EnergySage solar installer. Quotes from the country’s largest solar leasing companies were the most likely to be compared on the Marketplace. A new chart has been added that details these findings and the names of each non-EnergySage solar installer.

Solar shopper questions focus mostly on equipment and financing: This edition of the report includes an analysis of terms most commonly mentioned in consumer messages sent to solar installers on EnergySage, providing a greater understanding of their priorities and areas of interest. The term “panels” was four times more likely to be used than the term “inverter,” and the term “loan” appeared two times more frequently than “lease.” EnergySage shoppers are also increasingly interested in energy storage options, as indicated by the frequent usage of the terms “battery” and “Powerwall.”

Each day on EnergySage, thousands of consumers interact with hundreds of pre-screened solar installers and financiers. In 2016, EnergySage will help more than one million consumers in over 30 states research and explore solar, and send an estimated $700 million worth of installation requests to its network of solar companies. This ever-growing volume of transaction-level data between buyers and sellers is what underpins the technology company’s Solar Marketplace Intel Report.

— Solar Builder magazine

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