EnergySage: U.S.-Made Panels Falling In Popularity Under Solar Tariffs

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Despite tariffs implemented by the Trump administration, American-made solar panels are decreasing in popularity, according to the latest EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report.

In its semiannual report, EnergySage tracks demand for American-made solar panels in the U.S. and provides other insights into consumer shopping behavior.

In January 2018, the Trump administration acted on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s finding of “serious injury” to U.S. solar panel manufacturers by levying tariffs on imported solar panels. The tariffs were intended to help American-made solar panels better compete with their foreign-made counterparts. However, a full year after the tariffs were announced, the number of quotes offering domestically produced panels reached near-record lows on EnergySage’s Solar Marketplace. Ultimately, just 4% of EnergySage shoppers purchased a system with American-made solar panels in 2018 – representing an all-time low in the history of the Solar Marketplace.

Other key insights from the report include as follows:

Cost of solar falls to $3.05/W: 
In H2 2018, the average quoted cost of solar on the EnergySage Marketplace dropped 2.2% to $3.05/W. This was the largest price drop seen on the marketplace in two years. At the same time, the average size of quoted solar energy systems increased by 7%, up to 9.6 kW.

ITC step-down could erase price decreases from previous year:
The federal investment tax credit (ITC) will decline to 26% at the end of 2019, which may effectively erase a year’s worth of solar cost decreases. The installed cost of solar could increase by over $1,000 for the average residential solar shopper come January 2020.

Solar interest grew in all 50 states:
Consumer interest in solar increased across the country, with interest doubling in 11 states between 2017 to 2018, according to an analysis of EnergySage website traffic. Virginia led the nation with the most year-over-year growth in solar interest, with Nevada a close second.

“Consumer interest in solar has proven incredibly resilient over the past year, despite tariffs and other attempts by the current administration to artificially decrease demand,” comments Vikram Aggarwal, CEO and founder of EnergySage. “Solar prices are continuing to fall as installers improve their operations, supply-chain management and sales strategies. Additionally, we expect the growing popularity of brands like Enphase, LG, Panasonic, SolarEdge and SunPower to lure more American consumers into the residential solar market in years to come.”

The report can be downloaded here.

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