Solar Tariffs Not Helping American-Made Solar Panels Compete: EnergySage

EnergySage has released its latest semiannual Solar Marketplace Intel Report. Based on millions of transaction-level data points generated within the EnergySage Solar Marketplace during 2018, this report tracks demand for American-made solar panels in the U.S. and provides dozens of 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 the Solar Marketplace. Ultimately, just 4% of EnergySage shoppers purchased a system with American-made solar panels in 2018 – an all-time low in the history of the EnergySage Marketplace.

Other key insights from the latest Solar Marketplace Intel Report include:

Cost of solar falls to $3.05 per Watt: 
In H2 2018, the average quoted cost of solar on the EnergySage Marketplace dropped 2.2% to $3.05 per Watt. This is 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 kilowatts.

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 of 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,” said EnergySage CEO and founder Vikram Aggarwal. “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.”


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