Coronavirus Chill Upends Solar Power Industry
The booming rooftop solar panel industry nosedived overnight when the coronavirus forced homeowners to rein in spending and keep their distance from would-be installers.
Now, in their struggle to survive, companies on both sides of the Atlantic are turning to online marketing rather than knocking on doors, using drones to inspect roofs, arranging digital permits and coming up with attractive new financing plans, according to interviews conducted by Reuters.
At stake is the future of a key driver of the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy: solar power was the second-fastest growing renewable source after wind in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency.
And rooftop installations, which generate electricity used by homes or businesses rather than feeding into the grid, made up more than 40% of the market before COVID-19 struck.
Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie has slashed its rooftop solar installation forecasts for Europe and the United States by a whopping 30% this year, while lifting its forecast by 3% in Asia, where China provides strong government support.
Joana Palau, 42, a council worker on the Spanish island of Ibiza, was one of the few in her neighbourhood who pressed ahead with a plan to install 12 solar panels on her farmhouse in June: “If I had not been working and did not have the stability of a salary every month, I definitely wouldn’t have done it.”
By contrast, large-scale solar installations that power the grid have fared relatively well. Wood Mackenzie trimmed its forecast by less than 10% for Europe and barely touched its U.S. outlook as rock-bottom prices, subsidies and government mandates helped insulate larger projects from the pandemic.
Neha writes articles on sectors including medicine, food, materials, and science & technology. A qualified statistician, she has the ability to observe and analyze the trends in global markets and write compelling articles that help CXOs in decision making. She is a bookworm and loves to read fiction, lifestyle, science and technology. Neha comes with 6 years of experience in content writing and editing that involves blog writing, preparation of study materials and OERs.