On Monday, EnergySage released its third semiannual Solar Marketplace Intel Report™. In this report, you’ll find trends in solar prices, equipment options, financing, and solar shopper preferences across the country from July 2015 to June 2016. Read on for some of our top findings relevant to today’s solar-interested homeowner.
Marketplace Intel: The price of home solar panel systems continues to fall
This first statistic won’t be much of a surprise if you follow the solar industry: according to the Solar Marketplace Intel Report, solar prices in 2016 are continuing on the same downward trajectory of previous years. From the second half of 2015 (July – December) to the first half of 2016 (January – June), the average cost per watt for a solar panel system on EnergySage fell by 3.3%. While 3.3% might not sound significant at first glance, it’s equivalent to a $600 price reduction for an average-sized 5-kilowatt system.
In this third edition of the Solar Marketplace Intel Report, we also added national and state-level median price statistics to help compare the offers made by EnergySage installers to those in the solar industry at large. In most cases, EnergySage quotes were lower than the median installed price for the industry. For systems under 15kW, the national median cost per watt in the second half of 2015 was $4.39 – by comparison, the national median cost per watt on EnergySage was $3.63 during that same time period.
Why are prices lower on EnergySage than the national average? There are two main factors at play. First, because EnergySage is an online marketplace where homeowners get competing quotes online, installers know that they should put their best offer forward to win your business – this often results in higher quality equipment and lower installation prices. Second, the national market data is skewed by extremely high prices from several large solar leasing companies that are not active on EnergySage. In contrast, the majority of EnergySage installers are small and mid-sized solar companies that perform high quality work at very reasonable prices.
Keep in mind the all-in cost of a solar panel system is dependent on many different factors. The equipment you buy, the installer you select, the financing option you choose, and where you live can all raise or lower your solar installation costs. You can see in the “Price Distribution in EnergySage Quotes” chart above that quotes from solar installers on EnergySage had a wide range of prices, with most of them falling in the $3.00/W to $4.00/W range.
Marketplace Intel: Solar shoppers are getting multiple quotes before making decisions
EnergySage is the best place for solar shoppers to compare multiple quotes for solar panel systems. A full 30% of shoppers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace already have a quote when they sign up, and many more receive quotes throughout their solar shopping experience. Most of these quotes come from the country’s largest solar leasing companies: SolarCity, Sunrun, Sungevity, Vivint, and Direct Energy are the most common non-EnergySage installers to have their quotes compared to competing quotes in the Solar Marketplace.
Marketplace Intel: EnergySage users have diverse priorities for their solar panel systems
There are plenty of reasons to go solar, and every solar shopper has different priorities when they sign up to get quotes on EnergySage. In this edition of the Solar Marketplace Intel Report, we looked at some of the terms that are most frequently mentioned by solar shoppers.
The key takeaway: EnergySage users want to educate themselves about the solar options available to them. The term that appears the most is “learn more” – not a surprise considering that the EnergySage Solar Marketplace is designed to help solar shoppers thoroughly review and compare all of their options before making a purchase.
Solar shoppers also frequently use terms related to solar equipment (such as panels, inverters, microinverters, and power optimizers) and financing (such as loan, lease, and PPA). In addition, solar shoppers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace are ahead of the curve and already discussing next-generation energy technologies like electric cars and solar batteries.