Updated 15 hours ago

2024 Solar energy statistics: latest industry survey data

Written by Ben Zientara , Edited by Catherine Lane , Fact-checked by Ana Almerini

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In 2024, SolarReviews conducted our second annual survey of companies in the U.S. solar industry. We heard from hundreds of companies that comprise various industry sectors, from residential solar installers to equipment manufacturers and utility-scale developers. Their responses provided a snapshot of the industry’s experiences over the past year, and a good idea of the opportunities and challenges companies face in the near future.

We produced a full report on the Solar Industry Survey results, which provides a complete picture of the data we collected. We also extracted some of the most interesting solar energy statistics our experts uncovered.


Solar industry statistics 2024

The data we gathered in the Solar Industry Survey paint a clear picture of the industry’s top products, major challenges, and plans for the future. Here are some of the most important data points from the Survey:

1. Top solar equipment brands chosen by installers

We asked solar installers to name the brands of solar panels, solar inverters, and home batteries they used during 2023. The responses to these questions provided a clear picture of the most popular brands in the industry:

Place

Solar panel brand

Inverter brand

Energy storage brand

1

Qcells

Enphase

Enphase

2

REC

SolarEdge

Tesla

3

Canadian Solar

SMA

SolarEdge

4

Mission Solar

Sol-Ark

FranklinWH

5

Jinko

Tesla

Fortress Power

Of note, the top spots in each category remained the same this year as they did last year. Qcells, REC, and Canadian Solar were the top picks for panel brands, while Enphase, Tesla, and SolarEdge remained installer favorites for battery storage. Enphase and SolarEdge also clinched the number one and two slots for inverters two years in a row.  

Mission Solar jumped up a bit in the panel list and FranklinWH and Fortress Power are rapidly gaining installer partners. SMA and Sol-Ark switched spots in the inverter list, and Tesla is a surprise new contender. 

All five of the solar panel brands represented in the list above are also part of SolarReviews’ best solar panel brands of 2024, and four of the five most popular energy storage brands are in our top 10 as well.


2. Equipment performance and quality are most important to installers

When asked why they chose the brands they did, the most popular reasons were product performance/quality, brand name/reputation, and product warranty. 

All of these factors are also considered by SolarReviews’ experts in our rooftop solar panel brand ranking criteria


3. 51.1% of solar equipment used in 2023 was sourced from manufacturers operating in the United States

Respondents to our survey use more U.S.-manufactured solar equipment than last year. This jump is likely due to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which incentivizes manufacturers to increase their domestic operations, leading to increased access and lower pricing. We expect to see this trend continue as American manufacturing capacity increases and solar installers reduce their reliance on solar equipment made in China. 


4. 91.5% of residential solar installers offer additional services

The solar industry isn’t just about solar anymore. Many companies have expanded their offerings to include other clean energy technologies like battery storage and EV chargers. Some companies offer accompanying services like roof repairs and electrical work, acting as a “one-stop-shop” for customers.

  • 74% of residential installers offered energy storage installation in 2023

  • 64% offered EV charger installation

  • 59% provided both energy storage and EV charger installation

  • 40% did their own electrician work


5. Customers are more willing to invest in home energy upgrades and resilience services 

The total proportion of home solar installations that include extra services has increased since 2022, indicating that homeowners are more willing to spend money on energy resilience items like energy storage, oversized solar systems, and additional solar on existing installations.

Here’s a breakdown of how many home solar installations included some sort of additional service: 

  • 35% included energy storage (up from 21% in 2022)

  • 21% of solar included roofing upgrades and/or replacements (was 12%)

  • 16% included EV chargers (was 10%)

  • 28% of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations were oversized to prepare for future EV charging (was 15%)

  • 15% of previous customers requested additional solar modules for EV charging (was 9%)

The battery attachment rate is up significantly, and 7% of all installer jobs for 2023 were adding energy storage to existing solar PV systems. Another big change is the percentage of installations taking place in areas without net metering (32% in 2023 vs 11% in 2022). These numbers reflect broader trends that we expect will continue.


6. Access to backup power was the primary reason homeowners installed batteries in 2023

Homeowners install solar panels primarily to save money, but according to installers, battery storage is installed mainly as a backup power source. This is likely due to the limited financial benefits of solar battery storage in most markets, so when people do get a battery, it’s for increased resiliency.


7. Inverter hardware and software issues were the most common after-installation repairs 

When asked about the after-installation repairs they must perform, 40% of solar installers reported that inverter hardware failure and replacement were the most common issues. Another 25% said that inverter software, communications, and monitoring problems were their biggest issue. Battery hardware and software problems were the main cause of problems for 15% of installers, while roof leaks, wiring issues, and broken/underperforming panels were cited by the fewest installers as their main issues.


8. The data from 2023 reflects a challenging year

The solar industry ended 2022 with great optimism for the year ahead: Congress had just passed the IRA, which included numerous benefits for manufacturers, installers, and developers. 62% of companies expected to expand because of the IRA, and 73% of residential installers expected to sell more solar in 2023 than they had the year before. 

This year’s survey data shows those predictions turned out to be overly optimistic. Data we uncovered that reflects the struggles solar companies are facing includes:

  • 49% of companies said demand went down in 2023 compared to 2022

  • 53% said they did not expand their business as a result of the IRA

  • 54% of residential installers said customers were less likely to take a loan last year

  • 18% of companies said they were “somewhat concerned ” or “very concerned” about their ability to stay in business in the next 6 months

  • The high cost of financing remains a major concern, with solar loan dealer fees averaging 19% and fee-free solar loans hovering around 10% APR. 

2023 was especially tough in California, with 69% of installers operating in the Golden State reporting lower sales in 2023 vs. 2022. This was the first time we asked questions specifically about the state’s switch to Net Billing for customers of investor-owned utilities, and it revealed the average solar company in California laid off 5 workers in Q4 of 2023, greatly reducing solar jobs in the state.


9. Customer acquisition and high financing costs remain the biggest barriers to success for solar companies

To get a picture of the major challenges faced by solar companies, we asked them to select their primary barriers to success from a list. Across the board, the two most-cited difficulties were customer acquisition and rising solar financing costs. 

For installers, these problems go hand in hand and feed into the industry’s major “chicken-or-egg” dilemma: prices can’t come down until customers are easier to acquire, and financing is so expensive that it’s difficult to attract customers at current prices.

Notably, permitting and interconnection remain a major problem, despite strong advocacy in the last decade from groups like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

Here is a list of the top five most-reported barriers to success: 

  • Customer acquisition (39%)

  • Increased financing costs (35%)

  • Permitting and interconnection rules and costs (33%)

  • Lack of skilled laborers (31%)

  • Increased equipment costs (24%)


Most of these problems are solvable but require help from outside the industry.  As of early 2024, the Federal Reserve is showing no signs of the rate cuts it had hinted at for the year, meaning we’re likely in for another year of decreased demand for loans. 

SolarAPP+ streamlined permitting is now being adopted or piloted by jurisdictions in 11 states, and nearly all states have been engaged by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), but the rollout will have to expand greatly to have any downstream effect on pricing, which could, in turn, improve customer interest in solar power.


10. 54% of installers expect to sell more solar in 2024 than they did in 2023

Despite the hardships of 2023, installers remain hopeful that 2024 will be an improvement. These were some of the bright spots in the data: 

  • 34% of all solar companies expect to grow in 2024, and an additional 23% think they will maintain the same level of business

  • 54% of installers expect to sell more solar in 2024 than they did in 2023

  • 39% of companies say they haven’t yet expanded into low-income areas but expect to in 2024

  • 69% of solar companies say supply chain issues were better in 2023 than in 2022

  • 85% of installers who work with NREL’s SolarAPP+ permitting software say it makes permitting significantly easier


Looking forward to the rest of 2024

The survey results paint a picture of an industry that is struggling in the face of several problems. 

Financing costs and complicated permitting and interconnection processes still plague installers, causing difficulties with customer acquisition and dragging down the industry as a whole. 

Our country needs hundreds of gigawatts of new solar capacity additions in the next 10 years to power the energy transition and meet America’s goal of reducing emissions to fight climate change. To paraphrase Jigar Shah, we have all the solar technology we need to do this today, but we need help from state and federal legislators and regulators to deploy, deploy, deploy.

One area where states can help bolster demand for solar is incentives. The most popular solar incentive programs among solar installers are statewide tax credits for solar customers and energy storage rebates. 

Interestingly, demand response battery programs (like virtual power plants) were one of the least popular incentives among solar installers, despite their ability to improve financial outcomes for solar owners in states without net metering. 

As these problems improve, so will outcomes for American solar companies. Until then, 2024 will be a year where the best solar companies refine their processes to stay competitive, while others will risk falling behind. 

Whatever happens, we’ll be there to ask about it next year.

Find trusted solar comapnies in your area to find out more about solar

Other Solar Industry Reports


2022 Solar Industry Survey 

In 2023, we conducted our first-ever survey of the solar industry, establishing a baseline for annual metrics and identifying key trends that occurred in 2022. The survey results showed that the industry began 2023 full of optimism despite headwinds from high interest rates, state policy changes, and supply chain problems. Download the full report below.


Best solar panels of 2024

The SolarReviews team also puts together an annual list of the top solar panel brands. The 2024 report is our second annual publication, utilizing data from our survey about installer-preferred brands and featuring new data about stateside manufacturing capacity. Download the report below.

Written by Ben Zientara Solar Policy Analyst

Ben Zientara is a writer, researcher, and solar policy analyst who has written about the residential solar industry, the electric grid, and state utility policy since 2013. His early work included leading the team that produced the annual State Solar Power Rankings Report for the Solar Power Rocks website from 2015 to 2020. The rankings were utilized and referenced by a diverse mix of policymakers, advocacy groups, and media including The Center...

Learn more about Ben Zientara