Last year brought many challenges for everyone and industries of all kinds were greatly affected. The global pandemic along with other environmental and societal factors changed the lifestyle and priorities of consumers. Solar energy was an example of an industry that saw a pause in growth as it faced adversity throughout 2020, but the opportunity for an upward change will be following in the new year.
Many Americans faced unemployment and financial struggles as a result of the COVID-19 virus and this included solar energy jobs. Companies lacked the need for positions due to industry ailments such as supply chain delays and restrictions on tax equity markets. With previous consistency in growth within the industry, this majorly set back solar energy function in the country especially with the government not installing almost 37% less solar capacity than previous years.
Although the industry has faced these repercussions, residential solar still needed services such as necessary maintenance and installations as consumers began prioritizing beneficial investments and exploring sustainable options for lifestyle. While it will not be overnight that the world begins to flourish economically again, the focus on aspects pertaining to the well-being of the future — whether that be of homeowners’ savings or of the earth for younger generations —has greatly increased in recent years.
The effects of climate change are not something that will be forgotten in 2021 as many areas around the world and right here in the country are still dealing with the threat and consequences of forest fires every day. The younger generations who are now young professionals and even homeowners are taking a stand for the future by making changes to the ‘old school’ lifestyle that is not as environmentally conscious. While paper straw and reusable water bottles are a major example of this, the rapid increase in solar panels on roofs and wind farms popping up as an alternative form of energy also majorly showcase this change. “The share of homeowners considering getting solar panels is up from 40% in 2016 and has especially increased among those living in the South Atlantic states ranging from Delaware to Florida.” Along with these concerns for the earth, though, millennials are also faced with more debt than older generations and although the solar has become more affordable and is a great investment for saving money long term, it is why there is a considerably larger number of homeowners “considering” rather than currently owing solar panels.
 “COVID-19 Impacts on the U.S. Solar Industry,” SEIA, accessed January 11, 2021, https://www.seia.org/research-resources/covid-19-impacts-us-solar-industry#:~:text=Due%20to%20the%20COVID%2D19,forecasted%20%E2%80%93%20a%2038%25%20decline.  Brian Kennedy and Cary Lynne Thigpen, “More U.S. Homeowners Say They Are Considering Home Solar Panels,” Pew Research Center (Pew Research Center, August 14, 2020), https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/12/17/more-u-s-homeowners-say-they-are-considering-home-solar-panels/.
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