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COVID-19 and the solar industry: are brighter days ahead?

August 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the worldwide solar industry supply chain, especially that more than half (about 63 per cent) of all solar modules and other hardware for both household and industrial solar panels are manufactured in China, where the outbreak began. This has affected services in the global solar power industry and has caused delays in project delivery, including those in Australia.

COVID-19 and the Australian solar industry

The first quarter of 2020 saw a record high of small-scale technology certificate (STC) registrations totalling 254MW, while the month of May posted 220MW of STC registrations. These numbers indicate that the Australian solar power industry has remained resilient and robust for the most part.

However, stricter quarantine measures in certain states have restricted the delivery of some solar projects, whether for household or industrial solar panels. Moreover, in April, solar system inquiries somewhat declined, mainly due to lockdowns and quarantine restrictions.

The solar industry situation is not all bleak, however. Many homeowners who have been required to work from home now see the wisdom of having solar energy as a good backup power source.

Obstacles and opportunities

Smart solar companies that are focused on keeping their business robust can take advantage of the renewed surge in interest to go solar and find ways of making sales whilst waiting for the right conditions to deliver projects.

The current Stage 4 lockdown in Victoria (announced last 2 August 2020) will last for six weeks, and it affects all people and industries. However, all is not lost, particularly if companies refer to advice from the Solar Victoria website, which covers what limitations are set for rooftop PV retail and installation companies, including the following:

  • Solar installations are not allowed in occupied residences; however, critical repairs for emergency or safety reasons can be undertaken subject to the applicable COVID Safe Plan.
  • Solar installations may proceed unhampered in small-scale construction projects, such as home renovations and new builds, subject to the required worksite COVID Safe Plan and approved daily workforce caps.
  • Pre-Stage 4 lockdown solar installations may be allowed to proceed if work is necessary to “ensure the quality and safety of equipment already installed.”

Solar companies can also use this time to continue marketing and selling their products and services whilst committing to project delivery after current restrictions are lifted.

Looking ahead

Even as the Australian solar industry has, in general, experienced a slump in the first half of the year, there’s no reason to think that things will remain the same.

In fact, the solar power industry continues to lead in the Australian renewables sector, with several major projects in the pipeline. So, yes, there are brighter days ahead as the move towards utilising more renewables continues. 

Suppliers and installers of household and industrial solar panels need only use this time to fortify other aspects of their business and continue making sales calls even as they work from home.

Are you looking to make a change and go solar?

If so, then please get in touch with us at Solar Miner.

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