From pv magazine Germany.
In most parts of Germany, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, residential rooftop PV systems are still being installed. Although social distancing measures are in place, two people can still meet and work can still take place, unlike in some other countries afflicted by the crisis.
That means, a fortnight after Germany introduced a Covid-19 lockdown, installations are still permitted. “We are with two people on site in a family home,” said Christian Kearsley, sales manager at Sendenhorst-based installation company Solarkönig.
The rules for maintaining a safe distance can also be observed on roofs and, with installers usually working in fixed two-person teams, there is little risk of mingling with other personnel.
Solarkönig installs around 150 residential PV systems per year as well as commercial arrays and Kearsley said orders are continuing, albeit mostly with customers who made initial enquiries before the coronavirus wave broke in Germany.
Remote sales process
Sales could theoretically be unaffected by the public health crisis, given promotions take place online and negotiations are made by telephone, however Kearsley admitted, “It is difficult to estimate where the journey will go.”
Solarkönig’s experience of Covid-19 fallout appeared fairly typical, according to the results of a survey held during a pv magazine webinar on battery storage efficiency on Wednesday.
“We are still working on the construction sites,” said one respondent. “We currently only make customer appointments and sales by email and phone.”
Klaus Richter, technical marketing and sales manager at Konstanz-based battery storage manufacturer RCT Power, said, “Orders are still coming in every day.” He added, however, he expected the Covid-19 situation would eventually have an impact on business.
Another survey respondent said, “There are significantly fewer orders because customers do not want to see any external people.”
There have been reports of a lack of subcontractor staff, particularly at companies with large numbers of Eastern European workers currently barred from entering Germany. A lack of meters, with electricity network operators not installing the devices for the time being, will also affect project connection deadlines.
The effects of Covid-19 on Germany’s residential solar business are hard to predict. If potential customers fear for job security during the economic fallout of the crisis, demand could suffer. However, Solarkönig’s Kearsley said, if his installers can still operate during early summer, more consumers could be prompted to sign up for rooftop PV.
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