From pv magazine USA
Sunrun, the largest residential solar installer in the United States, gave a preliminary first-quarter update and withdrew its 2020 guidance due to “the impact of Covid-19 on our business.”
- Sunrun deployed 97 MW in the first quarter, compared to 413 MW for all of last year.
- The company ended the quarter with $366 million in cash, up $3 million from the preceding quarter.
Just a few months ago, Sunrun published guidance for deployments to grow 15% year-over-year, but the high-contact residential solar installation business now faces a harrowing period over the next few quarters.
Sunrun laid off about 100 employees last week, Business Insider reported that furloughed staff will continue to receive benefits for three months. Sungevity also announced mass layoffs last week, while SunPower withdrew its 2020 guidance, following recent executive pay cuts.
Tesla eliminated door-to-door sales for its energy products in 2017 in order to reduce customer acquisition costs and went completely online in its sales efforts in 2018. But these decisions were not motivated by a six-foot rule.
Sunrun plans to make the solar installation process as contact-free as possible by streamlining online permitting and interconnection and using drones to perform rooftop surveys. It also believes that “this situation will accelerate adoption of automated, instantaneous permitting by local jurisdictions.”
“In our direct business, despite installing less than expected due to the Covid-19 impact we did complete more installations in the second half of March than we did in the first half,” Sunrun said.
Even if the United States enters a prolonged economic downturn, people will still want solar as a money-saving source of reliable power, the company added. To that end, it just launched a home energy product that includes access to rooftop solar, with or without battery storage, for zero-money down and one dollar monthly payments for the first six months.