(May 29, 2020)
Goods and commerce remain at a slow crawl under Covid-19 restrictions, putting some of the nation’s strongest players in solar industry on hold for now, and possibly well into the foreseeable future.
A staggering amount of stimulus dollars are expected to come down the pipeline soon, and proponents of the solar industry are closely watching for what can be done to help 250,000 employees that had projects in progress which are no longer moving. Instead, many are seeking unemployment resources and business loans.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) CEO Abigail Ross Hopper has stressed that SEIA is committed to working on policy proposals through this pandemic that can assist its workers and businesses now dealing with massive losses.
For SEIA members, about half of solar industry jobs are estimated to be lost through the pandemic. Some 125,000 families who will no longer receive a paycheck.
Ross Hopper is concerned about getting provisions for employee retention and protections in place. She emphasized that the priority is making sure their members understand how to access unemployment benefits and resources.
A recent SEIA survey found that solar companies, among the hardest hit businesses, face a 19 percent project cancellation rate and a 53 percent job postponement rate for residential solar systems. Companies report that work has stopped with sales lost for six months to a year out. They also report 90 to 130-day delays for products. For some companies, financing is on hold, and more than 63 percent of respondents are concerned they will not be able to access tax equity.
“All of these data points tell us a clear story: the solar industry needs policies to protect and support workers as a result of this awful virus. Nothing less than the future of our clean energy economy is at stake,” Ross Hopper stated.
“We are working with Congress to find solutions to this health and economic crisis and we will keep you posted on our findings as we fight through this difficult time in America’s history.”
Through the crisis, many agencies and utility programs are reaching out to get essential services to impacted individuals.