As of April 2023, several thousand companies involved in the shift to solar power have found their hands tied by new legislation which has decreased incentives for private homeowners seeking to bring solar energy solutions to their homes.
Research company Ohm Analytics recently reported that the sale of home-based solar installations throughout the state decreased by up to 85% in the past year compared to 2022. Several organizations expect a further reduction in home installations in California by over 40% within the year. Numbers are also expected to decline well into 2028.
Up In Arms
One firm that has opted to close the doors on its California operations is Nevada-based solar installation company Construct Sun. The company’s in-state sales dwindled significantly in the third quarter of last year, just four months since the new policy was implemented.
According to company executive vice-president Thomas Devine, he feels that the policy effectively undermines the state government’s goal of becoming greenhouse gas emission-free by 2045. As a result, Construct Sun is setting its sights on Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina.
Another victim of the policy change is Sunrun, the largest residential solar company in the United States. Following the reduction in rooftop incentives, the San Francisco-based firm had to lay off 2,000 of its personnel. Company CEO Mary Powell sees it as an unfortunate consequence, but this has been mitigated by Sunrun’s size and its nationwide reach.
However, the state government disagrees with Devine and his peers. Those supporting the policy argue that the rules in place before April 2023 only benefited wealthy homeowners and kept solar power out of the reach of those in lower income brackets.
These supporters have since come into conflict with environmentalists who feel that the former have not taken into account the massive environmental benefit rooftop solar installations have on both individual households and communities.