A question for solar installers out there. Are you seeing a shortage of supplies of solar products due to the virus’s impact on supply chains? Or has demand slowed along with it?
Due to the stuff up with my install date late last year I decided to wait for the Enphase IQ8’s. I spoke to Enphase a few days ago and the gentleman said they’re yet to see if the virus will impact the planned roll out for the IQ8s. I’m guessing it will but hopefully not too bad. Heart goes out to all the businesses and people who will be hit extremely hard from this virus - so very very sad. I’m very lucky, I have to be away from home and family for up to 6 months but small price to pay for a job during these times. Cheers
Covid-19 is a hot topic. To answer your question on the impact to Solar Installers like us.
Well it’s early days yet, turnover has definitely slowed but it’s not a lack of installs doing this yet. It’s more certain installers panic buying cheaper end panels like Jinko, I’ve had to up sell a few deals onto better panels. Supply in general has slowed down not for lack of stock more the extra measures everyone is taking to stay safe. Basically what used to take 2 days to arrive can take longer than a week or 2 now, this makes it hard to schedule work and hard to allocate warehousing room for small operations like mine. There’s a hold up on stock getting into the country through ports as the ship can arrive up to six weeks before the freight it carried can be released to the wholesalers. This is a flow on effect from strategies implemented in our ports back in January.
The job site has changed to as my guys have to take extra precautions when dealing with
clients, I like everyone else am finding it hard to get things like hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, surgical gloves and medical masks. Why do we need gloves etc is something most people won’t understand, there are situations when we have to enter a home due to boards being inside etc, and on every job there’s the STC forms and sign offs that need to happen up close and personal.
This all slows things down and adds cost to our jobs in an already cut throat market like we have here in Western Australia. I’ve had to change the way we do install confirmations so now there’s the added question of “is anyone in the home showing any flu like symptoms” if so we don’t attend and reschedule for 14 days. If my guys get to site and discover someone displaying these symptoms they’ve been instructed to leave the site immediately and return home.
Solar inquiries have slowed a little but battery enquiries are at an all time high as are solar expansion to existing systems enquiries.
But to sum up the the turnover situation, the $140,000 I should have turned over this month has turned into $45,000 with work getting pushed back due to all of the above, My wages bill has gone up and my supplier accounts are still due in the next week. Now to top it off the Aussie dollar has fallen through the floor, and with the supply chain slowing down, installs I sold weeks ago may actually cost me an extra 6-8 cents a watt to get into my warehouse.
Good thing we have savings, my bank manager likes me and the Australian Govt has implemented relief packages to keep us afloat for the next few months till it levels out, so I can keep my guys including 2 apprentices employed. It’s the slow down on the supply chain causing the issues more than anything else. I have several hundred thousand dollars worth of sales waiting for install just can’t get the gear as fast as we were 6 weeks ago.
Well the sun has poked it’s head over the horizon it’s time for me to throw in another 14hr day of steering my business away from the rocks. I wonder what joys await me on the Covid-19 front.
I remember when you used to be able to smoke in a PUB now you can’t even drink or eat in one !!!
As today’s USA has the official most infected people I guess yes, also I see people talking about hydroelectric power generator at home, but you need to live near rivers in order to generate a good amount of renewable energy this way.
Stay safe everyone!
In Australia there are very few places that can offer reliable Hydroelectric power.
we are prone to draught and rivers don’t run.
As you know, there is way more going on over here in Mexico, that has had a huge impact on our solar installs. The Virus was bad enough - we have been on total lock down for going on three months - no work possible or face up to an $80,000 peso fine. The supply chain is no problem (no one working so stock is just sitting in the warehouse). Still kept the entire staff on at 3/4 wages (can’t afford to loose them to other work sites) and no assistance from the government.
Just to add to the issue the Mexican government announced that they were putting a hold on all solar and wind farm installs with commercial projects (24 currently in the middle of construction) stopped indefinitely. Home based solar is in limbo right now. We are being told by the distributor to get the applications in asap so they are under the existing rules. However, we have to actually install a system all the way to operational before we can apply for the permit to install the system. You may want to reread that. Once the system is installed we can then submit the paperwork on behalf of the client for approval. Currently the approval is granted no problem, however, this may change with new rules and there is no time frame for when the new rules will be introduced or what they will look like.
This has really put us in a tough spot. How can you sell a client a system that may not be approved do to new regulations that come into effect while the system is being installed? Current rules could change without any notice to anyone. First we would know of it is when we take an application in for approval.
This has the potential to put over 12,000 workers out of a job and cost billions of pesos for the companies that are in the middle of large wind and solar projects.
And a final bit of WTF. We just got back on track for system maintenance (we do this about every 3 months for our clients) and we get a tropical storm that stalls right over our area. A full week of torrential rains - so another week behind on everything.
Gotta love Mexico.
That sounds very difficult to navigate Tony. It’s the great disappointment with so many renewable energy policies, investors would be on board if only they had assurance that the schemes will not change on them suddenly. Very disappointing. I hope AMLO comes around soon.