Will Home Depot Kill the Residential Solar Market?


"The entry of big box stores into the market will further legitimize the industry. We haven't even scratched the surface."

One of the concerns that has been thrown around a lot lately from solar contractors is about the future of the residential solar market given Home Depot's entrance into selling solar. This begs the question, "Will the entrance of big box stores into the industry negatively affect the future of the residential solar market?"

There are many ways we can look to answer the questions:

Permits: Homeowners may now have more access for buying the products and installing them, but can they pull the required permits? Yes. Homeowners are typically allowed to pull electrical and home improvement permits to perform work on their home. Whether they will actually do it remain the question.

Incentives: Homeowners will be able to purchase solar products and apply for all federal incentives because they are simply tax credits or grants. The question is whether they will be able to reap state benefits. Some states require contractors to become "eligible installers" to get state incentives.

Insurance: Even if they're able to physically install the system, most homeowners will be incapable of insuring the systems reliability.

Comparisons with Other Trades: Homeowners can also purchase shingles, sinks, windows, and wood at Home Depot. Does this mean that they're going to re-shingle their own roofs, build their own decks, and install their windows? I think not.

There will always be a small number of DIYs that will do the work themselves, but it won't reach the mass market. We haven't even touched the surface. You can bet that if Home Depot's solar business starts to go well, they'll put their money behind keeping it that way. There will be much more work left over for other contractors, especially given a higher demand.

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