The entire country held its breath as the release of OhmHome’s latest Solar Index approached. California, often a bellwether for the solar industry for the rest of the country, had showed significant slowing over the first quarter of 2017, and another month’s decline could have signaled a nationwide slowing of the market.
So solar advocates breathed a sigh of relief when the new report showed solar-permit requests had risen 12% in California over April, which the report attributes to better weather (severe rainstorms plagued the market earlier this year) and a market adjustment to new net-metering rules.
California’s year-on-year numbers are still brutal – off 28% from May 2016 and 38% off from the first quarter of 2016. Still, the increase from April provides hope that California’s struggles are slowing. OhmHome’s analysts also suggest progress on new storage regulations could help boost the market in coming months.
OhmHome’s Solar Index analyzes solar permit data on a monthly basis for geographies in which the data is readily available, which this month included California, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Utah.
Four other states examined in the report – Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Texas – showed continued slow growth in its permits ranging from 2% to 10%. Only Utah declined, but its decline was spectacular, dropping 22% over April.
Utah’s decrease, however, appears to be a blip in what otherwise has been a spectacular year so far for the state, whose solar permits have increased 62% so far in 2017. Texas’ year-to-date permit growth came in second at 24%, with Oregon nipping at its heels with 23% growth.