Direct Energy quits residential solar

It’s not an easy time to be a residential solar installer in the United States. The national residential market fell in the first quarter of this year, with significant declines not only in California, the main state market, but also New York and other leading states.

As part of this, two of the nation’s three largest solar installers scaled back their ambitions for growth and saw year-over-year declines in volume. However, the power companies which had entered the residential market as installers are making even more dramatic moves.

This has been some time coming; in May 2016 NRG transformed its Home Solar division into a sales and lead generation business, and in a series of layoffs slowly shuttled the division before closing it officially in February. GE’s Current has also moved away from residential solar, as part of a restructuring.

As the latest, Direct Energy Solar, a subsidiary of retail power provider Direct Energy, has decided to exit the residential solar installation market. This move will affect 330 employees, who will be given the option to move within the company.

The company’s ceased selling new residential PV systems on July 12, and from here on it plans to complete all pending installations but not offer any new ones.

This does not mean that Direct Energy is getting out of solar. The company has been sure to note that it will retain its commercial and industrial solar installation business, as well as moving to offer energy storage and into the community solar business. The company also notes that it will continue to honor all commitments with its residential customers, including maintenance services for the solar it has installed.

“These changes will enable us to concentrate on scaling our capabilities in community solar, storage, operations and maintenance to meet the changing needs of our customers,” reads a statement from the company.