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This Won’t Be U.S. Solar’s Best Year Ever—But It’ll Be Close

While rooftop companies have suffered thanks to Covid-19, home solar arrays are still an attractive option.

Petersen Dean Inc. employees install solar panels on the roof of a home in Lafayette, Calif., on May 15, 2018. 

Petersen Dean Inc. employees install solar panels on the roof of a home in Lafayette, Calif., on May 15, 2018. 

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Updated on

This year was shaping up to be Sunnova Energy International Inc.’s best ever.

California—already the biggest U.S. solar market—had started requiring most new homes to be powered by the sun. The rooftop solar company’s shares hit a new peak in early March, and analysts projected sharp growth. Even bad news hadn’t harmed Sunnova. Rolling blackouts, which big utilities had used the previous fall to help prevent wildfires? Just another reason homeowners might want Sunnova’s solar and battery products. A trade war hadn’t stopped the rise of residential solar. Even the novel coronavirus in China didn’t look like much of a problem. In late February the company increased its estimate for the number of new customers it would bring in for the year.