Trade ally survey results

Energy Trust regularly surveys its trade ally network to gather market intel, feedback on incentive programs and info about customer trends. Energy Trust sent a survey to its Solar Trade Ally Network in fall 2023. In total, 37 trade allies shared important feedback on storage incentives, financing, and diversity, equity and inclusion goals. They also shared feedback on other general updates relevant to service areas and types of customers they served. 

Energy Trust launched a battery storage incentive in July 2023 and was eager to gauge trade ally perceptions and learn what challenges they faced. The survey showed that the Solar Trade Ally Network mostly perceived the incentive to be positive, with only one trade ally reporting a somewhat negative experience. It was found that while 95% of trade allies surveyed installed battery storage, only 14% reported willingness to retrofit another contractor’s residential solar installation with battery storage. Other challenges included customer education and upfront cost, new equipment needs, and workforce development. 

Energy Trust encourages trade allies facing challenges related to new equipment for battery storage installations or workforce training to learn more about available business development funds and contact us at with questions.

Energy Trust also used the survey to learn more about renewable project financing products in the residential sector. The survey showed that 64% of trade allies who participated offered some kind of financing product, while 53% reported financing more than 50% of their projects. Financing challenges included interest rates, dealer fees and customer credit score prequalification. A resounding 72% indicated challenges with consumer protection concerns around renewable financing products. 

Most trade allies participating in the survey indicated that they did not have stated diversity, equity and inclusion goals. All were supportive of more diversity in their workforce and amongst customers served. Trade allies who participated in the survey were unsure of how Energy Trust could assist them, apart from continued support of workforce development and apprenticeship programs. A resounding 86% of trade allies reported serving rural customers, citing travel costs and net metering in smaller utility territories as their biggest challenges in serving rural customers. 

Be sure to subscribe to Insider to hear about survey results, trends and opportunities to provide feedback. Please contact the Solar team at if you have questions or feedback.