© Reuters. Kauahou, a worker of the installation company Alromar, sets up solar panels on the roof of a home in Colmenar Viejo
By Nichola Groom, Isla Binnie and Nina Chestney
LOS ANGELES/MADRID/LONDON (Reuters) – The booming rooftop solar panel industry nosedived overnight when the coronavirus forced homeowners to rein in spending and keep their distance from would-be installers.
Now, in their struggle to survive, companies on both sides of the Atlantic are turning to online marketing rather than knocking on doors, using drones to inspect roofs, arranging digital permits and coming up with attractive new financing plans, according to interviews with 12 executives.
At stake is the future of a key driver of the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy: solar power was the second-fastest growing renewable source after wind in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency.
And rooftop installations, which generate electricity used