Denver This story is available exclusively on Business Insider Prime. Join BI Prime and start reading now. Sunrun, the largest rooftop-solar company in the US, has laid off at least 100 or so staff and furloughed hundreds more, according to sources familiar with the matter.All positions known as retail sales associates, which generate leads at Costco and Home Depot, have been furloughed for at least three months. The San Francisco-based firm has 4,800 employees. Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich and cofounder Edward Fenster are temporarily giving up all their cash compensation. “This pandemic has forced some tough decisions on our business, including a reduction to certain parts of our workforce,” the company said in a statement to Business Insider.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. In another sign that the coronavirus pandemic is hammering the rooftop solar industry, Sunrun, the nation’s leading residential solar company, has quietly laid off at least 100 staff and furloughed hundreds more, according to several sources with direct knowledge of the matter who spoke with Business Insider on condition of anonymity. Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich and cofounder Edward Fenster are giving up their pay, the sources said. In a statement to Business Insider, Sunrun confirmed that Fenster and Jurich “have volunteered to limit their cash compensation to health care benefits on a temporary basis.” Click here to subscribe to Power Line, Business Insider’s weekly clean-energy newsletter.In an email sent to some of the employees who were laid off, San-Francisco-based Sunrun cited the coronavirus pandemic, which is stunting demand and making field sales untenable. “This pandemic has forced some tough decisions on our business, including a reduction to certain parts of our workforce,” Sunrun said in a statement. “As the public health responses ease, we plan to bring back as many impacted employees as quickly as possible. The company declined to comment on the number of workers who were cut. Business Insider spoke to six current and former Sunrun workers for this story. The sources asked not to be identified to discuss their employment status. Business Insider has verified their identities.Were you recently laid off by Sunrun? Please reach out to this reporter at [email protected] Sunrun’s CEO, Lynn Jurich Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images Sunrun furloughs its field lead generators The company announced the layoffs and furloughs through a series of Google video calls on Thursday, March 26, three sources, who worked in different states across the country, told Business Insider. The sources said there were about 100 people on a call specific to layoffs, as Business Insider previously reported.Project coordinators and staff who design solar arrays, based in Denver, were among the employees that were laid off or furloughed, the sources said.Sunrun also furloughed all retail sales associates (RSAs) and their supervisors, known as retail sales supervisors (RSSs), two sources said. That amounts to several hundred employees, according to one of the RSAs. Those positions are responsible for generating leads in Home Depot and Costco stores. The furloughs begin this month and will last for a minimum of three months. Staff who are furloughed will continue to receive benefits for three months, two employees said. The coronavirus pandemic is crippling the rooftop-solar industry Research firms that track renewable-energy installations have been slashing their 2020 forecasts during the COVID-19 outbreak and solar is seeing some of the deepest cuts.In March, BloombergNEF, a top energy finance firm, said 2020 would likely be the first year on record that solar deployment decreases year over year. Read more: The leading clean-energy research firm just slashed its outlook in response to the coronavirus pandemic, revealing that solar energy installations could decline for the first time in decadesThe rooftop-solar industry in states that have shelter-in-place orders, like California, will be especially hard hit, according to Joe Osha, an analyst at JMP Securities. California is home to the largest solar market in the US. “At the moment we think it is reasonable to expect each company’s California-sourced business to decline to almost nothing in March and April,” Osha wrote in a recent note.Travel restrictions aside, an economic crisis will also drive down sales for rooftop solar, according to Jeff Osborne, an analyst at Cowen.Cash-poor consumers are not going to be looking to make big purchases or renovate their homes, and rooftop solar arrays can cost about $20,000 if you buy them outright.”I just don’t see many couples saying, ‘Hey honey, let’s drop $20,000 to put up the solar panels on the roof right now, even though we can save money and might have a five-year payback period,'” he told Business Insider last month. Sunrun is the largest residential solar installer in the US. Sunrun How Sunrun will weather a recessionIn a statement on Monday, Sunrun said it has taken measures to lower costs by $30 million a quarter, compared to last quarter, largely through “various labor-related cost actions.” The firm also withdrew its 2020 guidance, released in late February, and said its “reasonable downside scenario” assumes volumes would fall by as much as 50% for half the year, relative to last year. That is undoubtedly a dramatic slide, but the company may be well-positioned to weather a recession, some Wall Street analysts said. In a research report published on Monday, Credit Suisse analysts wrote that Sunrun has “ample runway even in a worst-case scenario.” Meanwhile, Oppenheimer & Co. said the company is in a “strong position to ride through the downturn and continue optimizing its sales and installation process” in a note published earlier in the week. And while field sales are down, Sunrun is among a handful of residential solar companies that have moved their sales online. “We have implemented virtual-only sales across the country and have invested in technology like drones, video conferencing, and Docusign electronic signature to make going solar contact-free from beginning to install,” a spokesperson said in an email to Business Insider.On Monday, the company also announced a program for new customers that offers solar panels and batteries for no money down and $1 monthly payments for the first six months, which Sunrun said is designed to target “the current environment.” More than 80% of Sunrun customers lease their panels, a spokesperson said, which is a way to avoid steep upfront costs. “There are options for people to go solar and save money without upfront capital expenses,” the spokesperson said. Still, solar jobs are at riskSolar giants like Sunrun — which ended the first three months of the year with more than $350 million in cash — may be able to ride out the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean jobs across the industry, as in many other sectors, will be secure. The US solar industry employs about 250,000 people, and as many as 50% of those jobs could be at risk, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.Residential-solar-panel installers employ nearly 91,000 of those positions, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, so it’s no surprise that layoffs at companies like Sunrun are on the rise. Last week, Greentech Media’s Emma Foehringer Merchant reported that Sungevity, another residential-solar company, laid off nearly 400 employees. Previously, SunPower, one of the country’s largest solar firms involved in residential and commercial sales, announced it was paring back 2020 guidance and slashing executive pay.”We were getting a lot of cancellations throughout the last two weeks,” a former Sunrun employee who was laid off told Business Insider. “So I could see it coming down the pipeline.”Were you or an acquaintance recently laid off from a top clean-energy company? We want to hear from you. Please reach out to this author at [email protected] More: BI Prime Energy Solar rooftop solar Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.