With 2019 coming to an end, it’s important to start thinking about how to get ahead in 2020 so you can start your year off strong by boosting your sales and what better way to do that than to explore the latest trends in solar? In this article, we’ll be listing our top picks for where we see the solar industry moving in the new year.
Changes in Cost
According to SEIA, solar system prices as of Q1 2019 are at their lowest levels in history across all market segments, dropping from $40,000 in 2010 to roughly $18,000 today, and we don’t expect that to slow down any time soon. Add incentives and rebates to that price and it’s clear why more and more people have been looking into solar power as of late.
We can expect even more grid parity with traditional sources of energy like coal and nuclear power causing solar PV markets to continue to grow all over the world.
The low cost of solar will continue to make it the go-to energy source for developing countries where we have seen the continued adoption of solar energy, especially in isolated areas where extending existing grids isn’t necessarily a good choice financially.
Upgrades and Material Changes
What has been not widely adopted in the past is now seeing an increase in demand from homeowners due to Tesla’s solar roof creating buzz. Solar shingles have always been regarded as being more expensive and less efficient than traditional solar PV panels but we continue to see improvements to them as time goes on and we expect to see them be more common throughout 2020.
While traditional PV is still king, these tiny tiles have their place in the market as well, especially since they double as asphalt shingles which is an advantage for any homeowner looking to replace or repair their roof while also benefiting from solar.
Solar tiles are also much more attractive to people who want a sleeker look to their roof rather than having panels installed on top of existing shingles. Traditional solar installers may want to start looking at options to offer to the clients who would like to see this kind of material on their roof since homeowner’s interest in this kind of system doesn’t seem to be waning at all.
Solar panels have come a long way since their adoption in the 1950s and 60s with one of the latest changes being the adoption of bifacial modules. While older panels were only able to generate electricity from one side, bifacial modules can generate power from both their front and back sides. This increases total energy generation and also adds even more options for attractive solar designs.
These panels are also hailed as being more durable than other panel styles since they’re made with both sides being UV resistant. They are also considered to be more visually appealing than older panel models, especially when used in carport style installs where both sides of the system are the most visible.
Energy Storage Systems
Worries about the stability of the grid are also causing an increase in interest in adding battery systems to solar projects. The frequency of massive storms and unusual weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes caused by climate change have been forcing many homeowners to consider adding solar storage to their systems so that they can use it whenever the grid goes down.
While adding a battery backup to a system is still an extra cost for a client to consider, it’s important to know that batteries can also help increase how much money a homeowner can get back from the grid. By storing any extra power in a battery instead of selling it back to the grid right away, the homeowner can hold on to it until peak utility rates hit to get the most money back.
Changes to the Industry
Machine learning is here to stay in 2020 and we’re expecting even more sophisticated uses next year. With the right algorithms, we can teach computers not only how to measure surfaces from map images but how to predict the amount of energy generated by a solar system at any given time as well as set up entire smart grids in neighborhoods for optimal energy usage.
Machine learning can effectively remove any worries about irregularities in sun exposure and weather as well as provide important data to installers and manufacturers on how to create even smarter and better products for homeowners to get the most bang for their buck.
More Commercial Projects and Utility-Scale Solar
With 2020 coming up, we’re predicting an uptick in commercial installs of all sizes for companies as they realize that it is cheaper and easier to maintain than traditional methods of generating electricity.
Smaller companies are seeing the crucial savings they need for their businesses to grow with solar while larger ones are willing to make the investment, especially if it affects their bottom line.
As we’re seeing more of a demand for clean energy from consumers, big businesses and Fortune 500 companies are following suit, both for the environmental impacts as well as for the good PR that comes with taking steps towards being “greener”.
We’ve also been picking up on an increase in utility-scale solar projects, especially in California which is currently one of the largest producers of solar energy in the United States.
Software Tools Becoming Essential
What were once just helpful tools will become essential in the new year for any solar company looking to scale and stand out in this quickly growing industry. Using a solar proposal software like Solargraf will keep you ahead of the game by completely streamlining your sales and proposal process.
As more and more companies adopt software solutions for their businesses, you’ll need to adapt to keep up with the pace. Using a proposal tool to manage your projects, permit and stamp orders as well financing options will drastically cut down on your time spent using separate layout tools, permitting services and getting your financing elsewhere.