As we’re ending the first quarter of 2023 and witnessing the growth for solar and storage globally, here’s some top trends ahead for the industry and learnings to share with you all.
EV adoption lifting US solar demand: as electric vehicles crossed 5% of new US car sales this year, there are dozens of new EV brand options to choose from. Consumers get their electricity bill ‘shock’ after a few months of charging (before signing up for solar) and are beginning to understand the value of low-cost solar electricity in a whole new way.
Home electrification convergence: there are four primary electricity choices now beyond the grid: solar, battery storage, gas/diesel gensets (in many countries) plus now the vehicle-to-home option for some EVs. With home appliances becoming more electrified, the battle is on for platforms that aggregate consumer access and simplify energy management.
Local and regional policies driving solar demand in new markets: whether it’s Delhi just approving a new solar policy, or Paris mandating rooftop solar, or states like New York or Maryland with new mandates, this is happening in every part of the world.
Utility-led solar push-back in some mature markets: the NEM 3.0 in solar-heavy California will take us years to recover, driving more storage adoption. Others like Hawaii, where around 90% of residential solar is now paired with storage, or Germany with around 70% of residential solar.
Solar and storage benefits getting more complicated: whether it’s changing utility rates, or NEM policies, or new local / federal incentives, or growth of hybrid systems/ products – all are making it more difficult to forecast project benefits. Needless to say, use of software tools to predict and measure project outcomes is now a necessity.
Solar installation companies growing in number: As solar jobs are growing the fastest (around 4 million employed globally) amongst all other renewable categories, solar companies are growing in number in every country. Often called ‘the long-tail’, such small-medium sales and installation companies are still the thriving, profitable majority in this sector.
Solar and Storage asset maintenance: as millions of new homes add solar assets every year, we are also seeing customer experience gaps globally. Our own study in California revealed more than 30% of solar buyers have faced an issue in their first three years of ownership and are often not happy with their installer.
Battery storage and solar panel / cell manufacturing capacity increases will unlock price decline driven by scale. While China dominates on manufacturing capacity, there’s diversification of new investments to new countries. Southeast Asia, India and the U.S. have been already expanding and now Europe joins, as solar takes center-stage for energy supply.