Every year I gaze into my solar crystal ball and make 10 educated guesses about the rooftop solar industry. Last year I was pretty lucky, getting 9 out of 10 right. 2017 is shaping up to be a lot more uncertain with big political changes, low equipment prices, new energy storage products and higher electric rates. Unfortunately, my list doesn’t include the benefits of the Clean Power Plan and 500 million solar panels (along with the EPA and half the equity in the remaining solar module companies). Nevertheless, I remain very optimistic about the future of clean technology industries simply because their economic benefits have been proven.
So here are my Ten Predictions for Rooftop Solar in 2017:
- Module prices will stay at current low levels.
- U.S. solar manufacturing will continue to decline.
- Community solar will struggle to get traction.
- State solar organizations will gain membership and influence throughout the U.S. as Net Energy Metering and rate design issues are tackled by state public utility commissions. Meanwhile, SEIA will fight a rear guard action in DC to preserve the most precious TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms): ITC, DOE and EPA.
- The TLA for 2017 is BTM (Behind The Meter).
- Bigger is badder in rooftop solar. Small local and medium regional rooftop solar companies will continue to thrive as large integrated companies struggle.
- Utility deployments of battery storage system will grow rapidly in the U.S.
- Customers will not install technology that provides services to utilities.
- Storage equipment companies will continue to underestimate the true cost of their new products in order to generate buzz and initial sales.
- President Trump will embrace solar because it is cheaper and continues to be a jobs engine.
For the details of my Ten Predictions for Rooftop Solar in 2017, please Listen Up to the Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.