While some industries are struggling in 2021 in the wake of the pandemic, renewable energy is expected to generate more revenue this year. Many new construction projects designed to help businesses move toward carbon neutrality were halted in 2020, and they’re expected to resume in 2021. In addition, the new Biden administration plans to bring the U.S. back into the Paris Climate Agreement and has set a goal of net-zero emissions for the U.S. no later than 2050. As researchers expect solar panels to account for 54% of global renewable energy investment, 2021 should be a big year for solar energy.
So you can better prepare and support your clients making investments in solar energy, here are the Top 5 Solar Industry Trends for 2021.
1 – People Will Rush to Install Solar Systems Before the Tax Credit Disappears
The current federal Solar Investment Tax Credit gives homeowners a 26% tax credit if they install solar panels. In December, President Trump extended the tax credit through 2022, meaning homeowners have this year and next to take advantage of major savings. Expect homeowners who’ve been considering a move to solar energy to make their decisions and hire contractors for installation in the next year or two. Because of the Biden Administration’s commitment to renewable energy, the tax credit could be extended past 2022, but it hasn’t happened yet.
2 – People Will Oversize Their New Solar Panel Systems
As older gas appliances fail, expect home and building owners committed to carbon neutrality to install new electric appliances to replace them. In anticipation of this switch to electric and the increase in electricity consumption, owners are being advised to “oversize” the solar systems they’re installing now. Rather than pay for a second installation or to upgrade the system later, they’re paying for larger systems than they need, expecting a future increase in electricity usage.
3 – All Roof Orientations Are Fair Game!
To maximize power efficiency, solar contractors used to avoid installing panels on north-facing rooftops. In the last 20 years, the module efficiency of solar panels has increased from 13% to over 20%. In addition, the price of solar panels has decreased by 10 times! Thanks to both greater efficiency and affordability, panels are now being installed on all unshaded roof orientations.
4 – Skill Levels of Solar and Storage Contractors Will Increase
With increased technology, the new features and configuration options of solar and power storage systems are requiring higher-level skills to install. Years ago, contractors would attach panels to a roof and connect red, green, and black wires to get them up and running. Not anymore! There are now dozens of battery/inverter options for storage, and adding to the need for technical know-how is the advent of “smart homes” and the “Internet of Things.” Consumers can now monitor energy usage from apps and allow AI to make energy consumption decisions based on collected data stored in a cloud. As a result, contractors must also know how to deal with CAT 5 and 6 communication wiring (ethernet for digital), wireless communication protocols, and connecting desktop and smartphone applications.
5 – Energy Companies Will Move Into Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
As consumers move to install solar panels and geothermal systems, traditional energy companies will lose revenue, forcing them to enter the DER sector. They’ll become more involved in the DER marketplace by selling and offering to maintain these new energy systems. In order to secure a DER market share, the pressure will be on these companies to provide superior service experiences. To provide the best customer experience, these companies will make an effort to include smart and predictive technologies including AI and Machine Learning. They will take full advantage of smart-home technology in order to give consumers the power to control energy consumption and conserve energy to save money and save the planet.
With an increasing need for solar contractors in the marketplace comes the increasing need to secure proper insurance coverage for this growing industry. Contact our team of environmental experts to learn how we can protect you and your clients.