April 21, 2021

Emerging Solar Industry Trends In 2021

Solar Energy

Table of Contents:

It’s fair to say that 2020 was a turbulent year. Yet, despite the pandemic, wildfires and snowstorms, the solar industry held steady and grew by 7% with 2020 ending up one of the best years for solar installations on record.

Now into the second quarter of 2021, it seems the momentum is continuing. Here are a few of the trends we see unfolding in the solar industry this year:

Increasing Growth

As a result of the pandemic, many homeowners and businesses are looking for ways to become more self-sufficient and resilient. Solar is the perfect solution, and this is creating even greater demand than before. Solar prices also continue to fall, after over a 70% drop during the past 10 years, making it an attractive option to even more people.  

Government support is also encouraging growth with the election of a new administration that strongly supports renewable energy as a major part of its push to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure. In addition, the new administration has already acted to extend the 26% solar investment tax credit (ITC) another two years, which further reduces the upfront cost to install a solar panel system.

Combined, these factors are fueling increased demand across the board making 2021 another bright year for rooftop solar power.

Greater Demand For Backup Battery Systems

In addition to the pandemic, last year also saw several major natural disasters that greatly affected power supplies. Raging wildfires in California, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and the unseasonal snow and ice storm in Texas have many people now looking for backup power sources to protect against such events and to provide peace of mind during severe weather.

solar panel battery backup systems

One of the most popular solutions has been backup battery power that can be incorporated into new or existing solar panel systems. This trend is known as the “solar +” movement and has raised the demand for backup batteries to an all-time high in 2021.

According to a report released by Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association, installation of backup battery systems increased 240% in the third quarter of 2020 alone. Although fueled by recent events, most experts believe this trend will continue and predict that residential installations will expand six times that of current levels by 2025. This is a realistic prediction when considering the improving technology that makes these systems even more affordable and efficient.

If you are looking to add a battery backup system to your home or business, be sure to download Shine Solar’s free backup battery guide to help you choose the right system for your needs.

Automated Permitting

Although the cost of solar components has dropped significantly, the soft costs of solar installation have remained relatively unchanged and represent a significant portion of the overall price tag. These costs consist of permitting, inspection and interconnection with the grid. Combined, they average approximately $7,000 per installation.

To help increase efficiency and drive down costs, the non-profit National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) began work in 2018 on an online software app that will automate, digitize and streamline these permitting processes. It’s called SolarApp (Solar Automated Permit Processing) and will integrate with your local jurisdictional authority to make the permitting process easier, faster and more affordable.

NREL expects to roll out the SolarApp sometime this spring. Their goal is to recruit as many local governments as possible to use the app by 2025, thereby greatly reducing the cost to install a solar panel system nationwide.

Given these current trends, it’s fair to say that 2021 will be another year of big growth for the solar industry. Although there have been many challenging circumstances over the past year, it may be that these events provided the springboard needed to further develop the solar industry as an affordable alternative power source for America.

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Nick Gorden

Nick Gorden is the Co-founder and CEO of Shine Solar. Nick’s energy, enthusiasm, and leadership is contagious and has contributed to attracting a talented and successful executive team. His time is focused on strategic growth, maintaining profitability and creating the optimal customer experience. Nick has started, managed and sold companies within the communications, mortgage lending, insurance and real estate industries resulting in tens of millions of dollars of market value to investors.

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