For the past couple of years, the solar industry has been on a roll! But what does the future hold? The solar industry continues to grow and flourish, with record-breaking installations in the last quarter of 2021.
A 2021 Solar Energy Industries Association Report concluded that the United States’ solar power capacity reached a new high of 113 gigawatts in Q3 2021 alone! This means that enough clean energy was generated to power 21 million American homes. It is clear that this new technology has become an essential part of our energy mix today, but there are still challenges placing these systems due to supply chain constraints, as well as other factors.
The Build Back Better Act could help increase deployment projections by allowing homeowners or businesses who want their own panel installation program on rooftops. If you’re thinking about going solar or want to learn more about where the US solar market is headed, then keep reading below for our top 10 Solar Trends for 2022. We will provide everything you need to know about the future of renewable energy.
This article will explore some of the most prevalent trends surrounding clean energy transition throughout North America. These trends will give you a snapshot of what to expect in the next five years and how solar power is changing each and every day.
Trend #1: The cost of solar energy will continue to decline.
The cost of solar power has been steadily declining over recent years. The average residential system is now below $3 per watt, which means that after you take into account the federal solar investment tax credit, it will only set your family back around 10% or so on their electricity bills each month! A new report from nonprofit organization Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reveals how costs for installing home systems continue falling despite increasing competition among manufacturers and inverter suppliers”.
With this continued growth, it is now possible to power one million homes with clean energy. If you think that’s impressive, wait until you hear about what will happen next year—we’re forecasting an additional 43+ billion watts worth of new installs across America over just 7 years (from 2019 through 2023).
Trend #2: Homeowners will become more interested in solar energy.
In 2022, solar energy will be adopted by even more homeowners across the United States. Why? This is because the solar market is becoming increasingly more affordable and homeowners are beginning to see the benefits of generating their own energy. In fact, a study done by Pew Charitable Trusts showed that 83% of homeowners would be interested in installing solar energy in their home if the cost was right. With renewable energy prices dropping every year, it’s only a matter of time until more and more people make the switch! In 2022, net-zero homes will become increasingly popular as people become more conscious about their energy consumption and focused on energy cost reductions.
Trend #3: Net-zero homes will become more popular
Net-zero homes are regular grid-tied houses that produce as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year, leaving their occupants with an annualized net zero bill and reduced environmental impact. They can be used by anyone who wants more control over what they produce themselves; perhaps that’s because you live alone without many amenities/needs beyond the basics such as hot water and cooking facilities. Some people simply want the convenience of being able to use sustainable solar energy at home.
This year, seven homes in the Sunset at Bayou Pass neighborhood will be built with “net-zero” energy consumption. This means they will generate as much power from renewable sources like solar panels and wind turbines to offset their own needs for electricity; after allocating $150K through a grant provided by Wells Fargo that aims to help make sustainable communities accessible throughout Florida!
In addition to greater energy efficiency, residential solar systems will also become more modular and customizable: the average residential system size is expected to increase by 16%, but the price per watt for these installations will continue decreasing year over year.
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Trend #4: Community solar will continue to grow in popularity
Community solar is becoming more widely adopted in residential communities. This trend has been increasing since 2017 and will continue to increase even further throughout the next few years! Community solar projects have a variety of benefits, including:
- Offering residential customers that do not own their homes the opportunity to take advantage of low-cost solar options.
- Offering residential customers the opportunity to take advantage of solar energy without taking up their own roof space or having to pay for electricity from other sources (even if they’re currently unable to install solar energy systems in their homes).
- Involving homeowners in a community project that benefits them, future generations, and local residential communities by reducing their carbon footprint.
- Providing residential businesses and organizations with a way to reduce their energy costs, which in turn helps them be more sustainable as well!
Solar is rapidly increasing in popularity throughout the country; especially because it’s growing into new areas that are typically not associated with solar power (i..e.: residential communities).
Trend #5: Supply Chain Constraints Continue
The solar industry is growing rapidly and with that growth comes the need for more materials. Unfortunately, this increased demand has led to some supply chain issues. This means that not all manufacturers are able to keep up with the demand for solar products, which in turn leads to longer wait times for products and higher prices.
While these constraints have caused some solar companies to start looking for alternative materials, the demand still remains high. The solar industry continues to grow because more and more residential homeowners are considering making the switch from conventional sources of energy!
Trend #6: Shift from centralized to decentralized energy production
As solar capacity increases, the amount of renewable electricity produced each year will continue to grow. It is estimated that electric generation capacity in North America alone will triple by 2022!
This rise in residential production means we’ll also see a shift from centralized energy production (i..e.: power plants) to decentralized energy production (i..e.: residential solar). This shift is important because it helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a more sustainable future!
Trend #7: Solar gardens and community-owned solar will continue to grow in popularity…
Solar gardens are residential solar systems that can be shared among multiple residential homes in the same community. Community-owned solar is simply residential solar panels that are owned by a local residential community (i..e.: an HOA, homeowners association). This trend will continue to grow as more and more people become interested in generating their electricity using renewable energy sources.
Solar gardens and community-owned solar are beneficial for residential homeowners in a variety of ways, including:
- Helping to reduce residential electricity bills
- Ensuring that residential communities can continue participating/growing as more people become interested in renewable energy! As you may know from reading previous blog posts on the subject (see links below), residential solar is growing in popularity throughout the country. We predict that this trend will continue to grow as homeowners become more and more interested in generating their own electricity from renewable sources like the sun!
- Offering residential customers that do not own their homes or live within an HOA community the opportunity to take advantage of low-cost solar options.
- Giving residential customers that live in areas without access to solar the ability to connect with a community solar project.
Trend #8: Battery storage technology will improve
Battery storage technology is going to see a huge improvement in the next few years (and beyond). Today, residential battery systems are not typically able to store enough electricity for residential customers that generate their own solar power. These residential customers still need access to conventional sources of energy when they are not using renewable sources like solar.
This will soon change! Over the next few years, residential battery technology will make huge leaps forward. This means that residential customers can look forward to an increase in their solar storage capabilities which will:
- Reduce reliance on conventional sources of energy (i..e.: the grid) when residential solar power is not being generated by residential solar panels.
- Help ensure homeowners can maximize the use of solar energy harvested during daylight hours.
Trend #9: Solar roof tiles to be more common
Solar roof tiles are residential solar panels that have been designed to look like residential shingles or residential roofs. In other words, they’re basically identical in appearance and functionality to residential shingles!
They may be the future of residential solar due to the lower materials and labor cost of installing solar panels on a rooftop. However, it’s important to note that this technology has not yet been able to produce the energy output compared to solar cells associated with a traditional solar panel array. Likewise, their durability has not yet been proven in long-term studies when compared to solar panels.
Many residential solar panel companies are beginning to offer residential customers the opportunity to purchase solar roof tiles. We predict that residential solar roof tile popularity will continue growing in the next few years as more and more homeowners begin switching their residential roofs for residential solar (aka “solar shingles”). These homeowners will be able to take advantage of all the benefits residential solar has to offer, including:
- Reducing reliance on conventional sources of energy (i..e.: the grid) when residential solar power is not being generated by residential solar panels.
- Helping to reduce residential electricity bills.
- Adding value to your home or business.
Trend #10: More electric cars on the road
The number of residential solar installations is expected to continue growing as residential electric car ownership increases. As residential customers look for ways to reduce their electricity bills, they are going to begin considering a switch from gas-powered cars (or diesel trucks) to electric vehicles. This will be due in large part because electric vehicle owners can take advantage of federal and state tax credits, as well as residential solar.
In states like California and New York, electric vehicle ownership is already beginning to outpace gas-powered car ownership. This trend is only going to continue in the next few years as residential solar becomes more and more popular. As this happens, we can expect to see an increased demand for EV car charging outlets both at home and work.
BONUS: Increased adoption of SmartGrids
A SmartGrid is a type of electrical grid that uses information and communication technologies to collect data from customers’ energy usage patterns and manage the flow of electricity accordingly. This helps reduce peak demand, save energy, and improve reliability!
The Department of Energy (DOE) is on a mission to make our electricity grid more reliable and efficient. To do so, they’ve tasked themselves with increasing awareness of Smart Grids–a new way for us all to learn about this modernized system that will soon be in place! Smart Grids regulate energy use and production based on demand. This will help to optimize the flow of energy from solar energy and other renewable resources into the grid, making it easier for everyone to transition to renewables.
As US solar systems become more popular, we can expect to see an increase in the adoption of SmartGrids. This is because SmartGrids are able to manage solar capacity, energy production, and consumption more effectively, which in turn helps reduce stress on the grid.