Trends that Will Shake the Renewable Energy Industry in 2019

Published on December 5, 2018

The solar industry has lived up to its ‘solar coaster’ moniker in 2018, but this bodes well for the consumers and solar companies willing to grid themselves into the energy mold of the future with these 2019 trends:

Although residential installations are at a standstill, solar as a whole is climbing. So far the US has installed 4.7 gigawatts of solar power in 2018. Utility-scale solar has hit over one gigawatt of solar for the past 11 consecutive quarters. To-date, utility-scale solar represents 55 percent of 2018 installed solar capacity. Total Solar Installations in the US will continue to increase, like its done in the past.

Solar panel prices continue to fall, which is why Green Tech Media predicts China will decrease poly-crystalline further. This is due to America’s importation tax on foreign panels as well as China’s demand to decrease. China has enforced installation caps and feed-in-tariffs that will decrease their solar installations. This means that China’s surplus solar will most likely drop in price. Which will in-turn force competition prices to drop in order to compete. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) expects solar will decline by 10-15 percent in 2019.

Alarmist overreactions to the 201 Trade Case Tariff will continue, which will further magnify and cause Americans to miss out on solar panel features. The solar tariff on imports has postponed many utility-scale projects, at the loss of the investors: Many of whom overlook the fact that solar panel costs only account for a fraction of the total cost of going solar and operating a solar business, provided the company is financially healthy. If you are getting residential solar, this is an even smaller fraction of the total cost.

Although the tariff is currently 30 percent, it is set to decrease by 5 percent each year over the next four years. This means that although this price increase will affect the cost, it won’t be catastrophic, and it will make up for the slight Federal Tax Credit declines. Each year comes with new challenges and changes. Taking a look at what to expect will help you be better prepared.

State renewable energy incentives are a little more tricky, but they’re expected to take the forefront in state legislatures and utility companies. Which state you are in and what solar policies they have in place make a large difference. Make sure to look into your state and utility incentives before you purchase solar. Federal and State tax incentives represent a large part of solar affordability. As of 2018, the federal solar tax credit covers 30 percent of solar installation costs.

Because of the ITC extension, this tax credit will continue to cover 30 percent in 2019. This is a major win for individuals that want solar. The bad news is that this credit will decrease to 26 percent in 2020. And it is set to continue to decrease until 2022. After this point, only commercial installs will get 10 percent. So consumers should act fast to get grandfathered into existing incentive tiers.

There’s expected to be a widespread adpoption of solar plus products. By solar plus products, we mean any technology that extends, redefines, or enhances the existing solar modules on businesses or residences. These types of devices have taken a large role in hiking, solar panels, solar screens, tinted windows, and are even being used in the home thanks to their variety of solar backup options.

Having solar energy can be a game-changer, it can positively impact the way you live every single day. It’s no wonder the solar industry is booming and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

Scott Cramer is a Contributor at GritDaily. He is the CEO/President of Go Solar Group, a full-service solar company servicing Reno, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio.

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