As we move toward midsummer 2016, the reality of this year’s renewable energy trends is beginning to take hold. Overall, 2016 is shaping up to be another record-breaking year for solar. In the U.S., this is expected to be the first year to see an excess of 10 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) installed, growing the market by an estimated 119 percent. Overseas, solar is also enjoying continued substantial growth, especially in China and India.
Let’s take a look at some of the major solar energy trends of 2016, what factors are contributing to them, and how they are likely to play out as the year matures.
Four 2016 Solar Energy Trends to Watch
- Solar component prices are still dropping. The price of solar has dropped 73 percent.
- over the past 10 years, largely due to economies of scale and improved manufacturing efficiencies. While this trend can’t last forever, it hasn’t bottomed yet: Average solar module prices have dropped
- percent or more in all categories except economy models since last October. Not only does this trend make solar more affordable, but it encourages healthy competition amongst solar manufacturers. Ultimately, this will help keep solar affordable and encourage increased investment over the next few years.
- Extension of the ITC promises continued solar growth. Last December’s extension of the federal 30 percent Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) through the end of 2019 will help keep solar affordable in the near future and assure the continued health of the industry. In addition to adding an estimated 20 gigawatts to the national solar infrastructure annually, the legislation is expected to result in the creation of 420,000 U.S. jobs.
- Solar net metering and rate-reform debates rage. Despite the documented economic benefits of solar
- to the U.S. and local economies, the industry continues to come under attack in some states and municipalities by entrenched energy interests. Attempts to make private solar ownership unprofitable not only weaken the resiliency of the grid but negatively impact local economies, as was demonstrated in Nevada last year. The best way to combat anti-solar policies is to fight back with organized grassroots action, such as Wisconsin energy customers’ recent victory over attempted utility control.
- Oil prices remain low. With the current global oil glut keeping oil prices down (dropping below $30 a barrel at times), one might think solar would suffer. However, the reality is just the opposite. While low oil prices decrease the profitability of oil production, they make solar even more affordable to produce and are attracting the attention of investors. Forward-thinking organizations and individuals can take advantage of this trend, investing in solar infrastructure now as a hedge against the day when oil prices rocket skyward — which some pundits
- say may not be too far in the future.
Is Solar Energy Trending in Your Future?
All in all, 2016 is shaping up to be an excellent year to finally make that investment in solar you’ve been dreaming about. Prices are low, incentives are still available, and solar has moved firmly into the mainstream antabuse tablets online.
Renewable Energy Corporation has been one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s most trusted solar providers since 2002. Over the years, our experienced solar panel installers have built hundreds of commercial and residential solar energy systems in Maryland, DC; Northern Virginia; Delaware; Washington, D.C. and Southern Pennsylvania. We’re a big reason the region’s solar power use is on the rise, and we are well-prepared to meet the growing demand for solar in the area.
To learn more about our U.S.-made solar panel systems and solar power services, call [company_phone] or click here to request a free solar estimate for your home or business.