My 2022 solar and storage predictions came into clearer focus — although I didn’t like the picture — after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) dropped a bomb on California’s solar and battery storage industry. Basically, the CPUC sided with PG&E and other utilities in California to eliminate Net Metering.

The proposed terms for Net Metering 3 (NEM 3) cannot be considered net metering since new solar customers will actually be penalized for connecting to the grid under this rate. The utilities’ NEM 3 proposal includes high monthly fixed costs, wholesale daytime reimbursement rates, and a change in grandfathering for existing NEM customers. Under this planned NEM 3 regime, solar customers will be better off economically with a battery and never send excess power to the grid.

The California solar and storage industry mobilized to modify this poorly-reasoned CPUC decision. The NEM 3 decision is now delayed for another few months, most likely being finalized sometime during Summer 2022. There is no doubt in my mind that NEM 3 rates for solar and battery customers will be significantly worse than the current NEM 2. And what happens in California tends to spread; Florida is likely to experience similar net metering battles as their utilities gear up to fight rooftop solar and storage.

With this background about NEM in mind, here are my 2022 Solar and Storage Predictions:

    1. California’s investor-owned utilities will have their best year ever in 2022
    2. The NEM 3 transition will drive record solar installations in Q1 and Q2
    3. Suppliers will not have inventory to meet the Q1 and Q2 rush in California
    4. New battery system suppliers will focus more on technology than actual customer needs
    5. Branded U.S. solar manufacturing will increase
    6. Poor data communications technology will be problematic for battery systems
    7. Shortages of battery installers and technicians will slow down deployments of storage systems
    8. Only battery system manufacturers with a well-known brand and deep pockets will gain market traction
    9. Smart load control systems will become standard equipment for backup power systems
    10. PV module power capacities will increase until modules get too big to carry up a ladder.
  1. Please listen to this week’s Energy Show as I walk through the details behind my 2022 Solar and Storage Predictions.