After gazing into my crystal ball, I see a good year for rooftop solar in 2016. In fact, towards the end of 2016, my crystal ball got even clearer as the ITC was extended through 2021, and California’s Public Utility Commission decided to extend retail net metering — instead of kill it as was done in Hawaii and Nevada. So here are my Ten Predictions for Rooftop Solar in 2016:
1. The rooftop solar industry will focus on steadier, more sustainable growth.
2. Manufacturers and installers were ramping up capacity to meet expected U.S. demand in the last year of the ITC – but with the ITC cliff gone, there will be excess capacity in 2016, leading to continued price reductions.
3. Local and regional installers will continue to gain market share.
4. Adam Smith’s invisible hand will wave away the impact of the module tariff dispute.
5. Soft costs will continue to go up as a percentage of the total installed cost to homeowners.
6. Even with slightly higher interest rates, homeowners will have more choices for system financing
7. Investments in all segments of the U.S. solar industry will increase.
8. Rooftop solar companies will clean up their act when it comes to fair marketing practices towards consumers.
9. 2016 will not be the year of residential battery storage – although we are gradually getting closer to when battery storage becomes a mainstream product.
10. Product differentiation will become more important than ever as pricing for commoditized products is forced down.
For details on how these predictions may impact your segment of the solar business, please Listen Up to the Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.