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It’s solar’s time to shine: 2020 solar trends to look out for

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This item is part of the Predictions & Trends - Special Issue - 01/2020, click here for more

It has been a rough year for the renewable energy community, mostly because of the legislative difficulties. Even though the sustainability discussion is still shaking up the most important global forums like Davos, and the presidential candidates are declaring climate change as an emergency, systematic implementation of renewable energy solutions are still very much so in progress. Between the tariff war with China and domestic opposition to much of the clean energy out of unfounded socioeconomical concerns, solar especially took a hit. That said, it appears as the next decade will be much of a productive for the solar field. Here is what is ahead for solar energy in 2020:

Despite tariffs, clean energy continues to surge

Over the last year, increased prices for solar installations due to Trump-imposed tariffs have somewhat impacted the pipeline for solar projects. However, there is no stopping the clean energy industry, and the market has craftily found ways to get around those added costs, sourcing from other parts of the supply chain to keep projects moving. In addition, as solar technology becomes more sophisticated, more efficiencies are gained, and system and financing costs drop, the tariff impact is not nearly as monumental. Solar plus storage is another major driver of expansion, and we expect to see plenty more storage come online next year and into the next decade. Given all the intermittent power sources, it’s a must, as battery storage creates stability on the grid.  You’ll see this winning combination everywhere. And it will happen faster than we think it’s going to. 

Community Solar for all communities

The penetration of solar is relatively low on the national scale, which provides an overabundance of opportunity in 2020 and beyond. Community Solar in particular is where we see substantial potential, as more states pass legislation to help bolster this sector. The underserved populations – those that traditionally have not had the means to access renewables – will be a big part of that growth.  We expect that solar access for LMI communities will take off in 2020, and from a personal standpoint, my company will also be focused on making that a reality.  In addition to the much-needed benefit of reduced energy costs, there is a very rich, wonderful community engagement component that lends itself to training, reskilling and job creation. Everyone has a part to play in our clean energy future, no matter the circumstance

Benoy Thanjan's picture

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 10, 2020 1:47 pm GMT

Community Solar in particular is where we see substantial potential, as more states pass legislation to help bolster this sector. The underserved populations – those that traditionally have not had the means to access renewables – will be a big part of that growth.  We expect that solar access for LMI communities will take off in 2020

What do you see as the big impediment to more community solar-- are there groups that are pushing back against it in any way or are there regulatory hurdles? Or rather is it just a matter of getting the organizations up and running with it?

Benoy Thanjan's picture
Benoy Thanjan on Feb 17, 2020 10:31 pm GMT

Hi Matt, I agree with you that LMI communities will take off in 2020.  I think the biggest impediement to more community solar is the regulatory hurdles of states approving it.  It has been happenening at rapid pace the past 2 or 3 years.  I think it will happen more quickly as time goes on.

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