2018 Solar Trends Show Powerful Clean Energy Momentum
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In the face of tariffs and policy shake-ups across the country, the solar industry was undeterred in 2018. Driven by the best product prices ever (even with tariffs in place), and states that are pushing forward on carbon-neutrality goals despite inaction on the federal level, solar nationally recorded among its strongest years, and FERC data suggests 5x as much solar as exists today will come online by 2021.
In 2018, TWICE the ISO-New England grid experienced daytime low peaks as a result of solar (once in April, and again on Thanksgiving day) — results that demonstrate that the 150,000 solar arrays in New England already have a meaningful positive impact on the energy grid, and show that with greater adoption we can erase our reliance on fossil fuels.
Here are some of the most interesting trends pulled from our data of over 1,000 installations in the calendar year 2018:
- People are tending to install slightly larger solar PV systems (8.2 kW in 2018 vs. 7.8 kW in 2017).
- The increase is largely due to people converting more fuel loads (water heating, space heating, and vehicles) to electric alternatives, and powering those alternatives with solar. Nearly HALF of all solar arrays now come paired with a heat pump (vs. 25% in 2017).
- Solar finance is taking off, with roughly DOUBLE the # of solar arrays financed in 2018 vs 2017. The popularity is due to solar financing being a better deal (better interest rates and fees) and demographics (more young homeowners going solar).
- We had a boom in large-scale solar projects in Maine and New Hampshire, with a record # of projects over 50 kilowatts.
- Battery systems took off! In 2018, around 10% of our residential solar arrays came with battery storage attached, up from roughly 5% in 2017.
2019 Shaping Up to be a Record Solar Year
As we mentioned last month, 2019 is shaping to be a record-busting year for solar, driven by a combination of factors:
- Solar is the cheapest it’s ever been. Like the microprocessor industry, solar panels continue to get better and cheaper. Trump’s tariffs produced a small bump in the road, but already solar panels cost less than they did pre-tariff.
- The 26% federal tax credit for solar PV drops by 4% at the end of 2019, creating an extra incentive to get your system built in this calendar year.
- The cost for conventional energy keeps going up, and faster than the historical average. CMP in Maine announced a 14% increase, and Eversource announced a 4% increase in Massachusetts.
- The availability of zero-down solar loans means that we anticipate our 2019 installation queue to fill up quickly.
We’d love to talk to you about realizing your dream of going solar (or expanding your existing system) as well as adding complementary technology such as heat pumps, batteries, and electric vehicle charging.
Make your 2019 the year where you save money and do something about the climate crisis by going solar! Still on the fence? Check out our “Why Go Solar?” section, download the eBook, or talk to a system design specialist for a free home consultation!