Dave Barry said it best when summarizing 2020: “This was a year of nonstop awfulness, a year when we kept saying it couldn’t possibly get worse, and it always did. This was a year in which our only moments of genuine, unadulterated happiness were when we were able to buy toilet paper.”

Luckily for many companies in the solar and storage industry, our products and services were in high demand; from a revenue perspective, 2020 was not as bad as it could have been. As businesses and employees consider the long-term benefits of continued at-home working, the demand for inexpensive and reliable behind-the-meter energy supplies is likely to be even higher in 2021. And a favorable political environment will help. So here are my predictions for solar and storage for 2021.

  1. All roof orientations are fair game for solar. Module efficiency has increased from about 13 percent to over 20 percent in the last 20 years. Coupled with the commensurate 10x price reduction, it now makes economic sense to install modules on all unshaded roof orientations. The days of ignoring northerly sloped rooftops are gone.
  2. Buildings will be designed to be carbon-negative. Higher module efficiencies mean that buildings under two stories in height can be designed to be carbon-negative, that is, generating more energy than they operationally consume. The percentage of rooftops covered with solar will increase as a result.
  3. Skill levels for solar and storage contractors will increase. The additional features and configuration options of an integrated solar and storage system require higher skill levels to implement. Gone are the days when installers only needed to connect a black, a red and a green wire to get a system to operate properly. Installers must be savvy with building electrical wiring, CAT 5/6 communication wiring, various wireless communications protocols, desktop and cellphone applications, and […]