With the solar industry chaos of 2018 behind us, many of us are looking toward more predictable growth from 2019…at least until the Investment Tax Credit goes to zero for residential and 10% for commercial on December 31, 2021. Then again, we’re on the solar coaster, so it is unwise to be complacent about a rosy solar future — or the broader economy, for that matter. Here are my 10 predictions for 2019.
1. Inflation will hit residential solar installations hard
2. Good software and communications are the price of admission for future solar and battery systems
3. Supply chain issues with battery storage systems will persist
4. With a recession looming, financing will become even more important
5. U.S. solar manufacturing will continue its downward slide
6. PUCs will force utilities’ hands when it comes to grid reliability
7. Despite headwinds, batteries will continue their slow march toward 50% penetration
8. As pilot results roll in, uptake of VPPs will increase
9. Upgrades and maintenance will emerge as a key opportunity
10. Stubborn soft costs will impede further drops in residential solar prices
As I wrap up these 2019 comments, I am humbled by Yogi Berra’s advice: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Nevertheless, I am confident in two key elements of our industry: We are doing the right thing for the global environment, and the economics of solar-plus-storage remain superior to any other energy source. I remain optimistic that — regardless of the next plunge in the solar coaster — our industry will continue to thrive over the long term. Please listen up to this Week’s Energy Show for the details on these 2019 Rooftop Solar and Storage predictions.