Commercial, Distributed Generation, Finance, Industrial, Regulation, Solar - March 4, 2016
RMI's top 10 reasons solar PV is poised for major growth
A recent Rocky Mountain Institute blog post countered a popular article from The New York Times that discussed potential challenges facing the U.S. solar industry. RMI presented ten examples of why solar is poised for considerable long-term growth, not only in the US, but globally.
“The article implies that the solar business model is based largely on subsidies (federal, state, and local), and therefore highly exposed to regulatory changes. Yet we believe the opposite is true: the solar industry will continue to have sustained and significant growth despite SolarCity stock woes and net metering policy changes.”
The examples are summarized below:
PV COMPANIES ARE DIVERSIFYING
While the Times piece focused on residential installation, that sector only accounts for 25% of the total market. As companies build more commercial, industrial and utility-scale solar projects they will be further insulated from policy vagaries like net metering.
THE PV INDUSTRY IS GLOBAL
Growth in overseas markets offers opportunities for U.S. companies and evidence suggests these firms are rapidly expanding into international markets.
SOLAR PV IS A PROVEN AND ROBUST TECHNOLOGY
Panels, inverters and other components are getting more sophisticated and lasting longer, which bodes well for the long-term sustainability of the industry.
SOLAR PV COST IS BEATING FOSSIL FUELS
There is increasing evidence that utility-scale solar projects in particular are competing with fossil fuels on a levelized cost of electricity basis.
COST OF SOLAR PV WILL CONTINUE TO FALL
PV solar cost reductions have been nothing short of astonishing in recent years and the trend is expected to continue.
THE INDUSTRY IS ATTRACTING TOP TALENT
Younger workers are gravitating to solar PV-related jobs and careers associated with energy efficiency-related businesses.
DECOMMISSIONED COAL PLANTS WILL DRIVE SURGE IN PV DEMAND
The writing is on the wall for coal with regard to greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy and economics are driving a final stake through traditional coal business models.
COMPLETELY UNTAPPED MARKETS STILL EXIST
The low-income market in the U.S. offers enormous potential and the billions of people without access to electricity globally are another huge potential long-term market for solar PV applications.
NEW SOLAR MARKETS SEGMENTS ARE EMERGING IN MATURE MARKETS SUCH AS THE U.S
Similar to above, but community solar is highlighted as a market that currently has 65 MW installed and an estimated 250 MW of total potential.
BUSINESS MODELS ARE BEING CONTINUOUSLY INNOVATED
Nonprofits are pioneering ways to make solar more affordable and accessible to customers and even large investor-owned utilities are getting in to the game in ways they never before have.
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