From a global perspective, there are two factors that will consistently drive growth in the U.S. solar market – and related markets – over the long-term. The first is the continuing drop in hard and soft costs, which drive competitiveness against conventional energy sources. The second is the rise of solar-plus-storage solutions, which will address supply intermittency problems and make solar a more viable option for large-scale deployment.
According to GTM Research, solar hard costs have fallen by over 70 percent over last decade and the trend shows a continued decline for the next few years. As solar reaches a level playing field with fossil fuels, the solar conversation will center around pure economics – which source of energy is the cheapest? The growth in the energy storage market will also enable solar growth for two reasons. The deployment of large-scale solar-plus-storage solutions will address grid stability, while also enabling the continued fast-pace growth of the solar industry. On the residential side, the decline of net metering opens up some possibilities for solar-plus-storage solutions.
The solar industry has been a “solarcoaster” of ups and downs in recent years, but ultimately the overall industry trend remains positive. According to the Solar Foundation, the solar industry added $84 billion to U.S. GDP in 2016. Between the drop in solar costs and the rise of solar-plus-storage solutions, there is reason to remain bullish about the solar market for this year and beyond.