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10 Solar Trends to Watch in 2021

Utilizing solar energy is growing in popularity every year. It’s a clean alternative source of electricity that is good for the planet and one that makes good financial sense. Here are the solar trends to watch out for in 2021.

SOLAR INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT (ITC) EXPIRES 2021

The ITC was enacted in 2006 and it gives residential property owners a tax credit for solar system installations. The tax credit provides for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in income taxes. In 2020 that tax credit equals 26%, drops to 22% in 2021 and ends in 2022. Here’s a link to more information provided by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

SOLAR AUTOMATED PERMIT PROCESSING PLATFORM (SolarAPP)

One of the biggest hurdles for solar installation is the direct and indirect costs of permitting, inspection and interconnection. The difficulty of the permitting process accounts around $7,000 per residential solar installation – or the equivalent of the ITC tax credit. The SolarApp, which is due to be released by the end of Q3 2020, will provide local authorities a flexible, web-based permitting tool to make solar energy more affordable and accessible for all. To learn more, visit the NREL SolarApp website.

MORE SOLAR SYSTEMS PAIRED WITH BATTERY STORAGE

In 2019, less than 5% of all behind-the-meter solar systems were paired with battery storage but the demand is increasing exponentially. SEIA Estimates that by 2025, more than 25% of systems will include battery storage.

SUPPLEMENT SOLAR ROOF PANELS WITH SOLAR BLINDS

We use our blinds during the day to block the radiant energy from the sun. SolarGaps has discovered how to harness that wasted energy by creating exterior-mounted blinds that automatically track the sun and generates electricity which is fed into the electrical grid.

UTILIZING PONDS AS SOLAR ENERGY SOURCE

The use of floatovoltaics, or floating solar systems, is seeing increased commercial applications. These large-scale solar panel systems are floated on top of bodies of water such as ponds or wastewater holding areas.

SOLAR-POWERED FARMS

Pairing solar panels with intermittent shade loving plants such as lettuce, tomatoes and corn has the potential to produce more crops than traditional open farming. Field installations can also provide shade for smaller farm animals and provide farmers an additional source of income and energy savings.

BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS

Solar panels with photovoltaic cells on both sides of the panel are one of the new solar industry’s up-and-coming solar technology trends for 2021. These panels capture reflected surface light and can generate as much as 30% more energy than monofacial systems. Check out the Burns McDonnell’s whitepaper for more technical information.

RENTABLE SOLAR SYSTEMS

Tesla is now offering residential and commercial solar subscriptions instead of paying upfront for a solar installation. Residents in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico can opt for a monthly rental program if they are serviced by a select number of utility companies. But, don’t think you get all the benefits. The agreement states that renters give Tesla the rights to all tax credits, energy credits and rebates.

SOLAR SHINGLES

Solar shingles have been around for many years and while they did not initially take off because of the higher cost and lower yield, there is an increasing interest this product. Combining a roof replacement with a solar panel project creates the perfect environment for choosing solar shingles. They are more aesthetically pleasing than roof-mounted solar panels and 10 to 15% more cost effective as a roof replacement/solar project combo.

SOLAR INSTALLATION PRICES WILL CONTINUE TO FALL

According to a study completed by SEIA, the cost of solar installations has dropped by more than 70% in the last decade. “Prices are at their lowest levels in history across all market segments.” As technology improves and market competition increases, consumers can expect prices to continue their decent.

If you are considering a solar panel installation project, 2020 and 2021 will be good years to act so you can take advantage of the high ITC tax credit. If you have questions, please contact anyone on our team here at Altair Solar.

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