Community solar insight: This industry brief cuts through the collective confusion

Thumbnail - SAM NA - Community Solar - 1.0

The U.S. Community solar is on a steep, upward trajectory and does not show any signs of slowing down. Community or shared solar offers an opportunity for customers also referred to as subscribers, who either cannot or simply do not want to install solar at their homes or businesses, to receive credits on their clean energy bill. These type of programs enable customers to either purchase solar energy or invest in solar assets who otherwise would not be able to due to inadequate roof space, lack of a strong credit score, not owning a home, etc.

Whether you are a developer, an owner of community solar projects, or even just a participant, there are a lot of benefits to engaging in such projects. Community solar enables access to solar for all. Businesses and homeowners can have equal access to the environmental and economic benefits of solar energy in a trouble-free manner, particularly for low-to-moderate income customers, which form a large portion of the US households.

Community solar business models continue to evolve to cater to the needs of both customers subscribers, utilities, etc. Identifying the optimal model and what it takes to succeed in this budding market can be challenging and at times confusing. This industry brief aims to cut through some of this confusion by providing a bird’s-eye view over the main existing models, drivers of success, as well as considerations for investors and asset owners.

Join the pre-eminent Solar Asset Management North America 2019 conference, taking place in the high-powered and ambitious city of San Francisco on March 26-27, to get all the insights to help you navigate through the complexities associated with community solar.

— Solar Builder magazine

Five takeaways from the Solar Installer Survey from EnergySage, NABCEP

solar installer survey

Results of the fourth annual Solar Installer Survey from EnergySage and NABCEP are now available. Here are the five takeaways that most stood out to us from the responses of 870 residential and commercial installers across the country.

● Consumers demand Tesla as storage installations rise: According to installers, more than one in three solar shoppers are also interested in a home battery, resulting in more solar-plus-storage installations in 2018. However, responses also illustrate a gap between consumer brand preference and what installers stock. While over 55% of installers reported that their customers specifically request Tesla battery solutions, only 12% of solar installers surveyed actually carry and quote the Tesla Powerwall.

● Installer confidence in the industry continues to rise: Nationwide, more than half of the installers surveyed indicated that they’ve grown more confident in the solar industry in the last twelve months. At the state level, installer confidence rebounded in New York and California as governors in those states pushed for 100% renewable futures.

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● Installers choose growth over margins: For the fourth straight year, a growing majority of installers (67%) stated that gaining market share is more important to their business than increasing the gross margins of each installation. When combined with the falling price of equipment, this finding signals the solar industry is likely on a path of increased competition.

● For the third year in a row, the top challenge reported in closing sales was confusion and lower consumer confidence created by competitors. Nearly half of all installers surveyed identified this as a major obstacle. Interestingly, customer hesitation created by utility and regulatory uncertainty leap-frogged the high cost of installation to become the second most common challenge in closing sales in 2018.

● In 2017, around ten percent of installers indicated that they planned to add energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging to their offerings in 2018. In fact, in 2018 the percentage of installers offering energy storage increased by 6% while the percentage offering EV charging products increased 8%, nearly achieving installer plans from 2017. This year, an additional 8% and 9% of installers say they will add EV charging and energy storage, respectively, to their new product offerings in 2019.

EnergySage fielded this survey between December 17th, 2018 and January 18th, 2019. Read the full report right here.

 


roof top reportDownload the new Residential Rooftop Report to heat up your solar sales

The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.



















— Solar Builder magazine

PV panel provider Solaria just doubled its global production capacity

Solaria

Solaria Corp., a global provider of high-performance solar panel and systems technologies, today announced that Solaria has started shipping PowerXT panels from SHINSUNG E&G’s (011930 KS) production facilities, doubling Solaria’s global production capacity.

“We’ve been seeing so much demand for our PowerXT panels that it has been a challenge to keep up,” said Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma. “We’re proud to be working with SHINSUNG E&G to meet this demand. SHINSUNG E&G is an established and highly respected leader in our industry, and has proven it shares Solaria’s commitment to manufacturing excellence.”

“Shinsung E&G is proud to be producing Solaria PowerXT panels,” said Dong-Seop Kim, President, Renewable Energy Business, SHINSUNG E&G. “The combination of Solaria’s patented technology with SHINSUNG E&G’s manufacturing expertise yields an unbeatable combination of an elegant streamlined look and industry-leading efficiency.”

Solaria’s Pure Black PowerXT solar panels, using advanced cell interconnect and module production processes, significantly boosts power generation and provides outstanding performance with unmatched aesthetic appeal.

— Solar Builder magazine

Nexamp completes community solar project in Seneca, New York, part of state’s Green New Deal

Nexamp logo

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the completion of Nexamp’s 2.6 MW community solar project in the Town of Seneca, N.Y., of which 1 MW will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in New York State Electric and Gas Corporation’s (NYSEG) utility territory. Nexamp Seneca was one of nine projects awarded contracts last December under the first round of the state’s Solar for All program. The project supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal and proposed new mandate for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 and complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “As New York builds on its ag-gressive efforts to combat climate change under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, NYSERDA is proud to be advancing the Solar for All program to make sure our most underserved homeowners and renters have greater access to renewable energy sources like solar. Nexamp and other Solar for All developers continue to make solar a reality for more New Yorkers.”

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Administered by NYSERDA as part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program, the Solar for All program is designed to provide no-cost community solar to 10,000 low-income homeowners and renters in support of the state’s ongoing efforts to make re-newable energy more accessible to all New Yorkers. Solar For All offers eligible low-income households the opportunity to subscribe to a community solar project in their area without any upfront costs or participation fees. Through the Solar for All program, the Nexamp Seneca project will reserve approximately 20 percent of project capacity, up to 1 megawatt, for eligible homeowners and renters to subscribe. Today’s an-nouncement was made at a ribbon cutting for the project which will serve customers in NYSEG’s Central New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

“Making the benefits of solar accessible to everyone is core to our mission as a compa-ny,” notes Zaid Ashai, CEO of Nexamp, “so being selected as a NYSERDA Solar for All partner is a meaningful achievement for us. New York is leading the way in its commitment to carbon-free electricity, and community solar promises to be a central part of the solution. Deploying local, renewable resources that enable that all residents, regardless of income, to participate and reduce their energy costs is a goal that Nex-amp and NYSERDA share.”

Eligibility for Solar for All is based on a resident’s location, household income, and an-nual electric usage. For more information on Solar for All eligibility and to sign up, homeowners and renters are encouraged to visit: www.nyserda.ny.gov/solarforall. Res-idents who need help answering questions about Solar for All can email solarforall@nyserda.ny.gov or call 1-877-NYSMART. NYSERDA will launch a second round of the program later this year, which will expand the number of house-holds and areas served.

Customers not eligible for the Solar for All program can subscribe through Nexamp di-rectly at www.solarforny.com and save 10 percent on utility costs for the life of the pro-ject.

Nexamp, which was also awarded a contract in the first round of awards for their 5.6 megawatt community solar project in the Town of Rochester in Ulster County, expects to have more than 20 community solar farms operating or under construction through-out New York by the end of 2019. The company, which owns and operates solar pro-jects across the country, addresses the entire community solar project lifecycle, from design and construction through ongoing maintenance, operations, and customer management.

— Solar Builder magazine

Residential Rooftop Report: Heat up your solar install sales in 2019 (free report download)

roof top report

The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.

Contents

  • Inside Sales: We take a journey down the residential solar sales funnel.
  • Design Intervention: How to save $850 per install with remote solar site assessments.
  • 3 Tactics for better solar designs under TOU rates.
  • Changing Change Orders: Tackle solar’s dirty little secret and reduce your number of change orders.
  • NEC 2017 Tips: Manufacturers explain how to best meet the new code.


















— Solar Builder magazine