How the solar industry will evolve as the solar market expands
As the market for solar energy continues to grow, the companies that sell it face a challenge.
A new industry is emerging to provide power to the homes and businesses of the future, while providing energy to the grid and helping the environment.
Energy Management Corp., a major solar installer, is one of several companies hoping to take advantage of a market that has become one of the fastest-growing in the country.
The industry, which is growing at an annual rate of more than 10 percent, is poised to reach nearly $3 billion in annual sales by 2025.
The solar market is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to a recent forecast by the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA.
Solar is poised for another surge as more homes and business customers choose solar over fossil fuels.
“We think the solar business is going to be the fastest growing in the United States in the next few years, and it’s going to go from being about 10 percent to 20 percent of our revenue to 60 percent of it,” said Mike Orenstein, Energy Management Corp.’s CEO.
Solar is the fastest expanding industry in the U.S., accounting for about 25 percent of the total U.s. solar energy market, according a report released in May by SolarCity, the solar installer.
In the first nine months of this year, solar installed more than 7,300 megawatts of solar capacity, more than double the number in 2016.
In a year that included record-setting solar storms in January and February, the sector is projected to grow to about 30,000 megawatts by 2020.
Solar’s growth has been fueled in part by new regulations, which have made it easier for businesses and homeowners to install solar panels.
SolarCity’s Orensteins plan is to offer solar power to as many as 4.6 million homes and 3.5 million businesses this year.
Solar companies are taking advantage of the growing energy independence of the U, and the government’s recent energy efficiency rules that were supposed to encourage the deployment of green energy.
“If you don’t have solar, it becomes very expensive for the utility companies to buy it,” Orensten said.
Solar companies have seen an average rate of about $1,200 per megawatt-hour of installed solar capacity during the past year.
The solar industry has also been on a tear, with more than 3,000 new companies opening or expanding in the past six months, according in the Solar Foundation.
That number includes nearly 100 new companies that have recently opened or expanded.
“The energy industry is going from a small company to a large one,” Odenstein said.
The growth has come at a time when many energy companies have been grappling with slowing demand and increasing prices.
Energy companies are also struggling to find ways to increase the amount of solar power they can generate in a given time frame.
SolarCity has been working with utilities to reduce the cost of installing solar power.
The company recently lowered its installation fee for residential customers, and in January, it lowered its annual rate for commercial customers.
“When the industry grows at this rate, we have to look at that as a net gain for the economy, as opposed to an absolute loss,” Osten said of the energy industry.
“We’re not seeing any net losses.
We’re seeing net gain.”
SolarCity has also invested in solar infrastructure to help its customers meet their energy needs.
The utility is partnering with developers to install more solar panels in their homes and build new homes that can generate more solar power when they are put on the grid.
The energy companies are planning to build more than 4,000 homes and 10,000 solar-powered businesses this spring, according the Solar Association.
Solar industry leaders also are looking to expand into other energy sectors, such as the transportation sector.
The U.C. Davis-based solar company, Sunrun, has invested $300 million in the transportation and power sectors.
It recently announced plans to build 1,000 miles of solar fiber optic cable in North Carolina.
The move comes after the solar company also began buying power from utility companies and other companies to help provide solar power in its homes and commercial businesses.
In addition to energy-intensive jobs, energy-related businesses have benefited from the increased demand for solar.
Companies like Sunrun and Energy Management have seen their energy bills rise because of the demand for power from solar panels, according an Energy Management report.
The cost of solar panels has dropped by about 70 percent since 2014, according Energy Management.
Orenstein said the industry is also benefiting from lower gas prices.
Solar panels generate less energy than they used to, and gas prices are going down, so that means the industry has a better return on investment, Orenstien said.
Sunrun also has partnered with energy companies to develop new products.
The electric vehicle manufacturer is developing an electric vehicle charging station that will be built in South Carolina.
It is also developing a solar-based power-storage system to