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5 Solar Energy Trends to Watch in 2021

By April 21, 2021May 24th, 2021Blog

At Coldwell Solar, we stay abreast of the latest developments in the solar industry so we can provide our clients with cutting-edge consultation and services. That means following trends like these – the major changes we expect to see begin or increase in 2021.

1. Costs Continue to Fall

The 2010s were an excellent period for solar manufacturing efficiency, as new procedures and equipment were able to save manufacturers both time and money when it comes to producing solar cells and related components. In many cases, those savings can be passed on to owners buying a new solar installation or upgrading old solar panels, leading to lower initial costs.

We expect this trend to accelerate in 2021 thanks to new regulations and app-based technology that will decrease the permitting and direct installation costs of solar panels, cutting prices down even further. This could become a significant motivator for the commercial and industrial sectors considering larger solar projects this year.

2. Extension of Federal Tax Credit for Solar

At the 11th hour last December, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) was extended to apply to all market segments, which will receive a tax credit of 26%, for solar installations in 2021. This development has led to a lot of new eyes on commercial solar installations, especially in the agricultural and manufacturing industries.

3. Solar Road Projects

Solar roads are large commercial solar installations that involve solar strips along roadways to generate supplement power for a region. The Department of Transportation has already funded some of these solar road projects, and trials have already been set up. 2021 will be a year of serious analysis of solar roads, how well they work, and how large a part of the solar industry they will become. More solar road-testing sites are also likely to go up in suitable areas.

4. Expanded Solar Storage Efforts

For the past several years, California has had a front seat to how uncontrollable events can shut down power and cause chaos for energy grids (Texas, another large solar market, has now experienced that too). A potential solution to grid issues like this is solar storage via large battery units that can supplement grids during times of crisis.

Solar storage systems have an incredible amount of growth potential but require significant infrastructure updates as well as policies allowing and encouraging storage growth. We expect to see a surge in this direction in 2021.

5. Growing Excitement About Big Solar Efficiency Boosts

Solar cells and the panels that use them are constantly improving in efficiency, a.k.a. how well they can transfer sunlight into usable electricity. That’s one reason that buying solar panels now is a significantly better investment than buying them two decades ago. Currently, we’re seeing solar panel efficiency around 20%, depending on the supplier and technology. But exciting prototypes are hitting amazing numbers like 40% efficiency in real-world tests. 2021 will see increased discussion about bringing these advances to the commercial market ASAP.

Do any of these trends promise a significant impact for your commercial solar installation? It’s a good idea to make sure you’re prepared: If you have any questions concerning your future plans, contact Coldwell Solar today. We’d be happy to consult with you on your solar energy needs.