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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Top 7 Takeaways – Factors Accelerating the Adoption of Solar Technology

Solar technology installed behind the meter has implications for utilities, because excess energy flows back into the grid. Utility-scale solar must be managed as an asset in energy markets. Wherever solar exists on the grid, it has an impact on utility Demand Response (DR) and Energy Efficency (EE) initiatives.

Smart Energy Summit featured executives from Vivint Solar, Austin Energy, Silver Spring Networks, SunPower Corporation, and Enphase addressing the state of the solar market and factors that can accelerate its adoption by consumers. Top 7 takeaways from the session included:

  1. The future of solar energy in the home is to be part of an overall strategy that includes other elements, such as smart thermostats and demand response systems. To achieve this strategy, players must understand that they are being invited into the customer’s home and need to figure out how to work well with other infrastructure already in the home.
  2. Solar costs are falling, meaning that microgrids are now highly viable for large market segments. Swanson’s Law states that the cost of solar drops 20% with each doubling of volume.
  3. While it is clear that those who have solar in their homes are very passionate, a poll taken at the event suggests that 46% of those surveyed say it will take more than 20 years to reach 50% penetration, and 22% say it will never happen.
  4. There appears to be no one single value proposition that drives the residential solar market. Some industry leaders say financial incentives work, while others believe there needs to be better governmental policies to encourage great usage of solar power.
  5. The industry has seen five years of significant solar growth and that use of solar is the tip of the spear for energy-engaged consumers. Solar users are evangelists who slowly convert their entire neighborhoods.
  6. There are many factors required to boost solar adoption, including tax credits and regulatory incentives, better communications with customers, implementation of standards, storage in the home, and positive attitude of being a guest in people’s homes.
  7. There is a passion among home owners for solar installation.

For more information about Smart Energy Summit, or to download the Event Summary, Click Here.

Next: Challenges and Opportunities of Integrating a Comprehensive Energy Solution
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