Every quarter, our ConveYour team assembles a newsletter digest of the biggest news, trends, and developments in the world of residential solar. This newsletter is sent out to our subscribers before it gets posted on the site.
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Solar News Off The Top
- A&R Solar has named a new CEO to their ranks. Congratulations to Ernie Antin!
- Scientists in Osaka created a new biodegradable plastic using fumaric acid, carbon dioxide, and solar energy.
- Solar manufacturer QCells announced a $2.5 billion investment in building a complete solar supply chain in the United States.
- Sunrun has teamed up with startup Lunar Energy Inc to create a network of virtual power plants across the country.
- Elevation has announced a partnership with AMH to create solar-enabled new construction homes in Las Vegas, NV.
- The LGCY Power team just returned from a trip to South Africa where they built homes, community farms, and even a soccer field!
Welcome to 2023! This quarter marks a full year since the creation of the Solar News Roundup. As an anniversary present, I've got something special for you solar companies: A bunch of money!
...okay, I didn't have anything to do with it. BUT, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) officially took effect this January, with the goal of giving both solar businesses and customers some help to encourage solar installation in the country. That was a couple of months ago - so how are we doing now?
Overall, not bad! PV Magazine reports that in just the six months since the IRA was passed, over 100,000 new clean energy jobs have been created. New solar installations, which declined by 16%* in 2022, are predicted to increase this year by as much as 41%, according to Wood Mackenzie. As part of the new legislation, the EPA has announced an eye-popping $27 billion green fund to finance renewable energy installation in low-income and under-served areas. As electricity costs continue to rise worldwide, new customers are being ever-driven to solar power.
*Note that utility-scale solar projects largely drove the decline in 2022 installations. Residential solar actually grew by a whopping 40% during that time period.
Of course, the billions allotted by the IRA did not all become freely available right away - large solar developers are still waiting on implementation guidance from the IRS. This guidance will flesh out requirements for tax credit adders such as the ones for serving low-income communities. Then there's the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which poses restrictions on solar equipment imported from China. There is a theory going around the industry the enforcement of this act will be loosened during this year, which would help restore the weakened supply chain to something close to normal.
To re-use (or renew!) a pun that we rely on far too much at The Roundup, the future looks bright. Wood Mackenzie acknowledged an unknown future in their 2023 predictions, coming out with three different potential scenarios. However, these three scenarios all predict industry growth in general, and the spread between the best case and worst case is only 10%. With explosive growth behind it and much more room to run ahead, residential solar continues to be a great place to be in 2023.
DID YOU KNOW?
While you probably think of California as the solar king of the United States, Hawaii has by far the highest number of solar installations per 100,000 people.
Three Steps Forward, One Step Back
An interesting dichotomy exists in the solar energy world: we live in an era of unprecedented federal support while many state and local governments find themselves becoming more restrictive with their solar regulations. The conflicts and attitudes vary from state to state, but keeping tabs on them will prepare us for solar's future nationwide.
Solar King California passed new legislation at the end of last quarter called NEM 3.0, which may pump the brakes on solar's explosive growth in the state. Intending to incentivize battery storage and save costs for electric customers, electric grid incentives are getting reduced by around 75% for all installations after April 15, 2023. New Jersey, meanwhile, has cut residential solar incentives in favor of utility-scale projects, which missed growth targets last year.
Meanwhile, other state governments are still full-steam-ahead when it comes to supporting residential solar. Maryland lawmakers have proposed an increase of the state's residential solar grant from $1,000 to $5,000 per installation. Arizona's expanded solar incentive program and its status as the 2nd sunniest state in the nation have allowed for ongoing solar growth in the Grand Canyon State. In Texas, although there are rumblings of state restrictions, is on track to pass California soon in terms of total solar production.
Reuse, Renew, Recycle
The solar industry overall has not had a good answer to a key problem - solar panels get old and age out, and there has not been a great way to recycle them. Roughly 90% of out-of-service solar panels go straight to the landfill thanks to excessive recycling costs. Not only does this, ironically, generate considerable waste, but these panels contain precious, valuable, and finite metals like silver, copper, and silicon.
To compound the problem, solar panels typically last about 25 to 30 years. Millions upon millions of panels have been installed since the late 90s, and the world has to brace for a deluge of degraded or broken panels in coming years - think 3,000 football fields worth by 2030.
When the world has a problem, new businesses pop up to try and solve it. Enter SolarCycle - a California-based startup whose mission is to reduce solar panels' environmental impact by taking in degraded panels and recycling their components. The company made waves in the media this quarter as concern over future solar panel waste continues to escalate.
Additionally, Australian researchers have recently discovered a process that allows them to convert contaminated silicon from old solar panels into nano-silicon, a highly valuable material that can be used in battery anodes, nano-fertilizers, and hydrogen gas generation. This development represents a huge step towards what could really jumpstart a solar recycling craze - profit.
“At some point in the future, you are going to see enough panels being decommissioned that you kind of have to start recycling...it will become profitable by itself regardless of commodity prices.”
Marius Mordal Bakke, Rystad Energy
Solar Spotlight: KOTA Energy Group
This quarter’s Solar Industry Company Spotlight goes out to KOTA Energy Group. Headquartered out of beautifully sunny Carlsbad California, KOTA's main office is just across the road from LEGOLAND California! KOTA Energy was only founded in 2018, but they have found quick success thanks to their commitment to providing supreme customer experiences throughout the installation process. Their efforts clearly have paid off - their operations have expanded to thirteen states in five years. They are also a yearly participant in the Ventura County Spark of Love Toy Drive, demonstrating their commitment to the local community.
We at ConveYour admire the KOTA team for all of their successes as well as their strong commitment to The Rep's Journey. KOTA has made it a priority to create a unified and impactful onboarding experience for their reps, which we truly believe is an instrumental part of finding success and continued growth within any industry.
Who Are We?
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It’s astonishingly easy to use whether you have 100 or 10,000 reps.
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