ConveYour's Solar News Roundup - Q3 2022

<8 minutes read

Andrew Baldis

Content Contributor
A house with solar panels on it - ConveYour Presents: Solar News Roundup: Q3 2022


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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Off The Top

The Inflation Reduction Act

The US CapitolIf you were with us last quarter, you may remember a gloomy segment about the downturn in the economy coupled with the stalling of the Build Back Better Act. It’s safe to say that a lot has changed since we last spoke. On August 16th, the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law, rescuing key provisions from the BBB act.

There is a lot to this new bill, but let’s focus on how its provisions specifically relate to the world of residential solar, and what solar businesses can expect now. Namely, the IRA dedicates $370 billion towards supporting renewable energy buildout in the United States.

If you’re in the solar business, you’ll be thrilled to hear that the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)  has also been extended at 30% for the next ten years, when it will then taper down to 22% by 2024. In addition, there are certain “adders” in the bill which increase the size of the tax credit for meeting wage requirements, building in low-income areas, using domestic materials in projects, and siting projects in areas commonly associated with fossil fuels.

While this legislation’s exact direct impact on solar businesses is yet to be seen, companies are bracing for huge expansion. According to a survey from Solar Reviews, residential solar installation companies are estimated to hire an additional 340,000-plus workers over the next five years. This represents a worker increase of 148%.

Buckle up, folks. We’re going to have a wild few years.

Solar's Just Getting Started

Houses in a tropical area with solar panels on the roofs. The IRA is going to have a wide-ranging impact on the renewable energy sector for years to come. The future of solar is bright, but the present isn't so bad either. While the beginning of this year was rocky, solar has consistently achieved hit huge milestones during 2022, before any bills were passed.

In the six-month period ending in June of 2022, solar electrical generation grew 27.72%. Renewables overall accounted for over ONE-QUARTER of all electrical generation in the US for the first half of the year, outpacing expectations and setting a new benchmark. Solar and wind combined nearly matched the output of nuclear power during the year, outpacing it fully in the month of April.

A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found solar to be the fastest-growing renewable energy industry sector, totaling 4.3 million jobs worldwide in 2021. Renewables in general increased job totals by 700,000 year-over-year despite the lingering impact of the pandemic as well as continued supply chain and inflationary pressures.

A study from Generation 180 has found that 1 in 10 U.S. K-12 schools, public and private, are utilizing solar power. The amount of solar in schools has tripled since 2015 alone. The study estimates that these schools have a combined 1,647MW in solar capacity, with California, New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts and Illinois leading the way.

There is also growing private investment into getting more solar manufacturing in the States. In June the US Buyer Solar Consortium was formed through a partnership of AES, Clearway Energy Group, Cypress Creek Renewables, and D. E. Shaw.  The group's stated goal is to achieve a reliable domestic supply chain so that solar installations can get fully back on track in the USA.

California and the Future

The sun setting over CaliforniaWhen it comes to the solar industry in the US, the biggest developments always seem to come out of the Golden State. While a lot of what is discussed here is confined to the California region, the state tends to lead the way when it comes to climate and energy policy. Right now, California can give us an idea of where the rest of the country is headed.

This August, California announced a plan to generate solar power while mitigating one of the worst droughts the state has seen in years. Project Nexus, launching in October, will see water canals in the state covered with solar panels, generating power from the sun while preventing water evaporation. If scaled up, this plan has the potential to save billions of gallons of water and provide electricity to millions of homes at the same time.

It was also announced that the state of California would be banning all new gas-powered cars by 2035. This hugely ambitious plan is the first of its kind in the US and is expected to result in a massive increase in energy demand. The expansion of rooftop solar is going to be a key part of meeting the demand, and solar companies that operate in the state are bracing for huge growth.

The solar company Sunnova is seeking permission from California state legislators to develop solar-powered “microgrids” for new housing developments that don’t rely on utility companies at all for power. This “micro utility” model is illegal in much of the country, but Sunnova argues that it can be done under California state law. They also believe that they could offer electricity to residents at prices 20% cheaper than the utility companies, or by as much as $60 per month. The utilities commission for the state is expected to make a decision in the coming months.

Solar powered canals, electric vehicles getting charged by the power of the sun, and entire solar-powered microgrids…told you California had a lot going on!

Solar Spotlight: Elevation

Elevation Solar LogoThis quarter’s Solar Industry Company Spotlight goes out to Elevation. Headquartered out of Chander, Arizona, Elevation’s goal is to reduce the use of fossil fuels while helping homeowners and renters save on their energy bills. To this end, Elevation has been succeeding in a strong push in the single-family renter market. CEO Greg Fasullo believes people who rent still want to take advantage of solar, they just need the tools to do so.

Elevation has recently also been announced as the official energy provider of the Arizona State Sun Devils. This partnership will allow Elevation to promote home energy awareness to the Sun Devils’ two million-plus fans across their entire athletic program.

“At Elevation, our mission is to Elevate The World We Live In. As the nation's 16th largest residential solar provider, we distinguish ourselves by living our values every day.”
- Greg Fasullo, CEO, Elevation

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