ConveYour's Solar News Roundup - Q4 2023

<10 minute read

Andrew Baldis

Content Contributor
"ConveYour Presents: Solar News Roundup Q4 2023"


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

- LGCY Power hosted its LGNDS Annual Event on December 19th. Featured speakers included Tim Tebow and Doug Robinson.

- Sunrun CEO Mary Powell will be the keynote speaker at next year’s SolarCon. It will be held in Salt Lake City this coming April.

- CNET has announced Palmetto Solar as the best overall choice for residential solar in the US.

- Registration has officially opened up for ISNA's fifth-annual 2025 Solar Games solar installation competition. Winners will receive cash prizes of up to $10,000. 

- Sunrun, in partnership with California utility provider PG&E, have completed their first season using their first-of-its-kind residential distributed power plant.

Did You Know?

For the first time ever, 2024's Super Bowl LVIII was 100% powered by carbon-free, renewable energy from various sources, including solar!

An Uncertain World

Solar panels on a roof of a house that is about to get rained onFrequent readers of ConveYour’s Solar News Roundup will know that we tend to emphasize the positive news in the world of residential solar. The main reason for this is simple: it’s a great industry and there’s lots of great things to report on. This letter goes out quarterly, and we don’t want to have to use our limited time together to bum you all out - certainly not with a couple hundred solar professionals subscribed to us! However...

The outlook for this quarter is certainly not bad, just… less good overall. The biggest thorn in the side of the industry has been rising interest rates, which saw multiple hikes throughout this past year. With financing so common in residential solar, homeowners are more hesitant than ever to sign a contract and lock in a rate. Some solar companies are struggling to weather out the storm as they await rate cuts in 2024. Additionally, California’s new NEM 3.0 net metering policy has reduced incentives for households going solar, and the entire state’s solar industry has been impacted as a result. With California historically being a hotbed of residential solar, this has impacted the industry nationwide.

Just look at Phoenix-based solar company Erus Energy. Once ranked among the fastest-growing residential solar businesses in the country, they announced in early November that they would be ceasing operations and laying off their staff. The stated reasons? Elevated interest rates, utility permitting delays and lower installation rates."

The titans of our industry aren’t completely exempt from problems either. Solar giant Enphase Energy reported that it anticipates a 50% drop in revenue from Q2 2023 to Q4 2023. Tesla’s solar division saw a 48% reduction in new installations in Q3, though their losses were buoyed by a flourishing energy storage business. SolarEdge missed its earnings target for Q3 2023 by a substantial margin, stating excessive inventory and slowing sales as the reasons.

Putting all of this together, it becomes clear that the solar industry, along with many other sectors of the economy, experienced some cooling, especially in the back end of the year. However, it certainly isn’t all doom and gloom…

Did You Know?

100% of city facilities in Las Vegas are powered by solar! Sin City, more like Sun City!

Hope on the Horizon

A silhouette view of three solar installers cheering at the rising sun.It wouldn’t be realistic to assume that solar, and even residential solar, would experience constant yearly gains without any challenges. Still, it remains a fantastic industry to be in with the future on its side as the world continues to gravitate toward renewable energy.

For some perspective, despite everything we discussed in the previous section, the US installed more total solar capacity in 2023 than ever before. While other factors caused a light reduction in residential solar specifically, the same Wood Mackenzie predicts growth for both utility- and residential-scale solar, with overall nationwide capacity expected to double by 2027. Residential solar’s recovery is expected over the coming years as the Fed begins cutting interest rates again, incentivizing customers to finance new systems.

The past couple of years have also seen a significant rise in electric vehicle technology and sales. Solar customers with EVs often find themselves not having to pay for their gas nor their electricity. With brands like Hyundai and Ford investing in home EV charging solutions, residential solar is uniquely primed to benefit as EVs become more and more popular.

Taking our eyes overseas, China experienced a record-breaking year for solar across the board. Over the past few years, pandemic-related issues have crippled the industry there, but 2023 saw a near-total rebound. This is attributed to a variety of reasons, which could bode well for solar demand nationwide. Advancements in solar cell production have resulted in cheaper and easier-to-install panels, and the technology around solar panels in general has been advancing rapidly. Additionally, more novel applications of solar have been proven in the country, including highway solar panels as well as floating PV systems on water. With China’s stated goal of reaching peak emissions by 2030 followed by net zero emissions by 2060, the long-term trajectory of solar in the country is secure.

So, how do we move forward now, knowing what we know? It looks like energy storage is going to continue to be a huge factor in the coming years. With legislation like CA’s NEM 3.0 foreshadowing reduced incentives for feeding energy back into the grid, solar customers are likely going to prefer storing the energy they generate, especially as EVs continue to take over. Governments should take heed, though, before they begin dropping incentives to encourage storage solutions. Take it from an expert in the field:

“Storage doesn’t sell solar. Solar sells storage”
Bernadette Del Chiaro, Director, California Solar and Storage Association

Puerto Rico's Solar Recovery

The Puerto Rican flag hanging from a windowboxIn late 2017, Puerto Rico was famously devastated by Hurricane Maria. The infrastructure of the island, old and often inefficient before the storm, was ravaged. A majority of Puerto Rican citizens were left without power, some for well over a year as the grid slowly recovered. Damages were estimated at upwards of $90 billion. More natural disasters followed, with a 6.4 earthquake in early 2020 and Hurricane Fiona in late 2022. To this day, many residents of the island deal with power outages and rolling blackouts when connected to the grid. How have the people of this great island responded to this power crisis? Well, it shouldn’t be a surprise - residential solar.

This past April, PV Magazine reported that Puerto Rico ranks ahead of all but six US states in terms of residential solar per capita. Much of this progress has been made in just the last couple of years, with Luma Energy estimating that the island went from 24,000 rooftop connections to 78,000 over just 21 months. This has been seen as a direct response to the energy challenges that the territory has faced in recent years. It makes sense - it’s estimated that there is enough sunlight on the island to power its residences four times over!

With Puerto Rico’s solar revolution well underway, there are a couple of key takeaways that individuals and businesses on the mainland may want to consider. CNET points to solar's success there as an example of solar’s climate resilience. As national disasters increase in frequency worldwide, it’s worth noting that solar panels are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and will generally fare better in these circumstances than your local grid-supplying power plant. Puerto Rico is also an example of innovation coming out of a time of crisis. Solar adoption has exploded on the island since Hurricane Maria, with many citizens looking to stop relying on the grid.

Finally, the solar revolution of Puerto Rico is a case for continued government and non-profit investment. The US government provided the territory with $30 billion in funds for recovery from Hurricane Maria, and there is no doubt that this investment helped to pave the way for households to get off the grid. Locals and experts, however, say that it isn’t enough and that there needs to be a focus specifically on the island’s power grid and energy resiliency. Nobody there wants to have to deal with another Hurricane Maria to continue the revolution.

Solar Spotlight: Kin Home

Today’s Solar Industry Spotlight feature goes out to Lehi, UT-based solar company, Kin Home! Initially founded in 2020 under the name Icon Solar, Kin Home has spent the last four years providing rooftop solar to residential customers across the country. Kin makes it a point to emphasize the employee experience as well as the customer experience. For the employees, Kin has always sought top talent, with management consisting of solar industry veterans from names like Vivint and Citadel Energy. Kin also utilizes the ConveYour system internally for their onboarding, training, and retention, illustrating their commitment to the Rep’s Journey.

This business's other point of pride is its ability to provide outstanding customer service, even as they scale up. Every consultation provided to residential customers is free of charge, and they set themselves apart even further by performing custom solar system designs for each household, with the goal of maximizing their solar efficiency. This approach is certainly working for them if their A+ BBB score and outstanding Google reviews are any indication.

“As we continue to scale, we don’t lose sight of what’s most important — people. Kin Home is a company that was built by individuals who know how to provide an unparalleled experience.”
Excerpt from Kin Home's Mission Statement

Who Are We?

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