Solar Energy Trends for 2013
Solar energy trends in 2013 will be driven by advances in well-established, long-term trends – cost reduction, advocacy for a less complicated process for installations, and nearly unanimous support for solar energy solutions nationwide.
Costs Continue to Drop
Tracking the Sun, an annual cost-tracking report from the Department of Energy, indicates that the installed cost of solar photovoltaic power systems in the United States dropped significantly in 2011 and the first six months of 2012.
The biggest driver of this drop is the reduction in photovoltaic module prices, which have been falling steadily since 2008. However, installation labor, overhead and other non-module costs have also dropped dramatically.
The report suggests prices may are likely to drop further in 2013 through large-scale deployment programs and a growing market for solar energy in both the residential and commercial sectors.
Less Red Tape
In September, the American Solar Energy Society launched Solar Freedom Now, a campaign intended to knock down perhaps the largest cost hurdle for solar power adoption – the paperwork and red tape that can double the cost of installation.
The ASES points out that installations in the United States cost twice as much as those in Germany. These installations take days in Germany and months in the U.S. If this movement reaches its goal and a national solution to reduce paperwork and red tape is created, solar prices could see their most significant drop ever. We’re keeping a close eye on the Solar Freedom Now campaign in 2013.
Voters Have Spoken
Perhaps the biggest reason for more widespread adoption of solar energy is overwhelming public support. A Hart Research poll released by the Solar Energy Industries Association shows 92% of voters in the 2012 election favor solar energy and want it to be a bigger part of the country’s energy strategy. 78% want more policies that support solar energy, like state and federal financial incentives that fuel industry growth. These are numbers that won’t be ignored by elected officials.