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Shining Bright: Unveiling Trends and Strategies in Commercial PV

Shining Bright: Unveiling Trends and Strategies in Commercial PV

The US solar industry is making impressive strides in producing and distributing solar power. In Q1 2023, the industry saw a remarkable installation of 6.1 gigawatts-direct current (GWdc) capacity, marking a 47% increase from the prior year. This achievement is a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of solar power and the growing demand for clean energy solutions. 

As more industries seek to harness solar and other renewable energy sources, commercial PV systems are proving to be an ideal solution for many, leading to a surge in commercial and industrial solar installations. The solar industry’s growth can be attributed to several trends and strategies, such as the increasing use of renewable energy credits (RECs) to incentivize solar power and shifting towards community solar projects.

Current trends in commercial PV

The commercial PV sector and utility-scale solar have experienced significant growth in Q1 2023, with the former up 27% year-over-year and the latter up 66%, thanks to easing supply chain constraints, increasing demand for renewable energy sources, and government incentives. Photovoltaic solar now accounts for 54% of new electricity-generating capacity additions and is becoming more competitive with new technologies.

The growth of the PV sector and utility-scale solar will lead to job creation, economic growth, and a reduction in carbon emissions. However, the industry still must overcome challenges—such as improving the efficiency of solar panels, reducing the cost of installation and maintenance, and addressing the intermittency of solar power—to attain long-term sustainability.

Overall, the growth of the PV sector and utility-scale solar is a positive development for the renewable energy industry. As the industry continues to evolve and overcome challenges, it has the potential to contribute significantly to a more sustainable future.

Looking ahead: future prospects for commercial PV

The future of the commercial PV sector looks promising, with experts predicting a continued expansion for the next few years. The sector should experience around 12% growth by 2023. Looking beyond the immediate horizon, the outlook for 2024 is even brighter, with a projected 13% growth. 

Despite the expected contraction in 2025 and 2026, the commercial PV sector is still poised for steady growth ahead because of emerging markets: 11% in 2027 and 14% in 2028. Solar energy is becoming more widely accepted as a viable alternative to traditional energy sources, and—as more companies adopt this technology—the demand for PV systems will continue to increase, driving growth in the industry. 

Three strategies for commercial and industrial solar installers

A strategic approach is paramount for commercial and industrial solar installers seeking sustainable growth amidst this shifting landscape. Here are three strategies to consider:

  • Adaptability and Innovation: It’s essential to remain flexible and adapt to changes and advancements. By embracing innovative technologies, exploring efficient installation methods, and implementing improved energy storage solutions, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive advantage in the market. The ability to pivot and evolve with the industry is crucial for success in this dynamic field.
  • Navigating Regulatory Shifts: Effective policies and regulations shape the solar ecosystem. Recent developments, such as California’s NEM 3.0 policy, demonstrate how changes in the regulatory environment can significantly impact the growth trajectories of solar companies. Therefore, it is imperative to stay informed about upcoming policy shifts and align strategies accordingly to ensure smooth navigation through policy transitions. By doing so, businesses can effectively adapt to changes and capitalize on emerging opportunities, thereby enhancing the overall sustainability and growth of the solar industry.
  • Diversification of Services: Expanding your business strategy to include comprehensive energy solutions can significantly boost your success. By incorporating energy monitoring services, regular maintenance, and customized financing options, you can attract a wider range of clients and establish long-term relationships that will benefit your business and your customers. With a focus on sustainability, efficiency, and ongoing support, your business can thrive in the energy industry and provide a valuable service to your community.

Challenges and opportunities mark the journey ahead for commercial and industrial solar installers. As solar power continues its ascent, a strategic approach, adaptability, and a pulse on industry trends will undoubtedly be key to a successful path in this exciting landscape.

SEIA Wood Mackenzie Commercial solar forecast
Illustration: Community with energy efficient buildings, solar panel array, wind turbines, trees, flowers, and people riding bicycles.