IKEA, the Swedish retailing giant has announced ambitions to be the world's number one retailer of residential solar power systems. Leveraging their massive customer base and global footprint, the company will be rolling out solar programs starting with the three European countries of the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, before expanding globally.
A new study just published shows that owner-purchased residential solar power systems can add a premium to a home's sales price. The report produced by the Appraisal Institute, a professional real estate appraisal journal, indicates that buyers are willing to pay an average selling premium of 3.75% or $14,329 for a home solar power system over a comparable house with conventional power. The study looked at six states, and normalized the analysis for comparable fair market value homes with available solar system data.
The worldwide solar power market hit $160 billion in sales in 2015, and total renewable energy hit $286 billion according to a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) study. These numbers far outpaced the amount spent on fossil fuel based coal and natural gas for the first time ever.
SunPower Corp (SPWR) announced the launch of their new residential home solar power product called SunPower Equinox, an integrated system of optimized components delivering high power, streamlined racking and wiring, along with strong aesthetic appeal and smart energy management. The company claims 70% more energy with 70% fewer visible parts compared to conventional solar.
Residential Solar Power plus Energy Storage looks poised to grow over the coming years as the technology improves, prices come down, and more financing models become available. With new advanced battery storage products coming from companies such as Tesla and SolarCity, Enphase, Sunrun and others, home energy storage will be a hot space and allow homeowners the opportunity to generate, store, and use their own power. Utility executives are keeping a close eye on both the risks and the potential opportunities.
More than 300,000 electric cars were apparently sold in the Chinese market in 2015 as reported by Reuters on a press conference on Sunday. The Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei told the reporters that 2016 electric sales should double in China in 2016, which would bring the number up to 600,000 vehicles.
While the solar industry is currently abuzz with the latest 2015 and forecast 2016 numbers for strong growth, there lays a very real risk to nascent residential solar power in the United States; Net Energy Metering (NEM) policy changes, and strong lobbying efforts by incumbent utility companies. Just as clean solar energy generation is beginning to take hold in the US, albeit from a small base (around 1% in absolute terms), significant policy headwinds appear on the horizon.
Sunrun Solar sent out a revised Consolidated Statement of Cash Flow for Q4 and Full year 2015 results. Solar Deployments grew by almost 200% and cost of product delivery declined by 17% according to the company's news release. Highlights include an 83% increase in Q4 deployments year over year, and 596 MW cumulative installed.
Residential home solar power was the fasted growing segment of the US solar industry, growing 66% in 2015 according to the just released "GTM Research/SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight" research report on the state of the solar industry. Just over 2 gigawatts (GW) of residential solar capacity was installed in 2015, compared to approximately 1.2 GW in 2014. Sometime in the first half of 2016 we should see the 1 millionth solar installation (all segments combined) in the US market.
National Grid, an electric utility with operations in the northeast announced in a press release that Rhode Island electric customers will have access to the EnergySage online solar quote platform as part of their new SolarWise Rhode Island Program. The collaboration is part of National Grid's Rhode Island Renewable Energy Growth Program which will make it easier for customers to research and pursue a home solar energy system.
The US Energy Storage Market for Residential Solar and Commercial Solar is poised to grow significantly over the next five years according to a recently published research report by GTM Research/ESA U.S. Energy Storage Monitor. Total US energy storage deployments grew 243% between 2014 to 2015; from 65 MW to 221 MW, and represents just the beginning of what is forecast to be a strong period of growth. Behind the meter storage (i.e. not a utility company) grew almost five times in the last four years (see chart).
According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) 2016 is poised to be a break out year for solar energy in the United States. Their report forecasts that solar will be the number one form of new electricity generation capacity, beating out coal, oil, hydro, nuclear, wind and even natural gas. These figures are based on utility scale solar only, and do not even include residential or commercial rooftop solar!
Massachusetts is known for being a leader in many areas including technology, academia, bio-pharma, financial industry, and of course pragmatic Yankee can-do attitude. Add something else to this list; residential solar power. Massachusetts is second only to California in solar jobs at just over 15,000 solar industry related jobs, and has 944 MW total installed solar capacity, according to the "Solar Jobs Census Compendium 2015" report. So what's wrong with this? State solar policy may have been so successful that the program is getting full.