5 Solar Industry Trends for Contractors
Despite the recent U.S. tariff on imports of solar energy equipment, the solar industry continues to grow. In fact, this industry offers huge potential for anyone who wants to get on board. If this is an area you’d like to explore with your contracting business, there are a few trends you should watch. Here’s what you need to know.
Solar Use Is Growing
The installation of solar panels in homes and businesses has enjoyed a heyday lasting several years. Periodic dips in the total number of panels installed can seem serious in the moment. As a whole, it’s pretty easy to see how solar energy is a growing industry that’s going to keep rising for the foreseeable future. Right now, solar energy creates enough power to run about 11 million homes in the U.S. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that solar output will double within the next five years.
Tariffs Haven’t Cooled the Market
Industry experts watched carefully as U.S. president Donald Trump instituted a 30 percent tariff on imports of equipment for solar energy. So far, the evidence seems to suggest that the tariffs have not led to a decrease in solar purchases or installation. Despite being around for decades, solar is still new enough that prices are regularly dropping. The impact of a tariff decreases as the price drops. This may account for the lower impact on the U.S. solar industry as a whole.
Solar Industry Jobs Rise and Fall Depending on Region
Although interest in solar is growing steadily, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every area is full of jobs in the solar market. In 2017, there were about 250,000 people working in solar, ranging from sales to installation and maintenance. Fortunately, the state of California holds about one-third of those jobs. By the region, most of those opportunities sit near the Bay Area, Los Angeles or San Diego. Parts of the state with less saturation aren’t reason to give up, though. They might be a good market for solar contractors to break into. Cities and counties with fewer companies offering solar may translate into less competition.
The Race to Increase Efficiency Picks Up Speed
With such strong competition in the field, solar companies are looking for ways to set themselves apart from the rest. Efficiency is an important goal for homeowners and business owners. At present, solar panels only grab about 20 percent of the available energy from sunlight, with some products as low as 17 percent. Manufacturers are looking to increase this percentage almost any way they can. Some look to double-sided panels that can gather sunlight from multiple directions. Others are developing technologies like perovskites, solar cells that can be painted on almost any surface.
Manufacturers Look to Storage as the Next Step
Solar still only provides about 2 percent of electricity worldwide. As output grows, simply collecting this energy for use during the day may become less effective. Some systems are set up to gather the energy from the panels and use them to recharge batteries that can be used at night. Not all products are equipped for this service, though. Storage becomes the key to guaranteeing that solar can continue to produce energy useful at any time of the day or night.
If you’re looking to break into an industry with tons of growth potential, solar might be a good choice. Although it seems that everyone right now is already getting solar panels, they represent a very small portion of the market. If you want to benefit, you need the right training and licensing as a solar contractor. To start on this career path, visit CSLS today!