With the cost to install solar dropping by more than 70% since 2010, the industry has continued to expand into new markets. Combining falling prices and a growing concern over environmental and geopolitical issues surrounding fossil fuels, the increased demand for solar power by residential, commercial, and industrial electricity generation, is driving most manufacturers of solar module equipment to rapidly ramp up shipments.
Manufacturer Opportunities in the Solar and Renewable Energy Market
Solar power accounted for one-third of all new electricity generation capacity in the U.S. in 2017 while Wind and other renewables accounted for 26%, according to a recent study from SEIA. Solar producers primarily utilize two technologies to convert energy from the sun into electricity; photovoltaic (PV) power and concentrated solar power (CSP). PV presently accounts for approximately 90% of US solar energy capacity, while CSP generates the remaining 10%. The PV solar industry has grown steadily over the past decade, accounting for more than 80% of utility-scale solar projects and is expected to continue to grow 32% in 2018.
Government Support for the Adoption of Alternative Energy Sources
There are numerous U.S. government programs and incentives to encourage the adoption of alternative energy sources, including solar investment tax credits (ITC) that provide 30% tax credits through 2019, with a gradual step-down to 10% by 2022. The ITC was recently extended by the U.S. Congress for an additional 5 years and is expected to lead to more than $125 Billion in new, private sector investment in the U.S. economy during the extension period.