Solar trends to expect in 2016

One expectation that is certain to come true in 2016 is for continued accelerated solar deployment. The trend to renewables is clear, and solar is a major player.  Momentum is strong, and 2016 will likely be another year of accelerated growth. The following is a list of eight  things for watch for – or at least consider – in 2016.

1)    Climate change driven weather variability should be included in weather forecasting.

2)    Sales of the popular residential solar lease had to hit a plateau, and  is becoming even more competitive – look for a strain on financials and a shift into the deals for end users that might be good in the beginning and less good down the road.

3)    In the U.S., continued pushback on net metering and new fees for residential and small commercial PV system owners are providing pressure on the already highly competitive solar lease category.

4)    Low prices for wafers were painful for manufacturers in 2015 and many began shuttering capacity looking to encourage higher prices

5)    Hype over the trend to higher efficiency n-type monocrystalline will remain primarily hype as low cell and module prices continue to rule.

6) Thin films will continue at <10 percent of total PV deployment unless prices for crystalline product increase significantly which seems unlikely.

7)  Developer margins will remain narrow.

8)  Investment in storage technologies will accelerate, and start up storage companies will multiply, though only a fraction will successfully commercialize their technologies – deep pockets and the ability to absorb losses will be necessary for success.

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