Software specifically developed for solar market applications has proliferated in recent years due to sustained industry growth. Noted subject matter expert Pamela Cargill, Principal of Chaolysti, curates highlights and trends from the expanding network of specialty solar software and services.
The solar industry got a holiday gift this year in the form of the extension of the ITC. But we aren’t entirely out of the woods. Numerous threats to NEM and rate cases at dozens of utilities across the nation stand to fundamentally change the value of solar. Already, Nevada has retroactively eliminated its NEM program as its solar industry was just getting off the ground.
Always remember that solar is a highly political space. Look no further than Stephen Lacey's blow-by-blow analysis of how the ITC was extended for just how complicated the politics of solar have become.
Take some time this winter in what is hopefully a slightly slower season for your company and do some planning. With the ITC extended for five years with a reasonable step-down, clearer thinking can prevail about pursuing growth in a more logical manner.
This last December, I attended the second round of pitches for SunShot Catalyst Demo Day in Philadelphia, where 19 teams competed for seven $30,000 prizes with an opportunity to claim an additional $70k prize in the future. The pitches were judged by a panel of industry and DOE experts and included moderated questions from audience members as well.
Unlike the last Catalyst Demo Day, this pitch day included solutions for the solar industry and for improving energy efficiency in the built environment.
Greentech Media put on their US Solar Market Insight conference from Nov 2-4. Gone this year was the "Utility Death Spiral" statement on the lips of many panelists in 2014. This year, USSMI was more focused on the looming threat of the end of the ITC, the high cost of residential customer acquisition, and the talent gap.
Unfortunately, very little airtime was given to the threats that changes to NEM, utility rate cases, and other localized issues play- underscoring again the huge differences between the economies and concerns of utility-scale developers and NEM-dependent commercial and residential solar developers.
Greentech Media did a good job ensuring diversity on their panels and many great women represented their companies.