TradeRiver has identified the Solar industry among a number of high growth industries where innovation and disruption are either happening or in desperate need of occurrence. Here’s a quick dive into all of the things we’ve highlighted about the Solar industry.

Industry Insights

The global solar energy market size is forecasted to reach $422 billion by 2022. The world’s energy demands continue to grow in unison with environmental incentives and renewable energy expansion. The solar energy industry is constantly innovating current technology to enhance efficiency while producing equipment that is feasible to both access and install.

The rising interest in solar energy is not limited to the panels we can see on rooftops. Solar energy is versatile in nature and continues to develop and appear in diverse applications. In an age when being green is paramount, solar innovations are constantly producing new initiatives to find new places to apply clean energy restoration.

TradeRiver Highlights

PACE activity around the country

PACE activity around the country

Commercial and industrial buildings are responsible for over a quarter of primary energy consumption in the U.S. With the cost of solar dropping significantly, Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) has gained widespread adoption and traction. C-PACE provides companies and property owners with assistance in their sustainable efforts to improve property bones and functionalities.

With the overall increasing interest in building efficiency and energy savings, many C-PACE projects are emerging or are already in development stages. Companies like CleanFund, GreenWorks Lending, and Abundant Power Group have been named financial allies in the ongoing effort to fund energy upgrades, making properties more valuable.

A relatively new concept, community solar, is a solar power plant whose electricity is shared by more than one household. The purpose of the project is to allow members of a community to share and reap the benefits of solar power collectively. With this newfound opportunity, virtually anyone can go solar without having to install solar panels on personal property.

New groups, companies and utilities are entering the industry and building community solar projects. Arcadia Power, Nexamp, and SunShare are some of the companies engaging in the early adoption of the renewable energy project.

Solar Thermal Cumulative Capacity by Region and Global Gross Additions

Solar Thermal Cumulative Capacity by Region and Global Gross Additions

Unlike the saturated, mainstream solar PV technology, solar heating and cooling technologies collect thermal energy from the sun and use the sun’s heat to provide hot water, space heating, cooling, and pool heating for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

BrightSource Energy, Abengoa Solar, Siemens, and Acciona are some of the early disruptor companies that are tapping into the less traditional renewable energy technology and working to raise awareness and overall implementation.

As of 2019, 200,000+ homeowners made $5 billion in energy efficiency improvements to their homes through PACE financing. Specifically for homeowners who want to apply and enjoy the benefits of solar, Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE) is a program that provides financing solutions for home solar power application.

Many homeowners are boarding the R-PACE bandwagon and simultaneously cutting billions of dollars of wasteful utility bill spending. Renew Finance and Ygrene Energy Fund provide services and funds to property owners who want to make clean energy improvements to their property.

Annual Photovoltaic Module Shipments Total Shipments in Peak Kilowatts and Cost per Peak Watt June 2017-May 2018

Annual Photovoltaic Module Shipments Total Shipments in Peak Kilowatts and Cost per Peak Watt June 2017-May 2018

Companies involved in utility-scale projects are feeling the pushback from solar tariffs and suffering a hit on equipment imports. Large solar farms, for which panel prices are an essential variable, are making operational adjustments to meet stakeholder demands while working in spite of the trade dispute.

Despite the unpredictable landscape, manufacturers are managing their standard procedure of operations and maintaining pace by relocating or expanding their factories onto U.S. soil. JinkoSolar, LG Electronics, and SunPower are uprooting their facilities to effectively meet transaction deadlines and continue to scale in the wake of renewable energy.

Growing uncertainty regarding solar tariffs and their lasting impact has slowed progress. It is widely believed that a boost in the industry would benefit the solar sector. Solar energy jobs have stagnated and dipped after the industry's peak in 2016. After much speculation, indications have produced cause for correlation between recent solar tariffs and the widespread unemployment of the solar workforce.

The current solar market is heavily populated with companies that are anticipating and actively looking to get ahead of unforeseeable problems or limitations. Hanwha Q CELLS, JA Solar, and Trina Solar are some of the largest and top performing solar manufacturing companies that are prepping their business models to maintain their position in the solar energy market no matter the future industry landscape.

Every facet of the solar industry is monitored and affected by local, state and/or federal policy. Among the popular deployment of renewable energy, policy plays an extremely important role on the back end of solar arrangements. While deploying solar energy, policy works to foster competitive markets for new and innovative energy technologies and solutions.

As policy continues to impact the growing solar market, more and more household brands are expanding their services and pivoting their bottom line to encompass solar. Companies like Ormat Technologies Inc., Pattern Energy Group, and TerraForm Power are solar-focused while appealing to diverse sectors ranging from utilities to industrials to energy, etc.

Utility-scale solar produces clean energy as well as stable fuel prices. The legislation of both federal and state-level policies function to both contribute to and accelerate the growth of utility-scale solar while also reducing energy bills and generate more jobs with solar.

Recently, many power purchase agreements (PPAs) were signed, welcoming numerous new utility-scale solar projects into the market. The utility-scale market is forecasted to grow and ultimately account for nearly two-thirds of the total solar sector. As the market diversifies, corporations are at the vanguard of the renewable energy market. Companies like Apple, Nike and Smucker's have adapted and embraced corporate PPAs, having contracted for renewable capacity.

Residential Installations

Residential Installations

Residential solar installations have created a sustainable growth profile while operating with both local, regional and national installers. It is apparent that as the solar market continues to scale, many consumers are converting and adopting renewable energy.

Sunrun, Vivint Solar, and Sunnova are considered some of the biggest players in the American solar industry. With a large reach enabling affordable and cleaner power, services are strategically crafted to be made accessible to U.S. homeowners.

Solar Capacity

Solar Capacity

The solar PV landscape has witnessed a lot of competition. Despite several cost impacts and tariffs, the industry has seen geographical expansion beyond traditional markets and the introduction of industry disruptors.

Cypress Creek Renewables, First Solar Inc., and NextEra Energy, Inc. are companies owned or developed by pre-construction, under construction, and operating solar capacity (MW). These companies deliver PV energy solutions in up and coming, emerging solar markets to fuel expansion efforts.

Over the past decade, corporate solar adoption has increased. Companies are taking the reins on energy costs in an effort to reclaim their brand’s bottom line by lowering operating costs and increasing profits. Solar energy is being deployed on a massive scale by iconic brands and notoriously well-managed U.S. organizations.

Growth in corporate solar demand is due primarily to declining prices. As for commercial solar, companies like Switch, Prologis, Kaiser Permanente, Solvay and others account for some of the top corporate solar users in the U.S.