Solar power had a fantastic year in 2017, and growth in the industry is forecast to continue through 2018. Solar power was the fastest growing source of new energy last year, according to an article in the Guardian. The drop in solar modules has been a key driver for the solar market, particularly the solar PV rooftop market (PV Insights).
This blog examines the opportunities for rooftop solar in three key markets: The United States, China, and Australia.
Despite the recent introduction of the Section 201 tariffs, the US is showing significant growth in the solar industry. The potential for US residential solar power is huge: A group of researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the US conducted a study to see how much solar energy could be generated, if every suitable roof had solar panels installed, and found that the panels would produce ~1,400 Terawatt hours of electricity, enough to satisfy 40% of the country’s energy needs (ArsTechnica).
As the residential rooftop market in the US continues to grow, so will the use of batteries for self-consumption. The US has struggled in the past with inconsistent policies varying from state to state, with utilities in some areas introducing policies which hamper the adoption of solar. With self-consumption, much of these policies can be avoided (Green Tech Media). While the US rooftop market will not face only plain sailing ahead, it is forecast that the rooftop market will reach a value of ~$4.14 billion by 2022, which translates to a CAGR of 9.70% 2012-2022 (Globe News Wire).
With the amount of solar irradiation that Australia enjoyed, it is no surprise that rooftop solar is growing rapidly in popularity. According to a report from PV Tech, Australia has now surpassed 1.8 million solar rooftops on households and businesses, with residences taking advantage of lower module costs (PV Tech). Investments by individuals and businesses has helped to reduce peak demand this January, as shown in the power usage graph for Jan 18th 2018 (CleanTechnica):
Thanks to the concrete proof that rooftop solar is helping to alleviate pressure on the grid, there is now a push for the government to take action in enabling low-income households, apartment residents, and renters to access to solar power (PV Tech). Rooftop solar is therefore forecast to continue to boom, with rooftop solar registered installations surpassing levels not seen since the industry boom in 2012, according to RenewEconomy (The New Daily).
Rooftop solar installations in China are forecast to boom in 2018, reaching 24GW by the end of the year. The deregulation currently ongoing in the Chinese electricity market will allow distributed grid connected generators to sell power directly to neighboring industrial and commercial customers, as long as they are connected to the same substation (BNEF).
Rooftop installations were also a key driver in 2017, and various policies, including the poverty alleviation policy, along with the deregulation of the energy market, will continue to drive the market through 2018 (PV Magazine).
The market for rooftop solar is growing globally, and the text above explores only three of the many countries investing more into rooftop. As prices fall and efficiency increases, solar becomes more and more affordable for consumers. This particularly benefits the monocrystalline solar industry, which, due to its higher efficiency and lower space requirements compared to multi, is favoured for domestic and business rooftops. The Quartz Corp is a key supplier of high purity quartz for the monocrystalline solar market.