Barry Cinnamon is CEO of California’s Cinnamon Power Techniques.


Dave Barry mentioned it greatest when summarizing 2020: “This was a 12 months of nonstop awfulness, a 12 months after we saved saying it couldn’t probably worsen, and it at all times did. This was a 12 months by which our solely moments of real, unadulterated happiness have been after we have been capable of purchase rest room paper.“ 

Fortunately for a lot of firms within the photo voltaic and storage trade, our services and products have been in excessive demand; from a income perspective 2020 was not as unhealthy because it may have been. As companies and staff contemplate the long-term advantages of continued at-home working, the demand for cheap and dependable behind the meter power provides is more likely to be even larger in 2021. And a positive political atmosphere will assist. So listed here are my predictions for photo voltaic and storage for 2021. 

All roof orientations are truthful sport for photo voltaic. Module effectivity has elevated from about 13 p.c to over 20 p.c within the final 20 years. Coupled with the commensurate 10x value discount, it now makes financial sense to put in modules on all unshaded roof orientations. The times of ignoring northerly sloped rooftops are gone.
Buildings can be designed to be carbon damaging. Increased module efficiencies imply that buildings below two tales may be designed to be carbon damaging — producing extra power than they operationally eat. The share of rooftops lined with photo voltaic will essentially enhance.
Talent ranges for photo voltaic and storage contractors will enhance. The extra options and configuration choices of an built-in photo voltaic and storage system require larger ability ranges to implement. Gone are the times when installers solely wanted to attach a black, a pink and a inexperienced wire to get a system to function correctly. Installers should be savvy with constructing electrical wiring, CAT5/6 communication wiring, varied wi-fi communications protocols, desktop and cellphone functions, and dozens of inverter/battery configuration choices. Standard electrical and roofing coaching is barely a stepping stone for photo voltaic and storage installers.
The module stage energy electronics duopoly will proceed. Inverters from SolarEdge (energy optimizers) and Enphase (microinverters) have turn out to be the usual on 75%+ of rooftop installations. Patent safety on these elements, coupled with manufacturing scale and NEC fast shutdown necessities, have created a big barrier to entry for competing merchandise. Nonetheless, know-how marches ahead, so leaders should proceed their innovation efforts to remain forward.
Customer support and warranties are key battery system choice standards. We have now realized since childhood that batteries are inherently short-lived. The ten-year warranties hooked up to all power storage system batteries are solely nearly as good because the integrity (each monetary and moral) of the corporate backing these warranties. Savvy customers will store for methods from producers with a observe report of supporting their merchandise.
UL 9540/A necessities will stall new ESS product releases. These well-intentioned security requirements, meant to forestall batteries from going into thermal runaway, are being enforced earlier than producers have accomplished the required testing. In some conditions there are not any “pass-fail” standards for assembly the requirements, leaving take a look at outcome interpretation as much as particular person jurisdictions. For instance, twin battery methods of 20 kwh or extra are successfully prohibited in lots of California cities since 36-inch battery and exit-way separation necessities are inconceivable to fulfill on nearly all of houses.
Rooftop photo voltaic methods needs to be outsized. Most constructing house owners will set up new electrical home equipment (warmth pumps, induction cooktops, and so forth.) as their previous gasoline home equipment fail — together with that 4 wheeled gasoline guzzler parked within the storage. Since constructing electrical energy consumption will inevitably go up, oversizing the photo voltaic system is a clever design resolution for many clients.
EV chargers can be widespread choices for brand new photo voltaic and battery installations. The identical 40 amp backfed circuit breaker wanted for the standard photo voltaic system will also be used to feed a Stage Two electrical automobile charger. Some new inverter designs have a devoted connection for an EV charger, simplifying the wiring, allowing and controls for EV charging — considerably decreasing prices.
The house of the long run can have two batteries in each storage (together with a hen in each pot). One in every of these batteries can be within the EV, and one can be a stationary battery hooked up to the wall. Continued value declines for solar-connected stationary batteries will outpace auto producer’s urge for food for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) methods. Firms that would web site daytime EV charging for his or her staff are penalized for these well-intentioned efforts by excessive utility demand prices. The plain — though sub-optimal — workaround is the continued set up of separate battery methods for residence use, along with the battery within the automotive.
Entire-home battery backup will stay costly. Backing up an entire home throughout a blackout requires a number of batteries and inverters – an costly proposition in comparison with simply backing up important masses. New “good” load shedding electrical panels have gotten obtainable from Span and Schneider Electrical, which are perfect for new residence building. Retrofit installations can be higher served with stand-alone load shedding controllers, ideally built-in with in style inverter methods.

With two extra years added to the ITC stepdown, coupled with enthusiasm for photo voltaic and storage within the White Home, we are able to count on one other good 12 months for photo voltaic and storage within the U.S. Nonetheless, two huge elements will proceed to restrict market penetrations of those cost-effective methods. First, outright hostility amongst incumbent utilities to customer-sited photo voltaic and storage, leading to unfavorable self-generation electrical charges and complex interconnection necessities. And second, more and more burdensome comfortable prices, primarily associated to gear requirements and constructing codes.

Luckily, our state (CALSSA, Photo voltaic Rights Alliance, and so forth.) and nationwide (SEIA, Vote Photo voltaic, IREC, SEPA, and so forth.) advocacy organizations are main the cost to mitigate these headwinds. My New Yr’s decision is to proceed to assist these group which are so vital to our future success. 

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