Solar+Storage, Troubling Petition and Weak Q1

Article Roundup

Article roundup for June/July 2017…

Is California’s Weak Q1 a Sign of Residential Solar’s Future?

By Austin Perea for GTM

Perea offers a summary and analysis of the most recent U.S. Solar Market Insight report. He states, “national residential PV installations fell both year-over-year (17 percent) and quarter-over-quarter (11 percent) for the first time since GTM Research began tracking the market on a quarterly basis in 2010.” California’s troubles seem to be one of the biggest reasons for this downturn, troubles caused by a combination of weather and policy related issues as well as market saturation, customer fatigue and low cost customer acquisition challenges. Perea predicts a slow rebound, both in California and nationally, but points to the fact that, given the relative size of the size of the CA market, the state will have a significant impact on how things look nationally.

Elevate the Constraint: Advance your strategic projects by setting priorities correctly across your organization.

By Boaz Soifer for Baywa r.e.

Soifer asserts that companies get stuck in the same pattern when looking to update their strategic plan: they get the teams together, do SWOT analysis, a value stream map, customer journey analysis, strategic objectives definition and multi-year roadmapping. And then nothing really changes. He says things don’t change because each team or department is working independently to advance its strategic priority for the company, resulting in a failure to elevate the strategic priority of the key team, the one experiencing the company’s main constraint. He says a company needs to identify this main constraint (major area where things are not working and having the most negative impact), define what the constrained team needs to achieve its objectives, and have all other teams prioritize this team’s strategic objectives over all others. For example, if the team with the most important constraint is Project Management then “team leaders need to…look at the cross-team processes that can be created or improved to increase Project Management success.”

Survey: What Electricity Customers Really Want

By Julia Pyper for GTM

Pyper examines the results of Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s recent Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study. The report demonstrates that “consumers are aware of what the smart grid is and are interested in all types of smart-grid-enabled programs and technologies,” with significant interest in energy storage and rooftop or shared solar with programmable thermostats. However, the survey finds that actual participation is low due to cost, the complexity of the tech and need for significant upfront investment. The survey does find quite a bit of consumer support for the expansion of their utility’s clean energy programs and states that consumers would pay a small premium for it. One additional observation is that while millennials represent a big opportunity for the industry, cost is often a barrier for them as well as the fact that they tend to be renters. The report also offers tips for utilities and contractors on how to capitalize on SGCC’s findings.

Making solar+storage economics work

By Kathie Zipp for Solar Power World

The article sums up key points from three presentations at an Intersolar NA session called “Bridging the storage gap: Making energy storage cost-effective for customers.” The first looks at an NREL study of how to make solar and storage economical. The study found that technology costs and rate structure played a big role – that time-of-use and demand charges help make solar and storage economically feasible for customers. It also found that decline in tech costs and payback periods are also important. The second presentation talked about opportunities to offer savings to commercial customers with storage. The presenter discussed how solar and storage allows them to better manage energy and demand, reduce project risk and add value to certain existing contract structures. The third presentation looked at the growth of storage around the country in states like HA, MA, CT and NY and the various ways these states have been attempting to make solar and storage economically viable.

Suniva and SolarWorld Trade Dispute Could Halt Two-Thirds of US Solar Installations Through 2022

By Cory Honeyman for GTM

This articles heralds some potentially grim news for US solar. Honeyman describes the impact of Suniva and SolarWorld’s petition to impose penalties on imported solar equipment on both residential and non-residential solar companies, provided the petition is successful. GTM calculates that the penalties would mean that “the U.S. could miss out on more than 47 gigawatts of solar installations.” They found that utility PM would be hit the hardest as the tariffs could potentially wipe out entire state markets. The impact on residential solar would be less severe, though GTM predicts that “the number of residential state markets at grid parity would fall from 43 to 35 under the minimum module price only scenario (and from 43 to 26 with the cell tariff added to the minimum module price).”

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