Top 2016 Solar Renovation Trends
Since solar energy was first considered a realistic option for homeowners, the industry has seen jaw-dropping growth. In the last ten years, we have watched the cost of installing solar panels fall by an estimated 70 percent. As the industry continues to grow, the decreased costs and competition has convinced a new wave of homeowners who are installing solar panels on their home.
This year, we don’t anticipate the growth of the solar industry to slow down. In fact, we anticipate new trends that will further encourage both homeowners and commercial building owners to take the leap and embrace solar energy for themselves
Continued Price Drops
As solar technology advances, we expect the price of solar installation to continue to drop. The industry is working hard to find more efficient ways to produce solar panels, dropping the cost of labor. New materials are being tested, exploring the possibility of using more affordable or fewer materials to construct a panel. Additionally, advances are enabling a single solar panel to capture more energy than before, allowing homeowners to install fewer panels on their home and greatly reduce their overall cost of installation. The year 2016 holds a lot a promise for the solar industry, and without a doubt that includes increased affordability of solar panels.
Growth of the Battery Storage Market
More homeowners than ever are making the switch to home solar power systems‚ but they still face a few challenges, such as the ability to store solar energy during times of excess sunlight to use after sunset or on overcast days. This challenge is expected to push the solar industry to produce more storage options for solar power. At this time, many homeowners are releasing excess solar energy to their local grid and relying on that grid during times when solar energy is lacking. However, more homeowners are looking into removing themselves from the grid and storing solar energy in batteries, allowing them complete independence from non-renewable energy sources.
Extended Finance Options
Although the federal solar tax credits were expected to end in 2015, they have been extended through the end of 2016. This means homeowners can still receive up to 30% in tax credits if they choose to install solar panels on their home this year. In addition to federal tax credits, homeowners in specific states have access to impressive rebates and financing options that will make solar panels a truly affordable option for their family. In Chicago, for instance, if you install solar panels on your home, you may be eligible for a 25 percent rebate, up to $10,000, provided by Commonwealth Edison.
Emerging Solar Design Trends
Efficiency isn’t the only aspect of solar panels we expect to see improve in 2016. Homeowners can also expect changes to the design of solar panels. One emerging trend is building-integrated photovoltaics. These panels are specifically designed to more seamlessly integrate with the building, replacing roofing tiles or shingles instead of being placed on top of them. Additionally, more architects are embracing designs that allow for passive reliance on solar energy. Strategically placed windows allow optimal sunlight into the home, passively heating the home and providing light. Most often, these designs are created to be adjusted for hotter months, with sun-blocking window coverings used to keep the home cool.
If you have been putting off making the switch to solar energy, 2016 is the year to make the jump. With solar tax credits expiring at the end of the year, solar panels may never be as affordable as they are now. Work with a local contractor to explore the many financing options in your area, and make this year the year you embrace a more sustainable way of life.
Guest post by: Mary Sauer