Here comes the sun. The smiles returning to the faces.
The residential solar market grew 11 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter a year ago, marking the first quarter of growth in the industry since 2016.
Industry tracker Ohm Analytics reported Wednesday that the growth, which followed four straight quarters of shrinking in the market, was led by strong performance in California, and also got help from strong growth in Nevada and Florida.
Strong California Housing Market
Ohm Analytics, a division of Ohm Home, said rising home values in California are spurring people to go solar.
“Home equity gains are a major driver in home improvement spending, particularly for those projects that are primarily financed such as residential solar,” Ohm Analytics said.
Solar+Storage Also Growing
The analysis also found that consumers are more interested in adding solar+storage installations – where the energy created by homeowners’ solar panels can be stored for later use on a battery storage system installed at the home. The systems are popular because they keep homes that have them from losing power in the event of a grid outage, such as during a storm.
Dropping prices for batteries and state incentives have boosted interest in solar+ storage systems, and, according to Ohm Home, solar companies are marketing the systems heavily because of the incentives.
Greentech Media reported last month that the rate of solar customers adopting storage in California has roughly doubled each quarter for the last three quarters, and one company, SunRun, reported about 20 percent of its California customers now adopt on-site storage.
Local governments are also studying the idea of homeowners having solar+ storage systems as a means of resiliency for the community as a whole, spurred by reports of earthquake vulnerability on the west coast, and major hurricane-caused outages in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico, and even in the northeast from Hurricane Sandy.
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