2020 was certainly an interesting way to start a decade. With a global health pandemic changing the world in nearly every way, few things have remained consistent throughout this monumental year in world history. Solar energy, however, has continued to thrive.
Apollo Energy is a locally owned and operated solar company based in Denver, Colorado. We are committed to providing members of our community with the absolute best possible solar energy services. Our primary focus is to help homeowners achieve electricity independence through expertly designed, installed, and maintained solar energy systems.
For this reason, we’ve developed this article to help our customers understand the current state of residential solar panels. Below, we will outline some of the most important facts and figures that surround residential solar in 2020 before showcasing why 2021 is the absolute best year to adopt solar energy at home.
The Impact of the Covid-19 on Residential Solar
In the second quarter of 2020, residential solar installations dropped 23% from the previous 3 months. While utility and commercial solar installations also lowered, residential solar saw the largest impact from the Covid-19 pandemic. This was largely due to:
Prolonged permitting, installation, and interconnection timelines
And general economic uncertainty
In Q3 (July, August, and September) solar bounced back with a national 9% increase in total PV capacity installation, as restrictions began to lift and more and more people were able to return to work.
While record cases escalate in December of 2020, total solar capacity added in the United States is still predicted to increase year over year from 2019. As solar recently was declared the “cheapest form of electricity in history,” new PV panel installations continue to account for over ⅓ of new energy installations in 2020.
US Home Solar Statistics (2020)
In the graph above, it is very easy to see that residential solar energy capacity has seen steady growth over the last decade, with California leading the way. The Golden State has consistently installed roughly ⅓ of the national residential solar capacity for the last ten years.
Of course, California is the most populated state in the country with great conditions for solar energy production. In terms of total capacity installed, Colorado is part of the “Next 9,” alongside primarily southwest and east coast states.
Unfortunately, California was drastically impacted by Covid-19 with staggering cases and strict state and city mandates. For the first time in history, Texas and Florida were able to surpass California in total solar capacity added in 2020. While this was mainly in the commercial and utility sectors, California is still installing nearly four times the residential solar capacity than any other state.
Colorado Solar in 2020
As many residents of the Centennial State know, Colorado is ideal for solar power thanks to the avid sunlight, favorable policies, and local resources. As you can see in the chart below, Colorado remained in the top ten solar states for new PV capacity growth in the first half of 2020.
While the industry took a large hit in March and April, studies have found that clean energy employment opportunities in Colorado quickly bounced back in the summer. In a time where national unemployment is at an all-time high, there were approximately 5,962 jobs lost in 2020 throughout the Denver/Aurora area’s clean energy sector. While this number is still very high, Colorado’s clean energy job loss remains below the national average, as sustainability efforts continue in our home state.
The Opportunity For Residential Solar
Across the country, homeowners are installing solar panels for:
Predictable, long-term electricity rates with independent solar power
Monetization of excess electricity production from states and utilities adopting net metering policies and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
Protection against utility rate hikes
Additional savings on utility Time of Use Billing structures.
And a reduced carbon footprint and improved local air quality
In the commercial, residential, and utility sectors, the growing installation rate of solar energy has largely been incentivized by a lowering cost of development. Below, you can see a compiled average price per watt of PV systems dramatically lowering in the first half of the decade before largely leveling out in the past four years.
2021 is the last year for residential solar energy installations to take advantage of the federal solar ITC. All home solar installations completed before January 1, 2022, are eligible for a 26% dollar-for-dollar federal income tax credit equal to the total cost of the system (parts, labor, etc.).
With this in mind, 2021 will be the cheapest year for homeowners to install solar panels for a very long time.
To see the average cost of going solar in your area, feel free to check out the solar panel cost per kWh in your state. If you are a Colorado or Wyoming homeowner, feel free to contact us today for a free assessment of your home’s solar potential.
Graphs and additional information: https://www.seia.org/us-solar-market-insight.