7 Solar and Battery Trends for 2021
Here are some key trends we feel will affect us in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California for Solar and Battery Backups in 2021.
- Making sure you have great Southern facing sun is no longer as important as it used to be. Homeowners that thought their roof was not facing the “right” direction can now consider solar where as before it may not have been the best idea. Bottom line: Solar panels are less expensive and more efficient making it “ok” to put them on most sides of any roof.
- It really matters who your installers are as installations with batteries get a little more complicated. Before battery installs made up 5% of our installs now it seems like 80% of our installs are calling for batteries or generators. Good thing we have some of the smartest people in Nevada & Placer County designing our solar and backup systems.
- A “one” battery installation will have enough output to power our typical medium sized well pumps in the Foothills. Many battery/inverter combos were not designed to power such a heavy load from a well pump and required two batteries to power the pump. A new battery system is coming out in 2021 before the next round of PSPS’s and this battery will be able to power most of what we need with an inverter to match. This will be the best battery/inverter technology we have ever seen for residential solar. Like apples to oranges to what we have now.
- Charging EV vehicles at home is going to increase our home energy usage and in turn call for solar panel system expansions and inverter upgrades. Inverters that have built-in EV car charges will become more popular and the new normal in our region.
- We will witness residential batteries pushing energy back to the grid to help smooth the demand for energy when the sun goes down and our solar stops producing power. If you have your own battery storage, you would do this for your own home, but in 2021, as more programs like SGIP come online, we will see home battery systems push energy back away from the home to help the stabilize the grid during peak demand.
- The battle for fair price, NEM will get hot! Net Energy Metering requires utilities like PG&E to pay the retail rate for electricity that your roof and ground mounted solar panels produce. This helps make solar a fair deal for homeowners and PG&E is trying hard to “adjust” it in their favor. Systems that get installed now will be grandfathered in for a certain amount of time, guaranteeing a shorter payback period for their solar installation.
- Batteries will use less toxic materials to produce the same amount of energy. This is probably the most welcome change we look forward to in energy storage technology. We are glad certain manufacturers are focusing on improving the environmental impacts of their batteries and we already know of improvements that will be released in 2021.
Innovation in energy technology, especially solar and batteries are at a break-neck pace while at the same time our need for electricity is also increasing rapidly. Only time can tell if we can make the changes we need fast enough, but at least in opinion we are on the right track, and train it’s moving fast.