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10 Predictions for Rooftop Solar Power in 2014 : Greentech Media

Happy New Year, dear readers.

As the year winds down, we hope you are resting, recovering, and enjoying some time off with your loved ones. Before we return to the grind in 2014, Barry Cinnamon provides a forecast into the fate of rooftop solar in the coming year.


1. Net metering will win in big solar states and lose in small solar states. The efforts of SEIA, Vote Solar and others make a tremendous difference — but the biggest factor is voters who want more solar. As such, states with a strong solar constituency (like California with almost 200,000 rooftop systems) will be most successful in passing solar-friendly policies. The lesson for the solar industry is that we need strong grassroots support coupled with effective lobbying. Happy net-metered voters are the foot soldiers who will win this war.

2. Nothing definitive will happen with the ITC in 2014, even though extending the ITC is a priority for all segments of the industry. The 30% ITC is the swing factor in states where electric rates and incentives are low. Although the ITC is not required where the economics of solar are already compelling (like HI and CA), there is no other single federal policy that is effective for both customer-owned and third-party-owned systems.

3. Public utility commissions will timidly propose changes to existing utility business models. The irresistible force of cheaper solar technology is stronger than the immovable object of a high guaranteed rate of return for utilities. I use the word “timidly” because utilities have money, political clout and legions of lawyers to effectively lobby to retain their business model.



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