Solar has been growing at record paces year after year, and if reports are to be believed this growth should continue well into the future. There are many related technologies piggy-backing on this growth. What does the future have in store for them?
The latest report from Navigant Research attempts to answer this by taking a wider look at the industry, not just focusing on solar panels but attempting to predict the growth of new, emerging technologies. It collectively calls these new technologies distributed energy resources (DER), and claims they are fundamentally changing the relationship between utilities and residential customers.
Utilities have not fully come to terms with this yet, and some are fighting it tooth and nail — though a few are exhibiting more forward-thinking approaches. Despite this, solar has continued to grow at a record pace, and Navigant expects homeowners and other residential customers to invest more than $625 billion, cumulatively, in DER from 2014 through 2023.
The report, “Residential Energy Innovations,” examines the market for residential generation and storage technologies, and discusses how they are reshaping the future of the residential power industry. It analyzes the key market drivers and inhibitors influencing the market, as well as major technology issues. Global market forecasts, segmented by region and category – solar PV, energy storage, EVs, and residential combined heat and power – extend through 2023. The report also provides profiles of established and new industry players and explores policy issues related to residential distributed generation and energy storage technologies.
“The growing affordability of DER technologies is giving customers greater control of their energy consumption — turning some homes into miniature power plants that generate all the power they consume and even deliver power back to the grid,” says Neil Strother, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Solar PV panels are the most visible technology reshaping the residential power landscape, but there are many others, as well.”
Some of these technologies, such as residential combined heat and power, are in the early stages of market development, according to the report, while solar panels are more mature. Residential energy storage systems, vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home systems that enable plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) to receive and provide power to and from the grid, and increasingly sophisticated home energy management tools are all likely to deliver more capability to homes.
Navigant Research forecasts that the total revenue for this market will rise modestly from $54.7 billion in 2013 to $71.6 billion from 2013 to 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7%. Solar PV will be the largest contributor to the market in terms of total revenue, with revenue rising slightly because of continuing declines in prices.
It is worth remembering that this report is looking out almost 10 years into the future. There are many factors that will shape how these early-stage technologies play out. While we can assume that the report will more accurately predict how matured technologies, such as solar panels, will grow, even this is difficult to predict so far out in advance.