The Future of Solar and how it will affect the Industry

Harnessing the power of the sun is changing the way we look at rooftop construction. The effects of the alternative source of power have been seen in California legislation, the state’s economy, and construction as well as building design. A portion of what will be discussed at the Building Industry show (BIS) during its Popup section will attempt to cover some of these changes and effects.

Due to the incentives for rooftop solar and a legal mandate for utilities to buy 50 percent of their electricity from clean sources by 2030, California currently leads the nation in solar jobs. The state’s solar workforce grew by nearly 40 percent last year, propelling solar employment to more than to 75,000 people statewide and more than 200,000 people nationwide. There are also more incentives for consumers to buy electric vehicles and adopt solar for their homes.

Recently, however, the California public utility Imperial Irrigation District (IID) reached a deal with the solar industry to extend net metering deals to between 1,200 and 1,300 customers, months after announcing it would not be taking new subscriptions, according to the Desert Sun.

Many of those customers had already signed contracts with solar installers, but were thrown into limbo when the district abruptly closed net metering to new applicants in February. Without net metering — which compensates solar-powered homes and businesses for the electricity they generate, at full retail rates — it would have been hard to make a rooftop system pencil out financially.

According to Construction Dive, earlier this year, the California public utility Imperial Irrigation District said it had reached a cap on the program, put in place by the state legislature, which limited net metering to 5% of its peak electricity demand.

In a letter from IID District General Manager Kevin Kelley to state Senator Ben Hueso (D), the utility said it would extend net metering to customers who requested interconnection before April 1, and other sets of customers who had already taken steps to install panels.

Many residents of California and building industry professionals are left with many questions about what type of programs for solar are available, the effects of solar on Title 24, the current trends of the solar industry, and will be seen from solar in the future.

Join BIS on Wednesday, November 9th at the Riverside Convention Center to hear more about the power of solar.