A large transition in the residential solar power market is on the cusp of change. Homeowners who are interested in installing solar panels on their rooftops have two options: either front the cost themselves for the expensive solar panels, or allow a third-party owner to install solar panels on their rooftops and lease the panels from them. The latter option is currently the most popular choice, and this popularity has steadily been growing. However a report by GTM Research predicts that this trend will peak in 2014, and the residential solar market share for third-party ownership will begin to decline as the price of solar panels begins to go down.
In addition to the fact that the parts to make solar panels are becoming more widely available at lower prices, loans specifically geared towards going solar are also gaining traction. “Solar loans are becoming widely available with many more options to choose from than in the past, and declining system costs are making direct ownership affordable for more homeowners,” notes the author of the GTTM Research report, Nicole Litvak. “As a result, the share of third-party-owned solar has already begun to come down in leading state markets, including Arizona and Massachusetts.”
In 2011, only 42 percent of the residential solar market share was held by third-party companies that leased solar panels to residents. That number grew to 66 percent in 2013, and is expected to reach 68 percent by the end of this year. However, the combined factors of cheaper equipment, better solar loan programs and alternative financing from clean energy initiatives will begin to shift the market share towards residential ownership, albeit slowly.
Solar technology has grown in the past few years to become extremely efficient while prices at have simultaneously been dropping. Not only is it clean energy, but solar power is proving to be profitable as well. In fact, solar power has become so popular the residential solar market alone is also expected to produce more than 1 gigawatt of power for the first time ever before the year is out.
Edited by Maurice Nagle