C&I, Solar

2016 California Solar Market in Six Charts

Residential Installations

Residential solar installations fell 8 percent in 3Q16 vs. the prior year. Industry analysts believe this may be due to saturation in areas that are strong fit for solar as well as the impact of the election uncertainty. Reuters covered this trend in its recent article on the San Diego solar market.

Median Price Per Watt

The median price per watt for a residential installation declined nearly 10 percent vs. the prior year to $4.47.  This is largely due to module price declines (as much as 30 percent), according to industry analysts.

Third-Party Owned

The percentage of third-party owned system declined to 46.5 percent from 58.2 percent in 1Q15.  The shift to customer-owned systems is expected to continue and is being driven by several factors including, (i) a slowdown by large national installers, (ii) expansion of attractive loan alternatives for consumers and (iii) growing solar markets in states (FL and UT) that do not allow third-party ownership.

National Installer Market Share

National installer market share fell to 37 percent from 46 percent in the prior year.  This was due to a pull-back in acquisition spend by the national installers and increasing platform and technology support for regional installers.

Residential Inverter Market Share

Enphase Energy and SolarEdge continued to growth their market share to 52 percent in 3Q16 from 47 percent in 1Q15. Most of this share has come from ABB/PowerOne, and the two companies are “facing the fight of their lives”

Installations By Customer Sector

As the residential market has slowed, commercial installations increased 85 percent from 3Q15. Commercial solar has proven harder to scale, particularly smaller scale commercial. The growth has been supported by corporate solar investments, such as Google, which is expected to reach 100 percent renewable-sourced by 2017.

This article was originally published by Sunvago and was republished with permission.