Solar trending topics are transforming the industry
In my year of covering the solar inverter beat, I’ve seen firsthand how technology trends can kickstart entire industry shifts. I started noticing the words “hybrid” and “battery-based” being used to describe inverters at one trade show, then by the next one, almost every inverter manufacturer was showcasing inverter solutions that could be easily paired with storage. Following that wave, I saw battery and inverter partnerships begin to form, where companies worked together to make the most compatible paired solutions for installers.
At the next tradeshow, I started learning about “smart inverters,” then my inbox was flooded with press releases about all the new inverters that can communicate with the grid to regulate voltage. After that, I saw multiple utilities taking steps to modernize the grid to be more compatible with smart inverters and allow for higher PV penetration.
Advancements in inverter smarts, voltage and plug-and-play capabilities give installers more options in system design and more selling points when talking with customers. High-voltage central inverters can save large utilityscale solar developers money. Hybrid string inverters can give homeowners an easy way to tie their PV arrays into storage and EV chargers. More possibilities mean more opportunities to increase solar penetration in every market — residential, commercial and utility.
Ideological trends are helping the solar industry make strides too. Now more than ever, Americans on all points of the political spectrum are supporting solar. Bipartisan bills that help solar grow are a common news item on my desk, and every week it seems like a new state or city is committing to 100% renewable energy.
In this trends issue, we look at all the ways the solar industry is advancing — from the technology, to the workforce, to the minds of Americans. We hope it makes you as excited as we are about the solar year to come.
Senior Editor Kelsey Misbrener