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instersolar north america 2020


Exploring 2019 Trends In Solar, Energy Storage, & e-Mobility

Learn more about the top trends shaping solar, energy storage, and e-mobility with Wes Doane, Events Director of Intersolar North America. Intersolar is the premier solar event that connects innovators and decision makers in the solar + energy storage industry

By Wes Doane, Intersolar North America

To ensure we deliver a compelling, relevant, and actionable conference experience this February, the Intersolar North America team has been watching how the solar, energy storage, and e-mobility industries evolved over the past year. Dive into the top trends shaping each of these markets below.

instersolar north america 2020

Solar Trends to Look Forward To

Analysts predicted that the global solar market would surpass 100 gigawatts (GW) in 2019. 2.7 gigawatts of solar were installed in the first quarter, which made it the quarter with the most solar ever installed in US history. Recent growth has been driven in part by the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which was decreased at the end of 2019 and motivated companies to close deals prior to the deadline.

Corporate procurement and renewable energy commitments from companies like Google and Apple continued to surprise market analysts as a major market growth driver in 2019. Corporate procurements made up nearly 25% of 2018’s projects and are expected to have made up 17% of projects in 2019.

In the past decade, US solar has grown from 25 GW to an estimated 663 GW by the end of 2019. According to BloombergNEF, that’s enough to power nearly 100 million homes in the US.

Looking Ahead

With carbon-based electric generation contributing approximately 30% to the US’s total greenhouse gas emissions, there’s a major opportunity to decarbonize the energy sector with renewables. In the 2020s, state, municipal, and corporate procurement will continue to drive market expansion as more cities announce renewable energy goals and the cost of solar continues to drop.

Energy Storage Trends that are Driving Innovation

The decline in battery technology costs is driving market growth for the energy storage industry in 2019, with lithium prices expected to fall 45% by 2021.

In Q1 of 2019, the market achieved a record-breaking 232% growth. Part of that growth can be attributed to a surge in residential storage in 2018, with deployments quadrupling year-after-year due to the increase in state-level incentive programs for solar-plus-storage projects. Despite recent residential market growth, utility-supply storage continues to stand as the largest market segment. According to SEPA, investor-owned utilities deployed the most storage of any utility type, contributing approximately 64% of megawatt-hours interconnected to the grid last year.

Emerging Battery Technologies

While lithium-ion continues to prevail as the leading battery technology (especially for electric vehicle applications), other alternative technologies continue to diversify the sector. Variations of lithium-ion (like lithium-sulfur) and innovative technologies (such as zinc-related batteries and gravity storage) are becoming more popular and—in some applications—more cost effective than traditional battery technologies.

Looking Ahead

In the next five years, experts forecast the energy storage industry will grow tenfold—becoming a $5.4 billion market. They expect that this new market expansion will be spurred by a continued decline in technology costs and an increase in state and local sustainability mandates and incentive programs.

E-Mobility Acceleration Continues!

The growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry has quickly accelerated since its start just over 10 years ago. Last year, global EV sales reached more than 7 million vehicles, while the US sold around 330,000, Europe sold around 580,000, and China sold around 1.2 million in 2019 alone. The growth in sales is largely due to automakers expanding their electric model lines in addition to falling battery prices that increase the affordability of EVs for modern consumers. Reports show that lithium-ion battery prices have decreased an estimated 87% since 2010, considerably reducing the price point of EVs.

Market Expansion

The 2019 EV market goes beyond personal vehicles to include fleets, buses, and even ridesharing vehicles. There is a wide variety of stakeholders contributing to the growing number of zero emissions vehicles, including:

  • Large corporations like UPS and Amazon, which are leveraging EVs to electrify their fleets of delivery vans.
  • Ridesharing companies like Lyft, which are incentivizing drivers who own electric vehicles.
  • Cities that are introducing electric buses to their public transportation systems—a market that experts predict to triple by 2025.

Looking Ahead

With the number of EVs on the road increasing, it is critical to build EV charging infrastructure that supports the expanding EV market. To smoothly transition to our electrified mobility future, many cities are investing in e-mobility infrastructure to cut emissions from transportation and help meet sustainability goals. For example, the New York Power Authority has invested $250 million in an initiative to deploy DC fast chargers in key areas to support local EV drivers.

Drivers will soon rely on ultra-fast charging methods. As a result, utilities and power providers will look for solutions to support the growing demand for power without overwhelming the electric grid.

Keep Learning

What do trends for the solar, energy storage, and e-mobility markets mean? See our full 2019 Market Trends article to get key takeaways.

Interested in learning more? Get up-to-date information on emerging technology, policy, and trends at Intersolar North America by registering for our February 4–6, 2020 event today.

About the Author: Wes Doane is the Event Director of Intersolar North America. Focused on B2B event sales and management, Wes has deep expertise in the solar + energy storage and finance and accounting industries. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children, and still finds time to surf once or twice a year.


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