2019 has already proven to be a big year for the industry. As we approach the peak of the summer season in the United States, the buzz surrounding is increasing more and more. States, communities, organizations, and individual leaders everywhere in our nation are rising up to create solar and sustainable futures for generations to come. 

One individual who has had his hand in the solar sector and has been striving to make a difference for years is Hayes Barnard. As the former Chief Revenue Officer for SolarCity and creator of his own solar mortgage company, Loanpal, Barnard knows a thing or two when it comes to solar and renewable energy entrepreneurship and innovation. Barnard recently opened up to Inverse online about the three primary trends currently driving the solar energy sector forward, as well as how the transition to a sustainable future can be made possible. 

Reduced Costs of Solar Installations 

Thanks to over a decade of experience in the solar industry, Barnard points to three key solar trends that point towards an impending green energy revolution. The first major sign is the consistent price reduction in solar panels and other renewable technologies. Back in February of 2010, residential costs were nearly $6.65 per watt, according to data from the Solar Foundation. By 2018, this price dropped to $2.89 per watt for some regions, and even as low as $1.75 per watt in some instances.  

Barnard’s company Loanpal aims to help those making the transition to solar make sense of their cost savings. Loanpal focuses primarily on the financing of solar energy for residential consumers. According to Barnard, they provide their solar customers with a transparent estimate of how much they will invest in solar technology initially, as well as their predicted savings over the course of a year. Now, nearly 80 percent of the top 50 solar energy providers in the United States work with and enlist the services provided by Loanpal. 

Mandating Solar and Renewable Technologies 

Another major sign corroborating the arrival of the is the recent mandates passed in California, Hawaii, and other states. By 2045, California and Hawaii are aiming to rely solely on renewable, solar, and clean energy sources. Across the nation, nearly every state has set some sort of renewable or solar energy goal for the coming decades. The impending possibility that little may be left of Earth for coming generations, as well as the example set by leading states in the solar realm, has prompted nation and statewide action. 

California has undoubtedly been the leading state when it comes to putting strict solar and renewable energy mandates into place. In fact, this past December, the state of California announced that solar panels will be a requirement as part of construction build for any new homes built after 2020. 

Bernard believes that other states will soon follow California’s example. Mandating solar panels as part of new builds is one trend that he is optimistic other states are most likely to adopt. According to recent estimates, requiring solar panels on all newly built homes will add nearly $10,000 to the initial cost of the home build, and the energy savings over the course of 3 decades will total nearly $19,000 

Increasing Advantages for Existing Solar Customers 

Bernard noted that the last promising trend in the solar industry pointing towards a greener future is the initiatives being taken to help existing customers save even more over the course of time. Multiple solar energy agencies that oversee residential consumer accounts are always looking to help educate and assist customers, according to Barnard. Not only are solar agencies helping their customers understand their cost-savings, they are also helping them to increase the efficiency of their solar panels as time goes on.  

A Greener Future Ahead 

While it cannot be said with absolute certainty when a worldwide trade to renewable resources from non-renewable resources will take place once and for all, experts like Barnard are optimistic. Even the International Renewable Energy Agency has weighed in recently claiming that with the plans currently in place worldwide, it is possible that 86 percent of the world could run entirely on renewable energy by 2050.  

Resources: 

https://www.inverse.com/article/55481-the-3-huge-trends-driving-the-imminent-solar-energy-revolution 

https://www.loanpal.com/company.html 

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