Last week I attended a sales conference for nearly 50 residential solar contractors in Northern California. For three days we discussed the future of the residential solar industry, touching on subjects like the solar federal Income Tax Credit (ITC), utility price escalations, and proposed changes to Net Metering pricing schemes.
Walking into the conference on day one, I was curious what the mood would be like among this diverse group of solar professionals. Given the resistance the Trump administration has created towards renewable energy and climate change, I was expecting a room full of depressed solar contractors ready to jump ship into an industry with a brighter (pun intended) future.
Boy, was I wrong! The temperature in the conference was electric. These guys and gals are excited about the possibility for this industry and see an enormous upside in the next 5-10 years.
Here’s why: While electricity prices are going up, the price of solar is going down. The available “pie” is gigantic, as far fewer than 1% of solar-eligible homes currently have solar panels installed. These homegrown, green collar professionals are ready to go all in and grow their solar businesses. Many of these solar installers are even Trump supporters, but are drawn to residential solar because it represents energy independence and American jobs—a true oasis of bi-partisanship in the desert of American political divide.
I walked out of the conference feeling incredibly optimistic about the future of solar in this country. With that optimism comes a much-needed optimism about our fight to combat climate change.
So here’s my advice to you: If you’re feeling down about climate change, look up (at the sun)!
John Massie, HEET board member
John works for Sungage Financial, a Boston-based company that funds residential solar projects throughout the country. He has also worked at CrowdComfort, an energy efficiency startup, and Next Step Living, a residential energy efficiency company, where he organized local campaigns resulting in the installation of hundreds of residential solar systems and home energy retrofits.