With each passing year, the issues facing our planet and the problems with our dependence on fossil fuels become clearer and clearer. It’s no surprise that as that happens, the popularity and acceptance of solar power among both industrial and consumer markets continue to grow. 2020 promises to be another banner year for the solar technology and sales industries, and the following are just a few of the emerging trends to keep an eye on as the year progresses.
Floating Solar Systems
Large-scale solar arrays are the future. These solar powerplants, also known as “solar parks,” are already in use in a handful of countries around the world. But the universal problem is finding places to put them. Solar parks take up a lot of lands – land that could otherwise be used for more profitable projects. The emerging solution to that problem is floating solar arrays. Nicknamed “floatovoltaics,” these systems eliminate the space problem by putting floating powerplants on otherwise unused bodies of water, like wastewater ponds. Their popularity is taking off, and 2019 saw major growth in installations, including a state-record-holding floating powerplant in California. Watch for the popularity of these systems to continue to rise as states and municipalities see the return available from otherwise wasted space.
Bifacial solar panels are panels with PV materials on both sides. That might seem counterintuitive, but overall, up to 30% of the sun’s energy is actually reflected back up into space. The ratio of how much energy a surface reflects is called “albedo,” and concrete, for instance, has an albedo of .55, meaning it reflects 55% of energy. Even grass has an albedo of .25! A bifacial panel with PV material on both sides has the ability to collect that otherwise wasted energy, and that’s driving a surge in popularity, with over double the number of bifacial panels installed in 2019 compared with just the year before.
Solar Sales Trends
2019 saw a new focus on agriculture, as a new study determined that solar power arrays might be best placed on agricultural land. The large swaths of land used for farming, both produce, and livestock, are ideal for solar installations because of the benefits panels can offer to the farms themselves, in addition to just the power they produce. For instance, on farms like those in the U.S. Midwest, scorching summer temperatures mean livestock are often in need of shade – something that an elevated panel array can happily provide. Likewise, certain crops perform best when grown in the intermittent shade, another perfect application for agricultural PV. So, if your sales team isn’t already targeting agricultural customers, 2020 is the year to start, because the agrivoltaics sector is set to explode.
Wiring up the Roof
In late 2019, Tesla introduced version three of its solar roof shingles – a sign that the company continues to see the potential in residential roof-based solar arrays. While the Tesla Solar Roof still has some major problems to sort out – specifically the extreme cost of doing repairs – their proprietary shingles aren’t the only solution on the market. Roof-based traditional panel arrays continue to grow, and, while they’re not as attractive as Tesla’s shingles, your sales team should be focusing on offering them as a more cost-effective, easier to repair, and less permanent solutions alongside the hype generated by the emerging Tesla solar roofs.
The Synthesis of Solar Sales and Technology
Perhaps the most important emerging trend for your company in 2020 is the continued adoption of solar customer resource management tools as a sales force multiplier across the industry. Through the capture and analysis of prospect and customer data, CRM platforms – the synthesis of sales and tech – offer solar companies an unparalleled level of control over the lead generation and management, the sales process, and follow-up service. Advanced platforms like CRMDialer also provide a full suite of productivity tools designed to streamline all areas of your operations and to maximize profits by minimizing costly waste.
For more information on how CRMDialer’s industry-leading solar sales and productivity tools can help your team close more deals and complete more installations, start your free trial today.