Green Will Trump Red and Blue: After the 2012 elections, politicians from both sides of the aisle are looking for issues on which they can agree. Solar will increasingly become one of these issues; 92 percent of Americans agree it’s important to use and develop more solar. What’s more, extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy has leaders across party lines calling for America to tackle climate change. The need for a smarter, cleaner, and safer energy future will transcend politics in 2013.
Solar Service Leaps Beyond: The winners in solar will be those who understand that the relationship with the customer is everything. We’ll see this distinction become defined among companies in the third-party-owned solar sector this year, as homeowners realize they want a reliable service in addition to solar without the high upfront cost.
The Continued Rise of the Solar Middle Class: Third-party-owned solar is driving growth across all income levels. For example, the number of home solar projects in California’s middle-income markets has increased by 445 percent since 2007. At the same time, Americans of all incomes continue to go solar in record numbers. Industry projections indicate there will be more residential solar installed in 2012 alone than in all the years through 2009 collectively. We’ll see these trends continue in 2013.
Smart Policy Will Foster Solar Scale: Net energy metering and rate design will remain integral to solar policy discussions in 2013. Programs that offer certainty while promoting scale, such as the California Solar Initiative, will continue to help drive solar adoption and cost reduction.
Pocketbook Environmentalism Prospers: In a survey Sunrun conducted recently through Harris Interactive, Americans cited “saving money” as the primary motivating factor for making green lifestyle changes. Now that there are environmental choices that are also smart, easy choices for consumers’ bank accounts, more Americans will opt for them.
Lynn Jurich is co-CEO of Sunrun.