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Solar Scoop: Trends, News, & Updates

Written by Faith Foushee/

Edited by Hannah Hillson

Last updated 08/16/2023

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The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released the latest Tracking the Sun report describing solar panel system and battery storage trends through 2022. Key trends include project characteristics, median installed prices, and variables making up the price. Overall, the report shows that the median size for solar systems and the amount paired with solar batteries is increasing.
Here are a few key points from the report: 
•  The median residential solar panel system size reached 7.2 kilowatts (kW).
•  Median installed prices have decreased by an average of $0.10–$0.2 per Watt (W) since 2013.
•  The median price for a solar system is $4.17/W compared to paired solar and storage at $4.92/W.
•  Battery storage installations are increasing. About 10% of new solar installations in 2022 included paired storage, compared to nearly zero in 2015.
•  In 2022 alone, 23% of owners added storage to existing solar systems.
•  Government regulation and weather patterns influence solar installation. For example, rebates for storage and other solar programs in California drive the trend of paired solar and storage systems in the state. In Texas, outages from Winter Storm Uri drive an increase in solar installations.

Tesla is offering a $500 rebate to customers who install and register their Powerwall in the Tesla mobile app between June 15, 2023, and Oct. 31, 2023. The Tesla Powerwall is one of the best solar batteries on the market. Solar batteries are a great addition to your solar panel system because they can keep energy flowing to your essentials during a power outage and help you save money on electricity bills. If you’ve been considering purchasing a Tesla Powerwall, now is a great time to take advantage of a money-saving rebate.

On April 15, 2023, NEM 3.0 went into effect for new solar customers. The decision means California residents who install solar after this date receive a lower rate for their solar energy sent to the electricity grid. Customers must also have a time-of-use energy plan from their utility. Peak hours and electricity rates vary by location. Though the value of energy credits decreased, installing solar panels is still worthwhile in California because of rising electricity rates and frequent power outages. 

The California Public Utilities Commission passed NEM 3.0, reducing the retail rate for solar owners in California to sell back their excess solar energy. NEM 3.0 increases the payback period by about nine years for a total of 15 instead of six. If you receive Permission to Operate (PTO) before April 15, 2023, you are locked into your current NEM policy for 20 years since your interconnection date. You must follow the new ruling if you do not meet the deadline.

The Residential Clean Energy Credit, formerly known as the Investment Tax Credit, helps homeowners offset the total cost of solar by 30%. The tax credit can be applied to solar systems purchased from the beginning of 2022 through 2032. In 2033, the credit decreases to 26%, and 22% in 2034, expiring in 2035. Fill out the IRS form 5695 to claim the solar tax credit. If you’re considering installing solar, the Residential Clean Energy Credit can significantly reduce the overall cost.

Solar energy by state

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