5-Step Roadmap for Residential Solar Success in 2024

From California’s tumultuous net-metering transition to navigating maturing markets and delivering more customer value, installers must be extra strategic in a residential solar market expected to experience its share of obstacles and opportunities in the new year.


To assist in these efforts, we’ve compiled the top five steps residential solar installers must take on the roadmap to success in 2024 and beyond.


1. Ride the Solar Coaster Like a Pro

The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) expects the final 2023 data for the country’s residential solar market to show a 13% growth rate, driven by a surge in installations in California during the second half of the year. However, the residential market is projected to decline by 12% in 2024 due to a slowdown in installations in California arising from the implementation of NEM 2.0’s new net billing regulations, coupled with high-interest rates and maturing markets in other regions. Despite this slowdown, a recovery is expected in 2025, with the residential solar market growing at an average annual rate of 10% between 2025 and 2028, particularly in emerging markets.


The up-and-down growth trajectory is a prime illustration of the industry’s solar coaster, a phenomenon all too familiar for industry veterans. However, new installers will need to pay close attention to these swings in order to make the strategic business decisions and operational adjustments necessary to adapt to these market fluctuations.


2. Navigate Maturing and Emerging Residential Solar Markets

The California market often serves as a bellwether for other U.S. states as a more mature market since it’s responsible for roughly 40% of the U.S. solar market. But since NEM 3.0 went into effect last year — which reduces net metering compensation rates for new California solar customers by up to 75% — data from the state’s interconnection queues has revealed that installations in the state have dropped 80%, with over 17,000 jobs lost to layoffs.


Although maturing residential solar markets like California’s will contribute to the forecasted slowdown, installers still have plenty of opportunities. A recent survey found only around 7% of eligible U.S. homeowners, roughly 4 million households, have solar panels, leaving around 53 million eligible households without solar. The study also discovered that 86%, or roughly 45 million, of those eligible respondents without solar panels would possibly consider them for their home, with 43%, or nearly 23 million, saying they’d consider them in the next one to three years.

3. Alleviate Homeowners’ Concerns About Installing Rooftop Solar PV Systems

So what’s holding back eligible households from installing solar? Respondents in the survey mentioned above cited the following as their top concerns:


  • Cost: 74%

  • Equipment maintenance: 30%

  • Panel damage from weather (hail, hurricane): 26%

  • Reliability: 23%


Installers equipped with this knowledge can better tailor their sales pitches to hone in on directly addressing these concerns. Potential customers often have these concerns because they don’t fully understand a rooftop’s PV system’s lifetime savings, tax incentives, and long-term performance reliability.  


Those familiar with solar panels know these concerns might not be the obstacles they appear at first glance. Solar sales pitches should include educating potential customers and carefully guiding their thinking to overcome misconceptions.


First, many homeowners have misassumptions about the upfront costs, with respondents expecting to pay as much as $100,000 when the nationwide average cost for a rooftop solar PV system is closer to $25,000. That’s before the 30% rebate from the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which averages $7,500 in savings.


Since a rooftop PV system has a 25-year lifespan, customers will still realize significant energy bill savings, especially when installers can offer modules automatically covered with a 25/25-year warranty. These savings are still achievable in states without net-metering compensation and even under California’s NEM 3.0. However, the change will probably extend the rooftop solar payback period in the Golden State from four to five years to around seven to nine years.


It’s also important to emphasize that since solar PV panels have no moving parts, they require little maintenance and have an extremely low risk of failure. The National Energy Renewable Laboratory (NREL) found only a 0.05% median failure rate, just 5 out of 10,000 panels annually.


However, without cost-effective, reliable rooftop PV modules covered by a 25/25-year warranty, even a perfectly tailored sales pitch can only move the needle so far in convincing a potential customer.


4. Avoid Solar Panel Supply Chain Uncertainty

With installers already walking a tightrope in navigating the bumpy residential solar market, product availability should be their last concern. Unfortunately, many U.S. solar installers, spurred by reports of detained shipments, feel heightened uncertainty and concern around module supply. Avoiding solar panel supply chain uncertainty in 2024 will mean choosing high-quality and high-performance modules from a company with a proven track record of success maintaining a consistent supply.


As the country’s manufacturing renaissance continues, new facilities will ease congestion. For example, Trina Solar is developing a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Wilmer, Texas. Slated to begin operation this year, Trina’s new 5 GW facility will enable a more robust domestic supply of PV modules while providing 1,500 local jobs.


5. Boost Rooftop PV Efficiency to Lower BOS Costs

Despite some dark clouds on the horizon, the country’s long-term residential solar market forecast remains largely sunny.


As noted above, rooftop solar’s long-term financial benefits should continue fueling customer demand. Meanwhile, electricity rates remain volatile, and in specific markets, the price increases far outpace inflation. In one striking example, over the past nine years, retail electricity bills from California’s three major utilities rose by at least 47%, with San Diego Gas & Electric surging 104% — a dramatic difference compared to the 28% increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the same period.


At the same time, homeowners are becoming more power savvy, with smart sensors, home energy storage solutions, electric vehicle (EV) ownership, and EV charging systems all on the rise and gaining in popularity. Not only does this technology provide homeowners with environmental and financial benefits, but it also creates an opening for solar sales teams to get their foot in the door. As more households adopt these features, installers will have more opportunities to offer a total home energy and EV charging solution powered by rooftop PV systems and backed up with a home energy battery storage solution.


Installers using Trina Solar’s Vertex S+ modules with innovative 210mm n-type TOPCon advanced technology can deliver up to 435W power output and 22.4% efficiency in a compact, easy-to-install design. Vertex S+ lands right in the sweet spot between size, power, and weight, offering more flexibility to pack more power per rooftop than conventional p-type solar panels. This helps reduce system BOS costs to deliver more residential solar customer value than ever before. And every panel sold in the U.S. comes automatically covered by the 25/25-year TrinaProtect warranty to ensure customer peace of mind for the rooftop PV system’s life.

Interested in learning more about how Trina Solar US can help installers find more residential solar project success in 2024? Reach out to our local team of experts today!

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