C&I Solar Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2023

Commercial and industrial (C&I) solar might not generate the same headlines as massive utility-scale solar projects or hit as close to home as residential solar, but this critical sector continues its steady growth trajectory while offering a range of diverse opportunities for project developers and EPCs.


From community solar to microgrids and from agrivoltaics to achieving corporate ESG targets, Trina Solar’s C&I Solutions offers the streamlined procurement, widespread component operability, and high-powered PV modules that developers and EPCs need to turn C&I opportunities into C&I successes.


Let’s explore some C&I solar trends to watch out for in 2023. 


Community Solar Gains Traction 

Since 2017, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has recorded a substantial rise in community solar projects. More than 39 states have community solar projects in the pipeline, representing more than 3 GW capacity. Twenty-two states have implemented policies specifically to accelerate community solar deployment, with Florida, Minnesota, New York, and Massachusetts leading these initiatives and making up almost 75% of this market.  


Off-site models remain the most common for community solar, but there has been a push towards on-site community solar rooftop installations for apartments and condominiums. Savings for the occupants would be substantial. DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is forging a path with the National Community Solar Partnership to expand access to inexpensive community solar to every American household by 2025.


Microgrids Rising Like the Sun

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), climate change and increasingly severe weather have caused billions in losses across the US in recent years. Texas alone experienced more than $200 billion in the past five years, most notably due to the 2021 winter storm that knocked out the state’s power grid.


This nationwide grid vulnerability has made microgrid deployment more enticing for C&I facilities, government buildings, and energy-critical operations like hospitals, nursing homes, and data centers. 


Whether remote, networked, or grid-connected, microgrids can lower utility costs, strengthen energy resilience, and reduce carbon emissions. The DOE expects microgrids to become the default platform for the unification and workable optimization of distributed energy resources, such as solar panels.


Trina Solar’s Vertex N offers developers and EPCs the perfect fit for microgrids. With a power output ranging from 445W to 690W, the reliable Vertex N PV modules deliver a best-in-class option for ambitious microgrid projects. 


Solar’s Harmonious Union with Farming

Like microgrids, agrivoltaics offer different opportunities for C&I project developers and EPCs. These dual-use projects incorporate solar arrays on farms or ranches.


Agrivoltaic installations have demonstrated benefits for both crops and land. Farmers can grow anything from aloe to tomato since the solar panels provide these delicate plants with the necessary shade and protection from harsh weather. Land dedicated to animal grazing has been an excellent location for PV panels since they offer shelter or fencing for feeding animals and can lower landscaping costs for owners.


SETO has been tracking the growth of solar greenhouses, which utilize solar panels as roofing, and noted these cover 30% of China’s total horticultural area. Almost 3 GW of these dual-use land models exists globally, with China, Japan, South Korea, and the EU leading the way. The United States is not far behind, though, with 1 GW of PV capacity paired with precision farming and pollinator habitats. 


Agrivoltaics can be especially effective if the installation uses a solar tracking system like TrinaTracker’s Vanguard, which developers and EPCs can pair with Trina’s full line of high-powered and high-efficiency Vertex modules.


C&I Solar Solutions: TrinaTracker Vanguard & Vertex N

The TrinaTracker Vanguard represents cutting-edge tracker technology that gets the most out of diffused or full irradiance. A single-row 2P multidrive system featuring innovative SuperTrack technology and up to 120 modules per row can increase energy generation yield by up to 8% over traditional tracker systems.


The Vanguard tracks the sun and prevents inter-row shading. The integrated Trina Smart Cloud offers remote monitoring and control, intelligent diagnoses, advanced warning and maintenance recommendations, O&M savings, and more.


One of the best panels to pair with the Vanguard is the Vertex N. This new module, featuring the innovative i-TOPCon PV technology, shattered world records with its 24.24% solar cell efficiency rating.   


2023 looks like a year of even more persistent C&I solar growth. Whether for the growing community solar sector or to accelerate microgrid deployments, Trina Solar’s C&I Solutions makes it easy for developers and EPCs to succeed with renewable energy. ​


Reach out to us today to start turning C&I solar opportunities into C&I solar successes.

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