Exploring Opportunities in the Residential Solar O&M Market

In an article for Renewable Energy World, Navigant Research explains the potential of smart monitoring for small systems

When not monitored or serviced regularly, residential solar installations run the risk of inverter failure, cable damage, errors, and dirty modules. Because of this, fast detection of issues can be crucial in preventing both generation and financial losses.

In an article for Renewable Energy World, Roberto Rodriguez Labastida, senior research analyst at Navigant Research, said that advanced monitoring and diagnostics solutions can tackle this issue without the need for costly manual inspections. Today’s technologies, he said, can identify problems as they occur, making it unnecessary to visit every home to manually measure system performance.

“Thankfully, the drive to reduce costs in the solar industry and promote self-consumption is affecting the advanced monitoring of residential installations as most are connected to a computing device and/or the Internet, opening opportunities to automate some of the operations and maintenance (O&M) tasks,” Rodriguez Labastida said.

According to Navigant Research, global cumulative revenue for the residential solar monitoring market between 2017 and 2026 is expected to reach $5.4 billion, monitoring up to 40 million residential systems. This figure includes diagnostic analytics and hardware, but not home visits and repairs, which could add about $2 billion per year by 2026.

“To hit this level of revenue, residential O&M providers need to develop the monitoring market for small systems. Companies must reeducate the public to show the value monitoring can bring to their installation,” Rodriguez Labastida said. “This is especially important to the retrofit market as, in some cases, the customer may need to invest in new hardware. Thankfully, these installations also have the most unrealized value as—at least in Europe and Asia—the systems receive high feed-in tariffs, and therefore even a slight increase in generation can cover the associated costs of the O&M service.”

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