A summary of the key trends in the 2024 Renewable Report

With the clean energy market constantly growing and evolving, it’s essential to understand where things might be heading next. Staying up-to-date with the latest innovations and trends in the industry is crucial to staying ahead of the curve. 

In this blog, we’ll briefly overview the emerging trends reported by solar and renewable experts in our recent Trends Report 2024 and what these trends mean for the broader industry. Read on to find out more!

  • Published by
    Jeremy Vickerman

    Jeremy Vickerman

    Content specialist

23 Apr, 24

About the survey

Our trends analysis is based on a survey of energy industry professionals. The survey covered 30 countries and many renewable sectors, including solar, storage, and wind. This broad geographic distribution allowed us to gather diverse perspectives on clean energy trends.

From a demographic perspective, the solar sector was strongly represented, accounting for over 88% of respondents. The remaining participants were primarily affiliated with the storage and wind sectors. Importantly, we ensured a blend of experience levels among our respondents to ensure well-rounded and comprehensive insights.

Download the full report to learn about some of the other innovations and delve deeper into these trends.

Key trends

Grid saturation and instability

The first trend that is impossible to overlook is grid saturation and instability. 66.7% of survey respondents identified this issue as the top challenge. As renewable penetration soars, our existing grid capacities are being stretched thin. This situation necessitates innovative solutions for grid management and storage systems.

If we look at Europe, we can see the problem. According to the European Commission, approximately 40% of its distribution networks are now over 40 years old. These aging infrastructures need urgent modernization efforts to keep pace with growing demand and new technologies. The problem, however, is that upgrading isn’t cheap. Estimates suggest that investments worth €584 billion will be needed for electricity networks alone up until 2030.

The story isn’t much different on the other side of the Atlantic. The US Department of Energy has projected that expanding electricity transmission systems by 60% between now and 2030 will be required to efficiently meet burgeoning demand.

At the same time, over in China, State Grid Corporation has announced plans for massive investment in grid construction come 2024. A hefty CNY 500 billion ($70 billion) will go towards developing ultra-high voltage (UHV) lines, further highlighting how seriously nations are taking this issue.

Regulation and permits

Although traversing the complex world of regulations and permits may seem daunting, 56% of respondents viewed this area as a challenge. While this is still a considerable number, it is an improvement from previous years, which suggests some progress has been made.

However, this progress isn’t uniform across the world. Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance reveals that Spain and Italy each have over 150 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar capacity waiting impatiently to connect to their respective grids. The wait isn’t short, either. 

According to the European Commission, obtaining grid reinforcement permits within the EU can take anywhere between 4 to 10 years — and even longer for high voltages.

This bottleneck extends into Latin America, as well. As stated by the law firm Greenberg Traurig, since July 26th, 2023, the Chilean Ministry of Energy has received around 430 observations and comments from various companies looking forward to updating regulations concerning energy storage systems (SAE). These updates aim to harmonize SAE regulations with National Electrical System requirements.

Shortage of skilled labor

Another concern of survey respondents was the lack of available skilled labor, with 35.7% highlighting this area as vital. As we see an escalating demand for renewable installations, this issue will become even more pronounced and imperative to solve.

In terms of specific numbers, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that by 2030, our global community will need to fill approximately 30 million new jobs in the clean energy sector. At the same time, around 13 million jobs in fossil fuel-related industries are projected to become either obsolete or at risk.

electrical technician working in a switchboard

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) sees things similarly. It forecasts that by 2030, there could be as many as seven million unfilled jobs within the green economy worldwide, primarily due to the skills gap, with solar power contributing significantly to the deficit.

What we’re looking at is not just job creation but also a transition from traditional energy roles into clean and green positions. Without proper education and training programs designed explicitly for these emerging roles, there could be profound implications for economic growth and the mitigation of climate change more broadly.

Does this callenge resonate with you? Take a look at this handy guide for hiring solar PV engineers we prepared for you.

Government incentives, increased costs, and land availability

Clean energy trends are deeply influenced by government incentives. Last year, a decline in concern over these incentives was observed, with only 17.9% of respondents citing it as an issue. This shift can largely be credited to proactive policies like the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, increased project costs and land availability have emerged as growing concerns, each mentioned by 17.9% of survey participants. As clean energy projects become more ambitious and widespread, they inevitably face higher expenses and site selection challenges.

In response to this pressure from development, governments worldwide are taking action. For example, on November 10th, 2023, Germany’s parliament approved a reform of their national energy law, Energiewirtschaftsrecht (EnWG). Previously exempting energy storage assets from grid fees if operational before August 2026 has been extended another three years until August 2029. This extension provides companies additional time for strategic planning while reducing financial burdens associated with grid integration.

At the same time, innovative solutions are being explored to address the scarcity of suitable land for solar installations without compromising agricultural productivity or biodiversity conservation. One promising approach is agrivoltaics (agri PV), the process of combining agriculture and photovoltaics in a way that benefits both sectors. 

According to Precedence Research data, forecasts indicate growth in this sector at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of approximately 12.15% until 2030. This highlights its potential role in overcoming land constraints faced by large-scale solar projects.

BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems)

Another key trend to watch is BESS. Respondents to our survey acknowledged BESS as a vital cog in the renewable energy machine and highlighted its potential as a linchpin for grid stability and renewable integration.

The promise of BESS lies in its ability to enhance grid flexibility, offering solutions for intermittent power supply from renewables like solar and wind. However, respondents voiced that achieving this potential won’t be without challenges. They pinpointed several areas where improvements are necessary, with performance enhancement, regulatory adjustments, and cost reductions being paramount among them.

A recurring concern raised by participants was the significant deployment costs associated with storage technologies like BESS. These high initial expenses can act as deterrents for many who might otherwise consider investing.

Interestingly, though, some respondents offered an alternative perspective on these costs. They argued that despite seeming steep at first glance, these prices may undervalue BESS’s long-term potential. This viewpoint underscores exactly why industry leaders, regulators, and consumers should all be watching to see how this technology develops.

If batteries peak your interest, find out which are the best BESS alternatives to lithium with this ebook.

Alternative renewable sources

The push for sustainable energy generation has led to the exploration of alternative renewable sources, with agri-PV and floating solar being key among them. These innovative technologies offer promising new opportunities in clean energy despite respondents’ concerns over the high investment costs associated with their implementation.

Floating PV is particularly noteworthy due to its significant potential in coastal regions or areas where land availability is limited. This technology allows for efficient use of space by installing solar panels on the water, harnessing sunlight more effectively without consuming valuable land resources.


Global data from Energy World shows an encouraging trend toward these alternative renewable sources. Germany, Denmark, the UK, France, and the Netherlands are among the countries leading this shift, with Germany set to auction a substantial capacity of 8 GW in 2024 alone. This figure comes after Europe collectively auctioned off 13.5 GW of offshore wind power in 2023.

To learn more about floating PV, download our free ebook about this alternative renewable.


Survey respondents had much to say about the importance of digitalization and how it’s transforming the renewable energy sector. Industry stakeholders view digital tools and platforms as indispensable for optimizing everything from project design to operation and maintenance. The adoption of these technologies drives efficiencies that could have substantial global impacts.

It’s not just the survey respondents who think this way, either. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that digital technologies could save around USD 1.8 trillion in grid investments worldwide by 2050. These savings stem from extending the lifespan of grids, integrating renewables more effectively, and minimizing supply interruptions.

Digital solutions can also address inefficiencies like grids’ technical losses, which account for approximately one gigaton of CO2 emissions annually. To put that number in perspective, it is equivalent to double the car emissions in all of Europe. 


The final trend identified by survey respondents was innovation, which is surging in the clean energy space. Many different innovations are mentioned, but one notable area is the development of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. V2G enables electric vehicles (EVs) to push stored energy back into the power grid when needed. This technology is particularly important, as illustrated by a group of researchers who found that if only 12-43% of all EVs participated in V2G applications, that would be enough to meet short-term grid-storage demands worldwide.

Download the full report to learn about some of the other innovations and delve deeper into these trends.

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways we can help you grow your solar business and reduce LCOE of your PV plants.

  1. Get hands-on with a free RatedPower self-service guided tour. If you’d like to learn the ins and outs of how top photovoltaic software can help your engineering team, go ahead and request your free demo. One of our solar experts will understand your current design and engineering workflows, and then suggest practical tips on how to speed up them though the right tool.
  2. Let's get physical, physical! Learn the latest on renewable energy and PV in the second edition of Pulse, our annual get-together full of technical workshops, inspiring talks from energy leaders and tons of networking. Learn more.
  3. If you’d like to learn insights, ideas and inspiration for the low-carbon energy transition for free, go to our blog or visit our resources section, where you can download guides, templates and checklists solar successful pros use.
  4. If you’d like to work with other passionate experts on our team, or learn more about our purpose and corporate values, then see our Careers page.
  5. If you know another solar designer, developer or engineer who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Jeremy Vickerman

Content specialist

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