The promise of free solar power generated on top of every roof in America, has been a long time coming. But now, it’s finally here and living up to its promise of providing energy from the sun to record numbers of homes and businesses. Since 1979 when Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House and put solar energy into the spotlight, power from the sun looked like it was finally going mainstream. It was available to anyone that wanted it, but it just wasn’t very affordable. Most people who used the technology were trying to make a statement by reducing their carbon footprint and their reliance on foreign oil, but didn’t necessarily care about how much it cost them. Now, though, solar power is more affordable than ever and it’s only going to get cheaper. So, what should you do? Go solar or wait for solar panels to get cheaper?…
Sometimes, it’s OK to be cheap…
Why is solar power getting cheaper?… For one thing, there are simply more people who are willing to pay for solar power installations these days. One reason is the awareness of how we our impacting our environment with our current methods of power generation with coal and other fossil fuels. But, let’s not kid ourselves. Solar is more popular then ever, because it cheaper than it has ever been.
Most home and business owners end up saving money on their monthly energy bills by installing solar systems. This is made possible by a variety of reasons, including government incentives, creative financing of solar panel installations and the fact that the price of solar panels has dropped dramatically, in recent years. If you’re interested in learning more about finding the right solar company for your home or business, read our guide: How to Guide: Choosing the right Solar Company.
Sometimes, cheap means better.
Like most technologies, solar panel innovation only improves as time goes by. This, once again, helps lower the price. Put simply, it’s costing companies less money to manufacture these panels, so they don’t need to charge people as much. This creates more interest in solar power. More people want and can actually afford to purchase solar panel systems. It’s a perpetuating effect that causes solar panel companies to drop their price because they can sell more of them. Of course, this in turn only drops the price further.
Furthermore, companies like SolarCity are improving the technology that harvests solar power and turns it into electricity. This means that newer panels are doing a better job of efficiently converting the sun’s rays into electricity. As a result, more people are becoming interested in benefiting from solar panels (this also lowers costs, as we already covered).
Tax man, finally, gives us a hand…
The federal government and most state governments have shown an active interest in getting its citizens to adopt solar power. One way they’ve done this is by offering people tax credits for installing them. Your credit depends on the size of the solar panel system you’re having installed. However, in many cases, they cover a significant portion of the solar system expense. If you get a tax credit, but don’t owe any taxes, you can roll these savings over to the following year, too.
Get paid to generate free energy.
Through a Net Metering program, you can save even more money on your solar power installations. Many utility companies throughout the country will pay you for excess electricity that you send to the grid. As you get it from the sun for free, the energy represents pure savings. Learn more about net metering with our article: How Solar Energy System Owners use Net Metering to get Paid.
It can be yours for (X number of) easy payments!
Along the same lines, with the growing acceptance of solar panels, more lenders are willing to finance them. It’s become obvious that they represent a very real way to improve the resale value of a home and, as they drop the owner’s utility bill, the lender knows their borrower will definitely have more money on hand to pay them back.
Even though the cost of solar panel has come down drastically over the years, the cost of installing a solar panel system is still a significant amount of money. However, demand for these panels is so high that companies have stepped in to meet demand. These days, you can actually lease your panels, much like you would a car. This costs far less than buying them, yet you still get the benefit of clean, affordable energy.
No hassle, just energy savings.
Solar panel installation companies also have a creative option called the PPA(Power Purchase Agreement). This is an agreement between you and the solar company to allow them to install the solar panels on your roof from free. You pay nothing for this arrangement. However, as part of your agreement, you would purchase the power generated from these panels for a term that’s usually 20 years. Typically, you would save about 20% per month on your utility bill and you could save even more in the later years of the agreement. One of the really great benefits of this arrangement is that the solar panel company owns the panels and is responsible for the maintenance for the entire term of the agreement.
So, what do you do?
When personal computers where first introduced to the public, they cost thousands of dollars. For most people it was a luxury, that they just couldn’t afford. But, there were a small number of people that just needed to have one. As the years passed, the prices began to drop. At first it was slow, but the prices continued to drop in larger increments as time passed. Finally, they got to the point where they were so low that just about everyone could easily afford to buy a computer.
This is the same scenario that’s playing out now with solar panel systems. There are many reasons that it makes sense to have a solar power system installed in your home or business. With all the incentives and purchasing options, it’s easier than ever to go solar. The prices will continue to go down, there’s no question about that. However, one of the biggest factors should be whether your monthly energy savings are enough to you, if you buy a solar power system, now. That decision – is up to YOU.
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