No one enjoys paying a utility bill. The feeling can be even worse if you don’t feel good about where your energy is coming from. If you want to create a more robust, distributed energy grid to power our future, solar energy might be for you.
But with so many variables at play (location, weather, local regulations, etc.), is solar worth it in your specific area, and for your specific home?
Why Solar? Why Now?
It’s no secret that solar panels are a cost-effective way to battle the rising cost of utility rates. A new report published by The Solar Foundation says prices associated with solar panel installation have dropped dramatically over the last eight years. The impressive growth of solar energy since 2010 is linked to a rise in solar system installations, hefty government initiatives, and tax policies supporting solar energy generation. And despite recent import tariffs implemented on solar panels, solar power remains a cost-effective option for many homeowners.
Erin Noble, director of business operations for StraightUp Solar, told The Solar Foundation, “A lot of the challenges we faced in the past have dissipated over time as the solar industry matures and people become aware of the cost competitiveness of solar.”
Another report published last month from the Energy Information Administration says wind and solar energy in the US, which was responsible for 3 percent of energy generated in 2018, will comprise 13 percent of power generation by 2020. This information reflects a trend by major corporations looking to switch to 100-percent sustainable energy. Google managed this feat at the end of 2017, with Apple switching over to solar a few months after.
Thanks to the cost of solar paneling dropping 70 percent over the last 5 years, savings generated from investing in solar panels are typically 10 percent. That rate of return outperforms savings accounts, mutual funds, and the S&P 500. Even without major advances in solar panel output, solar has become a cost-competitive energy source. Powering a home with solar can now compete with energy produced from a coal-powered utility, but with the added benefit of being much better for the environment. However, is solar worth it in your area?