There was once a time, not very long ago, when solar power was considered by many to be too expensive to ever become widely adopted. Decades passed in fact, without it receiving very much attention at all from most homeowners. During the past seven to eight years, however, solar has undergone something of a revolution in terms of its popularity.
Once regarded as pricey and impractical, solar has evolved into one of the most popular, practical, and yes, affordable sources of renewable energy on the market. The number of American homes equipped with solar panel systems has jumped, just as prices have fallen.
Here’s a look at how, and why, solar energy—in less than ten years—has become more popular and more affordable than ever before.
Follow the Money
In 2006, roughly 30,000 homes had solar panels in the United States. By 2013, that number had risen to 400,000. The following year of 2014 was another record year, with solar growing by 34% over the previous year.
But beyond the obvious uptick in concern over climate change, why did so many more homeowners choose to go with solar energy?
In a word: money. Solar power has gotten amazingly cheap amazingly fast. Thanks to the Solar Investment Tax Credit of 2006, the cost of installing solar panels dropped—on average—almost 75 percent.
Meanwhile solar adoption has been accelerating. We’ve seen two-thirds of the current solar PV capacity on the planet installed just since 2011.
So what’s fueling it? It isn’t just tax credits. When a home has solar panels, numerous paths to saving—and possibly even to making money—emerge. From increasing a home’s value to driving a house’s electric bill down to zero, residential solar energy isn’t the money pit it was once perceived as. Instead, it’s actually something of a financial boon.
The Sky (Rocketing Cost) is Falling
Since 2010, we’ve seen residential solar costs drop by 45%. And the lower cost of solar, it appears anyway, may be here to stay. Everywhere, people are increasingly looking to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. The appeal of solar is that it simultaneously does both.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, by 2017 more than half of all U.S. states will have solar power available that’s as cheap as the power offered by the local electric company.
Part of the reason the costs keep falling is that more and more solar companies are forming and putting skin in the game. Because demand is increasing, there has been a flurry of activity to meet it. As supply catches up to consumer needs, that competition will continue to drive prices down.
Regardless of someone’s reasons for wanting to switch over to solar power, whether it’s saving money on energy expenses, reducing one’s carbon footprint, or both, the results are the same. Money is saved, and greenhouse gas-producing energy use is avoided. For anyone with an environmental conscience and a desire to save money, it’s a win-win situation.
If you’d like to find out how installing solar panels on your roof can help you drive your electric bill down to zero, contact us today for a free quote.