Solar energy is the poster-child of the new, environmentally friendly, economically feasible world of the 21st century. Lightning-fast technological innovation in the private sector and complementary government tax credits have brought about the rapid ascent of the low-impact energy source, much... Read More
It’s been a few weeks since the announcement of the “historic” COP21 agreement, wherein a majority of the world settled on goals for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Since then, I’ve been asked by countless family members at holiday gatherings how my experience in Paris was and what I... Read More
August 28, 2015 | Installing Solar: Statistics Show Now is the Time to Invest
Solar technology has been subject to its share of conflicting coverage on exactly how quickly it's growing in homes and businesses around the world, but recently, that debate has largely come to a halt. Nearly every expert will tell you that you have no better time to invest in solar technology than now. This is especially the case if you've discovered just how high your energy bills are lately.
Statistics clearly show steady growth of solar panel use in home and business environments. This also includes otherwise-unused land areas, which is a renewed focus in the industry. Most solar tech, however, still gets placed on commercial or residential rooftops.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar technology installations grew by 34% in 2014. America has enough solar energy capability now to power over 4 million average homes. Since last year, more than 645,000 homes and businesses have gone solar, with installation of a new solar project occurring every 2.5 minutes.
There are a few factors behind this astonishing growth, most prominently lower installation costs as the industry has scaled up production of panels and government bodies have implemented subsidies and tax breaks for homeowners and businesses who install solar projects.
The SEIA reports that the price of solar installations has gone down about 14% annually and dropped by almost half in just the last few years. As rising energy costs and concerns about the environment converge with more cheaper solar panels on the market, new technologies are also making it faster and easier for crews to install solar panels — a residential installation can take as little as a few hours.
This doesn't mean solar technology isn't still a major investment, but as NPR reported, more and more solar companies are taking on that initial investment rather than leaving the home or business owner to shoulder the entire startup cost. Financing options allow users to pay off the installation cost month by month, which still usually comes out to a lower overall cost than their current electricity bills.
According to the SEIA, 129 million people in America now live within 20 miles of a solar installation. That’s thanks to both a booming residential market as prices have fallen and the accelerating pace of utility-scale installations ahead of the expiration of the federal 30% Investment Tax Credit.
While in most places, state incentive programs are still required to make residential solar installations economically viable, certain markets such as California and Arizona have been growing aggressively even after incentives and rebates have expired. This means that many residents in those states have found that installing solar panels is not only an environmentally responsible choice, but also a financially prudent one.
Increasing Ease of Maintenance
As solar energy systems are becoming more affordable, maintenance is also being simplified with the help of digital technology. Many new solar installations will be connected to the Internet of Things, meaning they can be monitored more easily to ensure necessary maintenance is performed at optimal times and breakdowns can be avoided. This further increases the efficiency of a solar installation, and thereby improves the ROI.
The convergence of cost decreases with advances in installation and monitoring technology means that there has never been a better time than now to invest in solar — particularly given the impending decrease in federal incentives. If you’ve been considering solar for your home or business, it’s a good idea to act quickly while those incentives are still in place.