6 Reasons Why You Should Not Wait To Install Solar Panels

Right now is the best time to install solar on your home or building. Advances in technology and efficiency are making solar more cost-competitive with other electricity sources like coal-fired power, which continues to provide the lions share of the US’s power at 48.3% (eia.doe.gov). However, solar power has many other advantages over grid-supplied electricity for the homeowner or business owner. Prices are getting lower but waiting also has some risks. Here are six reasons why you should install solar panels now.

Photo from NREL

1. Increased efficiency, production and lower cost. Solar panels are being produced quicker and cheaper than ever before. The cost of a photovoltaic panel has fallen from more than $6 a watt 30 years ago. Heck, prices even halved between mid-2008 and 2009. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s US Solar Industry Year in Review 2009, in 2009 photovoltaic module prices fell to “$1.85-$2.25 per watt from $3.50-$4.00 per watt in mid-2008.”

Photovoltaic panels and other forms of solar power have also seen substantial gains in efficiency recently. While the average silicon-based photovoltaic cell converts about 12% of the sun’s energy into electricity, some silicon-based photovoltaic panels can now achieve 40% efficiency and their lightweight, relatively inexpensive counterparts, thin-film photovoltaics, aren’t far behind the average silicon photovoltaics.

Solar installations for your home or business are smaller and more powerful and cheaper than ever before. The only thing that will make them more expensive is when demand outpaces production, something to think about as Solar Power demand ramps up in the next few years (Solarbuzz).

Photo from NREL

2. Incentives and tax breaks. More incentives and tax breaks exist now than ever before for installing solar power. The Largest break in most cases is the Solar Federal Tax Credit which knocks a full 30% off the cost of your system. Most State incentives are on a first-come, first-serve basis and funding for some incentives can dry up, Florida often comes to mind. To find out what current incentives and tax breaks exist web tools exist, including Cooler Planet’s online solar calculator which shows you what incentives are available federally, at the state level and any incentives offered by local cities or utilities, then gives you an estimate of what size a system you’ll need and how much it will cost to install.

3. Energy price stability. It’s simple, when you install a photovoltaic system on your home or business, you know how much electricity it will produce annually, how much money you’ll have to pay (if you had to finance the system with a loan or payment purchase agreement), and whether or not you’ll have to buy any additional electricity.

Photo from NREL

As energy prices skyrocket all around you, you can forecast energy prices for the years to come. Looking back, since 1991 energy prices have risen ~48% in the US. (EIA). After any financing is paid back you get free electricity! And if your system is set up for net metering, you can actually make money by feeding any extra electricity produced by your system back into the grid.

Photo from NREL

4. Increase building value. Whether it’s a home or business, solar installations increase a building’s value.CNN Money reported in 2006 that zeroing out a home’s electric bill with a solar installation could increase the value of a home by up to $20,000. This might not appear to be as much as you first paid for the system, but when considering how much you saved in electricity bills while using the solar system and how much it added value to your home at sales time, it’s a sound investment. And the DOE in its publication, A Homebuilder’s Guide to Going Solar, says that “Solar homes sell at up to twice the rate of their conventional counterparts.”

Photo from NREL

5. Support your local economy. By installing solar power on your home or business, you help keep people employed locally and support your local economy. Even after the local installers have put the system up, maintenance people need to be local to help perform any routine maintenance or your system.

6. Energy reliability. If you choose to install a solar power system with a battery backup that charges when the system is producing energy, solar provides absolute electric reliability, no more blackouts or brownouts when the grid fails. Even if you’re in a major metropolis major power failures can occur. By installing a solar power system you have reliable, predictable power, no matter what happens.

Author: Chris Meehan

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Posted in: Solar Energy

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