The quick answer is that sure, it is possible. As a matter of fact, the answer to the question “is it worthwhile?” will continue to be affirmative for the foreseeable future. The cost of solar panels is at its lowest point in history, the efficiency of panels is at its highest point in history, and the need to assist our world in becoming carbon-free is as great as it has always been. When you consider that electricity costs are rising and that the federal government is gradually reducing renewable incentives (e.g., the Investment Tax Credit will be phased out after 2021), you could argue that there is no better time to invest in home solar than right now.
Is Residential Solar Worth It?
There’s More Options Now Than Ever
Over the next eight years, the number of jobs for Residential Solar Installers is expected to grow by 63 percent. Solar panels are becoming more efficient and more customizable as new technology is introduced on a regular basis.
Solar panels were struggling to achieve 15 percent efficiency in 2010, but now it is expected that they will achieve 20% efficiency, with many manufacturers exceeding the 22 percent threshold in mass production. Even more recent advancements have revealed new chemistries, such as the peroskvite-silicon solar cell, which has an efficiency of up to 27.7 percent and can generate electricity. As a result, the amount of space required to power your home is smaller than ever, and the likelihood of finding an installer in your area is increasing rapidly. Over the last ten years, the number of manufacturers has increased dramatically, and this increased competition, combined with technological advancements, has driven the price per watt down from $2.50 to below $.030 today.
In addition, the quality of panels and systems has improved in recent years when compared to a decade ago. Because the top ten manufacturers all provide top-of-the-line panels that are guaranteed, you no longer have to be concerned about purchasing cheap panels that are weak or inefficient. Many companies now offer warranties of 20 years or more, which was unheard of only a few years ago. As a homeowner, this means you have a great deal of freedom to shop around and find the best system for your specific needs and budget.
When it comes to budget, you can rest assured that the product you choose will last for many years to come. If quality is your primary concern, there are a number of companies, such as LG and SunPower, that sell top-of-the-line, cutting-edge solar energy systems.
Solar Will Save You Money
The cost of electricity isn’t going down any time soon. Because prices have remained relatively stable since 2008 (ranging between 10 and 11 cents per kWh), the average monthly electric bill in the United States is $111, according to the Energy Information Administration. It will cost you $13,320 if you pay $111 per month for ten years, which is more than the cost of having solar panels installed on your home in many areas of the country. It is possible to earn money from your residential solar panels if you live in one of the states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, that offer SRECs, or renewable credits on green energy that can then be sold to energy companies.
Because most states provide additional incentives on top of the federal government’s investment tax credit, the sooner you install solar, and therefore, the more money you will save over time.
It Makes For A Good Investment
Apart from the fact that it puts money in your pocket, now is an excellent time to consider residential solar as a long-term investment. If you installed a system in 2010, it is likely that you paid $7 per watt of energy used. When the price of an installed solar system dropped to $5 per watt in 2012, the number of systems installed skyrocketed, and the number of systems installed by 2015 more than doubled.
With the advent of 2020, we will see costs that are nearly half of what they were in 2010, with some areas seeing costs as low as $2.50 per watt installed. A typical 5 kW system will cost less than $18,000 dollars regardless of where you live, and if you live in the United States, the Federal Government is still offering a 26 percent tax credit, in addition to numerous state incentives, on top of that.
The result is that, for the first time in history, your solar panel system may be less expensive than the value it adds to your home. Adding solar to a home increased its value on average by 4.1 percent in 2019, which means that on a $300,000 home, the $12,000 (after rebates) it costs to install solar will increase the value of the home by $12,300, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Your home is most likely one of your largest investments, and it is rare that you will receive more value than you spend on repairs and upgrades; however, solar energy is a good way to see that return on your investment.
Soon You May Be Legally Obligated To
Green initiatives are being implemented by governments across the country, and nowhere is this more evident than in California, the state with the largest population in the United States.
The California Solar Mandatory, which went into effect in January 2020, requires solar panels to be installed on all new construction and encourages the development of zero net energy homes. While this does not necessarily imply that every home will have rooftop solar, they do have the option of constructing large community solar farms to power entire neighborhoods, it does demonstrate a clear trend towards forcing the general public into the world of solar energy.
As a result of the commitments made by New York, Washington, New Jersey, and Nevada to use only 100 percent renewable energy, it is clear where the United States is headed. Your best chance of future-proofing yourself against new laws is to be one step ahead of the curve and already have solar installed when the rules are finally changed.
Time is Running Out on Some Incentives
Another compelling reason to act now is the possibility that these attractive incentives will be phased out in the near future. In 2022, unless Congress extends the federal credit, it will no longer be applicable to residential properties. Many states are phasing out or shortening the terms of incentive programs, with some states, such as Kansas, actively working against the installation of solar panels.
States such as Kansas and Massachusetts, which implemented Demand Charges in 2015 and 2019, respectively, actually charge citizens money for having solar panels installed. Unless more states decide to follow suit, the only way to avoid paying the fee is to have the system in place before the legislation is passed.
There’s Never A Wrong Time To Reduce The Use of Fossil Fuels
According to an old adage, the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago today. The second-best time to act is right now.
When you live in today’s society, it is impossible to go about your business without hearing about global warming, resource scarcity, or the socio-economic tensions caused by our reliance on oil and other non-renewable resources. Investing in solar energy reduces your carbon footprint and reduces the demand for fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, and it is the most effective way to help the environment without compromising your way of life. However, even if your primary motivation is monetary gain rather than environmental benefit, the entire world is moving towards renewable energy, and it is far preferable to be part of the wave of change rather than being compelled by society to do so.
It Prepares You For The Future
This holds true today just as much as it did 20 years ago. Whether you believe the world is on the verge of disaster and collapse or that we are on the verge of a new utopia, having solar panels installed on your home will ensure that your home is ready for whatever comes next. Even if the worst case scenario occurs and the nation’s infrastructure is compromised, you will still have access to electricity. Even if the power companies go out of business, your solar panels will continue to operate and keep you warm.
Hopefully, the trend towards electric vehicles will continue, and you will be prepared to drive one into your garage and plug it into the grid. Whatever the case may be, self-sufficiency will always be a significant part of society, and the ability to generate your own power is a necessary component of that.