If you’re thinking about installing a solar energy system in your home, you’ll want to know the best way to maximize your investment.
You may be somewhat familiar with national media coverage about the solar energy revolution in the U.S., but you have to wonder: Is a solar energy revolution really taking place? Isn’t solar power just another over-hyped technology?
This article gives you the facts you need to know to make a sound decision on whether or not to install a solar energy system in your home. Given the state of today’s solar energy market, you may discover that now is the time to make the switch to a solar-powered home.
Is the retail price of electricity rising?
As a homeowner, you have experienced firsthand what it’s like to pay an energy bill that increases every year. Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may have a number of different electricity providers from which to choose. The catch is that you may be able to lock in retail electricity rates for a limited time, but you have to look at the overall price trend to gain the right perspective. As years pass, you may actually be paying more for electricity, not less, if you opt for a fixed rate.
So is the retail price of electricity really rising on a national level? Recently published data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that the price of electricity is indeed increasing. In fact, “the increase represents the highest annual growth rate since 2008,” said Tyler Hodge, principal contributor to the EIA’s 2015 report on the price of residential electricity across the country.
Overall, the price of residential electricity rose 3.1 percent from 2013 to 2014, representing the largest increase in the cost of electricity in the last six years. You should note, however, that 3.1 percent is merely the average cost increase. If you own a home in the New England region of the U.S., your electricity costs may have risen by as much as 9.9 percent or more, according to EIA data. Considering projected annual price increases of this magnitude, it may be time for you to seriously consider green energy alternatives.
Is the price of solar energy falling?
The short answer is yes, the price of solar energy systems, residential and non-residential alike, has continued to decline precipitously, which is great news for homeowners. For reliable data, you can turn to the annual report “Tracking the Sun VIII,” sponsored by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, which aims to make solar power more competitive with nonrenewable energy sources.
You can read through the latest report for sound data on the current state of residential solar energy systems, which is extremely helpful since much of the national media’s coverage of solar energy seems to focus mainly on utility-scale solar power systems. As a homeowner, you need to know the bottom line to make a smart decision in regard to your investment into solar energy.
Interestingly, since 2009 alone, the price of residential solar energy systems has declined 13 percent to 18 percent per year. You may be wondering how falling prices of this magnitude are possible. The answer takes into account many global economic factors that have a direct impact on the U.S. solar energy market, including residential prices.
Is there a solar energy boom?
Before making a decision on installing a solar energy system in your home, you need to know that the biggest contributor to falling solar energy prices relates directly to the cost of solar modules. From 2008 to 2012, the price of solar modules fell by $2.70 per watt of electricity. In fact, falling solar module prices have constituted about 80 percent of the total price drop for residential solar energy systems, according to data from LBNL.
You can see clearly that solar energy is indeed in a period of substantial growth by taking a look at the big picture when it comes to green, renewable energy sources. For instance, the annual growth rate for the residential solar energy market increased by as much as 36 percent. Likewise, over the last two years alone, solar energy has been the second largest source of new electricity generated in the entire country. About 5.3 megawatts of capacity were added in 2014 alone, approximately a third of the country’s total solar energy capacity.
Without doubt, a solar energy revolution is indeed taking place in the U.S. So when is the best time to make the switch to a solar-powered home?
Since solar power is evolving at such a breakneck pace, you have to rely on companies with many years of expertise in the market. The truth is that there is no easy answer, but with the right experts on your side, professionals who specialize in residential solar energy systems, you can make a sound decision and maximize your investment.
RGS Energy has nearly 40 years of experience in installing solar energy systems throughout the U.S., in a wide variety of settings. To find out how solar energy could power your home, visit www.RGSEnergy.com.