97% of Americans overestimate the cost of going solar. Many people still believe the thinking of 10-20 years ago, that solar is a cottage industry only appealing to niche markets. In reality, solar energy is a booming global industry that is expanding at a dizzying pace. Going solar is a practical solution for lowering monthly home energy bills and doing good by the environment.
No Upfront Costs
The solar industry has evolved with companies offering financing that allows homeowners to own solar panels without putting any money down. In return, the homeowner makes monthly payments over a fixed period of time less than the typical Californian spends on electricity. The difference between the monthly rate and a traditional utility bill saves the homeowner money every month.
Solar Panel Prices Drop
It’s not just creative financing that is making solar affordable. From 2008 to 2012, the cost of solar panels declined by $2.6/watt, an 80 percent price drop for PV systems generating less than 10kW. Over a greater period of time, from 1976 to 2013, the price per watt fell from $76.67 to $0.74. Over this time period, the falling price of solar has been so consistent that every time solar manufacturing capacity doubles, the price of photovoltaic (PV) cells drops by 20%. This manufacturing and price relationship was originally observed by Richard Swanson, founder of Sunpower, and is now aptly named Swanson’s Law.
With PV prices so low, the majority of the cost of going solar is now non-hardware costs such as financing, installation, permitting, and customer acquisition. Soft costs tend to be lower in markets that have stable and consistent policy toward the solar industry. On a global level, German feed-in-tariff policy has led to a maturation of its solar industry and an almost 50% lower cost to install solar than the U.S. On a national level, cities like Lancaster, California are reducing soft costs by making it easier their citizens to go solar by streamlining permit processing. There have also been numerous companies started in the past few years with the sole focus of reducing soft costs. These companies include Mosaic, Sunible, Sfuncube, and Sungevity.
New Option For Going Solar
With costs falling so quickly, there are a number of ways to finance a home solar system requiring no money down. Get your free savings estimate today.