Thursday, 22 March 2012
What are the costs of solar power?
What are the costs of solar power? By now and particularly during recent years, more and more people have heard about the benefits of solar power and the advantages it offers the environment. However, many people have heard that solar power is also expensive and does not make sense from a financial stand point. This article is designed to provide you the truth on these matters and to discredit those long standing rumors. Solar technology has dramatically decreased in price during the past 30 years and has been reduced by more than half in the past 20 years. It is now an affordable option for many people. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, solar panels were very expensive and the only reason people bought them was because of federal incentive programs, or they lived in areas that were off the power grid. Once those federal programs ran out, solar panels became too expensive for most people and lost their luster in the marketplace. While solar panels are still not cheap, they are much less expense, and there are a new round of federal and state incentives to go solar, making this the best time ever to invest in a solar power system for your home. Lets review some of the economics involved. Today, full-scale system can cost you anywhere from $8,000 all the way up to $50,000, depending on how much electricity you want to generate. Now, you might be saying: “That’s a lot of money, I thought you said solar power wasn’t super expensive anymore” Well, that’s just the upfront costs. Most systems have a 25 year warranty and will generally pay themselves off within 7-10 years, meaning you’ll get at least 15 additional years of free electricity. Depending on how much energy prices change, a system could pay for itself even faster. Generally speaking, its safe to say that utility prices are heading up which will accelerate the time that you’ll recoup your investment in solar. In addition, if you generate more electricity than you use, you can sell it to your power company for a profit. In many cases, you may be able to rent or lease your solar system. For instance, if you buy a system for $10,000 and lease/finance it for 5 years, you’ll have an estimated monthly payment of $175.00. While a good portion of that will be offset by the savings in your electricity bill, additional incentives may be able create additional savings. More importantly, after the 5 year lease, you own the equipment and now you’re generating electricity absolutely free. There are lot of incentive programs out there that can slash thousands of dollars off your solar system’s price, making it even cheaper. Some programs, such as those in California, will reduce your costs by up to 40%, cutting your costs nearly in half. Furthermore, when you add a system to your house, generally it will immediately pay for itself in home equity. Regardless of the dynamics involved, it is a great time to go solar. You may have to put down a sizable investment upfront, but it will certainly pay for itself, with a nice return. Look at it this way, many people are willing to spend upwards of $30,000 for a hybrid car, which the EPA estimates would take 9-10 years to pay off in gas savings. And cars only account for 11% of the greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere, while homes account for 40%. If you’re going to spend thousands dollars on one of these alternatives that will save you money, and help the environment, which is the best investment? In addition – where do you spend more of your time in your home or in your car? The answer for both is obviously your house. Solar power is the wave of the future, so why not get involved now and help start making a better tomorrow. I hope this article help you better understand cost of solar power and how solar power can really help you save money while also helping save the environment.