By Nick Tedesco:
The word is beginning to get out about solar power. Residential solar power finally makes economic sense for many American homeowners. Unfortunately, this fact remains largely unknown. Ironically, this is due in large part to some of the biggest and most successful solar companies. More on that later.
While solar power technology has been in use for decades, in the past only large organizations and government agencies have been able to take advantage of it because of the enormous costs involved. As the use of solar power has increased, prices have decreased, especially in recent years.
In fact, prices for solar power at the consumer level are now lower than conventional energy over the long term. What is the long term? Basically, any time period longer than ten years. The typical payback period for solar is 5-8 years on average. So solar power makes economic sense for anyone who plans to stay in their home for more than 8 years. This obviously represents a high percentage of homeowners.
So why do most people think that solar power is still too expensive? This is mainly because the large solar leasing companies are overcharging for solar power and most people get their price quotes from them. These companies have too much overhead and too many investors involved to be able to charge a fair price. These large solar leasing companies are able to charge what they do because they operate in the states where the cost of electricity is the highest. They offer lease payments that are slightly lower than what homeowners are paying, but not truly representative of the current cost of solar.
Let’s talk numbers now. The cost of a solar power system will vary for a few different reasons. The main factors are the energy needs of the homeowner and any state rebates/tax credits available. A rough cost estimate for a system that will cover the average American home’s needs is about $20,000 (before rebates/tax incentives). The price tag goes up by at least 50% to $30,000 or more if that homeowner signs a 20-year lease.
Now $20,000 may seem like a lot until you realize that the cost of NOT switching to solar over a 20-year time period is at least $36,000. This is the reality for many thousands of homeowners who pay at least $150 per month on average throughout the year for regular conventional energy. It gets even better for solar adopters. Solar power systems have been proven to last for well more than 20 years. High quality systems can still operate at efficiency levels of 80% after 25 years. Most systems have 25 year warranties as well.
Most Americans don’t have $20,000 lying around to invest in solar power. Nowadays, they don’t need to. Many banks and credit unions now offer government backed home improvement loans at competitive rates. There really is no reason for a typical homeowner to sign an overpriced lease.
It’s pretty simple – you own your home, so why not own the energy you use as well? Many homeowners have taken advantage of the many benefits of home ownership. The same can now be said of the energy that powers a home.
The residential solar revolution has begun. Join the revolution now and you’ll save money, help create a cleaner environment, and create local jobs as well.
Nick Tedesco is a residential solar power advocate who helps homeowners connect with affordable solar contractors. He’s doing his part to help homeowners save money and reduce air pollution at the same time at http://solar-power-now.com