Can you believe it’s February already? Now that the New Year’s Eve confetti has settled, those who resolved to take control of their home’s energy costs in 2017 have some big decisions to make. Namely, is now the right time to take the solar plunge, or should you continue to wait and see?
Of course we’re biased at Crius Solar – what full-service solar company wouldn’t be? But our passion for smart, clean energy aside – there are some clear indicators that there has never been a better time to harness the power of the sun. Here’s why:
Consumer Reports Says So – And So Does Solar’s Cost Trend
When an objective, consumer-focused authority like Consumer Reports gets all starry-eyed about solar energy – it’s probably time to give it a closer look. The independent, iconic, nonprofit organization gushed: “There has probably never been a better time to switch to solar…Those who want to wait on the sidelines for further price reductions could be disappointed: The cost of solar panels has started to plateau and, while installation labor and other soft costs continue to fall, the phasing out of state tax incentives and utility rebates and grants has largely offset those savings. Adding an element of urgency to the equation are proposals in a number of states that would radically shrink the utility-bill savings of switching to solar power… [so] getting your deal done before new regulations are implemented could save you hundreds of dollars each year.”
What’s more — trendlines don’t lie. And as you can see below, the cost to install solar energy has never been cheaper.
But will costs go even lower still? Not likely. In most U.S. solar markets, the cost of PV panels is already averaging 30-40 cents per watt – the same figure experts forecasted our nation would hit by the end of 2017. And while plummeting solar panel prices could spell disaster for certain manufacturers, it’s also important to remember that a primary driver of solar system installation costs is labor. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. Since 2017 is not expected to top 2016 in terms of total solar deployment — that’s a lot of paychecks to cover (374,000 to be exact) over fewer installation projects.
Federal Incentives: Will They Stay or Will They Go?
The December 2015 extension of the solar investment tax credit (ITC) is forecasted to increase U.S. solar installations by 54% through 2020, according to Greentech Media. And while cheap, clean, renewable energy is largely a bi-partisan issue, there’s no guarantee that the 30% tax credit provided by the ITC won’t be rolled back entirely or scaled down like other Obama-implemented policies in the years ahead. Even without the ITC, solar energy has a strong value proposition.
The typical U.S. home spends about $1,200 a year on electricity. So if you buy a solar energy system that meets 70 percent of your electricity needs today, you can avoid upwards of $15,000 in traditional energy costs over the 20-years+ you have your solar system. With electricity prices on the rise year-over-year in the majority of U.S. states, every year that you don’t go solar, you lose out on those savings.
Winter Planning Can Mean Summer Savings
Although the power of the sun may be the last thing on your mind as winter weather bares down, planning for your solar system now actually has its advantages. Installation times for solar energy systems vary widely, ranging from eight weeks to six months. So a call to start the solar conversation today will likely mean a late Spring or early Summer installation at the earliest.
Since more people start thinking about solar as the weather gets warmer, there may be more projects ahead of yours if you delay that call by even a few months. And because solar PV relies on light, not heat to produce energy – a bright, cold winter day can be equally as productive as a bright, summer one. Plus, who wouldn’t want to offset their energy costs with a brand-new solar system just as the dog days of summer (and air conditioner season) heat up?
Financing Options Make Going Solar Easy
If you’re interested in going solar now but don’t have the cash on hand for an upfront purchase, don’t let a less-than-full piggybank delay you. The best solar providers can offer a range of financing options — many of which require as little as $0 cash down — so that you can start enjoying the benefits of going solar right away. In a growing number of areas, companies like Crius Solar can even help you save before solar panels are on your roof!
So whatever your reason for staying on the solar sidelines up to this point, it’s time to get in the game! Now is the time to start exploring your solar options before the “perfect storm” of low costs, robust incentives, minimal project backlog and broad range of financing products changes. Get your risk-free consultation today!