The Cost of Solar
Solar is Good for the Economy
Amongst all of the benefits the solar system has, it’s self-sustaining and renewable-energy-source characteristics are the most appealing. Though it has been widely questioned for being expensive and inefficient, solar energy has now proved to be extremely beneficial not only for the environment but also for the public & private economy. The energy that the sun provides to the earth for one hour could meet the global energy needs for one year, though we are currently only able to collect a fraction of this energy. Still, harnessing this power by installing solar systems can definitely make a huge difference to the world’s economy.
How Practical is Solar Energy?
If a homeowner has a desire to help the environment by getting off of fossil-fuel energy, is it a practical to go solar? Despite solar power system installation being capital intensive, the past decade has seen a 70 percent drop in the cost of installation of solar panels.
- The cost of solar panels in 2021 is roughly $20,000 (ranging from $17,760 to $23,828) after federal solar tax credits. The average price per watt for solar panels ranges from $2.40 to $3.22.
- The cost includes equipment such as an inverter, which makes the electric current compatible to the current used by appliances, a power production metering system, cables, and wires.
There are solar installation companies across the country that can help a homeowner estimate the cost of installing a solar power system. Solar companies may also help in advising on what tax incentives are available for installing a solar power system. They can also help in giving the homeowner some calculations on what one can save in the long run.
Solar Can Lower What You Spend on Energy
Because of the increasingly competitive prices in the market, solar energy has become one of the main options for sources of energy for more and more families. Yes, the initial cost of setting up a solar system is high, since it includes the cost of buying the solar panels, its inverter, its wirings, its batteries, and the installation itself. Nevertheless, solar energy technology is constantly evolving and developing for the better, so we can confidently assume that prices will eventually go down in the future. Since you will be able to cover some of your energy needs with the electricity your solar system has generated, your energy bills will surely decrease.
The amount you will save on your bill is going to be dependent on the size of the solar system you have and your electricity or heat usage. If you are going to use commercial solar panels, this switch can have a lot of benefits because the large system size will cover a big chunk of your energy bills. In addition, not only will you be saving on the electricity bill, but there is also a great possibility that you will receive payments for the surplus energy that you export back to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), if you can generate more electricity or energy than you can consume (that’s only if your solar panel system is connected to the grid).
Solar energy is known to be expensive, so it is advisable that you use the solar energy right-away. In most cases, it is smarter to just use solar energy during the day and take energy from the grid during the night. And again, you can only do this if your system is connected to the grid. Thankfully, your energy demand is normally higher during the day. So you can easily meet most of it with the solar energy you generate during the daytime.
Solar in Rural Communities
Solar technology also brings economic advantage to rural communities. A study shows that the impact of clean and renewable energy on the rural areas has advanced its employment rate. Beyond that, renewable energy also provides many non-direct economic benefits that help create thriving rural economies. Rural areas of North America have gained around 2 gigawatts of energy capacity over the last 3 years. The addition builds on a great improvement over the past 10 years to provide the rural locations with revenue from lease payments, building improvements, and attractions for new investments. So not only do we help mother nature heal, save some chunks on our bill, and benefit from renewable and clean energy sources, we also help build peoples’ ladder through economic and financial sustainability.
The "Community Solar" Project
A program known as the “Community Solar” program is growing quickly in the rural areas. The program allows participants to buy a share of a solar project and then benefit from the energy generated. These projects bring solar energy to people who can’t or do not want to install their own rooftop solar panels. This is applicable to homeowners who can’t afford the costly start-up or have rooftops that are not conveniently oriented or unreachable of sunlight or shaded. It is also beneficial to those who do not have their own home or those who do not have the leeway to alter or modify their roof. We already have more than 250-300 cooperatives offering community solar in more than 30 states. If it is placed and designed properly, the community solar programs may address a lot of the hindrances to going solar that many households in the rural areas have.
The US Department of Energy has an Initiative which seeks to make solar-generated electricity cost competitive with conventional electricity. It sets a utility scale target of 6 cents per kWh for a location having only a moderate solar resource, such as Kansas City, Missouri. For the commercial and residential sectors, the government initiative sets targets of 7 and 9 cents per kWh, respectively.
The Sun: A Source of Indefinite Energy
To sum it up, our regular electricity rates keep on getting higher every year, whether we like it or not. Yet sunlight is, and will always remain, free in abundance. Having access to the power straight from the source makes a lot more sense than paying for it indirectly from your local energy provider. If you have read this far, you can see that solar power is much more cost-effective than “regular” or non-renewable electricity. It takes a lot of work to produce electricity, but when you set up your very own private solar power system, or take part in the community solar program, to harness the power of the sun, that meets the definition of “efficiency.” One thing is for sure, the sun is not going anywhere . . . for now.