The concept of solar grid parity was only a dream when photovoltaic power first became available decades ago. Today, the dream of solar energy costs equaling or even beating the costs of traditional electricity has become a reality.
According to the latest U.S. Residential Solar Economic Outlook report by Greentech Media (GTM) Research, a total of 42 states are expected to reach the point of parity within the next four years.
Will your state be one of them?
Solar Grid Parity is Already a Reality in 20 States
Grid parity occurs when the cost of adopting solar decreases at the same time as the retail rates for traditional energy sources increase. Eventually, they equalize — or solar becomes cheaper.
For 20 states, rooftop solar has already reached or exceeded the point of parity.
Missouri, Minnesota, Utah, Rhode Island, Colorado and Maryland barely squeak by, just meeting parity with the electrical grid by a small percentage. Louisiana and Connecticut solar customers are a bit better off than power company customers in those states, seeing bills of about 10 percent less than traditional electricity in their first year after going solar.
In several states — Arizona, Vermont, New Mexico, New York, Delaware, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. — first-year solar customers are averaging electrical bills of roughly 18 to 20 percent less than traditional electricity.
Massachusetts, Hawaii and New Jersey customers see savings of about 22 percent in their first year. Californians with photovoltaic systems benefit the most, however — their first year bills are nearly 40 percent less than average electrical bills.
The GTM report reveals that the rest of the states are likely to reach the parity point by 2020, assuming business as usual.
The Future of Solar Grid Parity
Some states are reevaluating their net metering rules and rates. However, the GTM report asserts that — even with net metering changes — the continued favorable costs of photovoltaic modules and increasing costs of other energy sources are likely to be enough to achieve country-wide parity by 2020.
So, which states may not make the cut? According to the GTM report, the worst states for solar include North Dakota, Oklahoma, Washington, West Virginia, Alaska, Montana and Nebraska.
In the Intermountain West, many of our local service areas have reached — or are rapidly approaching — grid parity. So if the cost of solar energy will be equal to or less than what you’re paying now to the power company, it’s hard to argue with this persuasive data. When you consider the energy independence you will gain as a result, we think the answer is clear.
Contact Intermountain Wind & Solar today, to learn more about the potential cost benefits for your location. We look forward to helping you understand how much you can save, whether you achieve solar grid parity this year or in the future.