The average cost of solar panels may be even lower than you think. When it comes to alternative energy, many people are misinformed, holding onto the belief that high prices put this viable alternative energy source out of reach. For more and more home and business owners, installing a photovoltaic energy system has become truly affordable.
How Costs Have Drastically Dropped
Solar power prices have dropped steadily over the last several decades. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, when solar energy was first introduced in the ’70s, the cost was about $76.67 per watt. By the late 1990’s, the price had come down to less than $10 per watt. But at that price, even a small three-kilowatt system cost $30,000.
Since that time, however, costs have plunged dramatically — more than 60 percent just since 2008. At that time, costs were about $7.50 per watt. Today, you can have some systems installed for about $3 per watt or less.
So homeowners who obtained price quotes even just a few short years ago may be surprised at how much more affordable that investment would be today.
Making Solar Energy Reachable
Thanks to these low PV panel costs, the U.S. solar industry has seen exponential growth over the last several years. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the number of solar systems in use increased by 34 percent from 2013 to 2014, with 195,000 new installations in 2014. Even better, the research proves that a significantly large percentage of these systems are being installed by middle-class and working-class homeowners.
Recent studies have shown that most rooftop panel systems are installed in neighborhoods with a median income ranging from $30,000 to $90,000. The growth of the solar industry is expected to continue as available financing, tax credits and other incentives make solar power approachable for homeowners across the country.
Reaching Solar Grid Parity
The remarkable decrease in solar panel costs, along with the free, widespread availability of sunlight, make PV systems strong competition for electricity from the grid in terms of cost. While the initial installation costs for a rooftop system may seem out of reach for some homeowners, the availability of a 30 percent federal tax credit along with state and local rebates and incentives can bring the initial costs down by up to 50 percent.
And, as prices have continued to fall, solar grid parity ― the point at which costs are less than or equal to the costs of electricity from the grid ― will be reached. According to a study by solar industry analysts at Deutsche Bank, grid parity is expected be reached in all 50 states by 2016.
Are you ready to consider a solar panel system estimate for your home or business? The costs for most residents in the Intermountain West has or will soon reach parity with municipal and private power companies. Contact Intermountain Wind and Solar today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced professional team. We will provide you with all the information you need to compare your power bill with today’s aggressively competitive solar panel costs.