Buy Solar Panels and Save Thousands!
I'd put my money on the sun, and solar energy. What a source of power! - Thomas Edison, 1931.
There are quite a few sources of renewable energy out there. Windmills, hydroelectricity, biogas, tidal and geothermal all are awesome ways we use to power our lives. However it is the venerable solar panel, which has become the undisputed icon of green, clean energy! The public interest in solar energy has never been higher, and today you can buy solar panels at a fraction of the cost you could just a few years back.
The world is finally accepting that something needs to be done about climate change. Germany, for instance, is already getting 50% of its electricity from solar energy, and that's when many parts of the country aren't even sunny1. The cost of solar energy has been falling rapidly in the U.S., too. In fact, you can buy solar panels at no upfront cost if you wish to (although, even a cash purchase won't set you back by a lot).
The falling costs of solar panels
According to the Department of Energy's Berkley Labs report, Tracking the Sun, solar panels saw a 20% reduction in cost in 2014, coming down to just $4 per watt for installed systems. This was $0.40 lesser than 2013, and marks the fifth consecutive year in significant price reductions for distributed PV systems, noted the lead author of the report, Galen Barbose of Berkley Lab's Electricity Markets and Policy Group2.
Compare this to the $10 per watt which was the going rate at the turn of the century, and it becomes readily evident that the solar industry is here to stay. This has been made possible due to a surge in production of photovoltaic solar panels, the increase in demand thanks to government subsidies such as the Solar Income Tax Credit (ITC), and clever financing methods such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Buying solar panels today is seen as a financial investment.
As solar technology continues to evolve, new material such as perovskite and quantum dots will allow solar panels to operate at higher conversion efficiencies, bringing down the cost of solar power systems even further.
How can you buy solar panels?
You can purchase your solar panel system outright if you have cash or can take out a personal or home equity loan.
- Cash Purchase – Pay in full up front or finance it yourself using a personal or home equity line of credit. If eligible, you can apply for federal and state solar energy tax rebates.
- Solar Loan – own the solar system and pay for it over time. Get the most competitive rate you qualify for through our network of lending partners.
The high upfront cost of a solar power system. Consequently, multiple financing options were developed and offered to consumers which made it feasible for them to buy solar panel without shelling out thousands of dollars in one go. Here are some of the popular solar financing options available:
- Zero-down solar lease - Start saving money from day one via solar leasing arrangement, where a solar power company leases your roof to install a solar power system. You then purchase power from the company at an agreed upon fixed rate. These payments are typically lesser than what you pay your utility for electricity.
- Custom-down solar lease - You can also buy solar panels by making a small upfront payment of say $1,000 to $3,000, and then pay off the rest of the system cost at a lower monthly rate. In certain cases, the annual increment which comes typically with PPAs is waived.
- Prepaid solar lease - You pay off the entire lease before installation as well. If you buy solar panels via a prepaid solar lease agreement, then you can also enjoy all the tax credits, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and rebates offered by the government.
Lease or buy solar panels?
Most homeowners are confronted with the decision whether they should buy solar or lease solar panels. You can continue your research on which option is best for you by checking our Should You Buy or Lease Solar Panels page.
- 9 Reasons to Go Solar
- A Look at Solar Financing
- The Future of Solar Energy
- Solar Panels: Lease or Buy?
- How Solar Works
1 German Gets 50 Percent of Its Electricity From Solar, http://theweek.com/speedreads/451299/germany-gets-50-percent-electricity-from-solar-first-time
2 U.S. Department of Energy: Tracking the Sun, http://eetd.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/tracking_the_sun_vii_report.pdf
What Can You Save With Solar?
With no end in sight for soaring electricity rates, your switch to solar will secure affordable power for your home & family for years to come.