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April 27, 2016

FROM NPR: Today’s Inexpensive Solar

In June of last year, NPR’s Planet Money posed the question: “How did solar power get so cheap?”

The answers are likely not what you’d expect. We’ve included a very brief summary below, but the 16-minute podcast is embedded right here and offers an extremely valuable insight into today’s reality of solar power in America.

PANELS ARE CHEAPER

China boomed with solar panel manufacturing several years ago, leading to a collapse. The only options for companies were to close down or slash prices. Many chose to slash prices to stay afloat.

INSTALLATION IS MORE EFFICIENT

Where a standard installation took 2 full days a few years ago, today requires only about 4 hours.

COST HAS BEEN CREATIVELY ACCOUNTED FOR 

Many of today’s deals include the homeowner essentially “leasing” the panels from the solar installation companies, paying a replacement “power bill” directly to the company. While the end cost will be higher than an outright purchase of the entire system, the monthly bill is significantly less than a typical power bill. This broadens the scope for many, allowing average-earning, middle-class Americans the opportunity to cut their power bill and take a step closer to energy independence.

FEDERAL AND STATE SUBSIDIES

Most states are still offering incentives for homeowners to switch to solar power. The federal government also has plans to help Americans make the switch.

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