What should you look at to determine if you’re getting a good deal on solar? There are lots of things to pay attention to when deciding on a solar energy system; but two of the most useful metrics for evaluating the cost and value of a solar power offer are price per watt, measured in dollars per watt of energy ($/W), and ‘levelized cost of energy’ (LCOE).
Still think solar panels are an expensive way to generate electricity? Think again. Solar energy system costs have fallen significantly in recent years, becoming increasingly competitive with power from electric utilities across the US. And as the global solar industry grows, prices look set to fall even further.
According to Deutsche Bank’s 2015 Solar Outlook report, solar energy system costs are likely to drop 40% in the next 4-5 years, in keeping with the steep downwards trend of the past decade. Given that utility electricity rates are only going to continue to rise, this means solar is set to become an increasingly attractive financial option for homes and businesses around the US – and the world.
Another report titled “Renewable Energy Generation Costs in 2014” released in January by the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) backs up Deutsche Bank’s conclusions. Like the Deutsche Bank report, IRENA also concludes that falling costs have made solar financially competitive with grid electricity in many parts of the world – including much of the US. The report also shows that there have been dramatic declines in the cost of solar energy systems in the past few years (including a 3/4 drop in the cost of solar panels) – and says that there is still substantial room for further cost reductions as the solar industry expands. Continue reading
Solar loans are gaining popularity as a solar financing option across the country. Because of the superior savings and similar benefits that solar loans promise, some industry analysts now predict that they will overtake third party-owned (TPO) solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) as the dominant option for solar financing in the USA within a few years.
A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) examines this phenomenon and sheds more light on the possible advantages of financing your solar system with a loan as opposed to TPO solar lease / PPA.
The most important conclusion of the report is this: While going solar with either of these options is likely save you money on your electricity bills, financing your system with a solar loan could save you up to 30% more than if you go solar with a solar lease or PPA. Continue reading