Why Rising Electricity Costs Highlight Need for Solar Energy [SlideShare]
American families often feel at the mercy of rising oil prices, which affects their costs to fill up the tank and heat their homes. Electricity is one household expense that seems destined to rise. In fact, electricity costs are projected to reach 13.02 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s a 20 percent increase from just five years ago, clearly demonstrating that power is taking up an increasing chunk of household budgets.
If you are feeling the pinch in your electricity bill, you are not alone. Currently, the average U.S. home pays $110 per month for power, but that will go up to $180 over the next two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. With such financial pressure brought to bear on everyday Americans, it makes sense the state and federal governments have taken steps to assist families to find solutions that support innovative industries and reduce household costs.
Among those innovations is solar power. Technologically advanced and increasingly accessible to homeowners, solar panels are an environmentally sound, budget friendly option. It’s one way to counter the trend toward higher energy costs and preserve the natural environment valued by Colorado communities. Solar power is a solution that works well for your pocketbook and for the earth.
Solar Panels: The Solution to the Projected Rise in Energy Costs
Many homeowners think of solar as the domain of large buildings or private industry. But technological innovation and government initiatives in the past few years has made solar a viable option for the average American. Installing solar panels is affordable and there is capital assistance available for solar panels if you need it.
Solar Panel Pricing
Heating your home with solar energy is no longer a luxury. The cost to install solar panels has plummeted, going down 70 percent since 2009, according to a 2015 report. This price drop comes as solar panels have increased in efficiency, bringing more power to residential homes. In some areas, solar is prominent enough to compete with power from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.
Many homeowners do not have to pay the entirety of the installation cost out-of-pocket. There are numerous ways to further reduce costs and even ways to get initial funding to stop delays in new installations. Instead of saving up for solar panels, cash-strapped families can get started right away.
Low Interest Energy Loans
State initiatives have introduced low interest loans to retrofit your home and increase energy conservation and efficiency. These loans are secured, credit-based with a fixed term and provide funding for families to move towards environmentally beneficial technology. It provides a boost for homeowners who want to install solar panels but may not have room in their household budgets for a significant expenditure.
In Idaho, for example, the State Energy Loan Program provides $1,000 to $15,000 to residential homeowners for a renewable energy project. The loans have a 5-year term at a 4 percent interest rate. Applicants have to pay a $100 credit analysis fee at the time of application, but the process is relatively straightforward.
Solar panels produce more energy at certain times of day, simply because the sun only appears in daylight hours. State utility systems often have a net metering system, where households receive an energy credit for periods when they produce excess energy. That excess energy is sent back into the neighborhood’s electricity grid, the meter runs backward in the solar power-producing household, and that credit is used during dark hours. This means energy never goes to waste and solar households save money on their power bills.
Net metering is a hot topic in many state legislatures, as lawmakers consider how to implement sound energy policies. As the conversations continue, homeowners can still benefit from the cost reductions associated with net metering while they reap the environmental benefits of using a renewable energy technology.
Federal Tax Credits
Homeowners receive a significant tax credit for solar panel installation on their homes. The Solar Investment Tax Credit provides a 30 percent credit on the cost, reducing homeowners’ tax burden dollar-for-dollar. The SITC is intended to boost the solar energy industry in the U.S., which gives American families environmentally sound energy options and ways to reduce their power usage.
In December 2015, the federal government extended the time homeowners have to take advantage of tax incentives for solar energy. Although the credit will stay at 30 percent through 2019, in subsequent years the credit drops to 26 and then 22 percent, providing greater urgency for homeowners to install solar panels as soon as possible to maximize the financial benefit.
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How You Can Take Steps to Reduce Your Energy Costs With Solar Panels
There is both a financial and environmental incentive for homeowners to consider installing solar panels in their homes. The availability of favorable loans and tax incentives ease the burden of installation on families, and as the solar industry expands, solar panel prices continue to fall. Once households get their energy from the sun, they can receive credit for the excess power they give back to the electricity grid. It is a “win-win” for families and for the environmentally conscious community. Contact EcoMark Solar for a free solar panel installation quote today!
Have additional questions? Come explore our commonly asked solar energy questions to learn more about solar energy.
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