Are solar panels worth it?

Are solar panels worth it? — Online Solar Tools

Are solar panels worth it? solar is definitely worth it if we consider its potential to mitigate climate change, save businesses and homes money. Solar energy is good for creating new economic opportunities for businesses and individuals. 

However, if we consider answering whether solar is worth from a solar consumer perspective or for someone that is looking to install solar panels; it may or not be worth it based on their geographical location, design of their roof or whether their roof is receiving enough sunlight based on the direction their roof is facing the Sun.  

Trees could be blocking their roof from the Sun and hence not receiving enough sunlight to produce solar energy. Also, they may not have enough space on their roof or anywhere outside where they could install their solar panels.

Because the amount of solar energy is reliant on these factors, the question of whether: Are solar panels worth it? may vary based on the above settings and that’s why an assessment is necessary to determine the solar potential and hence the return on investment (ROI) if a solar consumer considers installing solar panels for their building.

Until recently, consumers could not determine this on their own and thanks to online solar tools that have made it possible for online users to determine their solar potential at the click of the mouse and they are able to generate solar potential/savings reports based on the solar irradiation hitting their roof. The technology that makes this happen is called Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). 

Using this technology, companies like EnergySage have developed online solar marketplaces with government support (under the SunShot initiative) to help solar consumers/online users wanting to know whether solar is right for them.

These tools are useful to shed the light for solar consumers on a personalized level as the data collected through LIDAR is site-specific and with just conducting initial research at the beginning, consumers can judge for themselves whether to go solar or not based on the data presented to them. In addition to the solar energy potential information analyzed for them, users are provided with additional information about financing, solar panels cost and a pool of pre-screened solar installers available in their area.

So, the question: Are solar panels worth it? I would say from a policy perspective is “YES” but from an individual perspective, “IT DEPENDS” as you may need to assess your situation first using this technology. Decision online solar tools are free to users and available to online users to help them decide whether it is actually right for them. Where a solar consumer does not have access to such tools, they may contact their local solar installer to have their assessment done for them. You can learn more about these online solar tools by visiting my blog

I hope this will help to shed some light on the direction in which solar energy is taking. In terms of cost, the price of solar has reduced tremendously and since 2009, solar PV modules prices reduced by almost 80% and it is projected that this price will continue to reduce. For instance, in a recent study, IRENA projected a 59% cost reduction for electricity generated by solar PV by 2025. 

This means from a policy perspective, solar will be worth it as it will compete with electricity sourced from coal or even fossil fuels and will reach grid parity in many states or countries around the world which. This is already happening in some countries like Brazil, Uruguay and other countries that have reported to generate solar electricity at costs below 7 US cents/kWh.

From a climate change mitigation perspective, solar energy is definitely worth it as installing solar panels of for instance a 5kW system capacity is like planting 100 trees that can help in cutting back on the level of greenhouse gases currently available in the atmosphere. 

A study conducted by Earth Runs investigated a tree-math of solar panels vs trees carbon trade-off and found that a 5,000-watt solar system eliminates 5,760 lbs of CO2 per year. This figure (5,760 pounds) is equivalent or correlates to the carbon absorption capability of more than 100 trees.

I blog on a weekly basis and please check out my blog and help spread the word about solar energy and sustainability. 

If you are a consumer looking to know whether solar is worth it for you, check with EnergySage that utilize LIDAR technology. 

Early Adopter Perspectives for going solar!

The solar industry in the US continues to grow and with over 1 million households already gone solar. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, this growth is being caused by the decreasing cost of installing solar which has dropped by more than 70% over the last 10years, leading to the deployment of thousands of systems nationwide.

However, one may want to know why households are considering going solar: are people going solar for economic reasons or to conserve the environment as many governments continue to develop environmental policies and laws to curb carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change?

To answer this question, it is important to note that the solar industry is yet to move from a “niche” to a “mainstream” market and therefore there is a general lack of information about solar PV technology. Also, the technology is currently reliant on government support (in the form of subsidies) in many countries and it may take time to compete with other technologies without subsidies.

Many people are still unfamiliar with the benefits of going solar. As such, promoters of solar technology such as the government, non-governmental organizations, civil society could be promoting the technology largely because of its environmental benefits or for both economic and environmental reasons.

In addition, when we use the theory of diffusion of innovation which defines the stage of new technologies based on their rate of adoption or their categories of adopters, including innovators, early majority, late majority, and laggards; solar PV is still in the innovation and early adopters stage. At this point there is a need for dissemination of credible information about solar technology and blogging like in this solar blog is one way of spreading the word about solar energy.

Are solar panels worth it?

According, to the SunShot Initiative’s Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the public is still unfamiliar with solar which calls for sharing of credible information by the stakeholders. These consumer studies help determine the main barriers to and drivers of solar adoption while gathering insights about the behavior of solar adopters and considerers of solar.

Within this study, factors affecting why solar customers are switching to solar and why others haven’t switched to solar are analyzed. The results of the study show that adopters are going solar because of mainly economic reasons, which is to save on their electricity bills for years to come. This confirms that going solar is largely an economic decision and not an environmental or political decision from a consumer’s perspective. However, promoters of solar seem to care for increased solar adoption for environmental reasons or for both perspectives.

Solar adopters are referred to as the innovators and early adopters and are generally trendsetters who are ready to take on risks and uncertainty presented by the new technology and this confirms the theory of diffusion of innovations. While solar considerers are more concerned with the practicality of the new technology and would adopt the technology when any risks and uncertainty are overcome. In this regard, the risks and uncertainty can be eliminated through the demonstration of the technology by the early solar adopters, especially when it comes to achieving savings and technical performance. According to early solar adopters interviewed in this study, it was noted that “most adopters (especially buyers) are happy so far and some in disbelief that the solar technology worked out so well.”

Furthermore, this study determined that there are four adopter motives for considering solar as follows based on the level of importance (100% represent extremely important)

  1. Lowering your total electricity costs (78%)
  2. Protection from rising electricity prices in the future (62%)
  3. Being able to use renewable energy (50%)
  4. Reducing your environmental impact (43%)

Based on these results, we can say that most consumers considering the question: Are solar panels worth it? Are largely concerned about the economic value of solar rather than the environmental value which can also be quantified based on the amount of carbon reduced and the equivalent of the number of trees planted or the generally improved air quality and so on.

For solar consumers looking for trusted sources of information where they can find a one-stop of information, including trusted solar installers; please visit some of the most well-known online solar marketplaces where at the click of your mouse you can generate solar reports that will show you:

  1. The amount of solar-based on Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) that is hitting your roof.
  2. Solar financing options specifically available for you based on the financial information you input into their system.
  3. Savings in terms of how much you can save with solar considering your current energy bill
  4. How many solar panels you need and the cost of going solar
  5. How much carbon you can reduce (reducing your carbon footprint)
  6. A-List of trusted solar installers in your local area.
  7. Customer service with solar experts to answer questions that you may have.

Get started today with EnergySage to sign up to use their LIDAR technology online solar tools and know your solar energy potential while obtaining at least three quotes from trusted solar installers in your area.

Three (3) reasons why it is much easier to go solar today!

 

1.Businesses and homeowners can go solar today with no money down.

  • This is one of the main reasons why many people have managed to go solar. Due to high initial cost of solar, many individuals as well as businesses are unable to pay-off the high initial amount upfront and hence solar power purchase agreements (solar PPA) as well as solar leasing have become very common to help them go solar with no money down.
  • Under solar PPA model, homes and businesses will go solar and then pay only for the electricity they consumed (kWh) at a rate slightly lower than their monthly utility bill. With regards, to solar leasing, the homeowner or the business will lease the solar equipment and pay a fixed or variable amount for the use of the equipment.
  • In both these models, the host (the business or homeowner involved) will enter into an agreement with the solar provider and the agreement can range from between 5 to 25 years based on the specific circumstances of the host. Learn more about solar panel financing.

2.The solar panel cost continues to drop every year. 

  • We cannot mention increased solar adoption and not talk about the reducing cost of solar panels. As such, the price of solar panels reduced by 80% since 2009. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has projected that solar panel cost will continue to reduce and one of their solar studies projected a further 50% cost reduction for electricity generated by solar PV. (IRENA is an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future).
  •  With the reducing solar panel cost, it means solar energy will likely be the energy of the future and it is envisioned that it will work better in a hybrid system where other sources of energy such as wind, geothermal, natural gas etc  will be great candidates to be combined with solar and complement solar energy when solar irradiation is low like in the nights or during winter when nights are longer than days.
  • The point at which the cost of solar becomes competitive with power from the grid (levelized cost of electricity (LCOE)) is called grid parity and this is already happening in some countries like Brazil, Uruguay and other countries that have reported solar power costs below 7US cents/kwh.
  • The cost of solar is also greatly reduced through government subsidies in form of investment tax credits (ITC) and state rebates which further reduces the cost of going solar. By bundling up ITC and state rebates, you can further reduce the cost of solar by almost 50% thereby increasing the affordability of solar.

3.The process of going solar has been made easier and faster:

  • The process of going solar is now simplified using online solar tools like EnergySage or Geostellar and other new solar tools that have been developed to assist decide about going solar. Learn more about online solar tools.
  • These tools were created by the private sector with support from the government with the intention of reducing customer acquisition cost that is estimated at $3,000 and hence reduce the overall cost of going solar.
  • Customer acquisition in the solar business involves a lot of work in sales, follow-ups, marketing and the time involved in acquiring new solar customers is expensive.
  • With online solar tools, a solar customer can compare solar prices, financing options and can be able to get estimates about how much solar electricity as well as how much they can save with going solar. Online solar tools are very useful to help a user know whether solar is right for them or not. Also, solar customers are able to answer the most common question potential solar buyers ask i.e. Are solar panels worth it?

Interested about solar? get started today and find out about pre-screened solar electric contractor, whether solar is good for you based on your location, roof design, how much you can save with solar and solar financing options available. Start today with EnergySage or Geostellar.