3 Data-Backed Reasons to Go Solar in 2020 (and One Emotional Bonus Reason)

The proof is in the numbers: the smart choice is to switch to home solar power in 2020.

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1. Home solar panel prices are lower, and trending downward
2. Solar panels last longer and longer
3. Module efficiency has been trending upward, in California and elsewhere
>> Bonus reason to go solar: solidarity!

We say all the time that switching to solar helps homeowners save money and reduce their carbon footprint, and that it’s always a good time to switch to solar. But you don’t have to take our word for it – data shows that switching to solar is good for the short term and the long term!

1. Home solar panel prices are lower, and trending downward

Home solar panels are cheaper than ever, and experts expect them to continue falling – even despite temporary supply disruptions in early 2020 brought by the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to Dan Reicher, the founding executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University and an assistant energy secretary for President Clinton: “Renewables are on a growth trajectory today that I think isn’t going to be set back long term…This will be a bump in the road.” (Source: NY Times)

Solar Panels Cost Over Time

Think you’ll save more money by waiting? Think again. We are at a place in our market maturity where waiting for the price to go down doesn’t make sense.

The longer you wait, the more money you pay your old utility company. We’re past the tipping point where you’d save more money over the long haul by waiting for prices to come down further.

2. Solar panels last longer and longer

How long do solar panels last?

How long they “last” is usually taken to mean how long they produce adequate electricity to offset the electric bill in your home.

Solar panels degrade over time, it’s true. But it’s slow. Technically, solar panels could produce electricity from sunlight for a couple hundred years.

What homeowners should be concerned about is the efficient productivity of their panels. After a length of time, they may stop making a difference in your electric bill.

Typical warranties carry your panels’ efficiency anywhere from 15-25 years. Over that time, efficiency of the panels may decrease by ten to twenty percent. Warranties should give you peace of mind for a couple decades. But the low cost guaranteed by the warranty may no longer be precise after that time.

However…

Truthfully, provided you take good enough care, home solar panels should last 30 or 40 years. If you take really good care, according to Robin Hirschl, Technical Director at Obton, your solar cells could last for as much as 50 years, depending on which panels you get. (Source: New Energy Update)

What about solar inverters?

Something else that homeowners should consider is the lifespan of solar power inverters.

Each home needs one for the solar panels to convert into usable energy for your family. Solar inverters need to be replaced more often than panels — generally around 10 or 15 years. If you add a storage battery to your system later, that creates more strain on the inverter. This can potentially shorten its lifespan.

Replacing an inverter can cost hundreds dollars, so it’s important to keep this budget in mind when you switch to solar.

Sungevity designs custom solar systems, and we always factor this in when producing a design that saves money both now and for the entire duration of your warranty. But if you switch to solar with another company, you’ll need to make sure and watch out for that cost.

Solar Inverter Costs 2010-2018

One nice thing about advancing solar inverter technology is the growing market of replacement parts. For many aging inverters, part replacement keeps costs lower than full replacement.

3. Module efficiency has been trending upward, in California and elsewhere

Solar panel modules are on an upward trend in productive efficiency as the price trends downward. It’s a great combination for homeowners.

Solar Module Efficiency - Upward Trend for CA

Trends are especially strong in California, but all states across the US see improvements rising.

Despite overall solar electricity efficiency improving, traditional utility companies are slow to adopt solar production. This means more expensive (and more polluting) methods will still be around for some time. For homeowners connected to their grid, this will mean increases in prices – especially since non-production-related factors can bring the end customers’ prices up.

Electricity is cheaper – but is your electric bill going up?

US Energy Information Administration Table of Electricity Production and Prices

Data from April 2020 indicates the average price of electricity to residential customers continues to fall. This is driven in part by home adoption of solar power. The effect on the electricity market of home solar production is the same as the effect on supermarkets by growing your own vegetables. Economics 101 tells us that as demand for purchased goods falls, so too does the price.

So why are customers in states like California and Connecticut seeing increases in their bills? It has more to do with poor management than the cost to produce. Customers are footing the bill for the consequences of decades of neglectful and negligent decisions. In Southern California, for example, SoCal Edison is seeking to raise rates for customers by over 14% starting next year.

Bonus reason to go solar: solidarity!

It’s hard to find a good argument against switching to home solar power. By all accounts, it’s a wise personal financial decision. But it’s not purely personal – the effects benefit the rest of us, too.

Installing solar panels on your roof won’t disconnect you from the rest of the world; on the contrary, the way it works is that you produce energy that goes back into the grid. You save money in the form of credits on your monthly bills. In some areas, you even get a negative cost on your energy bill, thanks to net metering. But every other electricity customer reaps the indirect benefit of more electricity provided by solar panels.

The widespread benefit is clean, renewable energy. That means less need to produce energy that costs everybody more, and less pollution in the air we all breathe. The more we go solar, the more good we do for both the environment and the economy.

Going solar is a personal decision that works out great for you and everyone else you know. And in a time where we’re divided on nearly everything, win-win decisions are more than welcome.

If you haven’t gone solar yet, now is the time. Click here to get started.

If you know someone who’s interested in going solar, take a look at our customer referral program – you can get paid to refer solar customers! Click here to learn more.

 

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Home solar power is easily one of the smartest decisions a homeowner can make. Don’t wait any longer! Reach out to Sungevity today.

Sources

New York Times, “Oil Companies Are Collapsing, but Wind and Solar Energy Keep Growing”
NREL, U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark: Q1 2018
New Energy Update, “Solar operators shun low-cost risks to extend lifespans”
New Energy Update, “PV operators probe wider costs of inverter upgrades”
US Energy Information Administration, “Electric Power Monthly with Data for April 2020”

 

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