With Only $0 down Solar Can Save You up to $34,000 Over 20 Years

by Zachary Shahan.

Originally published on Cost Of Solar.

How Much Are Solar Panels? Wrong Question. How Much Can Solar Panels Save You?

OK, it’s true, How Much Are Solar Panels? can be a useful question. But, really, this question is largely of minimal importance today. Either through $0 down loans or 3rd-party-ownership models that let you lease a solar power system instead of buying one, most residents and businesses with a decent roof or ground space for solar panels should have an opportunity to go solar without buying the entire solar panel system up front.

The real question — the real ways in which ‘going solar’ affects your finances — is how much it saves you and how soon, or when, it starts to save you money.

I’ve recently created the short infographic below to highlight the 20-year savings from going solar in some of the most populous states in the country, as well as in Hawaii, which has the greatest average savings per project.

Solar savings graphic
Renewable Energy solar savings graphic (USA).

Notably, those savings are based on 2011 research. The cost of solar has dropped tremendously since then, so the savings should be even greater (on average). Unfortunately, I haven’t seen more recent research on this matter. The specific data points — average 20-year savings from going solar — for those states are as follows:

  • California: $34,260
  • New York: $31,166
  • Florida: $33,284
  • Texas: $20,960
  • Hawaii: $64,769

These numbers were included in a cool solar power infographic I shared last week. However, the map displaying these numbers was number 3 of 4. I’ve gone ahead and pulled out this key map and will insert it below so that you can see savings in your specific state if you don’t live in one of the four most populous states or Hawaii.

Renewable Energy. Solar Power savings over 20 years in the U.S.A.
Renewable Energy. Solar Power savings over 20 years in the U.S.A. Image by 1BOG

These savings are tremendous. Even the national average (again, in 2011, when solar panels were much more expensive) is above $20,000! How much are solar panels… going to save me? That’s the question to ask. (Of course, you can request a quote on Cost of Solar to get a savings estimate and even a follow-up site visit for a more exact estimate, and it will also give you an estimate of how much solar panels for your house or business will cost.)

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This article, How Much Are Solar Panels? Wrong Question. How Much Can Solar Panels Save You?, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy. Zachary ShahanZachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

15 Solar Facts You Should Know

by Zachary Shahan.

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Originally published on Cost of Solar.

If you’ve missed many of the articles we’ve published over the past couple of months, I figured it was a good time to catch you up on some things. Below are 15 solar statistics or key facts that I think are worth your consideration:

1. About of the solar PV installed around the world was installed within the last 2½ years. In the US, the number was 68% in the last 2½ years. (There’s a reason or two for that.)

Credit: GTM Research/SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight

Credit: GTM Research/SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight

2. US solar panel installations smaller than or equal to 10kW in size dropped in price approximately 14% in 2012.

3. A record number of solar modules were shipped last quarter (Q2 2013). 21% more solar modules were shipped in Q2 2013 than in Q2 2012 by the top 20 solar module providers. (There’s a reason or two for that.)

4. The cost of solar panels has fallen approximately 100 times over since 1977, and solar panels today are about half as cheap as they were in 2008.

5. The average American who went solar back in 2011 (when solar was much more expensive), will probably save about $20,080 off their net electricity costs over 20 years thanks to that decision (that’s $20,080 after paying off the cost of the solar power system).

Infographic Credit: One Block Off The Grid

Infographic Credit: One Block Off The Grid

6. The average Californian who went solar in 2011 will probably save about $34,260 over 20 years.

7. The average New Yorker who went solar at that time will probably save $31,166, the average Floridian $33,284, and the average Texan $20,960… and that’s only if their solar systems don’t last more than 20 years (some solar systems in the field today have been working to factory specs for over 30 years).

solar energy cost

Credit: Cost of Solar

8. The average Hawaiian who went solar in 2011 will probably save about $64,769 over 20 years, getting their money back after 3–5 years and then having free electricity for as long as the panels are on their roofs.

.are solar panels worth it hawaii

9. Solar power offers a better return on investment (ROI) than many “good investments” for tens or hundreds of millions of Americans. Homeowners, on average, can get a better ROI from going solar than from the S&P 500 stock index (considered a very good investment) in over 25% states now. In ⅔ of states, solar offers a better average ROI than 30-year treasury bonds. In 86% of states, your likely solar ROI beats a 5-year CD (certificate of deposit). Check out the story linked above for a full infographic on these matters, including state-by-state ROI.

10. Not surprisingly, most people go solar because of the financial benefits, not for the environment. Check out the funny video below about that, and check out the story linked above for 3 more videos along those lines.

11. It’s not just the rich going solar, but actually many average-income households.

.top solar cities

12. Many people can actually go solar for $0 or close to $0 down. Seriously. In over a dozen states, there’s the solar leasing or solar PPA option discussed in that story, but word on the street is that there are also $0 loans available for people wanting to go solar.

13. People of all political and religious stripes go solar. Conservatives, moderates, and liberals; religious and non-religious people; as well as a high proportion of military veterans.

14. Solar energy advantages beat solar energy disadvantages 8 to 0.

15. The advantages of solar power are projected to more than double total US solar power capacity within the next few years. Solar is projected to be the #2 source of new power capacity in the US in 2013. Companies such as Walmart, IKEA, Google, Apple, Walgreens, and Kohl’s are going solar to a big degree. (There’s a reason or two for that….)

In other words, if you can go solar and you aren’t doing so, you might want to go in for an insanity check.

Advantages of solar -- money!

Money! (Photo Credit: Cayusa | CC BY-NC)

Join the US solar power rooftop revolution!

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This article, 15 Solar Facts You Should Know, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

Most Attractive States For Investing In Solar

by Zachary Shahan.

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Originally published on Cost of Solar.

–> See how much money solar power could save you!

There are a lot of ways to evaluate the attractiveness of a place for renewable energy or solar energy investment, and to evaluate the best solar states. Of course, it depends on what factors and assumptions you take into account, as well as what segment of the market you are actually evaluating.

One of the leading evaluators of such markets is Ernst & Young (EY). The “professional services firm” recently released its most up-to-date renewable energy attractiveness indices for the US, including a solar energy index. The report includes solar market data for 2012 as well as a well-researched ranking of states by their solar energy investment attractiveness. The overall summary is clear, as we have been writing for months here on CostofSolar.com: the US solar market is booming.

US Solar Market Booming

“In 2012 the US installed 3,313 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, with 1,300 MW coming in Q4 alone, surpassing both annual and quarterly records. Even with falling costs the dollar value of the market size of the US solar industry grew 34% in 2012,” EY writes. “The cumulative total of solar PV in the US is now at 7,221 MW, with cumulative PV installations exceeding 300,000 individual units.”

A new solar panel installation is now occurring every 4 minutes in the US, according to an analysis from GTM Research.

Solar Leasing Is Hot

As I’ve reported a few times previously, solar leasing is hot. This is partly due to the fact that residential solar power has become quite cheap, and partly due to the fact that people are attracted to $0 down purchasing options, especially when the products (i.e., solar panels) save them money from Day 1. This makes going solar a no-brainer (even more than it already is).

EY writes: “Third-party ownership or leasing of rooftop solar PV systems in the US accounted for more than 50% of the residential and commercial market in 2012. Average residential system prices dropped nearly 20% between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012, and industry experts expect this segment of the market to surge as third-party financing options spread throughout the country.”

US Southwest Is Hot

The leading states are largely in the Southwest, thanks in part to its tremendous solar energy potential, but there are some outliers.

“The top five states for solar electric capacity installed in 2012 were California (becoming the first state to install over 1,000 MW in a single year), Arizona, New Jersey, Nevada and North Carolina, while the leaders in cumulative solar capacity installed through 2012 were California, Arizona, New Jersey, Nevada and Colorado.”

The 10 most attractive states for solar energy investment, according to EY, are now:

Best Solar States For Return On Investment (ROI)

Overall, I find the EY report very useful, as it includes fairly comprehensive policy and market analyses, and even does so for the top solar states.

However, as people who have read me for awhile know, I’m a big fan of relative rankings… of which there are very few. Looking at absolute rankings such as total solar power capacity, you miss who is leading the way on a per capita or per GDP basis. And you miss which states offer the best return on investment for a single residential solar power system.

If you’re curious about the latter, you may have noticed that we’ve already shared a great ranking on that, which changed the above order a bit to come up with this top 10 ranking:

  1. Hawaii — 24% IRR
  2. DC (if you want to include it) — 20% IRR
  3. New York — 17% IRR
  4. Connecticut — 16% IRR
  5. Colorado — 15% IRR
  6. Massachusetts — 15% IRR
  7. New Mexico — 13% IRR
  8. California — 12% IRR
  9. South Carolina – 12% IRR
  10. Delaware – 12% IRR
Best Solar States Per Capita

At the end of 2012, the top solar states for installed solar power per capita ranking shuffles the top solar states around yet again:

top-solar-states-per-capita-total

Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica. Data Credit: GTM Research / SEIA.

top-solar-power-states-per-capita-total-solar

Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica. Data Credit: GTM Research / SEIA.

Best Solar States… Depends On Your Aims

In the end, I think all of this data is quite interesting. And it offers useful lessons of different types. The EY ranking is certainly useful to investors and major companies who want to figure out the policies and market of one or more states in order to invest in solar projects for the best return on investment (ROI). It also helps show how large states and even countries can better promote solar power.

The solar ROI study briefly mentioned after that is actually useful for the same thing (through slightly different data and research). But it’s also useful for individual homeowners or small businesses who are considering the switch to solar.

And the per capita rankings show us who the true state leaders are, showing us which states’ solar or electricity policies would be most worth emulating.

But, really, for our main audience (the common Joe), there’s simply one thing to do: find out how much solar power could save you, get connected to the best installer for your money in your region, and go solar so that you can start savings tens of thousands of dollars off your electricity bills.

The longer you wait to make the switch, the more money you are throwing away on dirty power from a monopolistic utility company. And the fact is, you can get an estimate of how much you’d save in less time than it takes to watch another cat video or Gangnam Style.

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This article, Most Attractive States For Investing In Solar, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

Experience Grid Freedom

by Zachary Shahan

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Originally published on Cost of Solar.

Do you ever feel like you’re an indentured servant at the mercy of your monopolistic utility company? Do you ever wish you could free yourself from this unbalanced relationship? Have you ever dreamt about the grid freedom that would come with becoming your own power producer?

Dream no more! Go out and claim your freedom, your grid freedom! Become a profiting contributor to the electricity grid rather than only a slaving consumer.

Think this is all just an unrealistic dream? Well, aside from an attitude adjustment, you probably just need to see a few eye-opening stats to realize that this is not simply a possibility, but also a really good freakin’ option for millions or hundreds of millions of people, and one of those people could be you!

The 1st set of stats you should see are ones I can’t provide for you in this article. The 1st set of stats you should see is the set of stats tailored to your own home and situation — to be specific, how much electricity a solar power system on your roof could generate and how much money you could save/make from that. To get those stats, simply go through the short solar quote service on our homepage.

On to the more general stats, here are some big ones that I think will help to show you how attractive going solar is today:

Don’t delay any further! Join the solar party! Claim your grid freedom! Help the world by saving/making mucho money!

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This article, Experience Grid Freedom, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

How Change Manifests, How Action To Stop Global Warming Must Come About

by Cynthia Shahan

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earth globe
Image Credit: Grassy Earth via Shutterstock

There is just something about brevity. A recent episode of David Biello’s Scientific American podcast Sixty Second Earth cuts to the chase of how change manifests, and how to most effectively tackle the global warming crisis: by local action. Here’s a transcript of part of the Sixty Second Earth podcast:

It’s obvious. Global efforts to combat climate change have failed. International summits are full of hot air and greenhouse gas pollution continues to rise. If a country bails on a climate commitment, they pay a price of, well, zero.

Turns out that’s okay, at least according to game theory analyses by researchers at the University of Lisbon. Their models suggest that punishment by global institutions has no effect. They also say that global summits actually impede cooperation.

Now, in a new report, the researchers suggest that if punishment starts getting handed out at the local level, say city governments, what emerges is a much more cooperative global regime for combating climate change.

Interestingly, though, the local actors must be stimulated by an understanding that global warming means catastrophe… big time. Thus, the remarkable bottom line to change is essentially an old bumper sticker tagline (link added):

Nevertheless, the math of how people play games suggests that successfully curbing carbon pollution will rely on the old adage: think globally… act locally.

The journal Nature Climate Change describes how that proverbial pond inspires change with many ripples from within — it is the rippling of change (link added):

We show that a bottom-up approach, in which parties create local institutions that punish free-riders, promotes the emergence of widespread cooperation, mostly when risk perception is low, as it is at present3, 7. On the contrary, global institutions provide, at best, marginal improvements regarding overall cooperation. Our results clearly suggest that a polycentric approach involving multiple institutions is more effective than that associated with a single, global one, indicating that such a bottom-up, self-organization approach, set up at a local scale, provides a better ground on which to attempt a solution for such a complex and global dilemma.

Another international climate conference is coming up, this one being held in Poland. There isn’t much optimism regarding what is to come out of this, and it seems there’s no reason for optimism. What is needed is a stronger focus on creating action on the local level. What is needed is an emphasis on communicating the great risks and costs that come with global warming, while showing people local solutions that they can implement in their cities. People are starting to realize this, but the message needs to get out to more and more of us, especially the ones who are motivated and assertive enough to push for meaningful change.

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This article, How Change Manifests, How Action To Stop Global Warming Must Come About, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Cynthia Shahan is an Organic Farmer, Classical Homeopath, Art Teacher, Creative Writer, Anthropologist, Natural Medicine Activist, Journalist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.