Solar Panel Cost and Efficiency: Are Solar Panels Actually Worth it?
As a solar company, we get to speak with many different people at sales events and other industry related gatherings. One thing we have noticed is that most people overestimate solar panel cost and underestimate solar panel efficiency. This observation is validated by a recent Harris interactive poll, which shows that misguided public perception is still a major obstacle to adding more residential solar energy to the grid.
We understand that people live busy lives and are not able to follow trending news on every subject. As a result, we at Belmont Solar feel a passion for educating society on the latest developments in both solar panel cost and solar panel efficiency in the marketplace.
So let’s get straight to the point. We can honestly say that, over the past decade, there have been many incredible developments within the solar industry. Such developments have indeed led to increased solar panel efficiency and dramatically decreased solar panel costs.
Actual Solar Panel Efficiency
Solar panel efficiency refers to how much electric power you will get from an hour of sunlight. There are two important factors to consider when talking about this metric. The first and most important factor is the angle at which the sunlight strikes the panel. The amount of electric power being created will fluctuate as the sun changes position in the sky over the course of the day. Although we have no control over the sun’s position, we do have control over the solar array’s design and positioning. Depending on how well a solar system is designed and positioned will have an effect on that system’s efficiency.
A second factor to consider in solar panel efficiency is the continuing improvement in technology. The chart below illustrates the great strides in efficiency in just the last few years. Increasing demand helps drive and finance advanced research and improves manufacturers’ economy of scale. These factors have had a huge impact on improving solar panel efficiency.
Actual Solar Panel Cost
The average system size for a residential application is about 6 KW. For this amount of power, the average gross cost has fallen from $50,000 to just $18,000 in about the past decade. In recent years, the federal tax credit for a solar installation has been around 26%. Subtract this from the purchase price, and you’re looking at approximately $14,000 for a residential solar panel system that can cover most of your electricity needs.
The graph below gives an overview of how solar panel costs have changed in recent years. As you can see, there has been quite a downward trend, and it should continue as the years go on.
Conclusion: Solar Panels Are Worth It!
As you can see, solar is a financially wise investment due to the decreases in solar panel costs and increases in solar panel efficiency. Plus, the returns are steady and are not influenced by market changes. Solar energy’s ability to avoid the politics and price volatility that increasingly characterize fossil fuel markets is a major advantage. For more great benefits, please see the Online Solar Calculator page in our Learning Center.
You and your family could greatly benefit from making the move to solar energy. If you own a home or farm in Pennsylvania or Maryland, we would love to sit down with you and begin discussing the possibilities of a solar energy system. We offer free consultations, so schedule yours today!