Solar panels have been around for decades, and it’s easy to find years of studies showing their benefits. For the past several years, the Solar America Initiative has collected multiple studies showing that most homeowners will break even on solar panels. That is, the cost of installing a system equals the expected bills that these homeowners can anticipate over the lifetime of their system. For many homeowners, this has meant taking a “wait and see” approach to solar panel installation.
Over the past two years, however, our rapidly changing economy has made many of these studies obsolete. The scientists and economists at Solar America Initiative have determined that there are several new factors to consider when making the decision to purchase and install solar panels.
The Rising Cost of Electricity
Over the past several months, a lot has been written about the rising cost of energy. Natural gas, oil, and even coal have all undergone sharp price increases. Looking ahead, the prices for these commodities are only expected to further increase as instability in the Middle East and Russia (the chief areas of the world outside of the United States where these commodities are produced) continues to increase. Predictions range anywhere from an expected 10 to 50 percent increase in raw material prices.
To make matters worse, the employees that are needed in many power plants are in short supply, with a particular need for highly skilled employees. That has meant that many power companies have been forced to increase wages in order to retain their existing workforce and attract new hires.
All of this has resulted in high increases in the cost of electricity from local power plants. While the old formula assumed inflation rates in the price of electricity of around 3%, it may make more sense to now use a rate of 5 or even 10 percent per year. That makes getting solar panels now and avoiding these higher costs look a lot more attractive.
The Rise of Inflation
Of course, the rapid rise of inflation is also affecting the raw materials used to make solar panels. Fortunately, once panels are purchased, the cost is fixed. That is, purchasing a solar panel system today, even if it is purchased on credit, means that the price of that system will remain the same throughout the life of the system. If a consumer knows that a system will likely cost ten or fifteen percent more in the next year or two, it makes sense to purchase the system today. Even if the system has to be financed, a homeowner would still be saving money overall.
At Solar America Initiative, we want to show you how solar panels can help your family’s finances in this new economy. Give us a call today and let us show you how solar panels can save you money and provide your family with added security.