Four Reasons Homeowners Are Going Solar in 2015
From cost savings to cleaner air, it can seem as if the reasons to go solar haven’t changed much over the years. In fact, each year is defined by its own unique set of tipping points. Here’s what we’re seeing in 2015:
- The increasing popularity of electric vehicles. Just a few years ago, you could count the number of available electric cars on one hand, but the range of options has exploded in recent years, meaning that more homeowners are taking a look at solar as a potential way of getting rid of their monthly fuel costs. Solar panels, of course, provide electricity for the entire home including the charging of an electric car, which means the cost of getting around can drop quite a bit for some people. One Nissan Leaf owner we know still has the same tank of gas his dealer put there six months ago. He likes to say he’s been driving on pure sunshine the entire time thanks to his solar panels.
- Plummeting renewable energy costs. The costs associated with residential solar systems are continuing to drop while many utilities are actually raising their rates. In 2015 this has many homeowners doing the math to see just how cheaply they can make the switch and what it will mean for their power costs in the long run. If it’s been a few years since you got quotes for a solar system, it may be time to revisit things. The cost benefit analysis may have changed significantly over the last few years.
- A new kind of solar deal for homeowners. The increasing availability of residential PPAs — or power purchase agreements — has many homeowners taking a good hard look at the possibility of going solar in 2015. A PPA lets you purchase all the electricity you’ll ever need at today’s rates, so it can result in deeper savings than traditional deals in which you buy or lease panels. As always, the PPA option should be compared to other options, but it’s a great tool that only used to be available for big industrial and commercial sized projects, so if it’s available to homeowners in your area, it could be worth exploring.
- A looming deadline. In December of 2016, there’s a good chance that the longtime 30% tax credit available to homeowners who go solar will be expiring. Some legislators are fighting to preserve this incentive, but the possibility of it going away is inspiring a number of homeowners to pull the trigger on going solar this year. Particularly for homeowners in areas where electricity is expensive, this year may prove a decisive one.