Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Is Solar Power In Your Future?
Solar power is booming! Spurred by a 60% drop in solar panel costs in the last 2 ½ years, robust government subsidies and a technology that no longer appears experimental to mainstream America, rooftop photovoltaic solar is bursting out everywhere. About 200,000 U.S. homes and businesses added rooftop solar in the past two years alone – about 3 gigawatts of power and enough to replace four or five conventionally-sized coal plants. The U.S. is now generating via solar panels almost 10 gigawatts each year. That’s enough to power 1.5 million average American homes; that’s the equivalent of removing 1.9 million cars from the road; that’s like planting 236,000,000 trees.
Yet solar power provides less than 1 percent of the nation’s energy needs. Even in Oregon! Though our state has a reputation for clouds and rain, western Oregon actually receives as much solar energy as the national average. During a year’s time, an Oregon solar system will produce as much energy as the same system installed in Florida.
PGE says that solar systems generally cost $4.50 to $6 per watt. Home solar system sizes vary, but most are 1,000 watts to 4,000 watts (1 kW to 4 kW). As an example, a 2,000-watt (2 kW) solar system would cost about $9,000 to $12,000. There are two ways to offset the cost. The first option is Net Metering Billing which lets you offset the cost of the electricity you use from your local utility with the energy you generate. The second is the Solar Payment Option. Your utility pays you for the power you generate up to the amount of electricity you use.
Some utilities are changing the rules. They want to charge a fee for using the Net Metering Billing method. They are experiencing a decline in revenue that is threatening their ratings. Expect more organizations like Green Tea, a pro-solar group in Georgia consisting of Sierra Club members and Tea Party founders, to fight for consumers’ rights.
If you would like to investigate solar power for your home, why not click the right-sidebar HomeSolar101 banner for a free quote?