ENERGIES

Solar energy is finally accessible, but until when?

Solar energy is finally accessible, but until when?

I just installed solar energy in my home because now is the time. Save the planet, save money, but you should act soon.

I have never spent $ 18,000 on technology before. Heck, I have never bought a car with such a high price. But when I ran the numbers on solar panels earlier this year, I realized that for me, and perhaps you, now is the right time.

To be honest, I thought solar was one of those planet-friendly options that is indeed a luxury good, like the Tesla electric car, which is still out of my reach, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with The ones I dreamed of when I was a teenager.

Apparently he was wrong. One day in February, when I was trying to figure out why my gas bill had risen to hundreds of dollars, I saw an article about how the United States government would pay 30 percent of the total cost to install solar energy. It seemed like a scam, but I quickly discovered that it was true.

Many countries are encouraging the installation of solar energy in homes, but it is a cost that they will not sustain forever. Incentives will necessarily diminish over time. And let's keep in mind that solar energy is a long-term investment.

"Solar energy is more affordable than I thought, especially right now"

So, I was surprised to learn that solar panels have become much more affordable, period. The price of solar power has fallen by as much as 70 percent in the last decade, thanks to lower material costs and increased efficiencies that mean fewer panels are needed per roof.

I started talking to contractors, who told me that the various pieces of a system had now been standardized and commercialized to the point where it would only take a day or two to install a system, and to the point where they would guarantee that my panels they would produce the amount of energy quoted for more than a decade. Multiple contractors said they would guarantee all work for 25 years.

And yes, those installers were happy to show me charts showing how I could save double or triple the price of those panels in the next 30 years due to all the electricity I wouldn't need to buy. Which I took with care, because who knows what you will do or where you will live in 30 years, right? Still, the idea that solar power could pay for itself in 5-8 years was quite attractive.

But after months of research, what really pushed me to the limit was this: realizing that incentives for solar may not get much better going forward.

That's because 2019 is the last year the U.S. federal government offers that full 30 percent tax credit, which drops to 26 percent next year, 22 percent the following year, and disappears. fully for residential solar power in 2022.

And while solar panels may still be even more affordable, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that price declines are slowing and that local solar incentives appear to be wearing thin, too.

In each country the equation is different and you should take the trouble to investigate it, but bear in mind that the price will only go down to a certain point and while the government encourages it, then it will start to rise until it stabilizes.

Here in Northern California where I live, devastating wildfires are poised to directly drive electricity prices up, perhaps drastically higher if PG&E gets customers to help pay for their inability to keep them safe. . The higher those prices go up, the better the math for solar power.

And now that California has mandated that all new homes be built with solar panels starting in 2020, I figured there might not be many new incentives, or so many eager contractors needing work, to help me put panels on my own Roof.

It's a complex equation, and the math won't work for everyone. It can't be ignored that solar power costs as much as a cheap car (even if my car was even cheaper), and it's only an option to start with if you own your home. But when I chatted with colleagues and immediately found a friend who also coincidentally installed solar for the same reasons, we thought we shouldn't keep it to ourselves, but share it, in case it makes sense to you.

Video: SolarHostSAs first solar panel install (October 2020).