In the last several years solar panel prices have dropped dramatically, but currently they still are too expensive for most people, unless there are plenty of tax incentives and rebates which make it more affordable. The government incentives are a little complicated and require consumers to do research – work that is likely perceived as an added inconvenience to the high cost. If it turns out there are plenty of incentives, the true cost might be quite a bit less than is expected.
An executive at DuPont has publicly said solar panel prices could cost less than TVs simply because they are less complex, and therefore easier to produce. Consumers already are using solar panels on their homes and some are even charging electric vehicles with them.
A couple living north of Seattle in a very small town called Carlsborg recently purchased a Nissan Leaf. Since they already had a home solar power system to charge the all-electric Leaf, they don’t pay for it in a monthly bill. They are putting electricity back into the grid system to the utility company, so they are actually getting paid and say they make eight dollars every time they drive 100 miles.
Another couple in Sausalito, California is doing the same thing. These people are early adopters and their love of nature and interest in technology has moved them ahead of mainstream society. Their enthusiasm is helping bring costs down because they pay into the system at the beginning and set the example of how such home solar systems can work. As more and more people begin to invest in solar power, rather than paying conventional utility companies, the solar panel market will gradually expand and costs for other consumers should decrease.
If you want to help speed up the shift towards solar power, do online research into the incentives available on federal, state, city and county levels. This extra awareness will probably make you a better consumer, and it might turn out solar power is more affordable than expected. Once a home solar system is paid off, it can make very inexpensive energy for years.
Image Credit: Jeremy Levine Design / Creative Commons