Investing in solar power is a major decision, so its no surprise that some would rather wait and go solar a few years down the road. But there are also several reasons to invest in solar sooner, not later.
The incentives won’t last forever
Thanks to falling costs in solar panels and components, and generous federal and local incentives, going solar can be highly cost effective. But while the cost of solar panels will likely continue to fall, the government incentives will not be around forever. Incentives such as the 30% federal tax credit on solar were originally introduced with the goal of subsidizing solar technology at a time when it was very expensive and would have otherwise been cost-prohibitive. But now, component costs have declied significantly, and incentives are still available. However, as component costs come down, the incentives will begin to expire. The 30% federal tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2016. And local grants, such as the District of Columbia residential REIP program that offers $500 per kilowatt of solar capacity, are based on a limited availability of funds that will eventually run out.
A simliar scenario applies to SRECs, or Solar Renewable Energy Credits. SRECs are credits that solar system owners receive based on the power their system generates. The credits can be sold for cash, and are tradable on open markets. Their value is based on supply and demand, and the consensus among market predictions is that their value will decline significantly in the next decade. In other words, SRECs are worth the most now, and will be worth less in the future. So in order to take advantage of solar incentives, now is the time to act.
Invest now to see high returns later
Electricity is a commodity we all use. There’s no question about that. So why pay more for electricity than necessary? If you have the logistical and financial means to invest in a solar system, you should. The sooner you invest in a solar system, the sooner you will be able to reap the benefits of thousands of dollars in savings on electricity. If you pay cash for a system, once your electricity savings breaks even with your cost you are generating free electricity and saving money. If you lease a solar system, you start saving immediately - though savings add up over time, so the longer you have the system, the more money you stand to save.
For the enviornment
It is highly imperative that action be taken to slow climate change. Major utility companies are not going to change their business models and adopt renewable energy without a major market shift. So it is up to individuals and businesses to minimize their carbon footprints. One of the most effective way to reduce one’s environmental impact is by going solar, as solar power produces no carbon emissions, and can offset up to 100% of one’s electric consumption.
By going solar now, not only do you immediately reduce your carbon footprint, but you also help to move the world towards a tipping point of solar, where solar becomes mainstream, cheaper than burning fossil fuels, and the de facto source of energy for the future.