But if solar energy is such a great source of clean power, why don't more electric suppliers utilize it? Simple. The cost.
Solar energy can be expensive in the short term. In fact, that is the primary reason most homeowners choose traditional electric suppliers over this green energy option.
But the news isn't all bad. As more and more Americans realize the importance of renewable energy sources, solar and other forms of green energy are becoming much more accessible.
If you're considering investing in solar energy suppliers but are concerned about the cost, here are three different ways to make solar power more affordable.
Even though the prices of solar panels themselves are dropping like a rock, solar installation for a single home can cost tens of thousands of dollars. While the costs for solar paneling is restrictive for some homeowners, there are programs that help to make owning and installing your own solar panels more affordable. The largest is the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which offers a 30% rebate.
There are also a number of financing options that can help you spread the cost of owning your own solar panels out over the equipment's lifetime. Just like you make payments on your car loan or mortgage, these options let you invest in the future of green energy.
If the upfront cost of installation is too high, you can consider leasing solar panels. While leasing does not qualify you for the same tax credit, it allows you to have access to clean, renewable energy at an affordable price.
Another perk of leasing your solar panels is that all maintenance is the responsibility of the company who is leasing you the panels. If you are uncomfortable with technology, and would prefer someone else maintain your equipment, this option might be for you.
This is a particularly attractive option for people who own several acres or more of unused property, which may be prime real estate for a solar array.
Solar Gardens are a popular option for groups of people who might not be able to afford solar on their own. In this co-op model, individual landowners, small towns, and municipalities pool their resources and invest in community-based solar harvesting equipment. An outgrowth of the cooperative culture, these gardens are especially effective for people who might not be able to afford their own solar panels, or who are prevented by trees or building limitations, like many renters and urban apartment dwellers.
Typically, a Solar Garden will work on a credit basis, meaning that the members of the solar garden will receive credits for their share the electricity produced at the garden, which will be deducted from their electric supplier bill.
Solar Energy is not as difficult to harvest as it has been in the past. And, hopefully, in the next decade we will see it become even more accessible to a wider range of people.