Until quite recently, most people thought of solar panels as expensive and impractical. However, thanks to several significant tax breaks and advances in solar technology, solar power is no longer the sole possession of the elite. More and more people are opting for the clean, environmentally-friendly energy offered by solar panels for the home. If Read the full article…
Most people assume that solar panels offer the greatest benefit in places with a significant amount of sunshine. However, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say that solar energy actually provides the most benefit, in the means of improving human health and minimizing pollution by reducing the number of coal plants, in cloudier locations like the East and Midwest. The researchers found that by replacing coal with solar in a state like New Jersey or Ohio, the solar system “would be 15 times more valuable than that same solar system in Arizona.” In other words, phasing out coal plants and transitioning to solar energy provides greater benefit than bringing solar energy to a sunny Southwest state where solar would mostly replace clean-burning natural gas.
A recent survey by New England Clean Energy showed that for Massachusetts homeowners using solar power, seven out of ten stated that solar energy is a better investment that home renovation or purchasing a car. They were also given the opportunity write their own comments, where many elaborated on their rationale for believing a solar investment offered the greatest rewards. Some said that pros to solar are the immediate benefits such as raising the value of the home, it reduces monthly expenses unlike home renovation or car purchase, and it is more of a guaranteed successful investment.
The cost to go solar can seem like a hefty investment—but there are less expensive options available. Solar system leasing and Power Purchase Agreements (“PPAs”) are two ways of going solar without all of the upfront costs. Both solar system leasing and PPAs, requiring little money down and offering payment plans, are making solar more accessible to more people.
The U.S. solar industry had a record-breaking year in 2012, and it is expected that 2013 will be another milestone year for installed solar capacity. Last year the U.S. solar industry installed roughly 3.2 GW of capacity. Even as major solar markets like California lose some momentum, other states like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania pick up the slack. While it is unclear which states will step up to the plate next, the prospects of state solar initiatives spurring an increase in solar capacity seem—well, sunny.
The U.S. appears to be making an effort to switch to renewable energies and is doing so at both the national and state levels. The demand for photovoltaics (“PV”), in particular, is reaching new heights as PV module prices decrease and new financial and regulatory incentives take effect. In 2012 the U.S. solar industry installed over 3.2 GW of solar power capacity, and the forecast shows this record should be broken in 2013.