Why Rooftop Solar Is a Sure-fire Investment

solar panel installationIf you could invest in something that would outperform the stock market while also helping the planet, wouldn’t you? Here’s why rooftop solar can’t miss.
 
The cost of installing solar on homes has dropped by 60% over the past 15 years, bringing the costs within reach for millions of homeowners. A combination of incentives and rebates, along with lower hardware costs, has contributed to this steady reduction in solar costs. Recent analysis predicts that solar will reach parity with grid energy in the very near future, as solar costs plummet and grid-based power (primarily fossil fuel-derived) continues a long trend of becoming more costly.

Investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity in up to 80 per cent of the global market within 2 years, and says the collapse in the oil price will do little to slow down the solar juggernaut.
 
“We believe the trend is clear: grid parity without subsidies is already here, increasing parity will occur, and solar penetration rates are set to ramp worldwide,” analyst Vishal Shah notes.

However, installing rooftop solar still strikes many people as a technological luxury, and as a statement about the homeowner’s green commitment and their desire to save energy costs in the short term. As a result, many homeowners choose not to install solar because they are unaware of the ongoing benefits of doing so.
 
But installing solar panels makes long-term financial sense. Those homeowners are making investments in their financial well being that could outperform the money they have in the stock market, according to Going Solar in America, a report from the North Carolina Energy Technology Center at NC State University.
 
How local leaders can help their constituents reap the benefits of solar
 
The payoff for homeowners comes from the convergence of diminishing solar costs with anticipated increases in the cost of grid energy. By working to lower solar costs even more, local leaders are increasing the value of their constituents’ solar investments while also helping to reduce fossil fuel pollution.
 
Going Solar in America details the ways that local leaders can reduce the “soft” costs of solar (those costs not associated with the equipment itself), which they contend is the challenge at the heart of achieving nationwide consumer acceptance.
 
Simply by streamlining the permitting and inspection process, and by advancing solar-enabling local building codes, local leaders can lower the bar to entry for homeowners.
 
Local leaders can also lead by example by installing solar on government buildings, schools, and other public facilities, and by buying solar and other renewable energy for municipal use. More and more local communities are also incorporating renewable portfolio standards that require an increasing percentage of renewable energy be provided through the power grid.
 
While many of the rebates and subsidies that have helped solar grow are still available, a number have ended or are slated to end. Local, state, and federal governments should consider extending this support for solar and other renewables, and should also encourage lenders to offer low interest loans for solar installation.
 
Local leaders can also institute “bulk purchase agreements” that allow local residents and businesses to join together to buy large amounts of renewable energy at low and guaranteed rates.
 
The opportunity presented by solar power is too valuable to miss out on. By making it both more accessible and more affordable for your constituents, you’ll help them make an important investment in their future – and reduce carbon emissions too.
 
For more ideas and resources about supporting climate solutions in your community, join our MomentUs initiative.
 
Image credit: SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership

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