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article imageResidential solar panels become more cost effective option

By Alyssa Sellors     Feb 5, 2014 in Lifestyle
The cost of solar panels has dropped to half the cost from 2008, and are 100 times cheaper from the 1970’s. With these sharp cuts in cost, solar panels are becoming a cheaper and more viable option for homeowners looking to save money and energy.
Residential solar panels have incredible environmental and payment advantages. Solar energy is a renewable resource, using none of the Earth’s natural resources like natural gas, coal or oil. Even the technology is recyclable, with old parts being used in new panels. Solar panels are also very easy to use and maintain with a lifespan of over 30 years and no fear of power outages or high power bills. Solar panels for homes work by converting sunlight into usable power. This power is then converted to electricity for household use. A net meter then measures the power generated and spins. Leftover power that is not used in the house can also be used by local power grids, with many states offering payment to the homeowner for this left over energy.
Countries like the UK and China are way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to harnessing the power of solar energy, but movement in these countries is affecting the cost and convenience of residential solar panels. In an article published by The Guardian, the author cites the UK plans to have 10 million homes with solar panels by the year 2020 and that by 2030, “the cost of solar should be comparable to that of even the dirtiest forms of coal, and of gas.” Another article highlights the solar achievements of China who installed more solar panels in 2013 than any country ever has. The amount installed in 2013, 12 gigawatts, is only equal to the entire amount in the U.S. In China, because of renewed solar panel manufacturing, panels are cheaper and more accessible to the average homeowner than here in the U.S.
While prices have drastically fallen in the past decade, residential solar panels can still be pricey but there are multiple options, and incentives, in going solar. An article entitled “What is the current cost of solar panels?” explains that solar panels are now a global product with the cost set globally, ranging from about $0.70/watt to $0.73/watt. The average installed cost varies by region and will be based on the size of your roof and electrical needs. To get an idea of how much solar panels for the home will cost you, consider getting an initial quote first and then find local installers who can offer a more specific quote. Finance options and leasing options allow homeowners to purchase or lease solar panels just as they would a home or a car, with monthly payments. So while you still have a monthly bill, instead of throwing money away to the power company, you are actually saving money by investing in your own power. In addition, studies have found that “the average solar homeowner will save about $20,000 over 20 years from going solar.” Even beyond all of these cost incentives, there is also city, state, and federal tax breaks or incentives available to homeowners who install solar panels for their home.
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