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Household Solar Power on the Horizon?

by Piper Stull-Lane

solar power

“Declining panel and installation prices have made
solar power more attainable for the average consumer.”

What’s clean, sustainable, decreases our dependency on fossil fuels and encourages economic development? If you guessed sunlight, wind, water or geothermal heat, you’re on the right track. These are sources of renewable energy, and we’ve been hearing about them forever. However, for a household name, renewable energy doesn’t seem to be making it into many households at all.

It’s no wonder, since the infrastructure for utilizing these resources is not yet ubiquitous, leaving the costly and time-intensive job up to proactive homeowners and business leaders. (When’s the last time you erected a wind turbine, built a dam or collaborated on a cogeneration plant?)

Solar panels have long been a more popular consumer choice, which harness the power of sunlight to cut energy bills and lighten the impact of our collective carbon footprint. And now, according to industry research publisher IBISWorld, setting up solar panels could even be light on your wallet.

solar power

Statistics courtesy of “Solar Panel Installation,” an IBISWorld Procurement Report (April 2014).

Lead Business Research Analyst Kiera Outlaw attributes this to the low cost of photovoltaic modules on the market right now. (Photovoltaic modules, or PV modules, are the devices that hold solar panels together. If you’re pictorially inclined, take a look at NASA’s useful chart about how exactly solar energy is harnessed.) Further, Outlaw notes that “about thirty states require electric providers to increase the amount of renewable energy in their power supplies,” directly incentivizing the use of renewable resources among both businesses and everyday consumers.

To this end, it is expected that higher income individuals will install solar panels in states that provide rebates and tax credits, such as California and Arizona, and, among businesses, we’ll see increased interest among those “looking to reduce their energy costs, especially those operating in the manufacturing sector.” An upcoming report by IBISWorld focuses on the benefits of this very business decision.

Outlaw’s advice to purchasers is this: “Before implementing a solar power system, shop around and compare quotes from various suppliers. The fragmented nature of the market suggests that buyers have access to low prices and better deals if they just take their time.”

So whether you’re remodeling, moving from one house to another, or looking for new spaces to run your business, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add “solar panel research” to your checklist—it’ll save you money, set a good example and prepare you well for upcoming energy standards.

Connect with Piper @PiperStullLane

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