The solar industry has changed dramatically in the past five years, some would even say that it’s in a “boom”.
Since 2010, the amount of solar installations has grown exponentially, with the amount of the amount of installed solar capacity topping 6,000 Megawatts in 2014; nearly six times that of the amount installed in 2010. What can explain this huge uptick in solar sales?
While we would like to believe that US citizens have all suddenly woken up to the environmental benefits of going solar, we are more inclined to believe that the falling price, and the savings that are yielded, are the real motivation behind the sudden switch. In years past solar wasn’t quite worth it, but now homeowners cannot turn their heads away from the numbers. Solar is now too good of a deal to deny, mostly due to three factors:
1. Cheaper Panels
Probably the biggest contributing factor to the price of solar installations dropping is the fact that solar panels are much cheaper than they used to be. A recent report by the SEIA found that the price of photovoltaic solar panels has dropped 63% since 2010. The reason for this can be partly attributed to China, when a few years ago they decided to enter the solar market. The Chinese opened up a ton of panel factories, so many in fact that there was a surplus of panels once these manufacturers hit the market. This surplus caused the price of panels to plummet, and they’ve stayed low since.
2. Easier Installations
As with any business, the biggest cost for solar companies is labor – paying the guys who install the solar system. While solar installers aren’t being paid any less than they used to, they are working faster and more efficiently. New technologies that allow panels to be simply snapped in place have allowed for installations to take a quarter of the time they used to, which saves the solar companies money, in turn saving the solar consumer money.
3. Financing Options
New financing options have allowed for a new economic class to access solar. While a new solar system may cost $25,000, solar companies like us at Stellar offer financing options to fit a wide variety of budgets. Most companies offer a lease or loan option, with lease agreements typically lasting 20 years. Stellar Solar offers a zero money down, 1.89% solar loan along with a solar lease that is backed by industry leader Sunpower.
So it’s clear why solar panel installation has gotten so cheap, and thusly, so popular. With a plummet in panel prices, cheaper and more efficient labor, and affordable financing, solar has never been cheaper or more accessible. Projections show that these prices should remain stable or drop even more over the next few years; a good indication that solar will continue to boom.