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Tips for Selling a Home With Solar Panels

Tips for Selling a Home With Solar Panels

Energy savings and smart technology constitute some of the most attractive features for homeowners today, and solar panels certainly can be a bonus for prospective buyers. If you’re thinking of selling a home with existing solar panels, you’ll want to target green features and sustainability as part of your marketing plan.

Owned or Leased Panels

Whether you own the solar panels on your roof or they have been installed under a long-term lease program, there are ways to assure that the actual panels and their benefits may be transferred to a new owner. The type of solar panel financing in place, if they are not owned outright, can impact a sale. Be aware of the provisions of your original sales or rental agreement prior to listing the home. Government-backed programs, including PACE and HERO, can sometimes be transferred directly to a new homeowner, but it is wise to make no assumptions, and to explore all possibilities.

An experienced real estate agent is your best resource to navigate the sometimes confusing territory of options and terms surrounding a sale. But you might also want to confirm details of a solar panel transfer with an attorney and your local power company. The firm that installed the solar panels should also be able to give you valuable information about maintenance, upkeep and repairs. In all cases, seek a knowledgeable and up-to-date interpretation of an existing lease agreement, or the sales and service contracts, and be aware of the terms and provisions of a usage agreement with your local utility company. Knowing the details is not only for your protection, but also assures that a buyer will be satisfied with the sales contract.

Detail the Cost Benefits

It’s also important to document the “cost and comfort” benefits of residential solar panels. Much like with other energy efficient upgrades, if you can demonstrate financial advantages in addition to the “feel good” effects, a potential buyer is more likely to be impressed. If it’s pertinent, offer details about the logistics of working with a local energy provider, the durability and lifespan of the panels themselves, and the benefits to the environment. Depending on how long your solar array has been in operation, provide a comparison of before and after monthly cost figures to graphically illustrate the savings.

Even though a new owner is not likely to reap any tax advantages from existing solar panels, the financial benefits should represent a continuing savings over traditional energy costs.

You aren’t compelled to share the actual cost of solar panel installation with prospective buyers, nor must you disclose any tax rebates or local incentives you received. But it is always helpful to chart monthly billings and, if you participate in any type of energy rebates through your local electric company, it would be wise to confirm that a new homeowner would be eligible for the same savings plan.

Resale Value of Solar

Clean energy is a renewable resource that’s good for the environment and will repay the cost of installation in as little as about three and a half years. That may be the reason you installed solar panels in the first place. In addition, solar panels on your roof add substantial value to a home. According to figures supplied by the U.S. Green Building Council, a homeowner can expect to realize nearly $6,000 per installed kilowatt-hour in terms of a higher sales price, although actual numbers vary based on location. But the financial gain for an average home system of about 3.1 kilowatt capacity can be substantial.

Home sellers must, however, be aware of all the contingencies and know the facts concerning their personal solar panel installations. There is no substitute for advance preparation when you list your home for sale.

Your Guide to the Different Types of Solar Panel

What to Look For in Solar Panels

Solat Panel Intallation
Man installing alternative energy photovoltaic solar panels on roof

For residential applications, the two biggest restrictions for solar panels are cost and space. You also need to know how much power you want to produce so you can figure out how many panels you need and how efficient they need to be. To get the long-term benefits of solar panels, you need to keep the costs down. Your needs will change depending on whether you want to go fully off-grid or simply offset the cost of your electricity. With roof-mounted solar systems, there is a hard limit to how many panels you can fit on your roof. The optimal direction for solar panels to face is to the south. Depending on the shape of your roof and the orientation of your house you may be severely limited on panel space. By looking at how much power you need and how much space is available you can figure out how efficient your panels need to be. Then you can begin shopping around for panels that meet these requirements at the lowest price. It’s important to remember that the panels themselves aren’t the only cost in a system. Wiring, solar controllers and state or utility fees must also be factored in. Different types of solar panel work best for different applications. Here are some of the most common types of panels.

Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are made using high-quality silicon wafers that are formed into a single crystal. These panels have very high efficiency rates, going as high as 22.5% in high-end commercial applications. They have a blackish hue when viewed in the sun and have rounded edges. Monocrystalline panels are the current highest quality panels available. They have a number of advantages and disadvantages going for them.

Advantages

This type of panel has very high-efficiency rates and a lifespan of 25 years or more. They can be made in either a rigid or semiflexible form. Monocrystalline panels are great if you want to produce the maximum amount of power for small areas.

Disadvantages

The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ comes to mind for monocrystalline panels. They are by far the most expensive panels on the market. Each solar cell in a monocrystalline panel is formed from a single silicon crystal. This requires very precise manufacturing and high-quality materials. All types of crystalline solar panels suffer from temperature and shading effects. As a panel produces electricity it also generates waste heat. This temperature increase lowers the overall efficiency of the panel. Shading effects occur when a small portion of a panel is put under shade. Because all the silicon cells in a panel are wired together this drop in productivity severely weakens the production of the whole panel. If you have a large area available for panels another variety might work better for you.

Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline panels are made from silicon the same as monocrystalline panels. Instead of single silicon crystals, manufacturers used fragments of silicon that are formed into wafers. These panels have a blueish hue to them and are squared off rather than rounded at the edges.

Advantages

Polycrystalline panels are cheaper on average than monocrystalline solar panels. On a watt for watt basis, some polycrystalline panels are more cost-efficient than monocrystalline panels. Where space isn’t at a premium a polycrystalline installation can make more sense. They are just as durable as monocrystalline panels and will also last for upwards of 25 years.

Disadvantages

These types of solar panel have lower efficiency rates to match that cheaper cost. On average a polycrystalline panel has an efficiency rate of 14-16%. If you only have a small amount of space available, polycrystalline panels probably aren’t the way to go.

Other Types of Solar Panel

Traditional crystalline silicon panels make up the bulk of the solar panel market. Recently, however, new manufacturing processes and materials are beginning to make major inroads. Thin film panels are made by applying a very thin layer of solar absorption material onto a surface. This allows the use of up to 350 times less material than crystalline panels. Thin film panels have a uniform appearance and many people find them more visually pleasing than crystalline panels. Thin film panels are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and efficiencies depending on the materials used. There are three commonly used thin film materials.

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)

CdTe is the most common of the thin film panel materials, making up half the market. This type of panel has reasonable efficiencies, 14.5%, and new manufacturing methods are lowering the cost every year. CdTe panels are commonly used in large-scale commercial projects because of their low cost and reasonable efficiency.

Amorphous Silicon (a-Si)

a-Si is the most mature of the thin film technologies. If you ever had a solar powered calculator or watch a-Si was the material used to power it. It’s been difficult to scale a-Si because of its low efficiency of around 8%. It is rarely used in residential installations.

Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS)

CIGS panels are a relatively new technology that is still developing. They have shown very high rates of efficiency in laboratory settings. The only real downside to CIGS panels currently is their high manufacturing cost.

Choose the Panels Right For You

Now you know the major types of solar panel on the market and the advantages and disadvantages of each variety. With a few simple tools you can figure out the amount of sunlight available to you and calculate the minimum efficiency you will need for your available space. If you want to increase the equity in your Midwestern home or do your part in reducing fossil fuel consumption, please contact us. We would be happy to set up a free solar analysis for your home.

Going Solar in Arkansas

Arkansas Solar Owners

Going Solar in Arkansas

Have you ever wondered whether going solar in Arkansas is a good idea? Here are some of the reasons why Arkansas is a great place for going solar. Northwest Arkansas is where Shine Solar got its start. Caleb Gorden, president and co-founder of Shine Solar saw the potential that solar had here and knew that the state was ready for this renewable energy source. “I think the biggest reason we chose northwestern Arkansas is, first, it’s where we’re from, we grew up here,” Gorden said.  “Second, specifically for solar, is because there wasn’t a lot of solar activity here yet. We felt we could be one of the first to market solar with our specific model and make solar available to the masses. There really wasn’t and there really still isn’t anyone else who can bring solar to the masses the way we are.” For many years, Arkansas has been lagging behind as a state in taking advantage of renewable energy. In fact, until 2016 Arkansas came in last place out of all of the states in using solar. In 2016, Arkansas moved up to 47th place, and now in 2017, the Natural State is in 43rdSolar Home

The sun is shining on Arkansas

As of this year, in Arkansas there are 2,137 homes that are powered by solar and over 270 jobs in the industry. Solar is starting to spread in the state, this has encouraged debates in the local government about some of the incentives that homeowners with solar should receive. Arkansas is actually an ideal place for solar, where the state receives an average of 2,771 sunny hours a year. The sun is shining on Arkansas and it is time for homeowners to take advantage of this!

Financial Opportunities

In the last five years, solar prices in Arkansas have dropped by 55%! With the prices dropping there have been more financial opportunities for homeowners  to lease and own solar panels. There are more solar loans that are available for homeowners in the state so they can invest in solar energy. In fact, Shine Solar offers solar loans to customers with $0 down and you don’t have to start paying until after 12 – 18 months! With the prices dropping here in the state, solar is becoming more available to homeowners here.

Solar Benefits

A benefit that all homeowners who go solar receive right now is the 30% Federal tax credit. Through this Federal credit you can receive a tax credit that is equal to approximately 30% of your total solar investment. You can then put that extra money toward your solar loan to help pay that off sooner. Another benefit that solar owners here have is net metering. Solar owners send extra energy they produce back into the grid and receive a credit for the energy they send. Currently, solar owners are being given credit at a retail price of what energy they send back. This is the same as what they would pay for that same amount of energy. However, there is debate within the state government to change that. You can follow more of the debate here.   arkansas_solar_map_data map   Shine Solar has installed solar onto 152 homes in Arkansas and more and more people are investing in solar, as well. Going solar here is a great idea if you are looking to take ownership of your energy and save money. If you have any more questions about going solar in the Natural State, then contact us here.

Is Your Solar Installer NABCEP Certified? (and why they should be)

Is Your Solar Installer NABCEP Certified? (and why they should be)

When you are investing in solar, you want to make sure that you are get the highest-quality panels. You also want the most qualified electricians installing your panels. This is a huge investment. It is also an investment that you want to last a long time. You don’t want someone who isn’t experienced in the field installing your solar panels. If fact, you want the most experienced electrician installing your panels. The truth is, if you want the highest-ranking solar installers working on your roof, then you want a NABCEP certified solar installer.

What does it mean to become NABCEP certified?

NABCEP (The North American Board of Certified Electrician Practitioners) offers several different certifications for electricians in the Solar Industry.  Each of these certificates represents a different level of expertise in the field. The PV Installation Professional Certificate is the highest of all these certifications. In other words, an electrician with this certificate has the highest available training in the solar industry. In order to reach this qualification, candidates have to take an in-depth exam covering a lot of electric and solar work. The exam is only offered two times a year and requires a lot of training in order to pass it.  There aren’t many people in our country who have gone through this process. In fact, there are only 5 NABCEP certified technicians in the state of Arkansas and only 30 in the state of Missouri! electrician

How to become NABCEP certified?

You may be wondering, if this exam shows which electricians are the most qualified, then what do they have to do for the test? In technical terms, candidates for the PV Installation Professional Certificate must:
  • Participate in a minimum of 58 hours of solar PV training
    • 40 of the 58 hours must cover advanced solar PV installation/design concepts
    •  If the candidate passes the NABCEP PV Associate Exam, the remaining 18 hours can come from entry-level Associate coursework
  •  Have an OSHA 10 hour construction industry card or equivalent
  •  Document 3-5 solar installations where they have acted in the role of a contractor, lead installer, foremen, supervisor, or journeyman
  •  Pay for and complete an application by the exam deadline.
NABCEP Certification In other words, they have to go to about 60 hours of training about the solar industry. They also have to have experience with playing several roles at a solar installation and be well-versed in OSHA standards. After all this training and the exam, these guys know every angle of solar installations.      

Shine Solar’s NABCEP certified electrician

Bud, one of Shine Solar’s electricians, is a certified PV Installation BudPierceProfessional. We are so proud to have him on our team. He is a professional who is dedicated to high quality work. In addition, Bud is committed to giving the very best service to our customers. We want to formerly congratulate Bud on achieving this certification. Thank you Bud for all of your hard work and enthusiasm for the solar industry!

Cloudy Days and Solar Output

Let’s be real…The winter months are here in NWA! It’s cold, cloudy, and the first snowfall is due any day now. With these overcast days we typically get asked if our solar panels are producing energy, and we have some great news! We listened, researched the facts, and came back with some answers for you.
Typically, a dream scenario for a solar panel is a magnificent cloudless sky just overflowing with uninterrupted sunlight every hour of the day. But this dream is often unrealistic and by no means is it necessary to produce solar power. Solar panels can thrive in cloudy conditions, and even with a cloudy or overcast sky, usable sunlight is getting through even though the sun might not be shining.
There are a few different types of sunlight you should be aware of that your solar panels can convert to electricity. The most straightforward (and most powerful) fuel for a solar panel is “direct sunlight,” which arrives in a direct line from the sun. But solar panels also use “diffuse sunlight,” which is sunlight that has crashed or bumped with other things in the sky – such as clouds, haze, and dust – and as a result, has been broadly scattered before reaching your roof. There’s also “reflected sunlight,” which is sunlight that has bounced off snow, buildings or the ground before hitting your solar panels.
Although diffuse sunlight is less powerful than the direct kind, it does get converted to electricity – just less electricity than what would result from pure direct sunlight. For example, on an overcast day (when most of the sunlight hitting your rooftop is diffuse), a solar panel might produce only 20 percent of its maximum capacity. This isn’t ideal, but not insignificant either – and important to the overall structure of a solar power system. What really matters is the solar panels’ total annual output, which can be large despite extended cloudy days.
A cloudy month or even a cloudy season does not eliminate the value of solar panels. Rather, a solar rooftop’s success is based on how much it reduces your overall use of costly grid electricity. And it makes the most sense to evaluate that on an annual basis, rather than daily or monthly, since even the cloudiest climates get several clear days over the course of a year. We see many cloudy areas in the U.S. get more than enough sunlight (direct, diffuse, and reflected) that produce more than a thousand dollars worth of electricity each year, while also preventing thousands of pounds of carbon pollution.
Also, the technology has arrived to use solar-based electricity even when the sky is cloudy, overcast, or even pitch black. By using a battery that stores excess power during sunny periods, you can tap into that stored energy during times when your solar panels aren’t able to provide enough power.
In some cases, a cloudier climate can actually be linked to more solar power production.
Here’s an interesting fact: a solar panel in famously foggy San Francisco can produce slightly more energy per year than a solar panel in sunnier and hotter Sacramento. A key reason is that San Francisco has relatively cooler temperatures, while still getting a healthy amount of sunlight over the course of the year. That’s good news for solar power, because solar panels actually operate more efficiently in cooler conditions due to the nature of semiconductor materials. So, although Sacramento gets more sun overall, its higher temperatures limit solar panel output. (Thanks to SolarPowerRocks.com for the example!)
The great thing about living in NWA or SWM is we have humid hot summers and cloudy, snowy winters which makes solar power the perfect option for our climate. Due to our location, both extreme weather conditions allow us to consistently produce a sustained amount of energy through the course of the year helping us save money while reducing our carbon footprint.

Benefits of Net-Metering

Like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill, net-metering gives renewable energy customers fair credit on their utility bills for the excess clean power they contribute back into the grid. This simple billing arrangement is one of the most important state policies for encouraging investment in solar – and it benefits everyone, solar and non-solar neighbors, alike!

The Top 3 Reasons Arkansans’ Should Go Solar and Why Delaying Can Cost You Thousands of Dollars!

You asked for it and now you’re gonna get it!  Served up hot for you are the Top 3 Reasons Arkansans’ should go solar and why delaying could cost you thousands of   dollars!
Reason #1: Solar isn’t as expensive as it used to be
Back in olden times (as in 2-3 years ago) solar was very expensive, but times have changed fast!  Previously, homeowners only went solar for three reasons:
Let’s face it, if you really want to get away from other people you have to go where there are no power lines, hence, no electricity.  Hard-core hunters, fisherman and recreationists have long invested into off-grid solar systems to power their cabins and hidden getaway.  Logic says that if you can afford to build a cabin in the woods then you can afford a solar system to power it.  Although not economical, it’s probably better than paying the utility company thousands of dollars to run power lines directly to your cabin.
Everybody has a hobby, right?  Hobbies by definition are fun to do but don’t usually make you any money.  Hobbyists turned to solar because they enjoyed playing with alternative forms of energy and liked the aspect of clean, renewable energy to power their homes, vehicles and toys.  Again, not economical, but a ton of fun!
Some people just want to be prepared and there are few forms of self-reliance more dependable than generating your own electricity.  Preppers like to be prepared for the worst and want the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that come hell or high-water they will have electricity.  Investing in solar for these people is nothing more than emergency preparedness.
Times have changed and investing in a rooftop solar system has become an affordable, smart decision for most homeowners.  The overall cost of solar panels and components has dropped by 70% since 2009, even as panels are getting more efficient.
As solar prices drop and utility prices increase across the country, the viability of going solar becomes a reality one market at a time.  Solar has been a make-sense decision for a few years now in California, Arizona, New Jersey, Texas and several other states.  Now Arkansas is having its turn!
Reason #2: You don’t have to pay for your solar system upfront and in CASH
Once again, times have changed.  In the last couple of years SOLAR LOANS have become prevalent in the market place.  Now you can finance your entire solar system as long as you at least have a 650 credit score or higher and a respectable debt-to-income ratio.  No industry that sells high-ticket items has been been able to flourish without attractive financing options (homes, cars, boats, appliances, home improvement, etc.). Until recently there were no viable finance options for homeowners who wanted to purchase a solar system.  Homeowners’ only option was to write a check or take out a second mortgage against their home.  Neither one of these options sounds very attractive or fun.  Solar loans have competitive interest rates and fees and most importantly, long-term paybacks which allow for energy savings to be realized the very first month after your system is installed.  Some companies will even forgo payments for a full-year just so you can redeem your tax credits and start realizing some savings upfront.  Competitive financing is the key to making a solar investment work for most families.
Reason #3: Solar saves you money
Occasionally, we’ll have prospective customers tell us that it’s not worth switching to solar unless they can save at least $100 per month (or $50, $75, $200, whatever). Here’s the deal, the amount of savings is irrelevant.  In fact, as long as you’re not paying MORE than what you pay the utility company you are coming out way ahead.  I’ll explain by asking you a question: Given the option, would you rather RENT your home or OWN your home?  Most of you I’m guessing would say OWN your home.  Why?  One simple word: EQUITY.  When you own your home, even if you’re making payments to the bank, every month you are getting a little closer to owning your home outright.  Your monthly payments are eventually going to deliver you an asset free and clear.  The person who rents will never own the home they live in no matter how many monthly payments they make to their landlord. It’s no different with electricity.  Would you rather “rent” your electricity every month from the utility company or eventually “own” your electricity, permanently.  When you invest in a rooftop solar system you own the asset that will kick out electricity for thirty years or more!
Bonus information:
The cost of the electricity you generate will NEVER go up, unlike the utility company who can and will “raise the rent” on you anytime they like by increasing their rates.  By owning your solar system, you lock-in your cost of power which creates some consistency and predictability in your life.  No more unannounced rate-hikes by the utility company.  No more surprises.  No more forcing you to do whatever they say without your approval.
Now for the cherry-on-top:
For the foreseeable future, when you invest in a solar system good ole Uncle Sam will give you a 30% tax credit off of the purchase price.  (Example: Invest 30K into a system and the federal government will give you a $9,000 tax credit), I can’t think of any other investment you could make today that both saves you money from month one and offers you a 30% tax credit.  I challenge you to name one investment that even comes close.  I don’t believe you can do it!
Like any other investment you make in life, it pays dividends to educate yourself and make an effort to understand the details.  Too often we rely on opinions of friends, neighbors and even family to draw our conclusions without truly investing the time to find out for ourselves.  I encourage you to do your own research about investing in solar and find out if it makes sense for you and your family.

Uncle Sam Likes Solar

Did you know that the government will actually pay you for investing in a rooftop solar system?  No joke, they’ll let you take the money you would have paid in taxes to the IRS and instead allow you to invest it into a solar system to generate your own electricity.

Here’s exactly how it works:

Way back in 2005, Congress passed a bill called “The Energy Policy Act” which created a 30% federal tax credit for anyone who invests in a residential or commercial solar system. Throughout the years the names and bills have changed, but the tax credit has never been axed. In fact, at the end of 2015 Congress passed yet another tax credit extension which guarantees this tax credit until the end of 2019. After that, the tax credit is gradually reduced until it completely disappears in 2023.

For example, if you were to invest $30,000 into a new solar system the federal government would give you a $9,000 tax credit, or 30% of purchase price, which can be used to reduce how much money you owe in taxes. Not a bad deal, right? I mean, how many other investments can you think of where the government will outright pay for 30% of your cost?

This tax credit has proven to be one of the most important incentives ever enacted by the federal government to spur growth in any single industry.

As a result of the multi-year extension of the credit enacted in late-2015, solar prices are expected to continue to fall while installation rates and technological efficiencies will continue to climb. The ITC is nothing short of a tax policy success story and we expect this fact to continue to play out over the next several years.

Like any other investment you make in life, it pays dividends to educate yourself and make an effort to understand the details. Too often we rely on opinions of friends, neighbors and even family to draw our conclusions without truly investing the time to find out for ourselves. I encourage you to do your own research about investing in solar and find out if it makes sense for you and your family. To find out more about whether or not solar makes sense for you – or get a free quote – give us a call at 844-807-4463.

Solar Financing 101

When we think about financing, we might think about that brand new car or white picket fence house that was just listed on the market.  Financing is the way we have been able to afford the not-so-affordable upfront.  Now what if I told you there was a way to finance, invest, and increase the value of your home all in one purchase?  That’s what we’re here to talk about today!  The honest, raw, truth of how it’s now possible to own a solar system for zero money out of pocket.  You heard correctly: Zero.  Nada.  None. Well it’s true, but it didn’t always use to be this way.  Until recently if you wanted a solar system there was only one payment option available: You guessed it – cash.  Now, I probably don’t have to tell you that paying with cash isn’t an option for most people especially when a solar system can cost several thousands of dollars.  You can imagine how many fewer people would own fancy cars or boats if there weren’t any financing options available.  Solar is no different – except for one point: Instead of borrowing money to buy an asset that will go down in value, like that fancy car or boat, you’re borrowing money to invest in an asset that will become more valuable year after year.  Solar panels! Let me explain.  Each year the utility company increases their rates, sometimes by double-digits.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, but this trend is expected to continue for a really long time.  That means every year for the rest of your life you’ll pay more and more for the same amount of electricity. On the other hand, when you take out a solar loan it’s short-term with a fixed rate and payment.  Most importantly, you fix the cost of your power permanently and now can introduce some predictability into your life.  No more raising rates! Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what your electricity payment will be each month? Better yet, once your solar loan is paid off you will have nearly free electricity for the next 30 years or more. Here’s the best part: Even with a monthly solar loan payment your overall electricity bill will be less than if you stayed with the utility company, usually to the tune of 15-25% less.
Ready for the cherry on top?  The interest you pay for your solar loan is most often fully tax deductible.  This mean you could potentially pay less in income tax which further increases your return on investment.  So not only can you finance your new solar system with zero money out of pocket, you can start saving money from your first month.  Now that’s what I call a smart investment!  Learn more about solar loan options by giving us a quick call at 1-844-807-4463.

The History of Solar Energy

Scratch the textbooks!  Today we’re diving into the history of residential rooftop and commercial solar in NW Arkansas, the US and the world.  It’s made a huge impact in our community already and it’s promising great rewards for the future.  Hope you brought your swim trunks for this one, let’s get started!
When Solar Was Born
The history of solar power can be traced all the way back to 1876 when William Grylls Adams discovered that selenium – a crystalline nonmetal – when exposed to light, produced electricity!  The experiment was hailed as “scientifically of the most far-reaching importance” by Werner von Siemens (a very important German inventor and founder of the Siemens electrical company).  Even though the selenium cells were not efficient at the time, the fact that Adams had discovered the potential of creating electricity without moving parts or heat was a huge breakthrough for mankind.
Several years after this, in 1953, Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson and Daryl Chapin, discovered what we call “silicon solar cells.”  These cells were a lot more efficient than selenium and even produced enough electricity to run small electrical devices.  Three years after they discovered this, the first “solar cells” were created and made commercially available everywhere!  As with all new technology, they were insanely expensive with a 1-watt solar cell costing as much as $300 – compared to our $3.00 per 1-watt today. Yes, you read that correctly.  The cost has come down by 100x! Over time, solar cells started being used in toys and radios and eventually made their way into space, via the USA’s and Soviet Union’s satellites in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  Ever since then solar has transformed into what it is today.
The Impact Solar Has Made As A Renewable Energy Source
As solar power evolved from the 1960’s, the price per watt slowly started to decrease.  In 1970 a big breakthrough hit the market due to research carried out by Exxon.  This research brought the price per watt down from $100 to a staggering $20, making solar power more accessible to all of us!  During the 80s, developments in solar power technology gave rise to smaller, cheaper and more efficient solar panels, allowing an increase in residential solar installations, vehicles and everyday household items.  Then in 1999, Spectro La, Inc. teamed up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and developed a “photovoltaic solar cell” that could convert sunlight into electricity with a 32.3% efficiency increase.  Since then, governments around the world and in the US, have taken numerous initiatives to promote the use of solar power as a renewable energy source.
Future Prospects
Solar power has made a permanent home in our future and will continue to provide us with pure, clean, uninterrupted energy – without any of the nasty greenhouse gas emissions and environmental hazards that come with fossil fuels.  With the continuing price decrease of solar power and the ever increasing concerns about the environment, there is no doubt that solar energy will continue to grow at a rapid pace. In fact, solar power is on the rise!  Estimates suggest that 2016 is going to be a record-breaking year for US solar power installations (and we have the testimonials to prove it).
Here’s the best news: As utility companies keep increasing the price of electricity it means that solar will become more and more affordable for homeowners.  To accelerate the curve even faster, consider the fact that as more people go solar the price of solar will drop even further as solar manufacturers lower prices and increase efficiency in order to compete with one another and maintain their market share.
Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll let you know all about state and federal tax incentives that will actually put money back into your pocket by next spring.  These incentives are the secret sauce that enable solar to make financial sense for so many new homeowners!