Residential solar panels better investment than stocks

January 19, 2015

Residential solar installation
Residential solar panels better investment than stocks
A report issued by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) claims that investing in residential solar power is a better bet than the stock market. In fact, in 42 of the 52 largest cities in America, solar electricity costs less right now than buying electricity from the grid.

Surprised? Many people are. But the cost of solar panels has dropped sharply over the past few years. Where once only wealthy people could afford a solar panels, now the cost of is well within reach of most home owners.

Every month you pay your electric bill and think nothing of it. Everyone has utility bills, don’t they? But what if you took the same money you presently pay to the electric company and used it to pay off a loan for a solar panel system at your home. Now that money becomes an investment in clean energy, a sustainable environment, and freedom from future rate hikes.

According the people at NCCETC, “Right now, buying an average-sized, fully-financed solar PV system costs less than electricity from their local utility for 93% of single-family homeowners in America’s 50 largest cities, and, in most places, is a better investment than many of the stocks that are in their 401(k).” That’s because eventually those solar panels will be paid off and all that extra money will stay in the home owner’s pocket.

The report says that, from an economic standpoint, these 10 US cities are the best places to install a solar panel system:

  1. New York, NY
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Albuquerque, NM
  4. San Jose, CA
  5. Las Vegas, NV
  6. Washington, DC
  7. Los Angeles, CA
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. Oakland, CA
  10. San Francisco, CA

The report ranked the cities based on three metrics: (1) the average savings in first-year monthly bills, (2) the “overall present-day value of a long-term investment in solar” as compared to a stock investment with an average return, and (3) the levelized cost of energy generated by a rooftop solar system.

According to Green Tech Media, the U.S. solar industry completed $15 billion worth new solar projects in 2014. That’s one new system every two and a half minutes. There are now 200,000 residential solar installations in the US — a four fold increase from 2011 when there were only 50,000 rooftop systems. Through the first three quarters of 2014, 3,966 megawatts of PV power came online, bringing the total PV generating capacity in the US to 16.1 gigawatts.

The next big thing in solar energy will be in-home storage systems that save any excess electricity generated on sunny days for use at night or on cloudy days. That’s when people will really be able to go “off grid” and investing in a solar panel system will become commonplace.

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