Solar Power May Not Be As Expensive As You Think

If misconceptions such as cost or locale have kept you from embracing solar power, you may want to take a second look. Photo: Shutterstock

If worries about cost have kept you from embracing solar power, we have some pretty awesome news: Going solar may be less expensive than you think, and a group of tech-loving entrepreneurs is out to prove it to the nation.

“At this point, in 14 states plus the District of Columbia, solar is simply cheaper, cleaner power in any possible configuration,” says David Levine, CEO and founder of Geostellar, a web-based modeling tool that shows how much every home in America would save by going solar.

“In the rest of the country, with a little bit of work, it’s certainly still cleaner and it’s just as cheap.”

Check out this list of busted solar myths to see if going solar is right for your home and budget. With the potential to shrink carbon emissions for your energy needs down to zero, it certainly couldn’t hurt to find out.

Myth No. 1: Going solar is too expensive

With solar rebates, leasing options and a significant drop in the cost of solar panels, this myth is definitively busted for almost all Americans.

“The misconception around cost I think is enormous,” says Nick Yecke, vice president of marketing for Geostellar. “In a lot of places across the country it makes positive financial sense for people to go solar.”

Geostellar’s solar estimator tool provides an insight into your home’s solar particulars utilizing your street address, including cost savings, potential power generated and what type of eco-impact a solar set-up could have in your part of the country. Try the tool out yourself:

Installing a solar power system can cost as little as $0 down, while saving money on your electricity bills. A quick search on Geostellar will show you just how much you’ll save by going solar, along with rebates and financing options available in your area.

This screenshot of Geostellar’s mapping tool shows how solar potential can vary – even for residents of the same block. Photo: Geostellar

Myth No. 2: Solar panel prices will continue to fall

Solar panel prices are expected to fall a bit more. But on the flipside, utility prices are expected to increase and have already risen by 13.5 percent on average since 2006.

Additionally, funding for rebate programs is not guaranteed very far into the future. In a few years, rebates could be much smaller and panels may only cost a few dollars less, so holding out for a better deal may cost you in the long-run.

“Basically, our system tells you if it’s the right time [to go solar],” Levine says of Geostellar. “We know this is about your home, and we’re going to put the best algorithms in place that include the pricing of different suppliers so you can make that decision.”

Myth No. 3: Going solar will decrease my home’s resale value

Nope! A 2011 study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that solar installations actually increase a home’s resale value.

The homes sampled in the study – located in San Diego and Sacramento – saw values increase by an average of 3.5 percent after going solar.

Myth No. 4: Going solar will increase my property taxes

Unlike other home improvements, such as a new deck, gazebo or swimming pool, solar installations are exempt from property taxes in many states.

Installing solar panels in these states will save you some cash on your energy bill and increase your home’s resale value without costing more on taxes.

Myth No. 5: I don’t live in a warm state, so solar isn’t for me

This is is possibly one of the biggest misconceptions about solar power, but you don’t need to live in an arid desert or a sunny beach town to make solar cost-effective.

Surprisingly, Illinois gets 80 percent of the sun hours that Miami gets every year, and Boston is actually an even better candidate for solar power than sunny Atlanta, the Geostellar team points out.

All things considered, the amount of money you’ll save on solar doesn’t vary state by state, region by region or even block by block. Solar potential is based on a number of factors – from the slope of your roof to the trees in your backyard – and can vary greatly for homes even in the same neighborhood.

“The bottom line is…we’ve now put three years of work into giving you the right answer without dealing with all that stuff,” Levine says of Geostellar’s mapping tool. “There’s no reason not to type in your address.”

Editor’s Note: Earth911 teams up with affiliate marketing partners to help keep our lights on and the waste-fighting ideas flowing. Geostellar is one of these partners.


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Solar Power May Not Be As Expensive As You Think

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