All that changed during the OPEC crises of the 1970s.
Although solar was still expensive, oil prices started to surge. President Carter even installed solar (thermal) panels on the White House. President Reagan removed them once he came into office.
But in recent years, the battle between solar power and fossil fuel-based grid electricity has become more intense:
- Fossil fuel prices keep trending upwards (with occasional dips here and there)
- Solar panel prices are trending downwards – consistently and rapidly
As a result, solar energy is now cost competitive with oil, gas, and coal. In fact, it is already the same price or cheaper compared to traditional grid electricity in 10 states – a breakeven point known as “grid parity.”
Once a state reaches grid parity, local homeowners and businesses are better off installing solar panels. Compared to continued reliance on the utility grid, the cost is the same (or better). But when you factor in the environmental benefits, going solar is clearly the better option.
In California, solar has already reached grid parity. That’s not so surprising given that:
- We have a ton of great incentives to help make going solar more affordable than ever before.
- We also have some of the most expensive grid electricity in the country.
- We have abundant, year-round sunshine.
But what’s truly interesting is that more and more states around the country are quickly approaching grid parity. According to a recent report, solar could become as cheap (or cheaper) than grid electricity in as many as 47 US states by 2016.
You read that correctly.
Everyone outside of Washington, Oregon, and West Virginia will be better off financially by switching to solar.
That’s exciting news.
However, reaching grid parity assumes that the federal solar tax credit remains in place at its current 30% level. If you remove this important incentive, grid parity becomes much harder to reach.
But according to the same report, reducing the 30% solar tax credit to only 10% would still allow 36 states to reach grid parity by 2016. That’s more than half of the country.
Another way to interpret these findings is that even without substantial government support, solar’s future looks very bright. With government support, however, the entire world will become greener, cleaner, and more affordable – much faster. In fact, solar energy could eventually become the world’s largest power source by 2050 – maybe even sooner.
But why wait?
If you live in California and don’t like paying increasingly high utility bills every month – it’s time to go solar. Doing so is not only the cleaner option – it’s also the more affordable one.
To learn how we can help you make the transition to a sun-powered lifestyle, contact us today for a free consultation.