Residential solar energy is booming. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), residential solar installations grew 30% from 2020 to 2021. The increase is partially due to the cost of solar panels becoming more affordable.
Over the last decade, the cost of residential solar systems has dropped 64% according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Inflation Reduction Act, which extends the Investment Tax Credit for another 10 years and increases the tax refund from 26% to 30% of the costs of the solar installation, is expected to cause solar costs to fall even more.
When deciding whether to install solar panels, home and business owners should consider their average monthly electricity usage, the amount of sunlight the structure’s roof receives, and whether there is a local net-metering policy. All of these factors determine the amount of time it will take to see a payback on the investment.
While solar installation companies can assist with this process, with the increase in demand, there has also come an increase in companies looking to make a quick buck. Often, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Therefore, it is important for home and business owners to do their research.
In March, SEIA released a Residential Guide to Solar Power to help customers identify all of the factors to consider before entering into an agreement with a solar installation company. The guide includes a list of important questions to ask the company to ensure the options and agreement are understood.
It’s also a good practice to request local references to learn about their experience.
Now is a great time to consider investing in solar energy. Taking the time to research solar installation companies lays the groundwork for a successful experience.
Lindsay Mouw is a policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs. Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.