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Breaking the Expensive Sticker Stigma: Solar Panels of the Future

Bryn Huntpalmer - Modernize
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An estimated 784,000 homes in the United States rely on a solar energy system as the main source of energy for their home. The installation of solar panels by homeowners seems to be steadily increasing over time, and this can be largely attributed to advances in solar technology and the increasing availability and affordability of solar panels.

At Modernize, we’re passionate about sustainable living and we have been thrilled to see the dramatic increase of solar panel installations in recent years. We believe the future of solar energy is bright, and those who are hesitant about making the switch can be convinced to take the leap by breaking the expensive sticker stigma that commonly accompanies solar panels.
 

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Decreasing Prices through Increased Efficiency

One big way you can expect see the expenses related to solar energy decrease in the future is through advances in solar technology that are making panels more efficient. As panels become more efficient, manufacturers are able to use less material and labor, potentially decreasing the purchasing cost of panels. Additionally, more efficient solar panels could decrease the necessary number of panels a home needs—so you’d purchase fewer panels while still meeting your home’s energy needs.
 

Extension of Solar Tax Credits in the U.S.

The United States has a clear lead over British Columbia in subsidizing the purchase of solar panels and systems by members of the public. Although the tax credits offered to homeowners for installing solar panels on their home were recently set to expire, they have recently been extended until the year 2019. This means that, if you live in the U.S. and decide to install solar panels in the near future, you will likely qualify for repayment of a portion of your expenses through these credits. Even though this still requires you to pay for the project upfront, many solar installation companies offer financing options that require small down payments and can be paid off over the course of several years or paid in full when your tax credit arrives. British Columbia does not currently offer tax credits to purchasers of solar panels, but opportunities to make your money back exist and BC Hydro does offer a Micro-SOP Program that accomodates projects between 100KW and 1MW. There are also community invested solar systems, like SolShare Energy, which pays out dividends on the electricity it produces.
 

Lowering Manufacturing Costs with New Materials and Designs

As the demand for solar panels increases, so do the efforts to further research and experiment with the use of new materials and designs. We fully expect breakthroughs in solar technology that allow for less expensive materials for manufacturing and designs that require less materials while achieving the same purpose.

Additionally, as we learn more about solar, we can expect to lower the labor expenses related to building panels. As manufacturing takes less time, labor expenses can be decreased and this will lower the overall cost of buying solar panels. 
 

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If you are a homeowner who has delayed installing solar panels in your home because of the expense, know that there are ways to make solar panel installation more affordable. Most contractors are offering financing of solar panels that require very little down and have very affordable payments. Of course, you can also expect to save significantly on your monthly utilities, which can help with the overall cost of installing solar panels on your home. 

This article was contributed by Modernize. Check out their site!