Is Solar More Expensive Than Electric?
Solar energy has become an increasingly attractive energy source for people looking to lower their energy bills and be more environmentally friendly. As a result, it raises the question – is solar more expensive than electric? Let’s explore this question in more detail by exploring how solar energy works, the pros and cons of solar energy, the significance of its decreased cost, rising prices of electricity and the benefits of switching to solar.
Overview of Solar Energy
Solar energy is a renewable energy source that is created through the absorption of energy from the sun. Solar energy is possible through the use of photovoltaic (PV) cells that are placed in solar panels. These cells take energy from the sun and convert it into a form of direct current (DC) electricity. This electricity is then stored in batteries, through which people can use or distribute to power their homes or businesses.
Solar energy has many benefits and drawbacks. Most notably, the main benefit is that it is a clean and renewable source of energy. This means that once it is installed, it can provide energy for years with minimal upkeep and maintenance. Another benefit of solar energy is that it can be used in remote areas that do not have access to the grid. Finally, solar energy can reduce the cost of electricity bills over time because it is independent of utility prices.
The major drawbacks of solar energy are its initial cost and the reliance of sunlight. The initial investment to purchase and install solar equipment, such as panels and batteries, can be high. Additionally, when the sun isn’t shining, then solar energy won’t be available, making solar energy storage and usage inefficient.
Decreased Cost of Solar
The cost of solar energy has been decreasing in recent years and is now much more affordable than it was a decade ago. The cost of a solar panel alone has dropped from $75-80 per watt in 2010 to about $0.37 per watt in 2020 – a decrease of almost 92%. The majority of this drop is due to advancements in manufacturing and technology, as well as a decrease in the amount of physical material needed for a solar system.
In addition to the decreased cost of solar equipment, there are a variety of other incentives that can help reduce the cost of installing solar panels. For example, in the United States, the federal government offers a 30% tax credit on most residential solar installations. Additionally, many states offer additional incentives, such as performance-based incentives and net metering, which further reduce the upfront cost of installing solar.
The cost of solar may be high upfront, but it will pay off in the long run. A solar system will typically require little to no maintenance for up to 25 years and provide free energy for most of that time. Additionally, electricity utilities are continuing to raise the cost of their energy, so a solar system will only get more valuable as time goes on.
Rising Price of Electricity
Throughout the last 30 years, the price of electricity has steadily increased. The average electric utility bill in the U.S. has increased from $48 in 1990 to $128 in 2020. This is due to a variety of factors, including the increasing cost of natural gas and coal – the two most common sources of electric utility power. As the cost of these fossil fuels continues to rise, the cost of electricity will continue to increase as well.
The rising cost of electricity has significant economic implications. It impacts businesses, as they have to pay more to power their operations, as well as consumers, who must pay more for their utility bills each month. In some cases, this can be a financial burden, as it can take away from other necessary expenses.
The question of whether solar is more expensive than electric is not a simple yes or no answer. Although there is an upfront cost associated with installing a solar system, the long-term savings provided by switching to solar make it a worthwhile investment in many cases. Additionally, the rising cost of electricity makes solar energy even more appealing for people looking for an energy source that offers long-term savings.
Benefits of Solar Energy
When considering the question of whether solar is more expensive than electric, it’s important to look at the full picture. While there is an initial investment in solar energy, there are also significant long-term benefits. These benefits include clean and renewable energy, reduced electricity costs, reliable energy storage and an independent energy source. All of these make solar energy an attractive option for both businesses and consumers looking to lower their energy bills and be more environmentally friendly.