By Lindsay Mouw
Policy Associate Center for Rural Affairs
Residential solar energy is booming. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), residential solar installations have increased by 30% between 2020 and 2021. This increase is partly due to the cost of solar panels becoming more affordable.
Over the past decade, the cost of residential solar systems has dropped 64% according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Curbing Inflation Act, which extends the investment tax credit for another 10 years and raises the tax refund from 26% to 30% of solar installation costs, is expected to drive down further plus solar costs.
When deciding whether or not to install solar panels, home and business owners should consider their average monthly electricity consumption, the amount of sunlight received by the roof of the structure, and the existence or not of a local net metering policy. All of these factors determine how long it will take to see a return on investment.
Although solar installation companies can help with this process, with the increase in demand there has also been an increase in the number of companies looking to make a quick buck. Often, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Therefore, it is important for home and business owners to do their research.
In March, SEIA published a Residential Guide to Solar Energy to help customers identify all 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 good practice to ask local references for their experience.
This is the perfect time to consider investing in solar energy. Taking the time to research solar installation companies lays the foundation for a successful experience.