"The study concludes that solar is a "real opportunity for anyone looking to take greater control over their monthly utility bills and make a long-term, relatively low-risk investment."
WASHINGTON, DC - A new study released today by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center finds that investing in a 5 kilowatt solar system can be a better deal than investing in a stock market index fund in 46 of America's 50 largest cities. Funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), the study concludes that solar is a "real opportunity for anyone looking to take greater control over their monthly utility bills and make a long-term, relatively low-risk investment."
"This study proves once again that solar makes great financial sense for a large number of Americans," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). "Every 3 minutes of every single day, the U.S. solar industry is flipping the switch on another completed solar project, benefitting homeowners and businesses nationwide."
Today, the U.S. has an estimated 20.2 GW of installed solar capacity, enough to effectively power nearly 4 million homes in the United States – or every single home in a state the size of Massachusetts or New Jersey – with another 20 GW in the pipeline for 2015-16.
What's spurring this rapid growth? For one thing, solar energy is now more affordable than ever. According to SEIA/GTM Research, national blended average system prices have dropped 53 percent since 2010.
Today, the solar industry employs 143,000 Americans and pumps more than $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy. This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).
"By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the economy and our environment," Resch added.
The residential market has now grown by at least 50 percent in each of the past three years, largely due to continued decreases in the price of a solar installation. Through the midway point of 2014, the price to install residential solar had fallen to $3.92/watt – more than 41 percent lower than 2010. When combined with increased market competition and new financing options, solar has never been more cost-effective for the residential consumer, Resch said.