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Solar Panel Prices are Declining, So Why Go Solar Now?

December 14, 2012 by Amy Bowman in Solar Living with 0 Comments

According to a recent report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the cost of solar panels has been declining over the last decade.

This is great news for consumers, as it makes the installation of a solar power system more affordable than ever. But it also leads many consumers to ask, “Why should I go solar now if the costs are going to continue to decline?”

Fight rising electricity rates with solar powerFirst, it is important to note that solar panels themselves are just one part of a solar power system.

Second, there are two big reasons NOT to delay going solar – rising electric rates and disappearing state incentives. Waiting for panel prices to fall a few more cents means skipping the chance to lock in a lower electricity rate now (or eliminate your electric bill altogether). Plus, you may lose out on time-sensitive government incentives.

Below is a list of some of the utilities in the states in which Real Goods Solar operates. While it is far from comprehensive, it gives you an idea of where rates and rebates are expected to go in 2013. For example, Atlantic City Electric has announced plans to seek a rate increase that would raise average electric bills by 7 percent, or more than $12 a month.

State Utility Co Name Rate Increase Expected?* Rebate Drop Expected?*
CA Los Angeles City of (LADWP) Yes
CA Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) TBD Yes
CA San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) Yes Yes
CA Southern California Edison (SCE) Yes Yes
CO Colorado Springs Utilities No NA
CO Mountain View Electric Association TBD NA
CO Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association Yes NA
CO Xcel Yes Yes
CT Connecticut Light & Power No Yes
CT United Illuminating No Yes
MA National Grid TBD
MA NSTAR Electric TBD
MA Western Mass Electric TBD
NJ Atlantic City Electric (ACE) Yes NA
NJ Jersey Central Power and Light Yes NA
NY Con Edison Yes
NY National Grid No
NY Orange and Rockland Yes
VT Central Vermont Public Service Yes
VT Green Mountain Power Yes
VT Vermont Electric Coop No TBD
VT Washington Electric Coop TBD

*We have provided links to external articles and websites that offer details on proposed rate increases and/or rebate drops as of 12/14/12. These plans may change, and we recommend you do your own research or contact us for the most up-to-date information.

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  • Leasing cost speculation - Smart Car of America Forums : Smart Car Forum: [...] While we're on the subject ... Contest where you can win a smart electric drive (3 year lease) plus a solar recharging station which is pretty cool ... only negative I see is that it's limited to who all can enter ... as I don't personally live in any of those states I'm out. Have often thought of adding solar panels to offset my electricity cost but being in the Midwest as well as house facing the wrong way and the looong payback I'll stick to my soon to be new 4.96 cents/kWh fixed rate which isn't 'free' but not bad ... "The sweepstakes is open to residents of CA, CO, CT, MA, NJ, and VT age 21+, and runs through September 30, 2013 at 6:00pm PDT." Real Goods Solar Smart Electric Sweepstakes | Real Goods [...]
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  • Harry Simmelink: I agree, but people need to understand that adding Solar to their home is an asset that will increase the actual value of their property if / when they choose to sell. With the environment the way it is going we are unable to ignore any product that offers free energy at no cost to both the buyer and more significantly the earth!
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  • Carina Whitham: I loved how Sera explained the benefits of solar! I am going to show this to my five year old who I am also teaching about the value of renewable energy. Great video!
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