Last year the United States solar industry installed 44% more panels than in 2011, an increase largely driven by the decreasing cost of solar installations. That cost, by the way, is dropping fast, just like cameras, phones, and other electronics – and it’s likely to only get more affordable every day.
There are two sets of costs that determine the price of solar. The first is the cost of the panels themselves, which have dropped 30 percent over the past year- driven largely by inexpensive manufacturing in China. The other cost is the physical system installation – the costs associated with engineering, planning, contractors, electricians, etc. – is also quickly dropping – largely a result of competitive bidding in the marketplace and reduction in the cost per watt of electricity generated.
Additional growth is a result of increased incentives from federal and state governments and the Solar Energy Industries Association anticipates continued growth for the immediate future.
Thanks to installation improvements by innovative organizations and companies like One Block Off the Grid and Solar City, the installation process has become cheaper and easier than ever before. If you are a DIY type, or you decide that a solar vendor is not the best option for you, there is a company called Clarian. Clarian produces a modular, plug-and-play option that can be installed on your homein just a few hours.
Taking advantage of the technology offered by these companies can help you save energy costs at home. By producing up to 1kW of electricity, all of your expensive appliance energy needs can be offset with an easy-to-use home energy system.
At Kendall-Jackson we last year installed the largest rooftop solar co-generation system in the country on one of our production facilities. We’ve been reaping the benefits ever since. In fact, because energy costs continue to be favorable, we’re planning to expand our system to two additional facilities in Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties.
It is important to note that changes like this have not come quickly or easily. A lot of time, energy, resources, and failed attempts preceded this recent success – and without the help of early adopters to build the economies of scale necessary to make a viable technology cost-effective, shifts like this may not have happened. But, with a little research and elbow grease, you might be able to find an affordable solution that will help offset some of those expensive energy costs we all dread.