While traditional thinking will have most people uncomfortable with any major project with a return on investment (ROI) of more than 2-3 years, solar offers a unique investment that should fall outside of the traditional thinking. First, it is offsetting a portion of your home's or business's electric bill, in which history has proven to have an annual increase regionally at a rate of 6-12%. Thus, interest saved is interest gained. It is no different than financing a home or similar, versus just paying for it outright, as financing adds more dollars on top of that item, sometimes doubling or even tripling that items' final cost.
Solar is a perfect tool to help eliminate interest due to its extremely long life and durability. Once that ROI comes to fruition, you start saving the increased inflation costs. With traditional energy coming harder and harder to locate and get to, we can ensure the inflation of your electric rate isn't going away and, as many experts are predicting, will get worse. Now with all that said my intent is not to scare people into solar or renewable energy but to simply increase awareness of a scenario that is not a matter of IF but WHEN.
The second difference with solar is its longevity and durability, making that longer ROI a safer bet. The longevity of solar panels and the inverters that drive the DC energy into AC energy are all tested heavily through a listed organization, like UL (Underwriters Laboratories) http://www.ul.com or Intertek www.intertek.com/energy/photovoltaic/. These organizations test these products in the absolute worst possible environments and electrical scenarios over and over again. That is why when buying a solar product, it is important that all components have gone through these testing agencies and that is exactly why Able Energy Co. will only sell products tested by these organizations. The solar panels are also warrantied by the manufacturer for 25 years, ensuring power output of a module at year 25 will have 80% output of its original GUARANTEED output. So a 250W solar panel will still produce 200W or better in 25 years. That is equal to 0.8% degrading or less a year, so it will take over 62 years for your panels to produce half of its original power output. And with typical systems installed in 2011 with an ROI ranging from 4-12 years, the math looks pretty good. Inverters are also warrantied for 15-20 years with a failure time of approximately 20-25 years. Inverters currently make up approximately 10-15% the cost of a system, so an investment in the future is needed to ensure continued output long after the initial payback.
With all that said, it is also important to remember that the incentives that made solar very attractive financially for a short period of time are fading into the sunset as well as the years of expensive PV systems (relatively speaking of course). These past few years has made a wonder of difference in driving a competitive market that has lowered solar installation costs from 2006 to 2011 by half or better and it appears that price drop is coming to a leveling period that is likely to stay pretty flat throughout the mid 2012 to 2014 period. That is why today may be the day to start thinking about solar PV on your home or businesses' roof. Solar is an investment no different than a retirement plan. It takes dedication financially to do it but in the end you and your bottom line will look much healthier for doing so.