After working in the energy industry in different parts of the world for 13 years, it always blows my mind that the US is so far behind in Renewable Energy, especially Solar PV. There is approximately 4 Gigawats of Solar installed in the US, the majority of which is on the East and West Coasts. In Germany, a country roughly the size of Minnesota, the solar capacity, in 2011 was 25 Gigawatts. So how much solar do we have in Minnesota? .0048 Gigawatts. That's right, Germany has 5,000 times more solar power than we do in Minnesota. Us renewable geeks look at stats like this, power up Google Earth, and scan the suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul drooling over all of that rooftop space. So instead of making a New Years resolution to lose weight, be kinder to animals and the elderly, or learn Manderin, this year, make a resolution to not only shrink your carbon footprint, but to make one of the best investments of your lifetime, it's a complete No Brainer. Here's why:
- Rising Energy Prices
Minnesotans are lucky little snow bunnies. At an average of 10.59 c/kWh residential, the rates are quite a bit lower than the national average; however, these prices are not sustainable. The Public Utilities Commission has already approved an interim increase of $250 million, or about 9 percent for Xcel energy. The higher rate stays in effect while the PUC considers Xcel’s full request for a rate increase of nearly 11 percent in 2013. With a residential PV system, you can produce the majority of your electricity use simply by harnesing the power of the sun.
- Falling Solar Prices
While you may have heard many negative articles about US Solar manufacturers and the demise of such company's as Solyndra, the over supply of the US market, and Chinese infaltration has created a market so competitive, the Photovoltaic Solar Panel prices have fallen more than 80% in the last two years. Back in 2008, panel prices were $3.50 a watt, today, some of the worlds best solar manufacturers sell panels for less than a $1.00 a watt. We are finally seeing some stability in the market, but it means that prices are lower than ever.
- A Good Solar Climate
When I tell people I have moved from a tropical country like Australia back to the midwest US, to sell solar, they generally give me a dazed look. Guess what, Solar PV performs better in cold weather, snow melts fast on panels, and Minnesota has a Sun Irradiance rating of 4.2-4.7. Our friends with all that solar in Germany.. they only have a rating of 3-4 kwh/m2. And don't worry about durrability. We've yet to see a panel break from adverse weather.
States like California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado and New York have seen a solar boom due to the amazing incentives offered, with people knocking down the doors trying to get in before they run out. Yet, here in Minnesota, we especially in Xcel Energy territories, we have incentives that pay for the majority of a system, and they don't get used up until the latter half of the year! The federal government automatically provides a tax credit for 30% of your system costs (imagine that for any other product!). Xcel Energy's Solar Reward's program provides $1.50 a watt! That means that someone else is paying for most of your solar installation!
- Return on Investment
After those incentives, over 65% of your costs are covered. Considering the increase to the value of your home, the return on investment is, in most cases is almost imediate. Can you imagine any other investment that offers that kind of return? You can even finance your system, pay the same as your current energy bill, and in a few years, get the majority of your energy for free! Get in touch with us today for your free site assesment for the easiest New Year's resolution of your life!