Another Banner Solar Year is on the Way

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This past year, 2012 was a record year for and solar in general, and Energy World says 2013 looks like another banner year is on the way. 2012 proved to be the best year ever for solar and the future does indeed look bright. The United States installed more than 3.3 GW of solar capacity, a 76 percent increase over the previous year. As a result the solar market grew by 34 percent over the period.

According to Green Tech Solar the United States has not yet caught up to Germany in terms of overall solar installations, however America has become a major solar player and this is significant, because it means the country is on the right path toward becoming a green nation.  From 2004 to 2010 there was only moderate growth at best in the US solar market. However, the last two years have been explosive and this is due to lower solar panel costs, net metering, and the increased availability of solar panel leasing.

Even the large utility scale market saw dramatic growth, 134 percent worth thanks in large part to the Energy Department’s loan guarantee loan program. On the other hand, residential solar grew by a still robust 62 percent last year, meaning solar is gaining ground fast. In all, 90 percent of the residential solar installations in Arizona were the result of homeowners leasing their solar panels, and California saw half of their solar installations leased. This proves that leasing solar panels offers an affordable way to cut high electric bills down to size.

Net metering allows solar homes to sell their excess and unused electricity back to the electric utility, and this is mandated by many states including California. The idea behind net metering is to make it appealing for homeowners to go solar, and it appears the program is working better than most thought it would. Add this to the many zero down payment solar panel leasing options now available it is easy to see why solar has grown by leaps and bounds the last two years.

Renewable Energy says that solar panels continue to drop and another gradual 5 to 10 percent drop in prices is expected in 2013. Add this to net metering and zero down leases means residential solar is expected to have another great year, and will likely set new records. As panel prices continue to come down lease payments may follow as well, making solar even more affordable than it is already. In addition, inverter rates could come down in cost by another 10 percent this year, adding to speculation that another banner year is in the works.

It is also likely that the utilities will continue their war to get rid of net metering, because the grid insists this practice eats into profits and raises electric rates. The utilities will try to show that net metering is actually a cost shift from the rich to the poor, when in reality it is to get the nation off of polluting and costly fossil fuels. Yet, as solar prices drop further, and solar leasing continues to grow it would seem 2013 is the perfect time to save thousands in electric bills by going solar.