We've established that going solar can save you money on your electric bill, which is a compelling reason to make the switch. However, many people are still daunted by the upfront cost of solar product and installation, and believe it to be expensive and unobtainable without a large chunk of savings.
We're here to tell you that solar is actually more affordable than ever, thanks to an increase in product innovation and numerous state and federal incentives that cut away the cost of most solar projects. Additionally, an increase in financing and loan options take away the need for a large upfront payment.
In the last ten years we've seen a sharp, though steadying, decline in solar costs, driven largely by photovoltaic (PV) module efficiencies (now 19.5%, up from 19.2% in 2019) and lower hardware and inverter costs. Since 2010, there has been a 64%, 69%, and 82% reduction in the cost of residential, commercial-rooftop, and utility-scale PV systems, respectively.
Aside from decreasing costs for products, hardware, and from the need for service or maintenance, incentives and credit programs make solar more affordable for homeowners and businesses.
Incentives on residential solar energy make a world of difference and are the main reason why solar energy has become so accessible to many. Yes, switching to solar energy is a major decision when it comes to finance, but right now you can take advantage of numerous incentive programs offered by the federal and/or state governments that reduce the cost of going solar significantly.
Currently, you can take advantage of tax benefits, solar rebate programs or performance-based incentives for your solar system. The recently revamped 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit, available to homeowners and business owners, is a major incentive.
The federal solar tax credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. This will be available until the end of 2032, at which point it will drop to 26%. The credit can also be carried forward to future tax years if you cannot take the full credit in the year the system was installed.
With the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, the Solar Tax Credit (renamed to the Renewable Clean Energy Tax Credit) received a 10-year extension of 30%.
The 30% solar tax credit covers installation of solar complimentary technology, including battery storage and EV charging infrastructure (depending on eligibility).
Businesses, and non-taxpaying entities like nonprofits and municipalities, can benefit from a 30% tax credit on renewable energy systems, called the energy investment tax credit.
As with the residential tax credit, it was extended with the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act and will step down to 26% at the end of 2032.
For more information and resources, visit our Guide to the Federal Solar Tax Credit.
Many states are compelled to procure a certain percentage of energy from renewables. One promising area to earn money from residential solar energy is in the market for Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (or SRECs) if available in your state. Essentially, you are sending your solar energy to the utility company and receive credits as compensation for helping to outsource renewably produced energy.
States have specific programs that make going solar more affordable and reward those who do. For example, Massachusetts has a program called the Solar MAssachusetts Renewable Target program (SMART). Through SMART, solar owners are eligible to be paid each month for every kilowatt of clean green electricity produced on your roof, or in your back yard. That is above and beyond the savings from NOT buying electricity from the utility.
ReVision has also helped many towns and cities develop programs to incentivize their community members to take advantage of the benefits of solar, such as Solarize Programs and Portland's Electrify Everything! campaign. You can take advantage of programs in your state and make solar even more of a financial win!
If you can afford a monthly energy bill, you can afford to go solar! By financing your solar you can replace your monthly bill with a loan payment at no upfront cost.
For many, financing is a way to go solar earlier and easier than would be possible if an upfront cash purchase was required. With low interest rates and no large, upfront payment, solar loans allow customers to keep cash in their pockets and take advantage of the financial and environmental benefits of going solar. Plus, customers can enjoy the peace-of-mind and security of a fixed electricity payment that will not fluctuate with local electricity prices.
Unlike other loans, a solar loan grants you ownership of an asset (solar panels) that provide you with significant long-term savings, even as you pay off the loan. Solar loans also grant you access to several financial incentives, such as the 30% federal tax credit and RECs.
Solar loans are enabling Americans to go solar like never before. Solar energy is also one of the safest investment options on the market today, delivering a 100% guaranteed financial return on investment, along with community and environmental returns on investment.