America’s dependability on solar has been steadily increasing over the past two decades. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “installations have increased 35-fold to an estimated 62.5 gigawatts today. The increase in installations is enough capacity to power the equivalent of 12 million average American homes. Since the beginning of 2014, the average cost of solar photovoltaic panels has dropped nearly 50%.” The cost decreases result from an evolving market that is becoming self-sufficient, self-reliant, and more affordable.
Legislators have done much to incentivize the growth of commercial and residential solar. Many policies aim to persuade and influence new customers to make the switch to solar. The ITC, investment tax credit, has been a significant incentive and benefit for solar enthusiasts. It allows commercial and residential owners to reduce their federal taxes by 26% of their total solar investment. However, time is running out on that credit, and the credit will only last until the end of the year. Net metering is another mechanism that aids in reducing costs. Net metering allows consumers to exchange solar electricity for credits. Consumers can then use those credits to save money when they need it, such as in winter or at nighttime.
Solar Is Becoming Cheaper
Another reason solar energy is becoming more popular is the fact that it is becoming more affordable. Equipment and installations are becoming less expensive. According to the SEIA, “The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade, leading the industry to expand into new markets and deploy thousands of systems nationwide. Prices as of Q2 2020 are at their lowest levels in history across all market segments. An average-sized residential system has dropped from a pre-incentive price of $40,000 in 2010 to roughly $20,000 today, while recent utility-scale prices range from $16/MWh – $35/MWh, competitive with all other forms of generation.” These decreasing costs are an incredible testament to how active the market has been for Solar. Perhaps the stay-at-home orders have increased utility bills, forcing homeowners to invest in solar. The solar energy sector has grown in the past decade to fulfill the renewable energy needs of Americans.
The Solar Industry Is Delivering
The Solar Foundation found that “American solar jobs have increased 167% over the past decade, adding 156,000 jobs. In the five years between 2014 and 2019, solar employment increased by 44%, five times faster than job growth in the overall U.S. economy. Solar jobs increased in 31 states in 2019. The solar sector is thriving, with Florida leading the way. Florida led the nation for the number of jobs added, followed by Georgia, Utah, New York, and Texas.”
Florida Leads The Way
Florida encapsulates all of this progress and growth. Florida offers its incentives, advantages, and benefits when advocating for solar. To learn more about these, please check out our previous blog here. The Sunshine State is poised to support solar better than the average state because utility companies have taken notice in Florida. Florida Power and Light initiated a new program called SolarTogether. Solar Together allows FPL to invest $1.8 billion in 20 additional solar-power plants. FPL is hoping to add 1,490 megawatts of solar capacity in Florida.
Florida’s N.E.M Will Remain
We previously reported on the Florida Public Service Commission’s decision to hear solar advocates and utility companies argue over the state’s Net Metering Program. Utility companies urged the commission to alter the program while solar activists dissented that it would defeat the purpose of the incentive to lower the credits. The Florida commission did not decide in September, but they are looking to meet again next year. According to the Tampa Bay Times reporter Malena Corolla, “Florida’s primary incentive for installing rooftop solar panels won’t be in for major changes for at least a year.” No formal decision was made, and the incentive to keep the reduced costs and tax credits will remain until late next year, 2021. Nearly 60,000 homes and businesses are affected by this program. Nearly 16,000 letters were sent to the committee, urging them not to alter the policy.
Connect With Your Region Solar Specialist Today
If you are interested in learning more about solar, check out the rest of our blogs. If you’re a Florida resident and you’re looking to take this to the next step, reach out to us at regionsolar.co for a free quote. If you were one of the 16,000 that wrote to the commission to keep Net Metering alive, Region Solar thanks you.