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Are Solar Panels Worth it in 2020?

Solar Panels for your home

The best time to “go solar” is right now. This statement has never not been true for as long as I have worked in the Residential Solar Industry. 

Often people will learn I work in the Solar Industry and their first question is, “Is solar really worth it?” I must restrain myself from screaming, “YESSSSSS” in their face. Anyone who qualifies for solar should absolutely take advantage and “go solar.”  The qualifications for solar require one to be a homeowner, who has electricity, and a roof with access to the sun, with your home residing on the planet earth.

The incentives offered to subsidize the popular adoption of the solar industry are healthy, especially in NJ and IL; the two markets that GenRenew operates in currently. 

These healthy incentives include, an Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from the Federal Government equaling 26% as of Jan.1, 2020 (before 2020 the tax credit was 30%) of the total system price. In two years, 2022, the 26% federal tax credit will drop again to only 10% of the total system cost. 

Additionally, in NJ and IL the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) is available to solar adopters at the state level. A single SREC is generated every time the solar modules on your roof generate 1,000 watts of electricity. 1,000 watts of electricity is also known as 1 kilowatt, or 1kW! 1kW = 1 SREC. Currently 1 SREC in NJ is worth $229.00.

I have been in the solar industry since 2010 when my incredibly forward-thinking brother joined my father’s roofing business and asked himself, “what is the future of roofing?”  His conclusion was that Solar is the future of roofing. From that point forward my career shifted from the residential roof construction industry to the residential solar construction industry. At this time when my career focus shifted in 2010, 1 SREC was valued at a whopping $648.00.

Just for kicks (as the kids say), let’s look at what the same system purchased in 2010 would like against the 2020 version of that same system. 

In this scenario, I am assuming an 8kW system (or 8,000 watt) generating at a liberal 1.25% which will generate 10,000 kWh of electricity in its first year.

*Since I am quite a simpleton, I have simplified a few variables like the fluctuation in cost of equipment and labor from 2010 to 2020 and assumed the exact same system cost for each of these hypothetical projects below. Additionally, I did not consider the production degradation of the solar modules over the years although it is negligible at less than -0.10% over a 20-year period. Among others…*

2010 8kW system2020 8kW system
System Cost$32,000$32,000
Federal ITC$9,600$8,320
System Cost after actualizing ITC $22,400$23,680
SREC Value per Year $6,480$2,290
Return on Investment3.5 Years 10.35 years 

Ten years ago, solar was in its infancy, and it required the generous incentives provided to entice homeowners into being the leaders of the clean energy revolution and all it entailed. And thanks to those trailblazing/early adopting/pioneering/ homeowners (feel free to add your own epithet here) the solar industry was able to grow into the healthy adolescent it is today. 

Drive around your neighborhood and see how many solar powered residences you see these days and try to remember ten years ago. I know in my town there is 10x the amount of solar powered homes that there was 10 years ago. If you live in a neighborhood without a decent number of solar homes, then please call GenRenew, 1-732-835-4272 😉 We would love to help change the rooftop landscape in your neighborhood.  

As solar becomes popularly adopted and the industry begins to stabilize, the incentives associated are less necessary to the success of the industry and its future. Eventually the incentives will become completely unnecessary.  

There is never a better time to “go solar” than NOW! It is as true today as it was 10 years ago. 

Don’t wait, take advantage of the subsidies the government is offering now while they are available. The early solar adopters are rich now (not like Bezos rich, but wealthier than their counterpart who didn’t go solar) thanks to the subsidies that they were intelligent enough to take advantage of. The people going solar today will be better off than the people who don’t consider it for another 10 years. 

…And that is not to mention the positive impact that these early adopters were able to have on the environment. For those of you early adopters I would like to say Thank You, and congratulations on making smart decisions. 

For anyone considering if solar is right for them, I will leave you with this… “YESSSSSS” it is.

“The future depends on what you do today.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Clark Pegler

Director of Business Development

Clark Pegler is the Director of Business Development at GenRenew. He has been in the solar industry, in many different roles for over 10 years. The various roles Clark has held provide a well-rounded understanding of the industry. Clark loathes his need to write about himself in the third person but will do so when required. 

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