Investing in solar rooftops offers a better return on investment than investing in the S&P 500 in 46 of 50 of the U.S.’ top cities. That’s the determination of a new report from the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center.
“Of the single-family homeowners in America’s 50 largest cities, we estimate that 9.1 million already live in a city where solar costs less than their current utility rates if they bought a PV system outright—and nearly 21 million (93 percent of all estimated single-family homeowners in those cities) do if low-cost financing is available,” the report stated in its executive summary.
That’s largely in line with findings from at least one analyst at Deutsche Bank, which stated that within two years solar will be at grid parity in 80 percent of the world’s market by 2017. That’s regardless of the drop in oil prices. Deutsche Bank Analyst Vishal Shah anticipated that the cost of solar panels will drop another 40 percent before the end of the decade. That combined with an expected increase in electric costs of 3 percent annually would result in solar costing as much as other forms of electric generation.
The report from the Clean Energy Technology Center “Going Solar in America: A Guide for Homeowners Considering Solar PV in America’s 50 Largest Cities” looks more closely at larger U.S. cities. It’s the second Going Solar in America report the organization has released in as many weeks. The report was supported by the Energy Department’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs).
“We wanted to first draw attention to the financial value that solar offers today and then have a resource available to assist homeowners who are interested in taking the next step,” said Autumn Proudlove, co-author of the Going Solar in America reports. That’s what the latter report does, helps homeowners choose to go solar with actionable information.
“Most Americans are unaware of the true financial value of solar today,” the report stated in its executive summary. “Solar energy is not seriously considered as an option by most homeowners in the U.S. However, our analysis shows that, in 46 of America’s 50 largest cities, a fully-financed, typically-sized solar PV system is a better investment than the stock market, and in 42 of these cities, the same system already costs less than energy from a residential customer’s local utility.”
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President Rhone Resch praised the report. “This study proves once again that solar makes great financial sense for a large number of Americans.” He added, “Every 3 minutes of every single day, the U.S. solar industry is flipping the switch on another completed solar project, benefitting homeowners and businesses nationwide.”
Still more people in the U.S. could be investing in solar. The report contended that an information gap remains. “We intend to open the eyes of average homeowners by showing that solar can generate both significant monthly savings and long-term investment value, and not infrequently, cost less than energy from some of America’s largest electric utilities. What’s more, it is our hope that people will come away realizing that solar is now not just an option for the rich, but a real opportunity for anyone looking to take greater control over their monthly utility bills and make a long-term, relatively low-risk investment,” the report authors stated.Tweet