This is a guest post from Preston Guyton of CRG Companies, Inc.
Solar power has been harnessed for many decades, but it's only been within the past few that solar power has seen increasing use, not just in commercial settings but in residential homes as well. By converting the sun's rays into solar energy, homeowners can generate power for just about any component or appliance. And while the initial cost of residential solar panels made it a bit difficult for homeowners to afford them, advances in technology have now made it possible for many hard-working homeowners in the United States to invest in this technology. It's not too surprising, then, that an increasing number of homeowners have begun making the switch from conventional to solar power via the use of solar panel installations.
Popularity of Solar Panels in the United States
In a 2016 study, the Pew Research Center found that nearly 90% of American adults support the use of solar power across the country. On top of that, it is estimated that about 4% of homeowners in the United States currently use some level of solar power in their homes. It is far more common to find homeowners who have harnessed the power of the sun in the western portions of the country, particularly in states like California. Specifically, 14% of western homeowners have already installed solar panels on their homes, with another 52% reporting that they have considered it within the past year.
On the eastern side of the country the numbers are a bit different, the same Pew Research Study reports. In fact, only about 2% of homeowners on the eastern side of the country reported having solar panels on their homes, with just under 40% claiming they have considered solar energy use within the past year. The reason for this is likely the fact that households in the western portion of the country receive more sunlight, particularly in states such as California and Hawaii. Due to this, these homeowners see solar panels as a cost-effective means of reducing their energy bills and living sustainably.
Potential Savings Opportunities
Speaking of savings, a great deal of research has been done on the amount of money homeowners can potentially save by installing solar panels on their homes. The savings potential is now even higher than in years past as a result of higher electricity costs nationwide. As these costs inevitably continue to rise, so does the average American homeowner's electric bill.
On average, it is estimated that homeowners will spend about $15,000 to have solar panels installed on their home. This is before available tax credits, which generally lower the overall cost to closer to $10,000. However, for most households a solar panel system can easily generate enough energy to power half of the household's electricity needs, yielding a monthly savings of about 50% of their electric bill. For a homeowner paying an average of $100 per month for electricity, this equates to savings of roughly $50 per month, or $600 per year.
With the popularity and approval of solar power steadily increasing in the United States, it is expected that more and more Americans will continue to adopt this renewable energy form. While it does require an up-front investment, homeowners are finding the math adds up in their favor.