Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Solar Electricity Installation on the Rise

Several significant statistics suggest that use of solar energy is growing tremendously, particularly in residential usage and among middle class Americans.

In the first quarter of 2014, solar energy made up a whopping 74 percent of the nation’s new electric generation. This figure is a part of a steadily growing trend that shows that more and more solar energy is being used Sun Rise on Solar Powernationwide.

In addition, in early 2014, commercial solar energy projects were surpassed by residential solar power installations for the first time in history. This suggests that the solar energy trend has extended from corporate and commercial interests to homeowners, and that an increasing number of homes are relying on solar energy for some portion of their power usage.

Furthermore, the Center for American Progress reported that over 60 percent of residential solar installations are currently occurring in zip codes in which the median income is between $40,000 and $90,000. This statistic supports the idea that solar power is no longer merely an option for the wealthy, but has made its way to the average home and will continue to do so in greater frequency. Experts predict that by 2016, more than half of homebuilders in America will at least offer customers the option of a solar installation with their home—a significant increase from the 12 percent who did so in 2013.  The challenge in places like Texas has been the cheap electricity rates brought about by the abundance of natural gas.  This makes it all the more difficult for solar energy to compete on price.



Community Solar Gardens: An Option For Renters

solar gardenIndividuals who rent accommodations and those whose roofs are not large enough or unsuitable for solar systems can still benefit from solar energy through community solar gardens. This is a relatively new approach that started in Colorado and is gaining traction in other parts of the country.

The solar community garden allows customers to buy into a solar array and receive a credit on their electricity bill for whatever power their panels produce. The credit received is usually at a fixed rate per kilowatt hour. The energy portion is then deducted from their electricity bills.

The cost of the solar panels in the community solar gardens can range from anywhere between $500 to $1,400. Customers subscribing to community solar gardens must live within utility service or geographic boundaries. Community solar gardens offer flexibility in that customers can transfer their interest in the panels and if they move they are also able to take the output with them or turn it over to someone else.