Solar technology has been around for years, giving homeowners the chance to swap their city’s electricity for a more environmentally friendly option. But there’s long been one big drawback to solar power: it’s expensive to install and difficult to understand.
However, things are changing in the solar industry. New innovations in solar power and solar panels are making this type of electricity more efficient – and more affordable. Today, switching to solar can actually be a more cost-effective option that puts money in your pocket.
What Is Solar Technology?
When most people think of solar power, they immediately think of solar panels. And while solar panels are the most popular way to switch to solar power, especially in your own home, they’re just one kind of solar technology.
Solar technology includes the entire rapidly-expanding solar industry. There are hundreds of different types of solar panels, solar designs, and even new technologies available today. And, as solar technology continues to grow and innovate, products are getting more efficient and more affordable.
As the availability of solar technology continues to grow, anyone interested in switching to solar can choose from hundreds of new panels and options. The following are just a few of the exciting new innovations happening in solar right now¹:
Frameless solar panels, which make solar panels look more attractive on your home.
Clear solar panels, which use silicon cell technology in a way that’s more attractive, more resistant to fires, and less likely to erode.
Solar windows, which are glass window replacements that can collect solar energy.
Tesla solar tiles, which a new roof panels that mimic the look of a traditional roof and make the solar panels themselves unnoticeable.
It’s new technologies like these that are making solar so much more appealing. These new types of solar panels and solar roofing choices are increasing the benefits of solar energy – over the past two years, EnergySage² reports solar technology has increased in efficiency by 2 to 3 percent.
Thanks to new options like those above, switching your home to solar technology is easier, more efficient, and even more appealing than ever before. Innovations are making solar more sought after, and that demand for solar is causing prices to drop.
How Are People Going Solar for Free?
Switching from traditional electricity to solar power offers a ton of benefits. It can reduce or eliminate your electric bill, benefit the environment, and put you in control of your home’s power. And here’s another big reason solar power is becoming more popular: you can install solar on your home for free.
In years past, switching to solar came with expensive upfront costs. And that meant many people, particularly anyone on a limited income, couldn’t afford to make the switch. Although solar can reduce – or eliminate – a monthly electricity bill, the upfront costs were too high to allow people to benefit.
But now, solar is affordable. It can even be free.
There are a number of ways to install solar power for $0 down. This means you can get your home set up and running on solar power without paying a single upfront cost.
Here are a few ways people are going solar for free – and your options for doing the same.
You can lease a complete solar system for $0 down. If you choose a solar lease, you’ll choose a company to lease the solar panels and enter an agreement with that company for the energy your panels collect. No money is required upfront to install the solar panels, and your monthly cost is typically between 10 and 30 percent less than your current average utility bill³.
In exchange for using the energy collected from your solar panels, you’ll pay a set monthly “rent” price. That amount won’t change – meaning it’ll be more stable and consistent than a traditional electricity bill.
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
A power purchase agreement (PPA) works in a way that’s similar to a solar lease – and you can also enjoy paying $0 down to get started.
When you choose a PPA, you’ll agree on a set price that you’ll pay each month to use the electricity generated by your new solar panels. A company then gives you the solar panels, which you can use normally. The biggest difference between a PPA and a solar lease is the monthly price you pay. In addition to the $0 down perk, you can expect a monthly bill that’s approximately 20 to 30 percent cheaper than your current electricity rate⁴.
Make Money Selling Your Excess Energy
Once you make the switch to solar, you can expect to start saving money every month on your utility bill. This benefit alone is one of the top reasons people switch to solar. But here’s something many people don’t realize: your solar panels could generate enough energy to actually make you more money.
Solar technology can generate enough energy to power your whole home – and beyond. And when your solar panels generate excess energy, you can sell that energy back to your local utility company for a future credit or a cash payout.
This benefit is called net metering. As Investopedia⁵ explains, net metering allows you to sell your solar-generated energy back to the utility company, which reduces your monthly bill. When your monthly utility bill is so low that you don’t owe any money, you’ll come out ahead. And if you generate more electricity than you use monthly, you’ll be able to get a credit for the energy you’ve created.
How much you can benefit from net metering depends on where you live. The laws and details of net metering vary from state to state and county to county. But in some areas, you could earn a positive return on solar in years.
Make the Switch to Solar and Change Your Electricity Bill
Installing solar on your home can lower or potentially eliminate your electricity bill. And the savings add up over time. The longer you have your solar technology, the more you’ll save. Investopedia⁶ reports that over 20 years, a Portland homeowner would save about $17,000. A Boston homeowner would save around $43,000, and a Los Angeles homeowner would save $50,000.
And, as solar technology becomes more affordable and more in-demand, you can benefit even more. The more the price of solar drops, the more you’ll benefit from making the switch.
Right now, zero-down solar options make it possible to start reaping the benefits as soon as possible. If you don’t want to pay the upfront cost of solar, you can choose an option for $0 down that will allow you to lower your monthly bill.
Make sure to search for the right zero-down solar option for you. Compare your different choices in your area, and determine which will be the best for your home and your utility bill. Knowing your options before making a decision will help you get the best return on your investment.