Is Solar Energy The Most Affordable Renewable Energy Source Nowadays?

It's easy to see how solar energy is the most affordable renewable energy source for households regarding acquisition costs, labor, and completion period. However, while it's accessible, it isn't the strongest renewable energy source available for households.

Industrial renewable energy sources are excellent for households, but you wouldn't want to have a factory and generating facility right next to your home. When you think about it, solar panels are the most affordable renewable energy source available, even if it's not industrial-grade (for households, at least). Let's take a look at each one.

Wind Energy

Wind turbines are enormous structures with propellers that collect strong wind forces from the seaside, mountains, and other viable locations. 

Unfortunately, wind energy isn't available everywhere and isn't in 80% of most households in a country. Plus, a huge 3,000-meter turbine isn't practical for residential installations.

Hydroelectric Energy

Water naturally moves in waves because of the earth's rotation and revolution. Hydroelectric dams use specialized equipment that captures this powerful force and turns them into electricity. However, with its size and colossal acquisition costs, producing hydroelectric energy is out of the question for singular residential use.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal plants have special features that allow them to collect the natural heat stored in the earth's crust and other layers underneath the planet. This heat produces energy, which geothermal plants convert into electricity. However, once again, geothermal acquisition costs are considerably high.

In Golden, CO, and the rest of Colorado, the average cost of a solar panel system of 10kW is $28,000-$33,000, making it the best choice for homeowners across the state. Energy Sage has an excellent post that explains the factors that increase your solar panel production cost.

What impacts the cost of a solar panel installation?

There’s a lot that goes into the sticker price a solar installer charges you for your individual solar panel installation. Solar installations are a unique product: the price you pay is heavily dependent on your unique situation and factors related to your electricity use and property. Here are some of the top factors to keep in mind that can and do influence the cost of solar panels for your property:

Equipment

As we discussed above, the brand of equipment you choose for your solar installation has an impact on the final cost you pay. Just like any home appliance, solar panels come on a spectrum of quality that usually depends on efficiency, warranties, and appearance. 

Solar inverters are a less obvious part of any solar panel installation, but factor into your costs just like solar panels. Curious how your pick for inverters influences the price of your system? Check out our overview of the most popular solar inverter types, and their pros and cons.

Roof characteristics

The characteristics of your home and roof also play a part in your total solar costs. If you have a south-facing roof that slopes at a 30-degree angle, installing solar on your home will be relatively easier for your installer, as they can probably install all of your panels on a single roof plane that has optimal sun exposure (better, more direct sun exposure = fewer panels needed, which will lower your costs). Conversely, if your roof has multiple levels, dormers, or skylights, the additional effort to finish the installation may include additional equipment and installation costs.

Labor

Another piece of the solar installation puzzle is the company actually performing the job. Solar installers charge varying amounts for their services, and the final price they offer for an installation depends on measures like your installer’s track record, warranty offerings, and internal operations. You can imagine how a well-regarded solar installer with premium warranty offerings can charge more for an installation job, and it will be worth your money. 

EnergySage brings the best solar installers right to you on our Marketplace – check out our article on choosing an installer to learn how we vet installers, and how you can and should compare them against one another.

Location

As we talked about above, solar installation costs vary by state. The spread of costs isn’t that wide and much of the cost differences by location are actually due to differences in system sizes and incentives, but it’s still something to keep an eye on. (Check out the complete post to see the System Size-Cost Relationship Chart)

If you have yet to find an excellent solar panel installation team in Golden, CO, you can always trust us at Roper Roofing and Solar for all your needs. Contact us today to learn more about everything that we can do for you.

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