Millions of Americans can now spend less money on solar power than what they currently spend for conventional electricity. The cost of installing solar panels has drastically been reduced over the past few years and has finally become less expensive than fossil fuel energy, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The largest residential solar installation companies have done extremely well of late. According to the SEIA — "Through Q3, a new solar project has been installed every 3 minutes in 2014". Unfortunately, many of these Americans are drastically overpaying for their solar power. Homeowners typically sign up for 20 year leases where they end up paying many thousands more than they need to.
The cost per installed watt for solar power is now around $3. This means that the average sized, 5,000-watt system would cost $15,000. On the other hand, the solar leasing companies have their customers typically paying $150 or more per month for 20 years. This equates to at least $36,000 over the term of the contract.
Another way to measure the cost of solar power is by the kilowatt-hour. The cost for installed residential solar power is no more than $0.08/kwh. The national average for conventional energy across the U.S. is $0.12/kwh.
Many homeowner in states like California, New York, and New Jersey, to name a few, pay close to $0.20/kwh or more. The large solar leasing companies offer slightly lower prices (about $0.15/kwh) in these high priced energy states. What about the rest of the country? People in the rest of the U.S. can switch to solar and save too, just not with the biggest players in the solar industry.