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5 Surprising Solar Energy Facts

The United States solar energy industry has grown immensely in recent years. At the same time, the cost for photovoltaic power has dipped, making home PV systems more affordable. These lesser known facts about solar power may surprise you:

No. 1: Solar Energy Reaches a Record Low Price

When it comes to global energy prices, fossil fuels have always come out on top. Historically, coal has averaged $0.06 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Fossil fuel steam costs roughly $0.05 cents/kWh, and small-scale natural gas may go for as little as $0.03 cents/kWh. As for renewables? Not even close to those prices.

At the end of 2016, a bid for a commercial photovoltaic power installation was priced at just $0.029 cents/kWh — less than the cheapest fossil fuel prices.

No. 2: Solar Energy Is the Most Abundant Energy Source

At some point, perhaps sooner than we’d like, the world may run out of fossil fuels. But the sun will still be shining, so solar energy is here to stay.

Solar power is now the most abundant available source of power on the planet. Today, we have 89 petawatts (that’s a quadrillion watts) of potential photovoltaic energy production available.

No. 3: Solar and Wind Power Are Major Sources of U.S. Electricity

Most U.S. electricity comes from fossil fuels. However, renewables reached a new milestone this past spring, where more than 10 percent of all the electricity generated in the U.S was from solar and wind power. In some states, the number was even higher. Iowa got a whopping 37 percent of its electricity from renewables!

No. 4: The U.S. Has More than 1 Million Solar Energy Systems

In 2016, the United States had its 1 millionth photovoltaic system installed. According to industry forecasts, we can expect to reach a total of 2 million installations by next year.

No. 5: U.S. Homeowners See Solar Payback in Just a Few Years

The cost of installing photovoltaic panels has been dropping, and rates for utility grid electricity have been steadily rising.

The result? The payback period for adopting solar power is getting shorter. Most homeowners reach the break-even point in five to eight years. In states with high utility prices, payback can take as little as three or four years.

Are you ready to explore your solar savings potential?


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