Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who created the private spaceflight company SpaceX and electric car company Tesla, wants you to use solar power.
Of course, Musk has a vested interest in solar power, largely thanks to his stake in Solar City, a California-based solar panel manufacturer. Musk is also in the process of creating a nationwide solar powered supercharging infrastructure for his luxury electric cars. So yes, his perspective may be a bit biased.
We have been hearing about solar power for decades. In the past, proponents of solar panels have over-promised the capabilities and cost-saving features of solar panels, which has led many to become somewhat disillusioned by the technology. However, thanks to industry leaders such as Elon Musk and others, solar panel technology is rapidly advancing and is becoming an increasing percentage of overall domestic energy consumption. From 2010 to 2014, United States solar capacity increased by over 500%, from just over 2,000 Megawatts to about 12,000 Megawatts, with more than a third of that capacity coming from California alone. Combined with increasingly consistent advances in solar panel efficiency, it may be time to take another look at solar panels as a viable energy-saving investment for your home.
How is solar panel technology advancing?
The most significant change in solar technology is the efficiency of the panels themselves. In 2000, the typical conventional solar panel was about 11% efficient. Today, conventional panels are between 15% and 20% efficient, which means solar panels today are producing between 35% and 81% more power than they were in 2000. In addition to becoming more efficient every year, solar panels are decreasing in price every year as well. Within the next few years, researchers expect to replace some of the toxic materials in solar panels with magnesium chloride, otherwise known as the salt found in seawater.
With efficiency doubled over the past 15 years and prices declining rapidly, the biggest issue with solar panels for the home is the upfront expense. Fortunately, there is good news there as well.
How is solar effecting security?
In many hard to reach locations, solar panels combined with battery packs can help protect yards, outlying fences and hard to reach areas of that need eyes-on video. With the use of a radio link to the head end part of the system, IP cameras can now be at the ready in places never imagined before. When you consider the cost of trenching, laying conduit, wire and labor, solar power is sure to a help in some situations.
Federal, state, and local incentives and financing options for solar panels
It is no secret that the Federal Government, as well as many state and local governments are actively encouraging and incentivizing the installation and utilization of solar panels. One of the most significant incentives currently available is the “Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit”, which allows homeowners to deduct 30% of the cost of solar panel installation from their net income. Residents of California are even better off, thanks to the $1.95 billion “California Solar Initiative”, which further reduces the cost of solar panels for homeowners. If you live in San Bernardino County, you also get up to $5,000 in permit fee waivers through the “Green Building Incentive” program. Along with a variety of subsidized financing and leasing programs, it has never been more affordable to install solar panels in your home.
The concept of solar power is an attractive one: virtually limitless energy from the sun that doesn’t pollute and reduces reliance on aging energy infrastructure. Until recently however, it didn’t make sense for most of us financially. While we might not be ready to take a $100,000 Tesla cross-country using solar charging stations, it is probably worth looking into whether this is the right time to install solar panels on our homes.
For more information about energy-saving strategies, or to find out more about Mijac Alarm’s residential and commercial security solutions, call us during normal business hours at (909)982-7612, or visit our main website by clicking here.