Prices of solar panels, inverters and system components have dropped almost 50 percent in the last two years, making solar systems more affordable and generating a quicker payback. In areas such as North Texas, solar is fast becoming a logical choice, spurred on by the rising costs of utilities and the low cost of the sun as an energy resource.
According to Warren Wardup, vice president of USA Solar, a solar integrator in the North Texas area, an average installation of a 6-kilowatt (KW) solar system can offset 50 to 60 percent of a homeowner’s energy needs.
“Our 6 KW solar kit which includes 24 U.S.-made Class A solar panels, an inverter, connectors and a roof mounting system, runs about $13,500 without installation,” says Wardup. “The current federal tax credit of 30 percent trims the price further.” USA Solar kits can be purchased as a selfinstallation kit or purchased with installation. Since components work together, kits with fewer panels are available, allowing more panels to be added over time.
Viewed as a good hedge against the rising costs of energy in the future, solar may not offset 100 percent of home energy needs, but it allows a homeowner to become less dependent on the grid, making a difference in the utility bill and household budget.