The Level Pay of Solar Versus the Rising Cost of Electricity

Updated on January 11, 2019
Dax Garrens profile image

Dax is a young voice in the solar energy field, offering an alternate view on all topics solar. VP of Advertising for EnergyONE Solar.

Working in the solar industry, I've come to notice that a large chunk of customers share many things in common. They're generally in their wise retiring years, looking to save energy and the environment, along with their wallets. Rarely do you see young people looking in the direction of solar energy. Most commonly, you would hear that the reason for this is the price of solar. After all, not very many young adults can say they have thousands of dollars just laying around. Even consumers in the older demographics tend to comment that solar isn't worth its price, or that the price tag is just too high. Why, then, do any of these people even use electricity in the first place?

Skyrocketing Energy Prices

The cost of electricity in the United States is steadily rising, and will only continue to do so in the future. According to the Energy Information Administration, in the last ten years, the cost of electricity has risen by around 24%. Furthermore, studies show that this cost is skyrocketing at a staggering 33% higher rate than the inflation rate of the U.S., meaning that if this continues, electricity provided by your power company will likely become far too expensive to be reasonable, if it isn't already. Most residential consumers agree that sticking to relying on the power company to provide your energy is inefficient and unacceptable for their budget. Yet the large majority of people still rely on their power companies as their only source of energy. Looking to your alternatives, many see the price of solar, and at first glance, without much thought, it doesn't seem worth the cost. Why pay $10,000 for a solar system when you only pay a monthly $100 for your bills?

Monthly Solar Cost

Rarely does anyone pay all of the cost for solar upfront. Instead of paying one lump sum for a solar system at the beginning, you're able to pay a set amount every month, similar to paying power bills in a level pay environment. You're set to pay the same amount every month, with no chance for variation, and most importantly, no chance of the cost increasing. This, in many peoples' opinion, is what seals the superiority of using solar energy for your production over a regular power company. Not only are you sure of how much you're spending every month in order to set an accurate budget, but you're also guaranteed to only pay that set amount.

Once you reach the target goal of the cost of the system, you no longer need to pay anything! Compare that to a plan with a power company. Power companies would be perfectly happy with having you pay increasing rates, forever, until you die. And that's exactly what they'll do to the consumers that don't make the switch to alternative, self-producing energy sources. To those that already operate on a level pay plan with their current power company, all that you'd need to make the switch to solar is sun-accessible room on your roof or property to install the solar panels.

If you've got that, there's nothing stopping you from securing your future with solar, without changing almost a single thing related to your budget. You'd be paying the same amount, or potentially even less, than your current bills, for cleaner energy that you don't have to pay for forever. Even in the unlikely scenario that the system fails to work immediately after its warranty expires, you'll still have paid less than you would have staying with a power company, resulting in an overall gain. There is quite literally no way to lose with going solar.

An average roof that works well with solar
An average roof that works well with solar

Locational Variance

Depending on where in the United States you live, there will be some variance with how quickly the price of electricity is rising, but the fact that the cost is increasing is true nationally. Look at a state like Louisiana, the cheapest state for electricity, with a 9.11 cent per kilowatt-hour electric rate. Compare that to the most expensive state, Hawaii, sitting at 32.46. Quite a big change, isn't it?

In 1990, that cost was only 10.26, comparable to our current Louisiana rate, and nearly identical to Washington's current rate, 10.32. Thirty years from now, that number will likely more than double. Even accounting for inflation, these numbers are far higher than what is generally considered reasonable. Solar, on the other hand, remains as stable as the day you bought it, making it an enticing choice for consumers looking to make a smart investment for the future.

Regarding the Future

Once a system is paid for, there should be no reason for a solar consumer to pay any power bills with a 100% offset. This is useful not only for the consumer, but also for their family, current and yet to come. A young adult looking for their own home or a retiring couple can rest easy knowing that a power bill is not a concern, that it will pay for itself, because of a smart decision made years in advance. Solar can even continue to produce free energy long after you're gone, providing a stable, safe environment for your family, free of reliance on sudden rising prices.

Meanwhile, the people that hadn't had the foresight to leave their power companies behind would likely be struggling to pay for their electricity, hit harder by the rising energy prices than they'd ever have expected. In addition, the United States has already begun transitioning to a solar-based energy production model, and it won't be long until solar is mandatory for residential properties. Going solar early would be the wisest decision to take advantage of federal tax discounts that are only available for the next few years, as well as to be sure of what you need to pay and avoid any extra tacked on cost in the future.

In Conclusion

Solar energy offers a much safer, more stable financial environment than reliance on electricity from a power company. By opting for a monthly payment method to purchase a solar array, you're emulating a power company's level pay plan, effectively only paying enough to cover the system. For every reason someone may want to use a power company, there are many more arguments for switching to solar.

The only logical reason a person would have to not consider solar would be lack of space on their roof or property. Hopefully, in the next few years, more people will begin to realize how important solar is becoming, and make the change before it's made for them under sub-optimal conditions or with potential additional cost.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2019 Dax Garrens

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