With the adoption of any new technology, consumers always ask themselves the same question: is it better to invest now or wait until later? The same concept applies to solar panels, which traditionally cost an arm and a leg. However, they are cheaper today than ever before. Not only has the cost of manufacturing solar equipment decreased significantly over the last few decades, but anticipation of Obama’s Clean Energy Plan, which will increase the cost of coal power and an ongoing 30% federal tax credit have made solar panels more attractive than ever before.

Between the falling cost of solar technologies and the incentives in the form of subsidies and tax credits, there has never been a better time to invest in solar panels. However, many homeowners still have a lot to consider before switching to solar energy. The core of this decision is rooted in savings, and laws change drastically from state to state. Homeowners need to ask themselves two questions before making a decision: Can they realistically afford to purchase solar panels in today’s economy? And does it truly make economic sense to pay now in order to ensure they save a lot of money over the long term?

There are many key factors that play a determining role in the benefits of solar power, including the area of space on the structure a property owner wants to place solar panels on and their budget. For example, panels on the south-facing roofs are going to produce more on a year-to-year basis, however west or east-facing roofs are definitely a viable option. Due to the fact that we are in the Northern Hemisphere, we need to avoid placing panels on the northern-facing roofs to ensure peak performance.  Property owners with a lot of shading or roof obstructions may very well want to consider a solar panel array that is mounted on the ground.

Consider an Energy Audit

Perhaps the best way to measure out the potential ROI for your investment is to spend the time working with a professional for a home energy audit. This will help you set energy goals, understand your current power requirements, and even estimate future money saved with solar panels. Make sure you find professionals that are knowledgeable, experienced, and are BPI-certified, ensuring that you are offered the best advice for your home. From an audit, you can determine what actions to take now in your home to solve any problems, and then tackle solar once you bring your overall energy costs down as low as they can go. Think of it as a way to save on the amount of solar you would need to install too (since free estimates are based on your total electrical usage, you can bring that usage down with the improvements suggested from an energy audit).

Final Thoughts

There has never been a better time to invest in solar energy. Due to incentives, tax credits, governmental subsidies, and the lower cost of solar panels, most people are better of investing sooner rather than later. Remember, solar panels are a long term investment, and the longer you wait, the longer it will be before you start netting a positive return. To determine if solar panels are a good fit for your home or business, take advantage of a free solar estimate.