Cape Cod

Image credit: Dave Pape, via Wikipedia.

Thinking about installing solar panels for your home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts? There are a number of reasons to consider home solar power on Cape Cod, but the most common two motivations for those who do make the switch are 1) the desire to save money on power bills and 2) the intention of reducing one's environmental impact. This article is an overview of some of the benefits that home solar panels promise to deliver, as well as the main choices that Cape Cod residents will need to make when going solar (namely: whether to purchase or lease their system).

Why consider solar panels for your home on Cape Cod?

The number of solar panel installations across the United States is growing quickly and dramatically. There are 2 primary reasons for this. First, solar panels have reached a level of affordability such that they can produce electricity more cheaply than power from the electricity grid in many cases. The second reason, thankfully now complementary to the first in many cases, is that solar panels are a simple way to improve a home's energy self-sufficiency and reduce its environmental impact.

Save money on power bills by going solar

Massachusetts price of residential electricity 2001 - 2013

Massachusetts: Price of residential grid electricity 2001 - 2013. (Source: EIA.gov)

The main driving force between Massachusetts' recent solar boom (which follows the broader pattern currently unfolding across the country and the globe) is that solar panels, now less expensive than ever, offer an attractive value proposition. This is thanks to a number of factors: Both Massachusetts state and the federal government offer tax breaks and other incentives for homes that install solar panels; prices for solar photovoltaic (PV) and other associated technology have come down dramatically in recent years; and long-term retail electricity prices are expected to continue rising.

By having a solar system installed, Cape Cod homeowners can produce their own electricity cheaply and reduce the amount of electricity that they need to purchase from electric utilities. Whatever home electricity needs are not met by the solar panels can then be drawn from the grid as a kind of 'backup'.

Furthermore, since the development and introduction of zero-down solar panel leasing programs in the states, solar panels have never been more accessible--even to those who cannot afford to purchase a solar system outright (read more below).

Do your part to reduce Massachusetts' reliance on non-renewable energy sources

Cape Cod electricity generation

Cape Cod electricity generation breakdown. (Source: EPA.gov)

Like most of the rest of Massachusetts, the vast majority of electricity delivered to Cape Cod homes comes from a mix of non-renewable means of electricity generation--mainly gas and nuclear power plants. In the chart to the left you can see a breakdown of the electricity sources for a typical Cape Cod home that is not subscribed to a 'green power' purchase agreement. (Source: EPA.gov).

In addition to the financial benefits mentioned above, installing solar panels allows Cape Cod homes to 'vote with their dollar' and help their state move towards a cleaner energy future by reducing their own reliance on grid electricity.

(Read more about clean energy in Massachusetts.)

Rooftop solar panels for Cape Cod homes: To rent or to lease?

Benefits of leasing solar panels

Solar Lease SavingsNothing has opened up the accessibility of solar panels to ordinary households like solar leasing programs have. A solar lease essentially removes the barrier of capital expenditure that in many cases makes going solar financially unfeasible.

The solution that a solar lease provides is elegant and simple: A financier--not the homeowner--pays to install, has ownership of, and maintains the solar power system. They then sell the electricity to the household at a rate that is lower than purchasing it from the grid. The price of the solar energy will increase incrementally as time goes on, but at a rate much lower than that of grid electricity (which is expected to continue rising for a number of reasons). The end result is overall lower, more predictable yearly electricity expenses.

Benefits of solar system purchase

Massachusetts state and federal government offer generous tax incentives that make purchase of a solar system a worthwhile investment for those who do have the capital free. For those who end up purchasing a system, payback periods can be as low as 5-7 years with return on investment in the 10-20% range. Once the system has paid itself off, all of the electricity that it generates, requiring no fuel but sunlight, is essentially free. Solar systems have lifespans of 25+ years, which means that they will continue producing free electricity for 17-20 years after they are paid off (excluding occasional maintenance such as inverter replacement every 7-10 years).

Is solar the right option for you?

If you live on Cape Cod and are thinking about home solar panels, Community Energy can help you with personalized roof assessments and advice. Visit our Residential Solar Power page to start the process of determining if solar panels will work for you! You can also to talk with one of our Solar Consultants directly at 1-484-654-2470.

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