First things first. Read through the 2015 Consumer Guide to Solar Power. Prepared by Minnesota Power for all consumers considering solar, this resource overviews key concepts such as how solar works and where to start. Check out the MREA’s Solar Power Hour Guide for region specific tips, and consider the virtual Solar Power HourSM pages to continue learning.
Property owners are looking at solar to reduce costs, protect against rising utility prices, reduce their carbon emissions from fossil fuels and achieve a measure of energy freedom. There are now over 16 GW of solar electric installed in US which is enough to power over 3.2 million homes. It is predicted that in 2014, solar PV installations will exceed 2013 by 36%.
A site assessment is the first step to determining how a solar system will work best for you. This includes a basic energy analysis, energy efficiency recommendations, an evaluation of the solar resource at your location and an initial cost estimate. The Power Pack program works in partnership with community colleges to offer a limited number of free site assessments providing students with valuable experience necessary to get a job in the solar industry.
Selecting a qualified solar electric installer is important to ensuring a quality installation. The Power Pack maintains a list of Power Pack Installers that meet or exceed MREA qualification standards for credentialing and experience.
How much does it cost? Solar has never been cheaper to install than it is today! The average price of a residential solar installation in early 2014 at $3.92 per installed watt is 41% lower than 2010. Federal, state, and local financial incentive programs can further lower your costs of installation. Your actual system cost depends on many factors including, system size, mounting style and types of equipment. The site assessment will help you determine your energy goals. Many financial institutions offer home equity loans and unique products that can help you purchase your solar electric system.
The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), in partnership with the George Washington University Solar Institute, has released three short videos for consumers who are considering adopting solar: