A 30% federal tax credit, which declines next year to 26%, on the cost of the solar energy system made the investment a good idea, Mead said.
"It no longer made sense not to go with solar," he said. "
But it wasn't just economics that motivated Mead and Marion. The idea of powering their home on renewable energy was the right thing to do, Mead said, at a time when many people are troubled by the fallout of climate change, such as increasingly deadly and destructive wildfires in
"It's a great investment in ourselves, our community and our planet," he said.
The increasing threat of fires and public safety efforts to prevent them that include potential blackouts are bringing more attention to residential solar energy systems that are environmentally friendly. Until recently, solar power mainly had been used by home and business owners to reduce electric bills.
A big concern among
"When power goes out, the system disconnects from
Even though state rebates for residential solar systems no longer exist, he said federal tax credits and higher
At night, other customers on the utility grid are essentially paying for the cost of delivering power to solar-powered homes that don't have the ability to store energy, Syphers said. That cost includes taking the home's excess solar energy produced during the daytime and sending it elsewhere on the wider power grid for use, he said.
Mead said he and Marion opted not to buy battery storage because of the current additional cost. But their new electrical system to accommodate the solar array is "battery-ready" should they decide to add storage in the future.
Syphers said the price of batteries declines about 10% a year. He expects that battery storage cost to drop even more in the coming years, making it more attractive to residential and commercial customers with solar systems.
"The good news is that all the pieces of a microgrid that let you have 24-hour power are starting to come down in price," Syphers said. "Where batteries are today on price is kind of where solar was about a decade ago, which is very expensive but falling fast."
(c)2019 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Visit The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) at www.pressdemocrat.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.