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Solar Power Cost vs Regular Electricity Cost

Your utility rates seem to keep getting higher every year, don’t they? Yet sunlight is free and abundant.

Accessing power straight from the source makes more sense than paying for it indirectly from your local power plant. Clearly, solar power is more cost-effective than “regular” or standard electricity. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), installing new solar panels is cheaper than a comparable investment in coal, natural gas or other fossil fuel options.1

One way to think about it is that the sun isn’t going anywhere (for now), and so it’s what’s known as a renewable resource. It takes a lot of work to produce electricity, but when you set up your very own private power plant on the roof of your house, that is the  definition of efficiency. Harnessing the power of the sun directly cuts out the middleman. (Very unpopular, that middleman.

Let’s do the math

Residential electric utility rates are, on average approximately 12 cents per kilowatt-hour in the US. In 2014 the US average residential household used 911 kWh per month and the average monthly electricity bill was $114 before taxes and fees.Check average rates in your area on this map.

Electricity costs over the years have fluctuated a great deal — annually, seasonally and monthly — but overall they’ve gone up significantly. Retail residential electricity rates (the amount you pay per kilowatt-hour, or ¢/kWh) have risen across the nation at a rate of about 4% on average over the last 10 years.3 Some areas, like the Northwest, have seen increases of up to 40%. Yipes!

A solar energy system can absolutely help you insulate yourself against these fluctuations and increases. Incredibly, over an eight year span (from 2006 to 2014), worldwide average solar panel module prices have dropped over 75% from $3.25 per watt to about $.72 per watt.3

Of course, it’s all about location. Your property structure and home’s location, local weather patterns, and availability of our solar resource (that’s how often and how strong the sun shines) can greatly affect the cost-effectiveness your installed solar system.

The total price of a complete residential solar panel system has dropped roughly 45% since 2010, mostly because of new, widely available financing and leasing options.4

When you purchase and install a solar energy system for your home, such as with the Sunrun BrightBuy option, all of the harnessed solar electricity that it produces will be free once the system pays itself off, which usually takes 5-10 years, depending on where you live. If you finance your system, such as with Sunrun’s BrightAdvantage plan, you can start saving money from the  first day your system generates power.

Start saving with the sun

Calculate how much you could save using our free solar calculator tool. To sum up, think of Sunrun solar panels as your not-so-secret natural weapon against rising power costs. They absorb the sun’s energy much like the leaves or petals of a plant does. And Mother Nature knows what she’s doing. Visit Sunrun to see how much you’ll save.

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