The solar energy market has been growing exponentially over the past decade, and that’s fueled a surge in investment.
The market is worth $2.6 trillion, according to GTM Research, and has seen the price of a kilowatt hour of solar power quadruple in just the last two years.
There are now more than 7,500 solar farms in the United States, and nearly 100,000 of them are operated by cooperatives, according a recent GTM report.
That’s up from around 2,400 in 2010, according GTM.
But what about the rest of the world?
While most of the rest is operating on a low-cost model, there’s still plenty of opportunity to capitalize on.
Here’s a look at where you can find the solar energy deals in the U.S. and around the world.
A good deal is worth much more than you might think, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it for less.
“The market is really hot right now, and there are some good opportunities,” says Jason Bauers, an analyst with GTM’s US market research.
“But the question is, how do you get into it?
The best places to look are not necessarily the best deals.”
Here’s what you need to know to find an efficient deal that’s just right for you.
Solar power deals are more expensive in the States A good bargain can mean more than just a cheaper installation fee.
“It’s really important to look at the price and how much you’re going to pay,” says Baurs.
The U.K. government recently announced that it would be charging customers a 3.8 percent increase on their electric bills starting in 2019.
That means a typical residential customer would be paying around $3,600 for the same amount of electricity.
That could make solar power more affordable, and it could make the investment worthwhile.
“When you look at that 3.0 percent increase, it could mean a significant reduction in your bill,” Baugers says.
“If you are looking for a lower cost option, you may want to consider solar for a small part of your grid and consider getting an additional energy storage unit, which is usually a smaller amount of energy, like a battery, or maybe even a solar PV system.”
“I think the average customer will pay around $500 more for their solar power than they would if they got it at the local grid,” he adds.
“They could get it at home for around $5,000, which could be a really good deal for them.”
And that’s not all.
You’ll have to factor in taxes and fees as well.
While some utilities may not charge a sales tax, they may charge you a fee that can be much higher, which may add up to a substantial difference.
“Utilities are often charging a higher percentage than they actually need to,” Baus says.
But there are many ways to avoid paying those fees.
“There are a lot of options out there that could potentially lower the cost, but it’s a big risk and they’ll charge you more for the power than the utility is actually going to provide,” he says.
Solar can be cheaper if you buy in bulk Solar power is more affordable than you’d think.
“A kilowatthour of solar can be very cheap, especially for the type of solar panels you’re looking for,” Baux says.
Bauters says that a typical rooftop solar installation typically costs around $25 per kilowatts, and he estimates that most customers will pay between $15,000 and $30,000 per solar project.
That works out to about $1,200 per year, which includes all the fees, taxes, and rebates that come with a solar installation.
“I’d estimate that the average cost of a typical solar installation in the average U.T. resident’s backyard is $1.5 million, and they can probably get away with paying $3 million to $5 million for a single unit,” he notes.
“For solar systems, it’s going to be more expensive than the average homeowner, but there are a bunch of things that can make that even more expensive.
I don’t know about you, but I’d probably pay $5-10 million for solar for my house, and I don of course want to be in the dark.”
Baubers says the same principle applies to a business, too.
“Solar is going to get cheaper and cheaper over time,” he points out.
“Most of the big companies have decided that they want to have as many solar systems as possible, so the solar power costs aren’t going to keep going up, and the cost of capital and operating costs are going to go down.”
In other words, it will be cheaper to invest in solar if you’re willing to pay a lot more upfront for it.
The same applies to other types of energy investments.