by Greg Sellers
A new study released by the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CalSEIA) and Westinghouse Solar confirms that solar energy combined with the right energy efficiency measures can reduce and, in many cases, effectively eliminate residential energy bills. The study shows that the key is to find the exact combination of efficiency and solar energy for your particular home.
The study is comprehensive and goes a long way towards proving what those of us in the solar power industry have already known; solar energy is a great investment that has a long-term payback and a better investment for homes in temperate climates than most energy efficiency measures.
Conversely, the study also emphasizes that homeowners in different parts of the country can have widely varying circumstances that must be evaluated individually before installing a solar system.
Our firm inspects hundreds of solar installations, and occasionally we come across systems that are over sized or installed in locations that will not enable the system to perform at peak efficiency. These installations create problems for the entire solar industry, as they diminish payback and make solar appear less viable than it really is.
It is generally acknowledged that in order to gain widespread adoption solar must achieve grid parity (that is, it must cost the same or less than other forms of electricity). Installing systems in less than ideal circumstances makes grid parity harder to achieve, and perpetuates the perception that solar is too expensive. And that, in the end, is bad for us all.