January 10 (SeeNews) - Residential solar systems are cost-effective without subsidies in 14 US states, according to an analysis by the website Cost to Install Solar.
Homeowners in these states could pay off the initial investment for installing the solar panels with savings from their electricity bills within the expected lifetime of the system, according to the site. The analysis does not take into account additional maintenance or financing costs, but also makes the unlikely assumption that electricity prices will not increase over time.
It uses installation data compiled by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and covers 15 states, the ones with sufficient installation records for a full analysis. Of these, solar may not be a good deal only in Oregon, which is not very sunny and has low electricity rates.
At the top of the chart is Rhode Island, where electricity prices are high and a solar investment could be paid off in less than 15 years. The most cost-effective states also include New Hampshire, California and Connecticut, which have high electricity prices, as well as sunny Arizona in spite of its relatively low electricity costs.
Overall, according to the study, solar is cost-competitive without subsidy in more than 90% of the 1,725 cities analysed.
Cost to Install Solar says that the average cost to install home solar in the US is USD 4.61 (EUR 4.37) per watt. Based on average solar generation and average electricity rates and consumption, it estimates an average payback of 26 years without subsidy.
According to the site, residential solar is here to stay regardless of what happens with solar tax credits under the new administration.