Solar is helping businesses lower current operating costs and deliver more predictable energy costs for the next 30 years. Given that significant increases in electricity rates are predicted over the next decade, now is the time to take advantage of favorable solar conditions. For instance, the 30 percent federal tax credit will be available for another three years, but local rebates and incentives will soon expire in a number of markets. And then there’s the 50 percent first-year bonus depreciation allowance; it is set to expire at the end of 2013. And if all that isn’t enough of an economic argument that now is the right time to turn to solar, consider this: solar PV pricing is low right now, but it’s on the rise.
According to Shyem Mehta’s article in Greentech Media, demand for solar, specifically in Japan and China, combined with reductions in PV inventory, means that PV pricing is now starting to rise across the board – something that hasn’t happened since Q4 2010. Manufacturers shedding inventory toward the end of 2012 not only pushed prices down significantly, but also reduced their excess production. Given the laws of supply and demand, lower production in the face of strong demand in China and Japan means that PV pricing will increase. And it is starting to do just that.
Price increases thus far have been a mere 3-5 percent, but Mehta says it’s unclear whether this is a lasting trend or whether it will accelerate. Additionally, unknown ramifications from anti-dumping tariffs (penalties imposed on low-priced imports to protect local industries from unfair competition) that are being levied in China and Europe will also factor into pricing.
Obviously, the PV industry will have to wait and see how the situations in China and Europe play out before they can accurately predict whether PV pricing will continue to rise or not. But given the incentive packages and supportive financing options currently in place, why take the chance? Customers who go solar today can enjoy the benefits of clean energy at a very attractive price. Carpe diem!