When you were a kid you probably figured that in the future, the whole world would be powered by solar panels. After all, sunlight is free, and converting it into electricity doesn’t pollute the atmosphere. Solar panels kind of seem like a no brainer. Unfortunately, as you have probably noticed, it’s now 2020 and we’re not living in a futuristic solar panel utopia yet. But we are getting closer.

Over the last 10 years the cost of installing solar panels has dropped roughly 70 percent thanks to lower equipment costs, lower installation costs, and government incentives like the Federal Solar Tax Credit. As a result, solar panels have never been more affordable. When you factor the money you’ll save on traditional energy, plus the value they add to your home, now, at last, solar panels actually represent a very sound long term investment... at least for some people.

Of course, whether or not you are one of those people depends on a number of complicated factors, including the architectural features and geographical location of your home, the prevalence of solar contractors and suppliers in your area, and the complex web of laws, regulations, and tax incentives in your particular state and municipality. So how do you figure out if now is the right time for you to invest in solar panels? You turn to a company like Understand Solar.

Understand Solar

Understand Solar is a third-party solar power advocate, which means they do not sell or install solar panels. Instead, their job is to help the solar energy industry expand by educating consumers and making the solar installation process easier.

If you’re new to solar energy, Understand Solar can teach you everything you need to know, from how solar energy systems work, how they connect to the public grid, how much solar panels cost, and how long solar panels last. They’ll also give you an overview of all the financing and leasing options available, as well as any government tax incentives.

Once you’re ready to take the next step, Understand Solar gives you a free personalized solar energy assessment. All you have to do is fill out their simple online form and provide a few details about your home. Once you have done that, a solar energy expert will contact you via phone and go over your assessment and answer any questions you may have. But absolutely no commitment is required.

You may learn that, for one reason or another, solar energy is not right for you. If that is the case, your Understand Solar representative will explain why. However, depending on your location and the energy industries where you live, you might discover solar panels make so much sense, you would almost be losing money by not installing them.

How Much Could Solar Panels Be Worth To You?

When it comes to the value that solar panels can add to a home, there are no simple, cookie-cutter answers. One study found that they add about 4.1 percent to the value of the average home, with higher rates in major urban areas and lower rates in rural areas. Another study found that buyers are typically willing to pay $15,000 more for homes with solar panels. But again, it all depends on where you live, how big your home is, and how many solar panels you install.

Other factors that will have to be weighed include the projected long term electricity rates in your area, the total cost of the solar energy system you choose to install, and how you decide to finance the installation. In theory, an investment in solar panels can easily outperform traditional stock market portfolios over the course of 20 years. But it all depends on your personal finances, as well as a number of external economic conditions.

If all that sounds complicated, that’s because it is. But Understand Solar can make it simple. Your representative will crunch all the numbers and lay out all your options. Then, if you wish to proceed, they’ll help you arrange in-home estimates with experienced installers in your area.

So, if you want to find out if solar panels are finally an option for you, don’t wait. Get a free, no-fee solar panel report from Understand Solar today.

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with an affiliate partner. We may collect a small commission on items purchased through this page. This post does not necessarily reflect the views or the endorsement of the Futurism.com editorial staff.

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