When last I wrote about solar, it was to shed some light on why solar energy has lagged behind other energy savings, green and sustainability initiatives in New York City.

There are so many benefits to be realized from solar power. It’s clean, cost efficient, energy saving, relieves pressure on the traditional power grid and is even attractive. But its growth has been stunted by two huge obstacles – affordability and achievability.

Solar isn’t just about long-term energy savings, although, understandably, reduced costs are a priority for property owners. It’s also about good corporate citizenship and making a contribution to a healthier city. According to CleanTechnica, “maximizing New York City’s solar potential with 410 MW of solar would reduce emissions by 1.78 million metric tons, 3.7% of the city’s total emissions.”

The good news is that costs are going down for solar which, along with many incentives, will greatly improve ROI.

Costs have decreased as solar technology advanced and solar panel manufacturers became more efficient. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last 10 years.” The SEIA also reports that average price for a commercial PV (photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to electricity) project “has dropped by nearly 30% in the past 3 years alone.”

Deutsch Bank, which installed the largest solar PV system in Manhattan and currently has the highest elevated solar PV flat panel array in the world at its 60 Wall Street Americas headquarters, issued a report that said, “…we expect solar electricity to become competitive with retail electricity in an increasing number of markets globally due to declining solar panel costs as well as improving financing and customer acquisition costs.”

Numerous top tier publications have predicted solar energy will become the least expensive form of energy generation by 2020.

Next we’ll explore what government is doing to support solar installations with incentives and technical help.
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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services