The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a leading institution documenting and researching the solar rooftop revolution in the US (and elsewhere to some degree). Based on its Rooftop Revolution report, below is a Solar Rooftop Revolution infographic from ILSR. It highlights the time when US rooftop solar power is projected to cost less (without subsidies or other incentives) than grid electricity across, on average. It’s a fun infographic and based on a great report… but the focus on unincentivized solar grid parity misses the much bigger story we’re living in today — that solar panels cost less than electricity today (when you include important and well deserved solar incentives). Check out the commentary below the infographic for more on that.
The Item This Solar Grid Parity Infographic Leaves Out
Solar grid parity and the solar panel cost projections in the infographic above are based on a lot of assumptions (e.g. how long the solar panels will be working and in use, the projected drop in the cost of solar, the projected rise in electricity prices, etc.). ILSR would be happy to tell you this, and does right up front in its Rooftop Revolution report [PDF].
However, one of the key assumptions (and points) in the analysis above is that these solar cost and grid parity projections are for unsubsidized solar.
It’s mentioned in the infographic there, but you could have easily missed it, and what that actually means is not explained at all. Basically, the ILSR study is a look at the big picture and a look at what is likely to happen as solar tax incentives or subsidies are removed. However, nationwide, that isn’t scheduled to happen until 2016… and there are also many local and state solar subsidies across the country. In other words, while solar power is projected to hit “grid parity” on average nationwide by about 2017, with subsidies available today, most of you reading this are probably already at grid parity, and certainly at “economic parity” — the point where it makes more financial sense to go solar than to keep paying the electric company for your electricity. Solar panels cost less already (if you take these important incentives into account) than buying electricity from the grid. Seriously. Look into it.