now is the time

The convergence of improved efficiency, environmental benefits and government incentives make this the perfect time for solar power energy savings. More dependable and accessible than ever, residents from all over the United States are finding out just how reliable solar power is, and that it is no longer just a luxury for the upper-class. Here’s why there’s never been a better time than right now for solar on your home:

Federal and state tax credits and incentives

The government has finally caught on that solar energy creates jobs and is great for the environment. By purchasing a solar system for your home, you are officially considered a renewable energy customer, and therefore entitled to a 30 percent solar Federal Investment Tax Credit. Many state and local governments offer equally enticing incentives. In Utah, for example, up to $2,000 of the cost of a solar system is covered by a State Income Tax Credit. And California has many utility and city incentives as well. Commercial is offering federal and state tax credits as well as depreciation and other tax breaks.

Lower costs than ever before

As the solar industry has grown and technology has developed, the cost of residential solar panels has dropped by 75 percent and has now stabilized in cost. The overall cost of producing solar power has fallen as well, from $76.67 per watt in 1977 to just $0.613 per watt in 2014, according to a study by Clean Technica. As costs have stabilized at more affordable levels, solar power is now within easy reach of all households.

Utility companies must cooperate

One of the reasons many households turn to solar energy is to get out from under the utility companies’ control. While many of the utility companies fight solar power, today, utility companies are required by law to accommodate homes that get their power from solar panels. In fact, in many areas you can even take advantage of provisions that allow you to offload surplus power generated by solar panels back to your local utility company to earn energy credits.

Solar is great for the economy and the environment

As an alternative to fossil fuels, solar is 100 percent renewable, and is making great headway in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and halting climate change. Solar energy is also hugely benefiting the U.S. economy. Findings published by Climate Progress found that the number of people employed by the solar industry has grown every year since at least 2010, and more than 31,000 solar jobs were added in the U.S. between November 2013 and November 2014.

Fixed energy rates

When you install solar panels today, you have the option of locking in your energy rates for the next 20-30 years. Locking in cheaper electricity from a clean source with guaranteed price stability means you won’t have to worry about rate hikes from your utility company, and since energy costs are always on the rise, solar is never going to be as great a bargain as it is today.

Long-term investment

We all know how fast technology changes, and the phone you’re using today will likely be obsolete by the end of the year. That’s not the case with solar panels, which—while having improved in efficiency since their early days—are based on essentially the same technology that has been used for years. When you invest in residential solar power, you can expect reliable energy for decades to come. In fact, those who are planning to wait for solar panels to become more efficient may find that they’ve wasted their time, since efficiency is not expected to improve drastically in the near future, and government incentives may not be available down the road.