Peters: With inflation on the rise, consumers are turning to solar power

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JW Peters

Higher prices are all around us and, with inflation at its highest level in 40 years, they are not expected to improve any time soon.

Examples abound. With oil at around $100 a barrel, drivers are having trouble at the pump.

We’ve seen the price of milk go up 26%, with the average price of a gallon of good old vitamin D currently hovering around $4.40.

Electricity bills are also higher; with a string of 100 degree days behind and ahead of us, utility bills are skyrocketing.

Yes, life has become more and more expensive. Perhaps that’s why Americans are increasingly looking for sustainable ways to balance their spending.

Example: solar energy. Around the world and here in Oklahoma, solar installations are on the rise as homeowners and businesses seek sustainable solutions to rising energy costs.

Growth was spurred by many factors, including a federal tax credit. The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was passed by Congress in 2006 and extended in 2020. It allows homeowners to receive a 26% tax credit for systems installed through 2022 and a 22% credit for systems installed in 2023. A similar credit is also available for commercial solar projects, with the added benefit of the Modified Acceleration Recovery System (MARCS), which allows businesses to receive a 26% credit for the tax year in which the solar system is installed with an additional consideration for asset depreciation over six years.

Since adopting the ITC, the solar industry has grown by more than 10,000 percent, according to the National Association of Solar Energy Industries.

Tax benefits, recent problems with the stability of the traditional power grid, and rising energy costs are prompting homeowners to install solar systems and battery backup systems. In 2021, our business saw a 275% installation boom, with many homeowners switching to rooftop solar panels and vehicle charging stations in garages.

Driven by the benefits of net metering – the process by which solar customers can contribute to the stability of the traditional energy grid – even traditional energy executives are adopting an “all of the above” tone regarding alternative energy sources .

But the biggest driver of the solar industry’s leap isn’t in the boardroom; it’s at the pump, in the milk aisle, and in numbers on electric bills. With inflation all around us, consumers are finding solar savings are simply too important to ignore.

JW Peters is president of Oklahoma-owned Solar Power of Oklahoma, which has installed more than 2,000 systems, including more than 100,000 solar panels across the state.

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