In a recent lecture, I discussed the many reasons that people decide to invest in solar energy systems. The reasons range from practical to financial to ideological to competition. All of the reasons are [arguably] legitimate. This list is by no means comprehensive, but I break it down this way:
- Go Green – an environmental motivation
- Reduce Operational Costs – motivated more by future cost savings than initial investment
- Lock in Price of Energy – motivated by concern about future energy costs
- Tax Shelter – motivated by incentives that increase tax savings
- Geopolitics – motivated by concern about ability to obtain energy from foreign (or domestic) sources
- Impress the Neighbors – motivated by desire to be a leader for any of the above reasons.
Notice that many reasons can combine for a Return on Investment motivation. Some people just want to know if it is a sound investment – better than the meager investment returns received by other investments carrying similar risk profiles.
All of these reasons for investing in solar energy can be combined, or may stand on their own. Each individual is different in their motivations, and as a solar energy professional, it is my job to identify these motivations and provide solid answers about the feasibility and product choices that can meet the needs and desires of the investor!