Solar panel industry sees boom during COVID-19 pandemic, users weigh pros and cons

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Solar panel technology is nothing new. However, the solar panel industry is seeing positive effects even during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more people stayed home for months, many made the move to switch to solar in an effort to save on high energy costs. This also comes as electricity has gone up by four percent on average over the last 5 years.

Especially as we get in the middle of the summer season, air conditioning is one of the main culprits to an expensive energy bill. However, it doesn’t have to be something you dread. Rockford homeowner Jordan Hale says after going solar about a year and a half ago, the benefits outweigh the pros at this time.

Hale says, “I’ve always been interested in solar technology in general and I have an opportunity to get the panels. Since I got the panels installed, I’ve saved about $730.”

Because his home was built in the 1940s, he says its poor insulation led to his decision to switch. “My home isn’t as energy efficient as I’d like but the solar panels are getting me closer to that peak efficiency.”

Hale was one of several customers to switch to solar during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping solar energy businesses busy. Dan Puckett of Iconic Solar Energy Professionals says, ‘We never actually slowed up. It was unbelievable what we actually did during COVID-19. It was just crazy busy and we still have been. People are realizing it’s a great way to save money.”

Puckett says while going solar is a great alternative, there are things homeowners should consider. “The upfront, the out-of-pocket cost is usually the biggest thing. But there are ways to finance it, so you don’t have to pay as much upfront. The best thing I tell people is to make sure you get three quotes from different solar panel providers.”

“Do your research and be aware. In this area, you will not have 100 percent free electricity, just know that off the bat. It will definitely make a dent in the ComEd bill every month though.”

Jordan Hale is also a realtor for Keller Williams in Loves Park. He says that if you plan on moving out of the home with solar panels you installed, you will need to pay off the solar panels similar to a mortgage. Or the new homeowner would have to take over the loan.

ComEd does offer several incentives and tax breaks by going solar, you can see details here.

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