Economics of Solar Energy

A residential solar system is a long-term investment for you and your family. Nationwide, average utility rates have been on the rise for the last 30 years. We can't, of course predict the future of electricity costs. But, if they continue to rise, going solar today will help you lower your electricity costs in the future.

Below is residential electricity rate increases by state between 1990 to 2011, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)*. You can also see what's happened to rates in your state recently - the EIA provieds electricity prices by state for the most recent month compared to prices one year ago. 


State% Increase in Avg. Rate
Arizona 22.6%
California 48.1%
Colorado 12.6%
Connecticut 80.9%
Hawaii 238.0%
Maryland 68.5%
Massachusetts 41.1%
New Jersey 50.1%
New York 52.5%
Oregon 101.7%
Pennsylvania 38.4%


Getting solar panels for your home is a great way to lock in low solar electricity rates so that you know what what you'll be paying, and you'll protect yourself from unpredictable utility rate increases. 

Return on Investment & Payback

Going solar with Sunrun offers a better return on investment (ROI) and faster solar power payback than purchasing a residential solar system. This is because the upfront costs are lower with Sunrun. With an initial investment of as low as $0, the savings on your monthly electric bill can add up much more quickly to surpass your original investment.

You may even start generating returns on your investment as early as month one.

  • Return on Investment (ROI): The ratio of money gained in an investment (in this case, a solar system) relative to the money invested (with Sunrun, this can be as little as $0). ROI is usually expressed as a percentage.
  • Internal Rate of Return: Used to measure and compare the profitability of investments. This calculation does not incorporate outside factors, such as interest rate or inflation. The higher the IRR, the more desirable the investment is. 
  • Payback: Time required for the return on investment to “repay” the sum of the original investment. This measures how long something takes to “pay for itself.” Since you can go solar with Sunrun, for as little as $0, this means your payback period is much faster than if you paid for the system yourself.

Property Value

Investing in solar power can also help increase your home value and help your house sell faster. According to a recent 2011 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, solar panels add about $5.50 per watt to a home's resale value. This means that a 3.1-kilowatt solar system can add around $17,000 to the home's value.

In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, a home with solar panels will sell twice as fast as one without panels, even in depressed markets.

When you make other investments, you typically have to pay taxes on the returns you make. However, with a home solar system, your return is in savings, which aren't taxed.

*Calculated using cents per kilowatt hour as provided in  'Average Prices by State by Provider 1990-2011' from the U.S. Energy Administration (EIA). 

A new kind of energy company

Sunrun is one of the top home solar companies in the nation. But we’re really 60,000+ happy, money-saving customers strong and growing every day. We'll let you know if solar works for your home.

Questions? Thoughts? Want to learn more? Let's talk.