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Solar energy industry expects good news ahead

Several forces will merge together in 2016 to create a whirlwind of success over the first half of the new year for the solar energy industry, according to Fortune. The consumer friendly policies of the United States and China, as well as increasing demand and decreasing cost of installation, are expected to drive the boom.

Solar panels are the talk of the town
In December, the climate agreement from the 21st Conference of Parties was signed by over 160 nations, including China, Russia and the U.S.—three of the major perpetrators in climate change, according to TheStreet. This decision signaled that the trend of foregoing oil and other non-renewable resources, in favor of solar energy and wind-powered turbines, is becoming a hot topic.

"The U.S. will extend its tax credit policy for renewable energy to 2020."

The recent decision made by U.S. Congress to extend the 30 percent tax credit until 2020, which is currently given to residential and commercial properties using renewable energy, will further support the unprecedented growth the industry has seen, according to TheStreet. The Solar Energy Industries Association reported that since the tax credit was put in effect, solar installation has grown over 1600 percent. Giving properties tax credits for successful installation of renewable energy providers ultimately makes the projects feasible in the long run for some of the more stubborn consumers, and the projects that aren't cost effective. China's government is also giving tax incentives to companies installing solar panels, TheStreet noted.

Fortune reported that IHS Technology, a research firm, released a study that expects manufacturers to produce 16.82 gigawatts of solar panels in Q1 of 2016, and another 17.73 in Q2. To put that in perspective, one gigawatt of solar energy produces about the same amount of energy derived from a nuclear plant. Just 22.7 gigawatts of solar panels are currently in use in the U.S., according to Fortune. This means that the number will double in 2016 alone.

The success the industry has experienced, along with the tax breaks that will be extended and the targeted global effort at curtailing climate change, point to more residential homes making the switch to solar energy.

Solar panels are popping up in uncommon places because of their popularity.Solar panels are popping up in uncommon places because of their popularity and affordability.

Take advantage now
States in the U.S. have started to get in on the solar trend by setting aside funds for fixed-rate loans or giving consumers a fast track to receive approval on their project. The local efforts, coupled with the national agenda of pushing more renewable energy installations, make it easier than ever for consumers to install solar energy panels.

Consumers currently on the fence because of cost should consider all available options. Solar panel companies often offer a large range of options to help households pay for installations, and can work in tandem with state and federal government programs aimed at providing financing help.

These options include leveraging fixed-rate loans to finance the installation, buying solar energy at a locked in rate after a panel company installs it for free, or paying for the system with cash.

Installing solar panels has never been cheaper, or more popular, than it is now. Inexpensive financing options are becoming readily available from solar energy companies, and help is being given from state and federal government. Reap the tax incentives available by installing solar panels.

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