Solar panels used to take 22 years of use to pay for themselves in energy savings. But with a 40% drop in price and various incentive programs, that number has shrunk to 16. It's all part of a perfect storm: A slump in global demand just as new production facilities have come online.
This bad news for manufacturers means good news for homeowners. One dweller in Texas got a solar panel system--once valued at $100,000--for about $54,000 after rebates. The system is expected to reduce his $600-700 monthly electric bill by 40-80%.