Getting started with Solar
In our Solar 101 we explain some basics about solar. Here we go one step further in answering the question: Why go solar?
Top 10 Benefits of Using Solar
1. Solar energy is a renewable energy source
The first benefit is that solar energy is a renewable energy source. Solar energy is completely renewable and has 5 billion more years to be utilized. Solar energy is the most unlimited energy source amongst other renewables. It is available as long as the sun is shining.
2. Solar panels are environmentally friendly
Solar energy is clean energy. This clean energy is carbon neutral. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the electricity sector accounts for 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions. A solar power household can reduce 100 tons of carbon dioxide within its lifetime. By using solar energy, you are significantly decreasing your carbon footprint and are helping address the urgent climate crisis.
3. Using solar reduces your electricity bills
Once you overcome the installation costs, you will start to save money in the long run as a result of the reduced electricity bill costs. The amount of money you save depends on the size of your solar system and your energy consumption.
4. Solar panel maintenance cost is low
Solar panels don’t require much maintenance because the system requires little cleaning, and there are no moving parts. Thus, it is unlikely for any component of the system to degrade. In addition, reliable solar panel manufacturers give a 20-25 year warranty.
5. Solar power has multiple uses
Solar energy not only is used for generating electricity for basic needs, but it can also be used for heating water, and running generators and cars.
6. Increase your home value
Adding a solar system is considered an upgrade to your home and will help increase your property value. Properties with rooftop solar installations can often gain up to $30,000 in value depending on the size of the system.
7. Solar panels extend your roof lifespan
Solar panels not only generate electricity, but they also are useful in the way they protect a household’s roof from damaging elements such as rain, snow, sun, debris etc.
8. Solar incentives and grants
A solar incentive is a government program that pays you money to switch to solar. Governments support solar initiatives greatly through tax credits. Solar incentives differ from area to area. Depending on their availability, they can make going solar more affordable and save you money.
9. Solar systems work well in all climates
Solar panels continue to work effectively during the winter times. Impressively, the cold temperatures and snow can help solar panel output. This is because the snow helps reflect light, which in turn improves PV performance.
10. Increase the quality of your life
Going solar can improve your household’s energy efficiency and hence the quality of life. There is better health from higher quality indoor environments. Indoor air pollution is usually 2 – 5 times worse than outdoor. The air quality of our homes affects our ability to confront health problems such as asthma, nausea, fatigue, and symptoms of respiratory conditions.
Lower Your Electricity Bill
Have you considered saving on your electricity costs? Installing solar is effective in lowering your electricity bill. One of the best options for saving money on your long-term utility costs is installing solar panels. Solar panels are a valuable long-term investment that will keep your electricity bill low, and may even have the potential to eliminate your electricity bill.
Be energy efficient
A solar installation is most effective when your household uses more electricity. The more electricity you use, the more money you will save. The purpose of switching to solar is to generate more power from the sun than using more power from your current electric company. It is essential to take into account your home’s size, energy efficiency, and electricity usage to estimate how much electricity your household uses. Typically, energy-inefficient homes tend to have higher utility bills.
Electricity rates play a significant role in determining electricity savings. You can calculate your yearly electricity expenses by viewing your annual electricity of kilowatt-hours (kWh) and multiplying that by the current average electricity rate to see how much you spend. In October 2021, Hawaii, Alaska, and Connecticut have the highest electricity rates, with 34.28, 23.21, and 22.85 cents/kWh, respectively. In October 2021, Idaho, Utah, and Washington have the lowest electricity rates, with 10.60, 10.52, and 10.38 cents/kWh. Switching to solar is beneficial when electricity rates are rising. You can find your electricity rate in your current state at Electricity Rates By State.
A Good Investment
Long term benefits
Installing solar panels comes with long term benefits. The longer you use solar panels, the more money you will save. Electricity bills are continuing to rise, and solar panels provide energy independence, allowing you to rely solely on your solar panel for electricity. Solar panels are incredibly durable and robust, lasting over 25 years, which is advantageous because they are unlikely to break down like machinery appliances. However, if something does go wrong with your solar panels, reliable solar panel manufacturers provide a 25-year warranty. Solar panels facilitate a high return on investment because your energy savings will cover your solar installation costs in the long term.
Although there is an up-front cost, there are many loans and leases offered to help pay for solar panels. More information is found in our solar financing section. Those who have purchased solar panels emphasize that the long-term benefits of solar panels outweigh the cost of purchasing solar panels. With solar panels, your monthly electricity bill will continue to decrease. Solar energy appeals to everyone for various reasons; one significant selling point is controlling electricity bills.
Increase Home Value
Adding a solar system is considered an upgrade to your home and will help increase your property value. Properties with rooftop solar installations can often gain up to $30,000 in value. So don’t worry about leaving a solar system behind if you want to move. The added home value will give you a good return in addition to what you have already saved by using the system.
Why solar is desirable to potential buyers?
Shifts in Mindsets
The past decade saw a change in the attitudes of buyers. In recent years, wildfires in Australia and the Amazon Rainforest, droughts in California, unsafe drinking water in Flint, MI, el niños, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and population extinction all occurred. Now, more than ever, people are concerned about the planet. A 2018 survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that climate change was cited as a top threat in half of the countries surveyed. Solar panels are one way that home-buyers can feel like they are doing their part to save the Earth.
Solar is an attractive option to traditional forms of home energy because of the unpredictability of energy prices. In a capitalistic economy, prices depend on supply and demand. There are experts within the energy field whose job is to predict the future supply and demand for companies. Recently, they have been getting the predictions wrong. This means that prices will be more unsteady and businesses will be more conservative in their ventures. If informed, potential buyers may find solar panels interesting because of the money they can save them in the long run.
The past few decades have seen vast growth in electronic technology within households. There are refrigerators with screens, mirrors that display your notifications, and devices that control your lighting, heat, and sound system. The trend shows that more and more people want these types of upgrades in their homes. With solar energy constantly improving, potential buyers may see solar panels as a significant technological upgrade to a house.
Rising Electric Rates
Every year electric rates continue to rise. There are several reasons for this. One is that electric companies face a large cost in generating electricity. The maintenance and operations costs for operating a power plant continue to increase, which causes electric rates to go up as well. The price of fuel is one of the driving forces that lead to increased costs to generate electricity. Another reason may be due to weather conditions. Major storms can cause damage to powerlines and transformers. The cost of fixing these damages leads to higher costs for the consumer. Utility costs will continue to rise, and consumers are starting to think about alternatives to the current system.
Save the Planet
The energy essential to run our daily lives is responsible for 87 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions we produce. Among other uses, we require a significant amount of this energy to heat and cool our homes, for lighting, and transportation. The establishment of the Paris Agreement is intended to strengthen the global response to climate change by keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celcius pre-industrial levels. This goal can be attained with the complete decarbonization of the power sector by 2050, a mere 30 years away. That’s where solar energy comes in. Solar energy is clean energy. Clean energy is carbon neutral.
Solar power is the most abundant energy source on Earth
Solar power starts with solar energy being produced through the conversion of sunlight into electrical energy. This is done through photovoltaic (PV) panels. Solar energy is the most unlimited energy source amongst other renewables. The Earth is hit by 173,000 terawatts of solar energy continuously. That is equivalent to more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use. Solar energy is completely renewable and has 5 billion more years to be utilized. The US Department of Energy found that the power acquired in one and a half hours of sunlight is more energy than the entire world consumes in one year. This data tells us that we essentially have a source of unlimited clean energy.
Carbon emission savings
Solar energy is far better for the environment than fossil fuels. A solar-powered household can reduce 100 tons of carbon dioxide within its lifetime. A United States household uses on average 830 kWh of electricity every month. Producing 1,000 kWh of solar-powered electricity cuts down on emissions by almost 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide, 8 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 5 pounds of nitrogen oxides. Solar energy is a sustainable energy investment that provides vast environmental benefits for the collective good and can help save the planet. Find out more about the difference between solar energy and fossil fuels.
Solar panel recycling
There are growing concerns about the waste solar panels produce. However, expired solar panels can be environmentally friendly if they are recycled using specific industrial processes. Research and development are focused on improving the overall environmental impact of solar panels. Solar panel recycling processes have up to 96% efficiency. Find out more about solar panel recycling here.
Create Local Jobs
By going solar, you will be contributing to your local economy by creating local jobs! Environmental jobs are criticized as ‘job-killers,’ but this is far from the truth. The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the US. Renewable energy is starting to overtake fossil fuel industries. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, solar-related jobs have a projected growth rate of 51% between 2019-2029. In 2018, the United States had more than 240 000 solar workers, and this figure has represented a 159% increase since 2010.
There is the misconception that solar jobs are only available to those with high-level technical skills. However, this is incorrect because the solar industry offers a variety of work in different fields, such as sales, education, labour, and support. There is real diversity and flexibility within the industry which allows anyone with any set of skills to enter it! This is what helps create so many local jobs within your area.
These local jobs will serve your community well! The solar industry creates a more optimistic future for generations to come. In the US alone, over 50% of US workers get a sense of identity from their job. Job fulfilment plays a large role in the well-being of individuals and a community. Working for the solar industry provides people with the opportunity to address their moral concerns for the environment, improving job satisfaction and happiness.