Posted on: November 12, 2018|
7 Advantages of Going Solar
Most Americans seek ways to lower their dependence on fossil fuels, solar energy has become a popular option for powering homes and businesses. Not only is solar a renewable resource with a lower environmental impact than traditional sources of electricity, there are proven cost benefits as well.
The environmental and cost benefits of solar power are well-known, but they are far from the only advantages of harnessing the power of the sun. If you’re on the fence about switching to solar, consider these unexpected advantages that you might not have thought about before:
1. Return on Investment
Until 2020, if you install solar panels on your home, you qualify for a rebate of up to 30 percent of the cost in the form of a tax credit, as well other possible state and local rebates. From the moment you start using solar power, you’re getting your money back – but it doesn’t stop there.
When you pay your utility bill every month, that money is gone. While you enjoyed electricity for the previous 30 days, that’s all you are getting for your money, and all you’ll ever get. When you install solar electricity, however, over time you will see a return on your investment in the form of reduced or nonexistent electricity bills. There is an initial cost associated with installing solar panels, but over time, the panels will pay for themselves thanks to your lower energy bills and the power that you “bank” toward future electricity expenses. And because solar technology is always improving, the effectiveness of solar systems is also improving, meaning that the value of your investment could increase exponentially over time.
2. No More Power Outages
When you rely on your local electricity provider to power your home, you are at the mercy of the operation of the local “grid,” meaning that everything from major storms to squirrels can potentially disrupt power. When your home is powered by energy from the sun, however, power outages are less of a concern. It’s possible that you can lives entirely “off the grid,” and because power is produced even on cloudy days, you’re always collecting clean, renewable energy that can’t disrupted by a wayward rodent.
3. Reduced Risk of Fire
The most common cause of house fires in the U.S. is faulty electrical systems. However, solar panels can help reduce the likelihood of an electrical fire. Not only are solar energy systems less vulnerable to electrical surges, the chances of a solar system itself are slim. In a 2013 German study, researchers found that only .006 percent of the 1.3 million solar systems installed in the U.S. caused a fire – and of those fires, only 1 in 5 caused significant damage. In other words, of the 51,000 major house fires in the U.S. annually, only about 1,500 are attributable to solar power.
4. Improve Your Home’s Value
Home buyers are increasingly looking to purchase environmentally-friendly homes, or homes that have “green” features already installed – including solar power. Research by the Institute for Market Transformation indicates that homes with these features sell for about 3.5 more than homes without them. Research also indicates that homeowners who have solar power are more than 30 percent less likely to default on their mortgages, which is attributed to the cost savings that come from using solar power. So not only does solar put more money in your pocket every month, it also helps improve your overall financial health in the long term.
5. Adaptable to Your Needs
One of the most significant advantages of solar power is that it can used for some or all your needs. Solar power can be photovoltaic, meaning it provides electricity to your home, solar thermal, meaning it provides heat, or both. You can opt to install systems for either or both, depending on your needs and budget, and upgrade or adapt your system as necessary. Solar energy also provides flexibility, allowing you to live in an area without easy access to the electrical grid, meaning you have more options to create the lifestyle that you want, where you want. And again, because the efficiency of solar panels is always improving, the system you install now will continue to be efficient in the future.
6. Production Equals Demand
Generally speaking, the periods of highest demand for electricity are during the day, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – and thus electrical rates tend to be higher during those periods as well. However, those periods of high demand also tend to coincide with the time in which solar creates the most power. In fact, in areas where the solar energy is a significant portion of the energy supply, this overproduction of power during the day often equals a reduction in rates. For a homeowner, this means lower costs, but also the assurance they will have adequate power when it’s needed the most – and the excess can be stored in batteries for use later on, when production isn’t as high.
7. Job Creation
As more homeowners turn to solar energy, the need for people to work in the field is increasing as well. From the scientists responsible for research and development of new technology to the professionals who install and maintain solar energy systems, the solar industry is steadily increasing the number of jobs available and its contribution to the overall economy. In fact, the U.S. Census revealed that the solar energy is adding new jobs at a rate 17 percent faster than any other industry in the U.S. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of jobs in the field increased from 93,000 to 260,000, meaning that 1 in every 50 new jobs was in solar, a trend that is expected to continue. Choosing solar for your home means creating jobs for your community and making a difference in your local economy.
So, while the unlimited renewability of solar power, the reduced carbon emissions, and lower overall costs are certainly some of the greatest benefits of making the switch, some of the lesser known benefits also make it worth considering. To learn more about how solar power can benefit your home and wallet, click here.