Benefits of Installing Solar Panels
As the economic and environmental costs of traditional energy sources have risen and become clearer, more homeowners have started searching for affordable, green alternatives to power their homes. As a result, solar PV systems are on the rise both in the United States and abroad, spurred by significant advances in the industry.
Because solar technology has been around for decades, most people understand the basics of it. However, the specific benefits of solar remain widely misunderstood or unknown.
Why Solar Energy?
The primary reason homeowners go solar is to save money. You’re no longer buying electricity from the utility — you’re creating your own power for free. Because those monthly utility savings eventually surpass the upfront cost of installing PV panels, solar is an investment that pays for itself.
Below are some of the other terrific solar power benefits:
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Instead of powering your home with dirty fossil fuel, all the electricity comes from clean and renewable sunshine. Leave the oil, gas and coal in the ground where they belong and help the world conserve its natural resources.
- Hedge Against Rising Utility Rates
Over time, your utility provider will continue to raise its prices. By contrast, energy from the sun is as free today as it will be 25-plus years from now.
- Increase Your Home’s Value
Did you know that the resale value of your home goes up once you invest in solar? According to Berkeley Laboratory, your home property’s value increases an average of $4,000 for every additional kilowatt of PV installed.
- Strengthen the Local Economy
By going solar today, you’re helping to create new green jobs in your community — jobs that can never be outsourced overseas. Equally important, your clean power investment helps to reduce fossil fuel imports from abroad.
- Become Energy Independent
One of the many benefits of solar panels is that the more panels you install, the less reliant you become on your utility provider. In fact, many solar customers sell electricity to the power company because they generate so much extra energy.
The advantages of solar power are difficult to ignore, but are the advantages worth the upfront cost? After all, going solar isn’t free.
Actually it can be.
With a solar lease, you qualify for a new installation — free of charge. You only pay for the clean energy the PV system generates once it’s installed — but believe it or not, buying your solar panels is an even better deal.
Measuring the Cost Against the Benefits of Solar Energy
Ten years ago, the upfront cost of installing PV panels was prohibitively expensive for many homeowners, but the industry has evolved rapidly over the past decade. Not only have panel prices plummeted by double digits every year, but there exists a range of programs to help drive down the cost of going solar even more.
Many states offer lucrative incentives designed to make solar power more affordable than ever before. In Maryland, for example, you can claim certain tax credits based on how much clean electricity your PV system generates. In addition, your panels are exempt from state taxes, and you may even qualify for a $1,000 rebate.
Maryland is no exception. Similar programs exist in other states as well, and don’t forget federal incentives like the solar tax credit. This subsidy essentially reduces the total cost of your installation by 30 percent (parts and labor included).
Moreover, there are tons of financing options to help make going solar very affordable. For example, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) and Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) offer low-interest solar loans up to $20,000. Programs like these have helped bring solar within easy financial reach of countless homeowners. Remember, you’re not buying the system out of pocket; you’re borrowing the money and using your monthly utility bill savings to pay the loan balance.
Even without these loans and incentives, going solar is an investment that delivers guaranteed returns for decades. However, when you add the above programs, the benefits of solar far outweigh the costs.
Solar Energy Is an Excellent Investment
With solar energy, you can realize a better ROI than with many long-term investments: up to a 200%-plus ROI over 25 years. Compare this to a five-year CD (average yearly return of 2.5%) or even the S&P 500 (average yearly return of 11%). Although some stocks can provide a higher return than a solar system, stock prices are also substantially more volatile year after year.
Save Money on Electric Bills Immediately
- Installing a home solar system dramatically lowers your electric bills. Many homeowners save 50% on their electric bills — some even completely eliminate their electric bill.
- A typical American household uses 920 kWh of electricity per month. A residential solar installation of 840 kWh per month from Renewable Energy Corporation would almost entirely offset your electricity costs.
- Your actual savings depend on your home’s energy needs, available space for a photovoltaic system, and your PV system orientation.
Protect Yourself Against Rising Energy Costs
- Electricity costs have climbed more than 21% during the past five years.
- Rates jumped 10.3% in 2006 alone.
- Fossil fuel supplies are dwindling, which will lead to higher energy costs.
- Solar power locks in your electrical costs and protects you from escalating utility costs.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- The average American household generates 7.4 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year through electrical use.
- This equates to 185 tons of CO2 over 25 years, which is how long SolarWorld solar panels is guaranteed to perform.
- Carbon dioxide creates global warming, which is dramatically affecting our climate — causing glacier loss, shoreline erosion and endangering many animals around the world.
Conserve Our Natural Resources
Each hour, enough sunlight hits the earth to power the world for a year:
- That’s 400 trillion gigawatts (GW) per second and enough to power 400 quintillion homes.
- Putting the sun to work reduces the amount of coal and nuclear energy needed to power your home, which helps preserve the Earth’s supply of non-renewable resources.
- Coal and nuclear energy production consume vast amounts of water. Consequently, solar on your home can conserve over 16,000 gallons of water per year.
Work Toward Energy Independence
By harnessing the sun, we can reduce our reliance on foreign and non-renewable energy sources.
Increase Your Home’s Value
- Studies show that solar systems can increase your home’s value by 20 times the annual electricity savings.
- In addition, homes with solar systems tend to sell faster than homes without solar — 15% faster by some studies.
Solar Is Affordable
- Tax incentives and rebates can reduce the cost of going solar by up to 50% depending on your state and local programs. Financing options are now available in many areas to help overcome the upfront costs of going solar.
- Let’s do the math: In Bakersfield, CA, you can install a 5.75 kW system at a net cost of $20,670 after rebates. Your payback period would be just 5 – 6 years and a compound annual growth rate of 9%. And depending on the weather conditions during the month, you could save up to 78% on your electric bill.