No other power source can provide energy as sustainably as the sun. Fact.
But why go solar?
The primary benefits of going solar lie in the financial and environmental savings. By switching to a cleaner and greener energy source, you can reduce your carbon footprint, save on utility bills, and live a generally more sustainable life. But before you make a decision, it helps to have all the most up-to-date information at hand. Here’s an overview of the rise of solar power and a comprehensive breakdown of solar power costs and benefits.
The Rise of Solar Power
The popularity of solar power has soared over the last few decades. Balancing the nation’s demand for energy with shrinking resource supplies was the primary reason why solar initiatives have been so successful, dating as far back as the 70s. When the markets became unstable, the government saw solar energy as the most viable way to reduce reliance on coal, oil, and natural gas. Unsurprisingly, a number of solar-based legislature and incentives have followed.
Nowadays, environmental considerations have become just as important because when we burn fossil fuels to generate power, harmful gases are emitted. These gases are the leading cause of air pollution and climate change, and with only 8% of the Global Carbon Budget remaining, the pressure is now on us all to make positive changes towards sustainability.
Over the last ten years or so, the solar industry has boomed as advances in technology continued to make renewable power affordable to more homes and businesses. Solar solutions have become both cheaper to install and increasingly more effective at generating energy. Statistics from Environmental Leader demonstrate market growth over time based on the amount of solar-generated energy per year:
- 2008 – 0.1%
- 2018 – 2.3%
- 2020 – 3.3%
Admittedly, 3.3% may not sound like very much. But according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, that percentage accounts for over 107 gigawatts of electricity. One gigawatt is 1 billion watts, so we’re basically talking 107 billion watts of power. That’s a whole heap of energy when you consider that the average lightbulb only requires between 60 and 100 watts.
Currently, the United States government aims to achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, so if you’re reading this thinking, “should I go solar,” then now is an excellent time to consider your options and get the ball rolling on the process.
Benefits of Going Solar: From a Financial Point of View
Most organizations in the industry are quick to point out the financial benefits of going solar. But, exactly why is solar energy good value for your home or business? Here’s a list of the various advantages and factors to consider.
Reduced Energy Bills
Electricity costs add up to a substantial percentage of your monthly expenses. Installing solar panels means you can generate free power that can reduce or even eliminate your utility bills. This leaves you with more spare cash at the end of every month and also protects you from the expense of rising energy costs. With grid-based electricity prices increasing every year, even small savings can make a big difference when you cost it out over an extended period. A further advantage of solar is that you can forecast your energy use more accurately, making it easier to stick to your budget and manage your overall finances.
The Federal Solar Tax Credit
The Federal Solar Energy Credit was reinstated for residential properties and extended for commercial projects in 2005 under the Energy Policy Act. The credit can be claimed on any federal income taxes to cover a percentage of the installation cost. Throughout 2021 and 2022, the tax credit is available at a rate of 26% but is due to drop to 22% as of 2023. So if you’re wondering why go solar now, then this is a good incentive.
It’s worth noting that although there is a maximum percentage, there is no maximum amount you can claim through the tax credit scheme. So the bigger your plans, the bigger your discount will be! Plus, if you are a business, you can roll the credit forward into future tax periods for up to 20 years if your tax credit exceeds your tax liability.
Increased Property Value
Recent statistics reveal that homes with solar power sell for up to 4.1% more than homes without, so installing solar is a great way to increase the price of your property. The exact additional value will vary depending on factors like:
- Location – Geographical location influences the amount of sunlight that solar panels can capture. Plus, electricity costs vary in different regions.
- System output – The larger the system, the larger the output, and the bigger the savings for the potential buyer.
- Age – Newer systems add more value than older systems.
Benefits of Going Solar: From an Environmental Point of View
Financial benefits aside, there are many other advantages to going solar. Environmental factors are probably the first that spring to most people’s minds. So we’ll start with those, but there are also several other benefits that you may not have yet considered.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
With all the talk of air pollution and climate change these days, most people have a general understanding of the need to reduce their personal and business-related carbon footprint. But why are solar panels good for the environment? In short, solar energy is clean, green, and abundant, and the generation of energy from solar panels doesn’t generate any harmful carbon emissions or greenhouse gases the way burning fossil fuels does.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the electricity sector was responsible for around 32% of America’s energy-related CO2 emissions in 2020. When you install solar panels on your property, you negate the need to buy power from the carbon-emitting grid, therefore reducing your impact. In some states, you can offset your carbon footprint even further through net metering, which allows you to gain additional income from power companies by channeling excess energy from your solar installation back to the grid.
Do you know how much energy you could be saving? If you’re in need of more tangible figures to determine why solar panels are good for the environment, we recommend you use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. On average, every American household uses about 50 kilowatts (50,000 watts) of energy per day. That adds up to 3-4 tons of carbon emissions annually, which is the equivalent of:
- About 18,000 miles of driving
- Just under 1 million smartphone charges
- Over 120 trees
Many of the main reasons to go solar apply equally to residential and commercial projects. But for businesses, there are some additional incentives. Aside from the cost savings, installing and utilizing solar energy promotes your commitment to environmental change. The benefits of this include:
- More people having positive experiences with your brand
- Building brand ambassadors who are loyal to your company
- Demonstrating corporate social responsibility and community support
Forbes Magazine reports that 52% of all online consumers consider a company’s values when making a purchase. In other words, if your business isn’t viewed as being environmentally conscious, some customers simply won’t buy from you. So to maximize sales based on ethically conscious purchasing habits, solar energy is a great tool to have in your arsenal.
There are internal benefits too. Being an environmentally responsible employer makes your staff feel proud to work for you. Once that news spreads (after all, why go solar and not brag about it?!), you can leverage your pro-environmental stance to become an employer of choice and attract the best pool of candidates who want to interview, work, and stay with you.
Since there are no moving parts in a solar panel system, ongoing maintenance is minimal. Most knowledgeable solar developers can help design a system that will run for several years with virtually no need for call-outs or repairs. Aside from regular cleaning, the only real maintenance cost you’re likely to encounter is replacing the inverter. However, this is typically only required about every 15 years.
Supporting Your Local Economy
By investing in solar, you’re also supporting the local job market, which in turn boosts the local economy. Most installers work for local rather than national companies, so by spending on local solar services you are directly contributing to your own community.
According to the National Solar Jobs Census, there were already more than 230,000 workers in the solar industry in 2020, and this number is set to rise year on year. In fact, the role of ‘solar photovoltaic installer’ is considered the fastest-growing job in America.
Avoid Power Outages
Nobody appreciates a power cut, but they are an unfortunate inevitability from time to time during periods of extreme weather or simply when consumer demand overloads the system. When the electricity grid shuts down, so will your solar panel system. However, by diverting solar energy from your panels into battery storage, you can maintain a backup source of power that essentially allows you to maintain your electricity supply ‘off-grid’ until regular service is restored.
Go Solar with Nexamp
With so many great reasons to go solar, it’s difficult to think of a valid argument against hopping onto our website and getting your installation organized right now!
Nexamp is a leader in the clean energy space, offering a range of panel and energy storage solutions. Even if your property cannot support solar panels, we can still hook you up with clean power through one of our community solar programs. There’s no reason not to join the renewable energy revolution today and reap all of the benefits above and more.
Contact our friendly and helpful team for more details and to discuss your options.