Over one million U.S homes now have solar panels installed, and that number is expected to rise as more homeowners reap the awards of going solar. In California, a new bill requires that all new home construction must include solar panels, making the state the first of its kind to enforce this requirement.
Having solar panels installed on your residence will cut your electricity bill, help the environment, and even make you eligible for a tax break. Here are ten benefits of solar panels that may encourage you to make the switch.
1. Your Electricity Bill Will Drop
Perhaps the biggest motivation for switching to solar energy is that it helps homeowners immediately reduce their electricity costs. With utility companies raising their rates and fossil fuels expected to become more scarce in the future, converting to solar can help you save money on electrical bills in the long run.
Exactly how much you’ll save depends on the size of your home, how much sunlight your home’s location can harness from the sun, and how much electricity your household uses each year.
Your electricity bill will not disappear, but you can expect to see a reduction and enjoy some months where you may not owe anything. This is because most homes with solar panel installation can take advantage of net metering.
With net metering, any excess energy your solar system produces gets stored in the electrical grid. You’ll then receive credits on your electricity bill and you can use stored energy from the grid during the nighttime hours when the sun isn’t out.
A solar calculator can give you an estimate of how much you can expect to save based on your home’s location and electricity usage.
2. Solar Installation Can Be Financed
Depending upon the state you live in and how large your home is, the average cost of installing a five kW solar energy system can range from $25,000 to $35,000. While this is a huge investment for many homeowners, the good news is most solar companies will allow you to finance the cost.
You can even have a system installed with no money down. Consider taking out a home equity line of credit or Property-Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan to pay for your solar installation project. This loan usually offers favorable payment terms.
3. You’ll Help the Environment
Next to living in an eco-lodge, going solar is a great way to help the environment.
Solar energy is considered a very clean form of energy. There are no damaging greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide produced by solar energy that can contribute to climate change and pollution.
Solar energy also delivers public health benefits. Research has found it to be beneficial to people with respiratory-related health conditions.
Going solar is one significant way a homeowner can reduce their carbon footprint and create cleaner air. You’ll also help create energy independence for the U.S. and reduce the country’s reliance on oil and natural gas.
4. You’ll Reduce Your Tax Liability
One of the best perks about having solar panels installed on your residence is owing less money to Uncle Sam when tax time rolls around.
Tax filers who own an installed solar power system on their home or commercial property are eligible for the federal solar tax credit. This credit allows you to deduct 30% of what you paid to have your system installed from your federal tax liability.
This credit will drop to 26% in 2020, 22% in 2021, and 10% in 2022 and beyond. This means if you’ve been on the fence about having solar energy installed, 2019 may be the best time to take the plunge.
Keep in mind this credit can only be claimed by homeowners and business owners who actually own their solar energy system. Tax filers leasing solar equipment are not eligible for the credit. Even if the equipment will not be functional until 2023, filers can claim the credit as long as the construction is complete.
If you do choose to go solar, check with your state regarding additional tax breaks. Depending upon your state, you may be eligible to save more money by going solar.
5. It Boosts Property Value
A solar panel system is the new kitchen renovation or bathroom makeover. Research shows that homes with solar panels sell for an additional $20,000 or more in California and at least $15,000 in other states.
Furthermore, many prospective home buyers consider a solar-powered home to be very attractive. As fossil fuels become more limited, solar homes are likely to become in demand.
The studies done so far only take into account homes where the homeowner owns the solar panels. It’s not yet known what effect leased solar equipment has when a house is put on the market.
If you’re thinking of selling your home years down the road, then purchasing solar installation now may give you a great return on investment when you’re ready to move.
6. It Lasts a Long Time
A solar panel system has a long lifespan. A homeowner can expect their panels to still be functional decades after having them installed. Without any moving parts involved with solar energy, there’s no wear and tear.
Most companies offer warranties of up to 25 years on the equipment which speaks to its longevity. The industry is also staying on top of the latest technology which means solar panels are likely to become even more efficient in the near future.
7. It’s Easy to Maintain
Solar panels involve very little maintenance once they’re installed.
The biggest DIY job a solar energy system owner will experience is having to keep the panels clean so the sun’s rays can properly penetrate them. This cleaning usually only needs to be done a few times a year, and it involves keeping them free of debris such as pine needles, leaves, and dirt.
Alternatively, you can hire solar panel cleaners to do the job for you and expect to pay from $50 to $75.
The system’s inverter is usually the only component that needs to be replaced. This will be done every five to ten years to ensure the system is properly converting solar energy to electrical energy.
8. You’ll Never Run Out
Unlike fossil fuels which have a limited supply, you’re unlikely to run out of the sun’s energy. Utility companies may merge or go out of business and fossil fuels may not exist in future years. But as long as the sun keeps shining, you can expect to enjoy solar energy.
9. Installation Is Easy
The actual installation process for solar panels is quick. Most solar energy systems can be installed in a day or a few days at the most.
With so many solar companies out there, it’s easy to obtain some quotes and do research to find the right one for the job. All solar conversions begin with a consultation to determine if your property is a good fit for solar energy. A consultant will look at your home’s exposure to the sun and angle of your roof and take measurements.
It does take time from the initial consultation to the actual installation date. Design approval once you sign with a solar company can take anywhere from one to three weeks. A permit will also need to be secured for the company to install the project.
Your city or county is also required to inspect the panels before they can be connected to the electrical grid.
Your best bet is to ask for quotes from a few solar companies and ask for estimations on how long the entire process may take.
10. It Creates American Jobs
Converting to solar provides job security for the 242,000 Americans who work in the industry. The news is even better for American veterans, who enjoy a higher-than-average employment rate in solar companies.
Solar energy contributes $17 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Residents and business owners that buy solar installations are helping to keep solar employees busy and enable the industry to create new jobs for American workers.
There Are Numerous Benefits of Solar Panels
For many people, the many benefits of solar panels outnumber the cons, which can include a high price and the fact that not every residence qualifies for an installation. Solar panel installation is showing no signs of slowing down, and should increase as more homeowners realize what an economical and environmentally friendly addition it is to their home.
Here at It’s Getting Hot In Here, we enjoy bringing you content that helps you live an abundant, healthy, and ethical lifestyle. Visit our latest go green posts for more insight on how you can help the environment by making changes to your home and lifestyle.