Did you know that solar installation costs have gone down by over 70% throughout the last ten years? Experts also estimate further dips in pricing in the following years.
All that should be enough reason to switch to solar as soon as possible. Besides, if you live in California and want to build a new home, there’s a law requiring you to install solar panels.
However, there’s much more to solar than shrinking prices and legal responsibilities. This guide lists the top benefits and reasons to go solar this year, so be sure to read on.
1. Small Carbon Footprint
Carbon footprint is the sum of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a person or object generates. GHGs include carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). They’re crucial to life on Earth because they trap heat, preventing the planet from being too cold.
The problem is that human activities are making those gases more abundant. That increase is the primary driver of global warming.
Fossil fuel-based electricity, in turn, is a leading GHG generator.
For example, gas-fired power plants emit 400 grams per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of GHGs. Coal-fired plants can also emit 200 g/kWh. By contrast, solar photovoltaics have an average life-cycle emission of only 25 to 32 g/kWh.
As you can see, solar’s footprint is but a fraction of that of fossil fuels. Hence, it contributes less to global warming.
2. No Combustion Pollutants
Solar panels generate power by absorbing the sunlight’s energy. That absorbed energy creates electrical charges, which an electrical field forces to move. That movement, in turn, causes electricity to flow, supplying you with the power you need for your home.
On the other hand, generating electricity from fossil fuels involves combustion. That process creates GHGs and pollutants, such as particulate matter (PM). PM is a significant contributor to polluted air, which 40% of the US population breathes.
When you switch to solar power, you get to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. The fewer fossil fuels that get burned, the fewer pollutants they add to the air.
3. Can Help Reduce Acid Rain
Nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides are other gases generated by combustion. When released into the air, they can travel hundreds of miles with the help of the wind. They can then mix with precipitation, forming acid rain.
Acid rain can pollute water and reduce its pH level to the point of becoming very acidic. Acidic water can inhibit the growth of or kill marine life, including their offspring.
Acid rain can also kill agricultural plants and even damage building materials. For instance, it can corrode your home’s metal components.
The good news is that solar power doesn’t produce the gases that form acid rain. After all, generating this renewable energy source doesn’t involve combustion.
4. Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels
Renewable energies, including solar and wind power, have become the cheapest power sources. A recent study even found that they cost less than the least-expensive new fossil fuels.
So, why keep using fossil fuel-based electricity if it’s burning a hole in your pockets?
5. Made Even Cheaper by Tax Incentives
The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) reduces the taxes you owe the government. It’s a dollar-per-dollar reduction based on your total qualified solar cost. Solar power and solar thermal systems are eligible for this program.
For solar installations placed in service throughout 2022, the credit amounts to 26%. So if you spend $15,000 to install your solar panels and use them this 2022, you can get a tax credit of $3,900 (26% x $15,000). That $3,900 then gets deducted from your total income tax liabilities.
Act fast, though, as the federal ITC drops to 22% in 2023. It then expires in 2024 unless Congress decides to extend it again.
Aside from the federal tax credit, your state may be running a separate incentive. An example is New York, offering residents who invest in new solar equipment a 25% tax credit. Unlike the federal ITC that doesn’t have a cap, the one in NY does, though, but it’s still a hefty $5,000.
Don’t forget about solar sales and property tax exemptions. Twenty-five states offer the former, while 36 have the latter.
6. Reduce or Eliminate Electricity Bills
Install enough high-efficiency panels, and you might get to eliminate your electricity bills. At the very least, they’re sure to save you money, regardless of their quantity or efficiency.
If you want high-quality panels, though, you might want to try Blue Raven Solar, SunPower, or LG Solar. These companies manufacture high-quality, high-efficiency solar equipment with lengthy warranties.
7. Beat Power Outages
So long as you have a solar generator and battery, you can keep your home lit during an outage. You want to invest in those accessories, seeing as hundreds of blackouts occur in the US each year.
A solar generator is much like a traditional generator, except it uses the sun to generate power. On the other hand, a solar battery can store energy, giving you a backup power source for later use. So if the outage lasts into the night, you can switch to the battery to keep your home illuminated.
8. Make Your Home More Valuable
With a long list of benefits, it’s not surprising that solar panels can increase home value. According to real estate experts, solar energy systems can boost house values by an average of 4.1%.
So, aside from saving you money in the long run, solar panels can also raise your home’s resale value. For the same reason, they can help you build more equity. That can be useful if you ever need to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC).
Make the Switch to Solar ASAP
There you have it, all the benefits and reasons you should switch to solar this year, if not today. While it may cost you thousands upfront, you can recoup your expenses in less than ten years.
Thankfully, solar panels last for 25 years or even longer. That means you have at least 15 years to save and make money off them.
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