Solar has been at the forefront of the “clean energy” revolution, which has been slowly unfolding over the past decade, and has been particularly effective. There are more than 2 million solar energy installations in the United States, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, according to a report released in 2019. Afterwards, they predicted that by the end of 2021, there would be 3 million solar power installations across the country.
Solar energy is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the country, and we are on track to surpass that figure in the coming years.
How does it all work, and should you get on board with the bandwagon, which will hopefully be powered by solar energy as well? Yes, you absolutely should. But first, let’s take a look at the top benefits of switching to solar energy, which will help us better answer those questions.
See our related article, which compares the Pros and Cons of Solar Energy.
What Are The Advantages Of Solar Energy (And To The Environment)?
- Reduces Your Electricity Bills
- Earns You Tax Credits and Rebates
- Return on Investment
- Energy Independence
- Improves The Value of Your Home
- It’s Readily Available
- It’s a Clean Source of Renewable Energy
1. Reduces your Electricity Bills
Those of you who have had a solar salesperson knock on your door will understand what I’m talking about. However, this time you won’t hear the eager tone that’s almost always accompanied by the promise of a commission in the conversation. Solar energy does, in fact, save you money.
It goes without saying that you will save money by not consuming as much grid electricity as you would have done in the past. It is expected that your solar panels will provide a significant portion of your total energy consumption. Furthermore, if it is generated by panels that you own, it is practically free. As a result, your monthly utility bills will be reduced as a result.
Another way solar energy can save you money is through net metering. Homeowners who have solar panels that generate more electricity than they need can sell the excess to the grid. At the end of the month, the value of the energy sold is applied to the customer’s electricity bill.
Furthermore, it is still possible to save money without having to purchase a single solar panel. How? This is where community solar comes in. Participants in these cutting-edge projects are entitled to a specific share of a solar farm’s total electric output, either through ownership or subscription, depending on their participation level. What methods do they use to save money?
Those who own a stake in the project reap the same benefits as any other solar investor, with the exception that they do not have solar panels installed in their residences or places of business. Subscribers, on the other hand, do not have any ownership rights in the project. Instead, they pay a monthly subscription fee, which is used to purchase solar electricity from the community solar farm at a lower cost per kWh than they would pay if they purchased the electricity from their utility.
Remote Net Metering and Virtual Net Metering will be used to transfer all of the benefits from your solar panels to your home because there are no solar panels physically present at your residence.
2. Earns you Tax Credits and Rebates
Individuals who purchase solar panels can take advantage of a number of incentives provided by the federal government. The federal residential solar energy credit is one of these incentives. Under the terms of this agreement, you will receive a federal income tax credit equal to 26 percent of the total cost of purchasing and installing your solar panel system when you file your taxes.
Tax Credit and Rebates are benefits the government provides when you use renewable energy. In the case of a $20,000 solar system, you will save $3000 in income tax because you will be paying less tax. Despite the fact that you will not receive the money in cash, paying that much less in taxes is a bargain.
This tax credit, on the other hand, will not be available indefinitely. It will be reduced to 22 percent in 2023 and then will expire in 2024 unless Congress decides to extend it until that time period is reached.
Additionally, the Department of Energy outlines the following requirements in order to be eligible for the federal tax credit:
- You are the owner of the solar PV system.
- If you live in the United States, the solar PV system must be installed at your primary or secondary residence.
- It is possible to participate in an off-site community solar program where the electricity generated is credited against and does not exceed your home’s electricity consumption.
- The solar system is either brand new or is being used for the first time in this application.
Following the installation of a solar PV system, depending on your state regulations and your utility provider, you may be eligible for rebates. For example, some utilities offer homeowners who want to install solar panels a subsidy of up to $1,000 in exchange for their business.
3. Return on Investment
In the long run, solar panels are a long-term investment that will pay for itself in 25 to 30 years. Because of the low maintenance requirements, lower cost of solar electricity, federal tax credits, and local rebates, many people who invest in solar panels see a significant return on their investment.
To recoup the 15,000 dollars spent on a solar panel system, it takes an average home approximately 7 to 8 years of savings from solar energy. However, the amount of money saved and the length of time it will take to pay back the loan are determined by a number of important factors. Solar system size, total electricity consumption, local electricity rates, average daily hours of direct sunlight, and average sunlight intensity are some of the variables to take into consideration.
4. Energy Independence
Having a solar panel system installed gives you the ability to operate a mini power plant with a virtually inexhaustible supply of renewable energy resources. Furthermore, because you will be generating your own electricity, you will be less reliant on the grid and will be partially protected from rising energy costs as well as frequent fluctuations in power availability.
What is the significance of this?
Since 2000, the cost of electricity has increased by more than 5% annually on average. Unfortunately, the average consumer has little influence over this trend, which is expected to continue in the coming years.
On the other hand, the cost of solar energy has decreased by more than 70% over the same time period, and it continues to become more affordable as technology improves.
This means that the greater your distance from the power grid, the further you will be from the rising cost of energy.
5. Improves the Value of Your Home
In response to the growing public interest in solar energy and other clean energy sources, the average American is willing to pay more when purchasing a home that already has a solar panel system installed on it. However, you may have heard that it is not a good idea to install a solar panel if you plan to relocate in the near future. If this is the case, read on. In most cases, this is correct; however, if you plan on selling your home before moving out, this may work to your advantage.
According to a study conducted by the, buyers are willing to pay as much as $15,000 in premium for a home that has solar panels installed. If you’re one of the lucky sellers, you’ll receive enough money to receive an immediate return on your investment.
6. It’s Readily Available
One of the most important factors contributing to the increasing popularity of solar energy is the fact that it is readily available. Unless you live in the polar regions, you are likely to receive a significant amount of sunlight for at least a significant portion of the calendar year. And where there is sunlight, there is also solar energy to be found.
Because solar energy is readily available to the average American consumer in most of the country due to the presence of relatively constant sunlight throughout the country. Your task is to slap a couple of gleaming panels on your roof, though you will require the assistance of a professional for both the slapping and the wiring that will follow. After that, you’re free to turn on all of the lights in your house as you please.
Many solar installers, to mention a few, are willing to sell their solar panels on credit to people who can’t afford to pay the initial deposit (approximately $15,000) up front.
Those who cannot afford to install physical solar panels on their homes may be able to participate in a community solar project instead. Over 101 community solar programs are currently operational across the country, catering to renters, condo owners, and those with insufficient solar panels on their roofs.
There are also technologies that could make solar energy more accessible to the general public in the United States. Solar energy harvesting technologies such as integrated photovoltaics and floatovoltaics, which do not require roof space, are among the most promising.
7. It’s a Clean Source of Renewable Energy
The earth’s energy resources are depleting at an alarming rate with each switch flipped, and we will run out of resources very soon. As a result of this realization, as well as the impending energy crisis, there has never been a greater demand for renewable energy sources.
Solar energy is derived from sunlight, which is then converted into electricity or heat by solar-powered systems and appliances. Fortunately, we have approximately 5 billion additional years of sunlight ahead of us. Moreover, given that harnessing an hour of the sun’s energy should be sufficient to power our planet for the next year, we should not run out of solar energy any time in the foreseeable future.
See our related article on the 5 Renewable Energy Sources of the Future for more information. So when will these new energy-generating inventions finally become a reliable source of energy?
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of solar energy is that it accomplishes all of these tasks while remaining environmentally friendly. We also require as much clean energy as we can get our hands on, given the fact that tons of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels like natural gas are literally choking the planet. If this does not happen, humanity and the majority of other species on the planet will be extinct within the next hundred years.
The use of solar energy results in the emission of zero greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As a result, using solar energy allows you to contribute to the fight against climate change.
What are the Drawbacks?
Despite the fact that solar power is a powerful energy source that has a bright future ahead of it, it is not without its drawbacks.
For starters, the total cost of a good solar system, including the cost of purchase and installation, is quite high. Solar energy systems cost between $12,000 and $23,000 in the United States, depending on the size and configuration. It is a significant sum of money to spend, and it is understandable that some families are unable to afford it.
For more information, please see our related article The Disadvantages of Solar Energy, in which we discuss each of the disadvantages and how they affect our planet.
To their advantage, solar panels are becoming more affordable due to increased investment in more energy-efficient technologies by the solar industry. Aside from that, tax breaks and rebates have been put in place to help bring the cost of installing solar panels down.
Solar energy, like all forms of energy, is dependent on sunlight and is therefore unavailable at night and on particularly cloudy and rainy days. Since this is the case, it is not possible to completely disconnect from the grid unless you also have solar batteries installed in your home.
Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of energy in and of itself, but it has been linked to some environmental pollution in the past. The panels are manufactured in industries that use fossil fuels and other toxic substances, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere during the process.