Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource that we have available to us on earth. There are some 173,000 terawatts of solar energy striking the earth continuously, which equates to more than 10,000 times our combined energy use. Solar energy is not technically infinite, though the sun is expected to last for another 7 or 8 billion years so we are covered for the time being at least.
Not only is it abundant and (effectively) infinite, but solar energy is also clean. It stands in direct contrast to fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, which are finite, nonrenewable, and dirty.
In this blog post, we will highlight some of the main benefits of installing a residential solar energy system. We will also highlight all the important information you should know about switching to solar energy. This includes the science behind solar panels, the average installation costs, potential savings, and why now is the best time to make the switch.
What Are the Benefits of a Solar Energy System?
More and more homeowners in the United States are choosing to make the switch and install a solar energy system on their property, for a host of good reasons.
One recent study found that almost half of homeowners say they are strongly considering installing solar panels. There are many reasons for the increased public interest in solar energy in the US.
When most people think about solar energy, they see it as a clean alternative to fossil fuels (which it certainly is). However, there is so much more going for solar energy than just the important environmental considerations. Let’s take a closer look at the main benefits of a solar energy system.
Save On Your Home’s Energy Bills
For most people who make the switch to solar energy, the potential cost savings are the driving reason. Later on, we’ll take a look at how much homeowners can save on their energy bills when they install solar panels on their property.
Right now, it’s worth highlighting that this amount can run into the tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the 25-plus year lifespan of a solar panel system.
By installing solar panels on your property, you can experience greater independence from the grid. You can also avoid rising electricity prices. Solar panels can help you to effectively wipe out your monthly energy bill or at the very least, substantially reduce it.
Save With Tax Credits
If you act soon, this is a great benefit of switching to solar energy. There exist both state and federal tax incentives to help homeowners reduce the upfront costs of installing solar panels on their properties. In addition to the specific state incentives, homeowners can apply for the federal solar tax credit.
Currently, this stands at 26% meaning that homeowners can reduce the cost of a new solar panel system by more than a quarter. If you have been reluctant to opt for solar panels to the upfront costs, take note of the federal tax incentive and any state incentives that are available to you.
The 26% federal solar tax credit is due to expire at the end of 2022. While it is possible that it (or another similar tax credit) will be continued by the Biden administration from 2023 onwards, now is the best time to install solar panels and take full advantage of the tax credit.
We recommend that you contact Blue Raven Solar, the best solar company in the US, for more information. Click here to contact about rebates.
Boost Your Home’s Property Value
It is a fact that houses with solar panels sell for a higher premium than comparable houses without solar panels. This is because solar panels are viewed as a home improvement project, similar to kitchen renovations or a finished basement.
Studies show that solar panels on a property can boost its value by around $15,000. Of course, it’s easy to see why prospective buyers would be more interested in properties with solar panels than those without. In the competitive property market, solar panels can make it easier for homeowners to sell when the time comes.
Earn Credits Through Net Metering
If net metering is available in your state, it can help you to further reduce your home’s monthly energy bill. Net metering allows homeowners to effectively sell their excess electricity to the main grid in exchange for credits. You can then use these credits to offset the cost of any electricity that you use from the grid.
With net metering, you will experience a better return on investment and a shorter payback period.
Make the Most of Your Electric Car
Solar panels have become increasingly mainstream in recent years. More than 130,000 residential solar panel systems were installed in the US in Q3 of 2021 alone (a national record). Alongside solar panels, electric cars have become more and more popular among the general public in recent years.
A number of states have already passed legislation that will ban the sale of combustion-engined cars by 2035. It is expected that many more states will follow suit in the coming years. Electric cars are becoming more affordable and reliable with longer driving ranges and shorter charging times.
However, if an electric car is using electricity that has been generated from fossil fuels, it isn’t having the positive effect on the environment that it could. Electric cars can be charged with the electricity created from solar panels, which is a cleaner and more cost-effective option.
Charging an electric car using electricity created from solar panels is cheaper than paying for electricity from the main grid or at public charging stations.
Help Protect the Environment
When it comes to environmental impact, solar energy is a far more optimal resource than fossil fuels. There are a great many environmental benefits to installing solar panels compared to using fossil fuels, which include:
- Reduce air pollution
- Reduce water pollution
- Reduce hazardous waste
- Cut the need for nonrenewable resources
- Mitigates climate change
If you and your family are conscious of your carbon footprint and the need to protect the planet for future generations, then solar panels are certainly the way to go. Each solar panel system that is installed reduces our dependence on fossil fuels.
How Do Solar Panels Actually Work?
Now that we understand the benefits of solar panels, let’s take a deeper dive into how they actually work. While the actual process is somewhat scientific, the reality is that solar panels are incredibly easy to operate.
Each solar panel is constructed of photovoltaic cells (also known as silicon cells) as well as a glass casing, a metal frame, wiring, and an inverter. For residential properties in the US, solar panels are best located on the south-facing side of a roof where they have the highest power output.
Each of the aforementioned photovoltaic cells works as a semiconductor and has two layers (one which is positively charged and another that is negatively charged. When photons from the sun hit these cells, they energize and create an electric field.
Within the semiconductor wafer, electrons are set into motion and this creates an electric current. The inverter will convert the direct current electricity into alternating current electricity. This is used to power electrical items within the home.
Solar panels require very little maintenance and last for 25-plus years, which makes them an excellent long-term investment for homeowners.
What Is the Average Cost of Solar Panels?
There are a number of factors that will determine the exact cost of solar panel installation, which we will consider below. Right now, we can at least give the average cost for the US as a whole.
According to Solar Reviews, the average cost of installing solar panels is somewhere between $16,000 and $20,000. This is before the federal solar tax credit (and any applicable state incentives) are factored in.
Based on the current cost, homeowners are able to pay off the upfront cost of installation within 4 to 8 years. As we have noted, the long lifespan of solar panels means that homeowners stand to save thousands of dollars on their energy bills with solar panels.
What Are the Factors That Determine Solar Panel Installation Costs?
The main consideration will be the size of your solar panel system. This will depend on the size of your property, the number of people who live there, and current energy usage. Homes that use more electricity will need a large solar panel system to meet their energy needs.
Many properties will find that a solar panel system of between 4 kW and 6 kW will be sufficient, though both smaller and larger systems are available.
Another consideration will be your property’s location. Solar panels installed in the southeast of the US will be more efficient than those in the northwest, for example, given the difference in sunlight hours. Also with regard to location, available state incentives and local market conditions will play a role in determining installation costs.
There exists 3 different tiers when it comes to solar panels. Tier 1 is the least expensive option though it will not be as efficient as the other tiers. By comparison, Tier 3 is the premium option. Your choice of tier will play a role in the upfront cost of solar panels, as will the specific manufacturer.
How Much Can You Save On Energy Bills With Solar?
The above factors will not only impact the upfront cost but also on the actual potential savings of solar panels. Here, we will focus on Larimer County, home to Fort Collins in the state of Colorado, as an example.
After adding in the 26% federal solar tax credit, a 5.6 kW solar system would cost between $9,500 and $11,500. The payback period is between 8 and 10 years. The net profit, which is the savings less the cost of the system, is between $20,000 and $25,000.
As is evident, this is a significant saving on energy bills over the lifetime of the solar panels. For an accurate breakdown of installation costs and potential savings depending on the location of your property, we recommend that you speak to a local solar panel installation company.
Why Is Now the Right Time to Make the Switch?
Let’s take a quick rundown and look at why right now is the best time to make the switch.
If you are considering making the switch to solar, the 26% federal solar tax credit will once again be available in 2022. Given that it is due to expire shortly, homeowners stand to save more money by taking advantage of this credit while it is available.
The cost of solar panels has been steadily decreasing in recent decades. In the past 10 years, the cost of installing solar panels has decreased by more than 70%.
Given that electricity prices are continuing to rise, you can protect yourself from future price increases by installing a residential solar panel system on your property.
Discover the Benefits of Solar Panels for Yourself
As the above article highlights, there are a host of amazing benefits to solar energy. If you are a smart homeowner that looking to save money, power new technologies, and protect the environment, then solar panels are absolutely the way to go. For many years, solar panels were seen as the future—it’s safe to say that the future has arrived and that solar panels are going to become more and more popular among US homeowners.
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