There are many pros of solar energy that can directly benefit you, your home or business, and your energy bills. Here are some of the advantages of solar energy that often appeal to consumers:
- Solar energy cost savings
- Solar availability
- Variety of options
- Home improvements and increased resale value
- Sustainability and green energy
1. Solar energy can reduce your energy bills
Of course, one of the most enticing pros of solar panels is financial energy savings. “You can think of a solar rooftop as a low-risk long-term investment that generally provides a high return on investment (ROI),” said Joshua M. Pearce, PhD, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Director of the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab at Michigan Technological University.
And since the cost of solar panels has come down so much, the gap between solar energy savings and traditional energy costs continues to widen. This is especially true for states that often have high electricity rates, like Hawaii. Consider your states monthly electricity rates to estimate how much solar could save you on energy bills.
Depending on where you live, the solar return on investment can be a very appealing advantage to investing in solar. “On my home system, my ROI is greater than 10 percent, and if you live somewhere sunnier you could do even better,” said Pearce.
There are also solar tax incentives and rebates to consider. The solar federal tax incentive offers a credit of 26 percent of the total cost of a home solar system. Additionally, the average residential solar system normally pays for itself within 6 – 9 years. This payback period marks the break even point, so after this time your solar savings will continue even after you’ve made back your initial investment.
2. Solar energy is widely available
Home solar panels are becoming more common in many states, especially as the total price of solar panels drops. With the rise in popularity comes an increase in solar panel installation companies offering services throughout the country. What’s more, most U.S. homes are located in areas that receive enough sunshine to benefit from solar panels. “Satellite surveys show that 80 percent of homes could get at least a decent amount of energy from solar electric panel systems on rooftops,” explained Hannah Wiegard at Ipsun Solar, a residential and commercial solar panels installer. As home solar systems continue to grow in numbers, the availability of solar installers and solar products will become even more accessible for consumers.
3. Solar energy is versatile
There are many different brands and types of solar panels that can meet a variety of needs and wishes. This includes aesthetic requirements, since many consumers want low-profile solar panels that can’t be seen from the ground. Additionally, some solar panel companies use an aluminum frame that produces more energy when there is low light or poor weather, making solar panels more efficient for homes that don’t get direct sunlight.
Bi-facial solar panels capture sunlight from both the front and the back of the panel. “The bi-facial nature of these panels can allow them to produce energy from sunlight captured from the sun above, but also additional energy from the reflection off of lower surfaces,” said Brandon Weiss is the Chief Innovation Officer at Dvele, which builds customizable homes. Weiss explained these panels can be used for building projections, overhangs, and patio roofs.
4. Solar energy can improve your home’s value
Solar panels can also benefit the overall wellbeing of your roof. “Solar protects the roof investment by shielding the roof from the harmful UV sun light and weather elements that can deteriorate the roof and shorten its life expectancy,” said Andrew Carr at Harvest Power, a solar energy design and installation firm. According to Carr, solar also insulates your home, keeping it a little cooler in the summer and warmer during winter months.
Installing a solar system on your roof also increases your home’s resale value. According to the Department of Energy, a functioning solar panel system can increase your home’s value by up to $15,000. This could completely cover the upfront cost of the solar system if you ever move or sell your home.
5. Solar energy is sustainable
Solar energy is a renewable resource. Unlike fossil fuels such as oil and gas, energy generated by the sun is a natural and sustainable power source. Solar power is also a green energy source because solar panels do not emit harmful greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere.
Sustainability is a major advantage to solar energy. “You can help the world out by providing energy to your family and your neighbors that is clean and nearly maintenance-free,” said Abe Fouhy, who teaches Renewable Energy courses at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, OR.
While there is some discussion about the impact of solar panels on the environment, solar power is a much more sustainable power source compared to traditional fossil fuels. Many consumers choose to invest in solar because they want to reduce their carbon footprint.