As a homeowner, have you ever thought about using solar power as an alternative energy source? With a 30 percent increase over the last year, solar power continues to be one of the fastest growing energy sources in the United States. Not surprising, residential solar installations continue to soar. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, by early 2014, residential photovoltaic (PV) installations exceeded commercial installations for the first time.
Switching your home over to solar power is an investment, but one that could prove to be beneficial—not just in the long run. Here we’ve come up with a list of top 6 Reasons Why Homeowners Should Go Solar. Hopefully, these reasons will help you decide whether or not to convert your home’s energy system into solar.
1. Solar Saves You Money
If your system is large enough, you can reduce your utility bill to near zero. Depending on the electric utility rates and structure in your area, you can expect to save enough on your bill to pay for the system in 5 to 10 years. (Your system should easily last 20 years.) The value of the system will also increase as electric utility rates increase.
You might think of it as a hedge against future inflation of utility rates. Rates will likely increase with the pressure and regulations required by utility companies to use more environmentally friendly generation methods (i.e. wind, solar, ocean currents, fuel cells).
Another reason homeowners should go solar is to save the environment. The energy that comes from the sun is one of the cleanest forms of energy that can be converted into electricity. Unlike some other forms of energy, solar does not pollute or harm the land, water or animals. (To read about other ways homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint, check out our article on tips to make your home more green.)
3. Solar Energy is Sustainable and Renewable
Just like wind, geothermal, hydropower and tidal power, solar power is sustainable, meaning it has the ability to endure and be productive indefinitely. For energy to be sustainable it needs to meet three requirements: be naturally replenished, improve energy efficiency and be available long term. Solar has been around since the beginning of time, making it a very reliable power source.
As a renewable energy source, solar power can be replenished naturally; it does not harm the environment and has minimal impact to the surrounding environment. What better reason is there to utilize the sun’s energy!
4. Easy Payment Terms are Available
The ability to make payments on your solar system is yet another reason for homeowners to switch to solar. Contractors, utility companies and local governments will finance the system installation, some with very attractive terms.
Another option is a third-party company—the solar provider— who offers to install the system at no cost to you and then sells the power to you at rates less than what you would have paid the utility company.
There are also companies that rent out solar panels with no upfront charge. You pay a monthly rental fee to use the panels. The rental company owns and maintains them.
With any of these options, make sure to carefully look at the contract, in case you decide to move or want out of the deal.
Image Source: Loans
5. Solar Increases the Value of Your Home
There’s no argument that residential PV systems increase the resale value of a home. A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that homes with solar panels sold 20 percent faster than those without solar panels. In addition, homes with a 3.1 kW system add $17,000 to their value.
Image Source: Watson Solar House
6. The Government Will Pay Part of the Cost
Receiving some extra help from Uncle Sam is another reason why homeowners should go solar. The good news is the federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit. (Yes, a tax credit, not a tax deduction, if the system is installed before Dec. 31, 2016). This means you should get your contractor on board by mid 2016. There may also be some state and local utility incentives depending on where you live.
Image Source: Investopedia
So these are our top reasons here at Ivey Engineering why homeowner’s should go solar. Which of the above reasons motivates you to switch to solar? Can you add any others to our list? If so, leave a comment in the section below. For more friendly tips, check out our piece on ways to make your home more green.