By Lauren White.
In just one hour, the amount of sunlight that hits the surface of the earth is enough to handle the energy consumption of the entire world for one year. Throughout the years, inventors have found ways to harness the sun’s energy and convert it into a useful form of energy for homes and buildings – through solar panels.
There are multiple factors to consider when determining if you want to invest in a solar system. For someone who lives in a warm, sunny climate, it seems like an obvious decision, but it’s also important to think about the cost, the weather events you experience, environmental benefits, which system will work best for you, and many more. So, are solar panels worth it?
Have you ever stopped to think how sunlight can be converted into electricity? Well, it all starts with the sun, one of the most important sources of energy. As a natural nuclear reactor, the sun releases photons, tiny packets of energy, that travel 93 million miles to Earth in approximately eight and a half minutes. These photons reach the solar panels on your home or building and are absorbed and stored, turning into useful forms of energy.
So why should you consider using solar energy? Besides helping reduce your overall cost of electricity, there are numerous environmental benefits. These include:
Less water usage – Unlike traditional electricity production, which can use thousands of gallons of water to cool generators and process, refine and transport fuel, solar doesn’t need water to produce electricity.
Decreases air pollution – Solar panels don’t produce carbon dioxide, methane or other harmful gas emissions generated through the production of electricity from fossil fuels, making it one of the cleanest energy forms and helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Reduce reliance on fossil fuels – Solar is a renewable resource, whereas fossil fuels are nonrenewable, meaning they will eventually run out. Solar power reduces our reliance on finite fossil fuels.
Reduces carbon footprint – Solar provides a clean and effective way to make your home more efficient and sustainable while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that’s emitted into the air, thus reducing your carbon footprint.
Solar also benefits the economy because it:
So, are solar panels worth the investment? Below are six reasons to consider installing a solar system:
No sales tax – In some states, purchasing a solar system or solar battery, in addition to the cost of installation, are exempt from sales tax.
Property taxes exemptions – Adding solar panels to your home is considered a renewable energy home improvement. And in some states and municipalities, improvements like these are free of additional property taxes.
Increased home value – The addition of solar panels raises the value of your home or building, making it more enticing to buyers. Solar panels can help you sell 20% faster and help you earn 17% more at closing.
Tax incentives – For solar systems installed on residential/commercial properties in 2020-2022, there is a rebate of 26% offered through the Federal Solar Tax Credit. In 2023, the credit will reduce to 22% for residential/commercial properties and is set to expire in 2024 unless Congress decides to renew it.
Sell your solar energy back – Taking advantage of net metering means that you can sell your excess solar energy to your energy company so your monthly bills get credited. While this requires your solar panels to be connected to a utility grid, your monthly electric bill will decrease.
Energy independence – Installing a solar battery with your solar system allows you to store your excess solar energy for use during power outages, at night or during extreme weather.
There are many factors to consider when deciding if solar panels are right for you or not, including how long you plan to stay in your home, your budget and where you live. As you weigh this decision, reach out to your local roofing contractor to answer additional questions that arise.
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Lauren is the editor for RoofersCoffeeShop and AskARoofer™. When she’s not writing or Googling roofing terminology, she's adventuring with her puppy Kira and watching sunsets. Learn more about her here.
Photo credit: GAF Energy