A decade ago, most people went solar to reduce their environmental footprint. Solar panels were expensive and unattractive. Over the last 10 years, the cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically making solar a great investment and a reliable, low maintenance source of energy. Today, there are a number of reasons for homeowners to switch to solar. Here is a list of the top eight benefits of installing solar panels on your home.
1. Reduce or eliminate your electricity bills
Many homeowners decide to switch to solar energy because they want to eliminate their electricity bill. Homeowners on average spend more than $1,000 per year on electricity. Solar panels last for 25+ years saving you more than $25,000! Investing in solar panels for your home saves you money and can eliminate a major expense.
How much you save with solar depends on many factors, including how much energy you currently consume, the configuration of your roof, and availability of sunlight in your region. However, the rate you currently pay to your electric utility is the most important factor in savings. (We’ve made it simple to analyze all these factors and accurately estimate how much you could save here.)
2. Protect against rising energy prices
Over the last decade, electricity price rose 3% and can be unpredictable, which can make budgeting difficult. Going solar can empower you not only save money today, but protect yourself from rising energy prices tomorrow. Whether you own or lease your solar system, you can take the anxiety out of your utilities and lock in your electricity rate for the next 25+ years. No longer do you have to be at the mercy of monopolistic utilities! Whether you are retired and living on a fixed income, or buying your first house and hoping to start planning for retirement, solar lets you lock in a predictable, low rate.
3. Take advantage of government incentives
Solar power has growth rapidly over the past 10 years due in large part to government incentives on the national, state and local level. In 2008, the federal government introduced a solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) equal to 30% of the total cost of a solar panel system. The ITC reduces the federal income tax liability of the solar panel owner. Don’t have tax liability? Don’t worry, you can still benefits from this incentive. If you choose to lease the panels through a PPA, the owner of the system can claim the tax credit and pass the savings on to you by charging you a lower fixed rate. Many states, municipalities, and utilities also provide incentives for residents to go solar either through similar state income tax credits, rebates, or production based incentives. To learn which solar incentives you qualify for, check out your city and state here or try our free solar calculator.
4. Guarantee a great return on investment
Investment-savvy homeowners not only go solar for the long term savings, but also view solar as a safe, lucrative investment. Buying a solar panel system requires a significant upfront cost, but will deliver reliable returns in the form of electricity savings over the 25+ year life of the system. The average system pays for itself in less than eight years and supplies free electricity for another 17+ years. By investing in a solar panel system, homeowners can see returns on investment (ROI) of 20% or higher, rivaling those of stocks and bonds. You can calculate your ROI by dividing your annual electric bill savings by the net upfront cost of the system.
5. Increase the value of your house
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) researched homes with solar power, and found that these houses sold for more than houses without solar. In fact, installing solar panels on your roof can increase the value of your home by 3-4%. The study also found that the increase in home value was greater than the cost of the solar system. Other studies suggest that houses with solar sell twice as fast as comparable. Home buyers clearly value not having to pay for electricity! (However, the observed increase in home value only applies to purchasing a system.)
6. Create a lot of high paying, local jobs
Setting up a solar panel system for your home requires someone coming to your house and installing the panels on your property. Solar workers must be local to your community. And jobs in solar are high paying! The average wages for solar workers are above the national median of $17.04 per hour. Many of these jobs are well suited to middle class, blue collar workers transitioning from other industries and don’t require a college or advanced degree. Solar jobs are growing at 17 times the rate of all other jobs in the US, and solar now employs more workers than fossil fuel utilities. One out of every 50 new US jobs in 2016 was in the solar industry. Solar is bringing high paying, manufacturing and construction jobs back to the US.
7. Achieve energy independence
In addition to creating jobs for hardworking Americans, solar increases your energy independence from the grid. The sun is almost an infinite source of energy that could power the whole world many times over. Harnessing this vast resource and coupling it with battery storage could allow you to break free from the grid and be energy independent. You wouldn’t have to worry about grid failures and maintenance, power outages, or severe weather. Going solar also helps the US achieve energy independence. The US is currently at the mercy of global energy markets, but generating solar power in the US frees us from unpredictable foreign markets.
8. Reduce pollution and save water
Fossil fuel power plants are notorious for producing toxic chemicals that can lead to detrimental human health effects, as well as large amounts of carbon pollution. Mining for coal and fracking for natural gas can also pollute water supplies and release dangerous toxins. Solar power doesn’t produce any toxic pollutants or greenhouse gases, greatly reducing our carbon footprint and improving health. Additionally, solar panels do not require water to produce energy unlike coal and natural gas power plants that consume large amounts of water to produce energy. Solar power is undoubtedly better for the environment and better for your health.