You might hear a lot about solar energy. You might even recognize that it’s generally a good initial step in creating a greener home and business. But other than that, what do you really know about the benefits of solar energy? If the answer is “not much,” then you’re in the right place.
Besides being green-friendly, which is a pretty basic summary, just what are the benefits of solar energy? In this ultimate guide, Unbound Solar breaks down all the benefits of solar energy. Once you understand the countless and often compounding advantages of using a renewable energy source and solar technology, you will wish to install solar energy systems on your own home or business. While there are both pros and cons of solar panels, the benefits of solar energy outweigh everything. Let’s explore in detail some of the numerous advantages of solar energy.
Solar Energy Is a Renewable Energy Source
Our dependence on non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, is not healthy — for us or the environment! It takes enormous amounts of energy and resources just to retrieve these non-renewable resources from the earth and turn them into a form of energy we can use on a global scale.
Aside from the compounding effects nonrenewable resources have on climate change, it’s important to remember these resources will eventually deplete. And when they do, we will have to turn to more renewable resources, like solar power, wind power and more. This is why it’s critical we begin making the switch to renewable energy resources, like the sun and wind, as soon as possible. If not for our own convenience and way of life, then at least for the environment.
Solar Energy Produces Low Emissions
Another major benefit of solar energy is it puts out extremely low carbon emissions. High greenhouse gas emissions, which are often attributed to burning fossil fuels, are just one of the many ways non-renewable resources are harming our environment. But solar energy emission rates are almost non-existent. This is because solar panels themselves do not create emissions while being used in a home or business and a very minimal amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The only reason they are considered low emissions and not zero-emission is due to their manufacturing and transportation.
Research conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found solar power produces roughly 40g CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. In contrast, coal power plants put out over 1,000g CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour and natural gas, while significantly less, still generates emissions of 400g CO2 eq per kWh. Simply put: These nonrenewable fossil fuel resources are simply no match to the low carbon emission generated by solar power and solar energy.
Solar Energy Gains Tax Credits, Rebates and Other Incentives
One of the best benefits of solar energy is the government incentives like tax credits and rebates that come along with installing solar panels. While there is an upfront investment, many state and federal programs offer some form of monetary relief intended to encourage homeowners and businesses to use solar energy. Knowing what these incentives are and taking advantage of them can reduce your costs and make the initial install and cost of solar panel materials much more appealing.
So what are some of these incentives and tax credits? Let’s break them down:
Solar Investment Tax Credit (also known as the ITC)
As of 2021, this federal tax credit program offers 26 percent of the total solar energy project, including your equipment such as the solar panels, work permits and installation. So when you file your taxes, at the end of the day so-to-speak, you get 26 percent of the total system costs. However, keep in mind, this tax credit percentage does decrease to 22 percent in 2023 and is set to expire for homeowners and residential installs in 2024. So if you are a homeowner with intentions of installing solar panels, it’s time to start considering your next steps and get in touch with Unbound Solar.
Solar Renewable Energy Credits
It’s always a good idea to investigate what kind of solar power and solar energy incentives are offered in your state. However, even if there is not much of a kickback, there are always the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). The SREC essentially allows you to earn and sell back credits to an energy company for the energy your solar powers produce. In other words, solar-powered homes and businesses in states with SREC markets can reduce their energy costs by selling the SRECs output back to utility companies. The downside of using this method is that the homeowner or businesses can’t claim the space reduces their carbon footprint since it’s technically being sold to someone else.
Solar Energy Reduces the Electric Bill
After the initial investment — and even before you see your tax credits! — you will reap the rewards of solar energy. As soon as you begin using your solar panels, you will notice your energy costs and electric bills drastically reducing. And if you use battery storage to store your solar energy, you can use it as a backup and eventually pay absolutely nothing to the power companies.
Of course, how much you reduce your monthly electric bills and energy costs greatly depends on several factors, such as the number of solar panels you install, where the building resides and how many direct hours of sun it gets daily, the angle and size of the roof, and of course how much energy your family or businesses uses. Not sure what size or number of solar panels you need? Explore our entire collection of solar kits for sale to find the perfect grid system for your energy needs.
Solar Panels Offer a Good ROI
Solar panel systems are designed to fit the structure of a specific roof, so if you want to move, it’s not something you can take with you. However, there’s still good news! Solar panels can improve your home or business’s market value. According to research by the Lawrence Berkeley National Library, homes with solar energy had a higher market value of $14,329 on average. Compared to non-solar homes, this is a 3.74 percent increase. So, installing solar panels does offer a decent return of investment when it comes to the resale of a home or business. Why? Because buyers see solar panels and solar homes as an upgrade. The work is already done for them, like a finished basement or a newly remodeled kitchen space.
Solar Installation Adds an Extra Layer of Protection
Solar energy is a good investment for your home or business, but there’s also one little-known benefit that often goes unmentioned: it can add an extra protective layer to your roof. Concealed by a solar panel grid system, your roof is protected from elements like hail, snow, rain or any other kind of debris like branches.
In addition, installing this extra solar panel system to your roof creates an insulative-like layer, making the home or business even more energy-efficient. On warmer days, when the solar panels absorb the sun’s bright rays, they get the energy boost they need. But your solar panels can also help maintain your home’s interior temperature.
Solar Energy Is Drought-Resistant and Reduces Water Usage
Aside from fossil fuels, there are many other energy sources, like hydropower and nuclear energy, that rely on water. Power plants require tons of water for cooling and producing electricity. And to supply them with the water are dams, which alone can impact the local ecosystem and cause their own environmental issues. In heat-wave-prone areas like California, where water is scarce and hydropower may be used, energy and electric bills can rise significantly and even put pressure on electricity generation and the power grid.
However, when you use solar energy, you don’t have to rely on this water consumption and you never have to worry about droughts. Essentially, solar energy is drought-resistance, harnessing the power of the sun instead without putting unnecessary strain on the water supply. In turn, by reducing a region’s reliance on hydropower and groundwater abstraction, water can be sent where it’s needed most — toward food production.
Furthermore, turning these nonrenewable resources into energy using water and dams often pollutes local waterways, soils and groundwater. Ultimately, these polluted waters, which are already scarce, can seep into our foods too.
Solar Energy is Ideal for Remote Locations
If you have a home or business totally off-grid, solar energy is ideal. Without relying on a power grid, you can simply install solar panels and maintain your own energy via an off-grid solar system. Whether you have a tiny house in the middle of the Montana wilderness or a large adobe ranch in the middle of the New Mexico deserts, solar energy can ensure your appliances and energy is always up and running. Offering a solar energy substitute also reduces the dependence on fuel-based lighting, which can create poor indoor air quality and cause long-term health problems.
Furthermore, living remote and off-grid isn’t always a choice. In underdeveloped countries that don’t have access to electricity, solar energy isn’t just a political or environmental decision — it’s a vital one. Take India for example. India has set a goal to generate 160 gigawatts by 2022 using solar power energy, which will also create roughly 330,000 jobs. In expanding this solar energy access across the region, it is now estimated 42 percent of new renewable energy comes directly from East Asia. Just to be clear, this 42 percent is not for India and East Asia alone — it’s the total new renewable energy created across the globe.
Using solar energy in remote locations and underdeveloped areas is relatively easy too. With an adequately-sized battery storage, you can gather all the energy you collect from solar panels to get you through days, weeks or even months during the off-peak season when the sun might not be in the most optimal position.
Solar Energy Creates Jobs
Like we demonstrated with India’s solar power energy goals, solar energy and solar technology creates jobs. But does it work the same way in a developed nation? One of the biggest arguments against the use of solar energy and renewable resources is it will never provide nearly the number of jobs as fossil fuels. But this argument is a total myth and has since been completely and utterly debunked. In fact, clean energy jobs are already outpacing fossil fuel jobs three to one.
In the U.S., we have seen an energy job boom. Clean energy jobs with high wages are being given to blue-collar workers. According to Business Insider, solar photovoltaic installers could see a 50.5 percent job growth by 2029. And so long as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy strive to meet the demands of homeowners and businesses who insist on using renewable energies, the jobs will continue to grow.
The Advantages of Solar Energy to Combat Climate Change
As you can see, there are many benefits of solar energy, from reducing your home electric bill every month to combating climate change and reducing your carbon footprint with clean energy. Whether you reside in water-scarce regions of California or simply wish to live a more sustainable lifestyle and create a greener home for you and your family, UnboundSolar is here to help you every step of the way.
Explore Unbound Solar’s entire collection of solar panels for sale for homes and businesses. With our solar cost calculator, you can even see how much a solar panel system can save you. When you are ready to start the design of your solar panel system package, reach out for a custom quote. And of course, if you have any questions or need assistance along the way, we are here to help. With solar energy, you can power your way and discover independence through the power of solar.
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