Energy keeps our homes running smoothly.
Without it, we’d struggle to stay warm in the winter, and our food would spoil.
Electricity keeps your home safe and efficient.
Modern conveniences rely on energy.
Unfortunately, electricity generates carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses that pollute the planet.
Most people don’t want to return to an old-fashioned way of living with little to no electricity.
While there may be many ways a person can reduce their carbon footprint, energy independence is also a fantastic solution.
Let’s explore how solar power can alter your carbon footprint and give you energy independence!
What Is Energy Independence?
Having independence means you don’t have to rely on the power company or other fossil fuels.
Many people like the sound of a wholly self-reliant and self-sustaining power system.
It is possible for your home to become more eco-friendly and to break away from traditional power methods.
What Is the Cost of Energy Dependence?
You’re bound to its prices, requirements, and regulations when dependent on your local power company.
Before you determine whether solar power is right for you, let’s check out the cost of being dependent on traditional power.
The Cost of Your Bills
The average American household electric bill is $114 a month, with most electricity prices spiking in the summer and winter.
With the Ukraine crisis, utility prices are skyrocketing in the US.
In New York, for example, 1.3 million people are behind on utility bills.
Most people have difficulty with their utility bills, and as the prices continue to rise, many Americans may seek sustainable options like energy independence.
In the meantime, there are ways to reduce your utility bills.
For instance, energy-efficient appliances save money.
Be sure to check the Energy Star on all devices before purchasing.
Appliances that receive the yellow Energy Star label meet energy-efficiency requirements.
You can also update your home to increase energy efficiency.
For example, air may escape your home during extreme temperatures if you have older, poor-quality windows.
When the air escapes, your heating and cooling system works harder to keep your home comfortable.
When it comes to your cost of living, saving on your electric bill helps you afford other necessities, such as food and medical expenses.
Even if you have all of your needs covered, every person can benefit from savings.
The Impact of Your Carbon Footprint
Your carbon footprint is how much greenhouse gas you generate.
Individuals in the US have the highest carbon footprint in the world.
The average American’s carbon footprint is 16 tons of greenhouse gas.
The global carbon footprint needs to drop below two tons to help the environment.
You can better lower your carbon footprint by calculating it with a carbon calculator.
With energy independence, you can limit your impact on the environment.
Your Power Companies’ Control
Unfortunately, the power company sets rates those connected to the grid must follow, regardless of whether they rise or fall.
If past utility costs are any predictor, those costs may only grow soon.
And if there are scheduled blackouts, you’ll be without power during the outage.
With solar, you don’t have to rely on your electric company.
What Are the Benefits of Energy Independence?
One way to get out from under the energy company’s control is to install a solar power system.
Solar energy comes with various benefits for all families.
Let’s have a look!
Boosted Property Value
Upgrades to your home can significantly increase your property’s value.
For instance, if you were to add landscaping, finish your basement, or renovate the kitchen, the price of your home could skyrocket.
Use the same logic with installing solar panels.
Energy independence is considered an upgrade to your current property.
Homebuyers may pay about $15,000 extra for a home with solar power.
The size and type of system you install can also change the overall value of your home.
For example, if you have a wholly energy-independent house, it may sell for more.
Appraising your home before and after the installation can give you a clear picture of the difference in value.
Enhanced Local Economy
The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing industries.
Over the last decade, the sector has risen at about 33% annually.
In 2020, over 230,000 Americans worked in the industry, and as solar power increases in popularity, the workforce will also increase.
When you invest in solar, you invest in your family, home, and local economy.
Attainable Tax Credits
Energy independence can save you on your annual tax bill.
You receive a tax credit when you install a new system.
Additionally, there is no cap on how much you can claim on your taxes.
For larger systems, you may receive a higher tax credit.
When claiming a solar power system, you cannot claim a system unless the original equipment is installed.
It needs to be new or at least used for the first time.
The costs included in the claims also include contractor labor, energy storage devices, sales tax, and balance-of-system equipment.
In some cases, your utility provider may also offer you subsidies.
You calculate the utility rebate before you calculate your tax credits.
Utility companies or other buyers may sometimes provide you with cash or incentives as taxable income.
Consistent Supply of Energy
With solar and a battery backup system, you have peace of mind, especially during emergencies.
Extended power outages can occur for various reasons, including:
- Hot and cold temperatures
- Natural disasters
- Planned blackouts
During the outage, your community may suffer from a lack of water, transport, and communication.
At home, your food may spoil, or your medical devices may not operate properly.
When you need it the most, having consistent energy empowers you to help your neighbors during a crisis.
You can help your neighbors and friends keep food from spoiling and charge their phones and other devices.
And you can rest easy with your family during a blackout, watching TV with a roaring fireplace.
How Can You Go Solar for Energy Independence?
As solar power rises in popularity, it will become more attainable for everyone.
If you’re considering giving energy independence a chance, here are a few steps to prepare for solar energy.
Assess Your Property
A building inspector can determine if your roof is sound enough for the solar panel installation.
Installing solar arrays takes a lot of roofing space.
Make sure you check the condition of your roofing materials before installation.
If you require any repairs, complete them before you install the panels.
If you want to postpone any roof repairs, you have to remove the panels later.
It takes less time and effort to fix the roof before the installation.
Consider adding a separate cabinet or nook to house your battery before installing the panels.
Prepare Your Home
Before adding solar panels, prep your home for energy independence by making it more efficient.
For windows, add a protective film to increase energy efficiency.
Other ideas include:
- Install smart thermostats
- Replace HVAC filters
- Purchase a rain barrel
- Check for attic leaks
- Add insulation to drafty rooms
You may need to make additional preparations depending on if you plan to use an off-grid system or connect to the electrical grid.
Install Your System
Once you receive your system, unbox it carefully and check for damage or missing parts.
Some companies have a 24-hour window to submit shipping claims, so note the timeframe.
When unboxing, check the materials against the packing list.
Consider whether you should hire a professional to help you install your system.
If you install the panels on your own, keep safety a top priority.
Solar installation requires electrical work and heavy lifting.
Many owners also have to climb on their roofs.
Wear appropriate protective equipment during installation.
It makes no sense to gain energy independence at the expense of your health and safety.
Remove any metallic jewelry and wear long sleeves to protect your skin from concrete.
If you’re working on the roof, you should use a roof anchor and harness.
No matter the job, always wear eye protection and close-toed boots.
How Do You Maintain Solar Panels?
To get the most out of your solar panels, expect some maintenance.
Fortunately, solar panels generally require little upkeep to produce energy.
You will most likely need to clean dirt and debris from the panels.
After storms, for example, debris may build up.
Clean the panels regularly to ensure you have adequate access to sunlight.
Annual Maintenance Requirements
Plan to have your system inspected at least once per year.
If a problem does develop, you can catch it early with the help of a professional.
Homeowners who live in an area with little rain may need to have their solar panels cleaned twice a year.
However, if you live in a place with rain, the water may wash away most debris.
Signs of a Maintenance Need
Schedule a maintenance appointment as soon as possible whenever you notice an issue.
One of the most common signs your system requires maintenance is reduced energy output.
If you are still on the grid, you may notice your electricity bill go up suddenly.
Often, one of the causes of malfunctions is internal corrosion.
If you don’t have the components of your solar panel protected, water or air may enter the panel.
Additionally, faulty wiring and loose connections may cause problems with your electricity production.
If you have a lot of birds in your area, they may cause some minor problems to your electricity production.
For example, a bird may nest under the panels or perch on your roof.
Over the years, your inverter may begin to show signs of wear.
You may have to change the inverter every 10 to 15 years.
Solar Panel Warranty Requirements
Sometimes warranties put rules on the type of maintenance you need throughout the life of your solar system.
Make sure you read the warranty closely to ensure that none of your actions or lack of maintenance voids the agreement.
Unbound from Your Power Company
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of energy independence and want to reduce your family’s carbon footprint, Unbound Solar can help you achieve a more eco-conscious lifestyle.
We are an employee-owned company that understands what a green future looks like.
Contact us today to learn more about how your family can gain independence!