Top 5 Benefits of Installing Solar
We know making the decision to install solar on your home can be difficult. There are so many options and so many companies out there telling you different things it can be mind-boggling. Believe us, we feel your pain and can truly empathize. That’s why we put together this detailed list of the Benefits of Installing Solar so you can make your decision wisely. Each point is one we truly believe in and once you finish this article we know you will too. If you find a benefit for installing solar on your home that should be listed here – or one that should be removed – please let us know!
1. Reduced or eliminated electricity costs
Reducing your home’s energy usage saves you money, increases your energy protection, and decreases the emissions generated from non-renewable energy sources. If you plan to install a small renewable energy system to generate your own electricity, such as a solar power system or small wind turbine, the first step is to reduce your electricity loads, saving you money by enabling you to buy a smaller system.
There are many ways you can reduce electricity use in your home:
- Appliances and electronics — Buy and effectively run energy-efficient goods. To minimize “vampire loads”—electricity that is lost when devices are not in use, use an advanced power strip.
- Lighting — Buy energy-efficient goods, run them effectively, and use energy-efficient windows and skylights to incorporate more daylight into your home.
- Electric space heating and cooling — Purchase and successfully run energy-efficient electrical systems. Passive solar design principles, including the use of energy-efficient windows, are integrated into your home. Correctly insulate and seal your home with air. Select a heating system that is energy-efficient and doesn’t use electricity.
- Electric water heating — Purchase and reliably run an energy-efficient electric water heater. Or choose a water heater that is energy-efficient and that does not use electricity.
2. Federal Income Tax Savings
The Investment Tax Credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit, helps you to subtract from your federal taxes 26 percent of the cost of building a solar energy system. The ITC is applicable to both residential and commercial structures, and its value is not limited. As a result of the ITC, the average EnergySage Solar Marketplace shopper saves almost $9,000 on the price of going solar. Solar costs are falling across the country.
The history of the solar investment tax credit
The ITC was initially formed by the 2005 Energy Policy Act and was expected to expire at the end of 2007. Congress has extended its expiry date many times, due to the popularity of the ITC and its performance in promoting the transformation of the United States to a clean energy economy. Now, there is some sort of solar investment tax credit available to homeowners until 2021. Here are the specifics.
- 2016 – 2019: The tax credit will stay at 30 percent of the system’s cost.
- 2020: New residential and commercial solar owners will subtract 26% of the system’s expense from their taxes.
- 2021: New residential and commercial solar owners will subtract 22% of the system’s expense from their taxes.
- 2022 onwards: Owners of modern commercial solar energy systems are entitled to subtract from their taxes 10 percent of the cost of the device. For residential solar energy systems, there is no federal allowance.
3. Increase in Home Value
The addition of solar panels to a home will not only save energy costs and benefit the environment, it can also potentially increase the value of a home. Homes with solar-energy systems sold 4.1 percent more on average over the past year than comparable homes without solar power. That translates to an additional $9,274 for the median-valued home. The sales premium differs considerably by market.
For example, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 2.7% more than comparable homes without solar power in Riverside, Calif., a markup of $9,926 for the median-valued metro home. Solar-powered homes in the greater New York City metro have a price that is double that of Riverside. At 5.4%, for the average home in New York, that’s an additional $23,989 in value. In three other coastal metro areas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orlando, Fla., solar-powered homes will receive a 4 percent premium.
4. Reduced Air Carbon
The danger of climate change has also risen as carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased significantly over the past few decades. In every geographic area of the U.S., solar energy is a clean, carbon-free resource with tremendous potential to minimize our nation’s GHG emissions. Major production of solar and other renewable energy technology to fuel a clean, affordable economic future should be included in every market or policy plan to tackle climate change.
Solar generates fewer GHG emissions from the life cycle than traditional sources of fossil fuel energy.4 While some GHG emissions may be created during the manufacture and recycling of the solar system, the production of energy results in zero GHG emissions and zero environmental effects.
SEIA advocates comprehensive legislation on the environment and energy and rejects any legislation that would weaken the Clean Air Act. SEIA members are active in many domestic policy priorities, including tax policy, workforce growth, and infrastructure, to support the implementation of low-cost solar energy in the U.S.
Other Helpful Resources
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – An international scientific body that compiles data, including environmental, social, and economic impacts, for the assessment of climate change.
- Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program – In response to the Required Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule (74 FR 56260), a program run by the EPA that involves reporting of GHG data and other related data from broad sources and suppliers in the U.S. to inform future policy decisions.
- Greenhouse Gas Data from UNFCCC – data from countries worldwide
5. Reduced Roof Heat
According to a team of researchers led by Jan Kleissl, a professor of environmental engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, these solar panels on top of your roof do not just provide clean power; they even cool your home or your workplace.
Kleissl and his team published what they claim are the first peer-reviewed measurements of the cooling benefits offered by solar photovoltaic panels in a report in an upcoming issue of the journal Solar Energy. Researchers determined, using thermal imaging, that the ceiling of a building was 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler under solar panels during the day than under an open roof. The panels help to maintain heat at night, reducing heating costs in the winter.
As solar panels sprout on a growing number of residential and commercial roofs, their effect on the overall energy costs of buildings is becoming more important to consider, Kleissl said. His team decided that over the panels’ lifespan, the money saved on cooling the building amounted to having a 5 percent discount on the price of the solar panels. Or, to put it another way, for the building researchers analyzed, savings in cooling costs amounted to selling 5 percent more solar energy to the grid than the panels actually generate.
Data for the analysis were collected on the roof of the Powell Structural Systems Laboratory at the Jacobs School of Engineering with a thermal infrared camera over three days in April. Tilted solar panels and solar panels that are flush with the roof are fitted into the house. Panels do not cover any parts of the roof.
Anthony Dominguez, the graduate student heading the project, said the panels basically serve as roof shades. Photovoltaic panels take the solar beat, rather than the sun pounding down on the roof, which allows heat to be forced through the roof and into the building ceiling. Wind blowing between the panels and the roof would then eliminate most of the heat. If there is an open space where air can circulate between the building and the solar panel, the advantages are greater, so tilted panels provide more cooling. The more powerful the solar panels are, the greater the cooling effect, Kleissl said. The panels decreased the amount of heat hitting the roof by around 38 percent for the building researchers assessed.
Kleissl said his team could build a calculator that people could use to forecast the cooling impact on their own roof and in their own climate-specific region if additional funding were available. Researchers may also compare two climate-controlled, similar buildings in the same neighborhood, one with solar panels, the other without, to further improve the accuracy of their models.
6. Reduce Grid Demand
Although renewable energy projects are capable of running houses and small businesses without any connection to the electricity grid, many people prefer the advantages that grid-connection provides.
At certain times (daily as well as seasonally), when the sun is shining, the water is flowing, or the wind is blowing, a grid-connected device helps you to power your home or small business with renewable energy. Any electricity you generate in excess is fed back into the grid. Energy from the grid supplies the needs when renewable resources are inaccessible, reducing the cost of electricity storage devices such as batteries.
In addition, in most states, power suppliers (i.e. electric utilities) allow net metering, an agreement in which the excess electricity produced by grid-connected renewable energy projects “turns back” the electricity meter as it is fed back into the grid. If during a given month you use more energy than your device feeds into the grid, you pay your power provider only for the difference between what you have used and what you have made.
When thinking about connecting your home energy system to the electric grid, some of the things you need to know include
- Equipment required to connect your system to the grid
- Grid-connection requirements from your power provider
- State and community codes and requirements
What are your procedures for ensuring a contactless installation process?
Solar is installed on the roof or on the ground, and we already observed social distancing procedures. Our crews wear safety equipment including Personal Protection Equipment to prevent the spread of COVID 19 not only to our clients, but also within our crews.
How is the sales process if we cannot meet in person?
With just a few pieces of information about your solar project, we can design an online solar proposal for your review. We then set a time to review the proposal by phone or Zoom to answer any questions you have. The financing process is paperless and contactless, any hard copies are sent by Priority Mail/FedEx. All of the contracts and disclosures are contactless using e-signatures.
How is the permit process contactless?
Many jurisdictions are starting to allow online permit applications and communication is facilitated by email. Final inspections are still completed in person, but social distancing and PPE is used to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
How do we ensure our installation crews are COVID-19 free?
Any of our installers that show up to work with an elevated temperature, coughing, fever or other sickness, they are sent home until the symptoms have subsided.
Where can I find more information about COVID-19 and the Solar Industry?
Please check with the SEIA (Solar Energy Industry Association) on all of the latest developments and safety protocols in the solar industry.
Looking for a Diamond Certified Solar Installer You Can Trust?
Finding a solar installer you can trust seems to be harder and harder every day. Thank goodness there is a company like Diamond Certified that can help people make an educated decision on which companies keep their clients’ interests ahead of their own.
Based on our decade in business, online reviews, and Diamond Certification, Solar Harmonics is the best choice to trust to complete your solar project – whether it’s residential, commercial or agricultural – on time, on budget, and with the expected results. We don’t push leasing on our customers – ever. It is our mission to design the best value solar installation system that produces reliably over the next 30 – 40 years and saves the most money for our clients. If the financial goals of our clients intersect with the global and environmental goals of our founder, it is a win for everyone except the utility companies. Contact us today for your free quote!