Clean Energy Insights

Top 9 Advantages of Going Solar

7 minute read

Going solar at home will provide many benefits and produce clean energy for decades to come. You can go solar by purchasing your system, through solar financing, getting loans, or other options. When thinking about going solar, there are many factors to consider. Wondering what are the top advantages of going solar? See how solar can save you money, reduce your environmental footprint, increase your property value, and more advantages of installing rooftop solar on your home.

Top 9 Advantages of Going Solar

1. Solar Energy Leads to Big Cost Savings

A big advantage of going solar is saving money on your electricity bills. The cost savings of going solar can vary by state, with the main factor being the cost of electricity per state. In states that have a higher cost of electricity, such as California, Massachusetts, or New York, these states can see solar savings between $26,000 - $34,000 on an average-sized 6 kW solar system over a 20 year period. On the lower end, in places where electricity is cheaper, such as Washington State or South Carolina, electricity savings can be around $10,000 or more over a 20 year period.

Whether you live in a state with high, medium, or low cost of electricity, over the course of 20+ years, most homeowners will see solar savings that can really add up!

2. Cost Resiliency from Rising Utility Rates

In addition to the cost savings that solar panels provide, going solar can also provide homeowners and businesses with cost resiliency on their electricity bills. Since the 1960’s the cost of electricity has risen by an average of 2.8% per year. This rate can vary greatly in different parts of the country and from year to year. In states such as California with a high cost of electricity, some customers saw electricity rates rise by 3.4% in 2021.

Electricity rate increases can vary per year and utility customers might even see much higher rate increases in the coming years due to wildfires, utility upgrades, potential nonrenewable energy shortages, and more. Going solar not only saves homeowners and businesses money on their electricity bills based on today’s current electricity rates but provides resiliency to the potential rising and fluctuating cost that energy providers could charge customers in the future.

3. Solar Tax Incentives for Homeowners are Available

In addition to the solar cost savings of going solar, the solar Investment Tax Credit provides homeowners a 26% tax credit on the cost of their solar system in 2022. The tax credit allows homeowners who purchased a solar system to receive a credit of 26% of the cost of the solar system that would apply as a credit to the homeowner's personal income tax for that year. Homeowners can also use depreciation if they purchase the solar system, which creates even more savings in avoided taxes.

4. Going Solar Reduces Environmental Impacts

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electric utilities in the United States utilize natural gas and coal to produce 60% of the electricity in the USA in 2020 with another 20% being nuclear energy, and the remaining 20% coming from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydropower.

The amount of renewable and nonrenewable energy that is utilized to create electricity that is sent to your home can vary by state, but most utilities utilize some type of nonrenewable energy source that produces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which directly contributes to climate change. In the United States, 25% of our GHG emissions come from the electricity sector. By installing solar at home, your electricity is coming from a renewable source - the sun - and you're reducing your reliance on fossil fuels while reducing your carbon footprint!

5. Solar Creates a Healthier Local Environment

By not relying on the local utility for your power, you're reducing your reliance on fossil fuels. The number of fossil fuels being burned, utilized, and end up polluting the environment will be reduced as homeowners in your area go solar. By going solar at home, you're reducing the amount of local pollution, helping to create a healthier local environment, while also contributing to a healthier planet.

6. Solar Panels Have a Long Lifespan

Most solar panels are warrantied for 20 years with a 25-year power guarantee, meaning if the panel stops working or has a technical problem during that time, you will receive a replacement panel for free. Although solar panels are warrantied for 15-25 years, panels can keep producing energy for years to come after the warranty period.

Research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that solar panels degrade by an average rate of 0.5% per year, meaning that production levels go down by approximately 0.5% each year. After 30 years, a solar system will have a production rate of 85% of what the solar panels produced during its first year - which is very good for technology, considering a laptop might last 4-6 years before becoming obsolete.

7. Solar Panels Require Little Maintenance

With solar panels' lifespan being 30+ years, you might ask, “What are the maintenance requirements for my solar panels?” That leads us to our next advantage of going solar - solar panels are very easy to maintain and require little or no maintenance on a yearly basis. This is because solar panels don’t have any moving parts and therefore don’t break down easily. After your solar panels are installed there’s really no weekly, monthly, or even yearly maintenance that is required.

For most panels, the only upkeep needed would be cleaning the panels of debris and dirt to ensure that sunlight is reaching the panels. For areas that receive light to moderate amounts of rainfall throughout the year, the rainfall will clean off the panels and no other maintenance or cleaning is required. For areas with very little rainfall or areas that receive a lot of dust, a bi-yearly cleaning might be helpful to increase production. Oftentimes solar panels are installed at an angle, therefore leaves and other debris typically slide off the panels and do not cause obstructions.

8. Solar Energy Increases Property Value

With solar panels' lifespan lasting 30+ years, adding solar panels to your home can increase your home’s property value. Since solar panels are a permanent part of a home, they are a built-in value add to any property. Not only does going solar save you money, but it also can increase the property value of your home and can make your home more attractive to potential buyers when you go to sell your home.

9. Resiliency & Emergency Preparedness with Battery + Storage Option

Solar panels work by producing electricity while the sunlight is out. The electricity you use during the day in your home will be coming from your solar panels first. At night, your electricity will come from the grid. In many states, there are net metering policies where the utility company will pay the solar owner for the excess solar energy that they produce during the day and send to the grid or provide credits on the utility bill. This in turn lowers their electricity bill by pulling energy from the grid for electricity at night.

For solar owners that have solar storage, the excess energy that is not used during the day gets sent to their solar batteries, recharging the solar batteries, rather than sending the electricity back to the grid. The batteries can be used to power your home at night when the sun is not shining and can also be helpful in case of power outages. In case of a power outage, if you have solar + storage, you will be able to power your home with the energy stored in your at-home batteries, adding to your emergency preparedness plan and creating a more resilient system.

Looking to learn more about solar energy? Check out our Solar Education Center to learn more!

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