Residential solar power is a proven method for reducing utility bills, and that is the main reason why millions of homeowners have installed their own photovoltaic systems. However, saving money is just the tip of the iceberg: there are many benefits beyond that!
Of course, to make sure you reap the benefits of solar power, you must make sure your system is properly designed and installed. Now days, there are web resources where you can learn more about PV systems and also get in touch with qualified solar installers near you.
Solar Power Saves Thousands of Dollars
In the USA, the average price of electricity is around $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, and most residential PV systems are designed to produce between 6000 and 7000 kWh per year.
- This reduces yearly electricity expenses by around $800
- Considering that most solar PV systems come with a 25-year warranty, this translates into $20,000 in total lifetime savings!
Also, keep in mind that $0.12/kWh is the average price of electricity across the nation; there are states where this value exceeds $0.20/kWh, and if you live in one of them you can probably save between $40,000 and $50,000 in the long run!
Solar Power Raises your Home Value
As a rule of thumb, a solar photovoltaic system raises your home value by 20 times its yearly savings. For example, if you’re saving $1200 per year, your home will increase in value by around $24,000!
In other words, solar power makes you richer because it raises your net worth in addition to saving money. You will own more home equity, which you can use to take a low-interest loan if you’re planning to invest in a business opportunity.
Solar Power Eases Your Tax Burden
The federal government offers an excellent incentive for homeowners who go solar: The Renewable Investment Tax Credit. Basically, when you purchase a PV system, you are allowed to deduct 30% of its cost on your next tax declaration. Just keep in mind that this benefit will be gradually reduced after 2019, and will expire on 2022; if you’re planning to go solar, do it while the ITC lasts!
Some states offer local tax credits in addition to the ITC, and in the vast majority of them there is a property tax exemption for solar power: you are not taxed on the increase in home value mentioned in the previous section!
Solar Power Earns Performance Payments
There are many states where residential PV systems earn a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) for every 1000 kWh produced. Basically, SRECs are a proof that their holder produces clean power, and they can be traded. Utility companies subject to renewable energy targets may prefer to purchase SRECs rather that to develop their own PV systems, which means these credits can be sold at attractive prices. Keep in mind this is an extra income beyond normal energy savings!
Alternatively, you may be offered a feed-in tariff, where your utility company pays you a bonus for every kWh of solar energy exported to the grid. For example, if you live in a state where the electricity price is $0.15/kWh, and there is a feed-in tariff of $0.05/kWh, your savings for every 1000 kWh are boosted from $150 to $200.
Saving the Environment
Solar power offers carbon-free operation because it doesn’t consume fuels of any kind. Each time you produce a kilowatt-hour of energy, you are potentially reducing the output required at power plants fired by coal or natural gas. In the USA, every kilowatt of installed solar power capacity has a comparable environmental impact to planting more than 20 trees per year.
Solar power offers a broad range of financial, fiscal and environmental benefits. However, you need to consider the budget and installation options too. Check if your roof is strong enough to bear the weight of the solar panels and also make sure that you have easy access to all the panels for any cleaning, maintenance and repair. If you have any branches hung over the roof, make sure that you remove them as falling branches and twigs might damage the panels. If you purchase photovoltaic panels that are covered by a solid warranty, and hire a qualified contractor to install them for you, the success of your project is guaranteed!