How Solar Energy Can Save You Money
Although switching to solar energy and investing in solar panels can seem like a costly endeavor, it's a major step you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. That's not all it can do, though. Although solar panels are a relatively large investment in the beginning, it can actually save you money in the long-term. Whether you want to save money on electric bills or are looking to help the planet a little more and reduce your carbon footprint, solar panels provide many benefits that a lot of people are not aware of.
It's also important to note that exactly how much money you can save depends on your location, price of electricity and amount of direct sunlight. Solar energy is a source of renewable energy that relies on the sun to get energy. The process of taking energy from the sun can occur in a few different ways, including photovoltaics or solar thermal energy. A solar panel system uses the photovoltaic process by putting photovoltaic cells into a frame, creating a panel. Through the photovoltaic effect, the panel converts the energy from the sun's rays to power the electricity in a home or building.
Saves Money on Electric Bills
When you're looking into buying solar panels, one major factor is money. Many people worry about solar panel cost. While the cost of solar panels will depend on a lot of different things, including your location and solar plan, many people don't realize that in the end, solar panels can end up saving you money. The main way solar panels save money is through electric bills. Solar energy is totally renewable, meaning you don't have to pay for it. Although you may still need your electricity when the sun isn't out, such as during storms or at night, using solar energy when it's available can dramatically decrease electricity costs.
If you're not using any alternative electricity at all, you may just need to pay your electricity service fee, which can be a few dollars a month. Although solar panels do have a high cost upfront, they can start saving you money as soon as installed and help you lower or even eliminate your electric bill.
There are a number of financial benefits and incentives you can benefit from if you get solar panels, and many are unaware of the incentives that they can receive. One incentive is known as net metering. Net metering is an incentive that can potentially lower your electricity bill to $0. Net metering allows any unused solar energy to be sent to your electric grid and can be used as credit. When you're not using your solar energy, you can pull the credits from net metering, meaning if your solar panels generate a lot more energy than you need, you may be able to zero out the cost of your electric bill.
41 states have mandatory net metering incentives in place and 2 more states allow net metering to occur, but it is not mandatory. Additionally, installing solar panels will make your home more profitable when you sell it.
There are plenty of grants that states have as an incentive to use solar energy, and there's even a federal tax cut. In 2020, if you own a new residential or commercial solar panel system, you can deduct 26% of the cost of the solar panel system from your taxes. Other grants include the Renewable Energy Grant, which allows you to get reimbursed for some of the cost of installing your solar panel system in lieu of tax credits. The Green Retrofit Grant assists low-income homeowners with the installation and upkeep of a solar panel system or other alternative energy system. Depending on where you live, you can get many different grants or incentives for using solar energy. Research solar energy incentives in your area to see all the options.
No Maintenance Costs
Solar panels need to be installed but after that they need virtually no other maintenance. Although you may run into a rare issue, it's not common, so there's no major costs for utility services or maintenance. Although solar panels do need to be cleaned every once in a while, this is something you can easily do without a professional's help.
Many solar panel companies also have warranties stating that they will come out and fix any issues free of cost to the homeowner.
Many solar panel systems last for over 25 years with at least 80% efficiency. The money you'll save with no maintenance or utilities costs for over 20 years can really add up, saving you a lot of money. 75% of systems also outlived their warranty in a recent study. The solar system's inverter, which converts solar energy into usable electricity, has a lifespan of anywhere from 10 to 20 years. This means you'll have to replace it once or twice.
No Cost Fluctuation
Have you ever noticed that your electricity bill seems to keep climbing every year? That's because energy companies usually rely on fossil fuels, which have a fluctuating market. Electricity bills also fluctuate with seasons. In the summer and winter, you're using more energy than in fall and spring. While prices for installing solar panel systems are going down, electricity rates are rising. In fact, electricity rates have risen steadily in the past years, up 15% in the past 10 years. Evidence also shows that electricity rates are not projected to fall any time soon, either.
However, installing a solar panel system will keep your electricity bill down, saving you from fluctuating prices and the seasonal changes.
Although solar panel systems may seem expensive, thinking about how they will save you money in the long-term may make it seem like less of an investment. It may take you a few years to see your money back, but you can end up making even more money with grants or incentives you receive from using solar energy. Solar energy is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment, and it's good for your wallet, too.