hile the urgency of climate change demands swift action, renewable energy is seen as a lifeline for humanity and the planet. Renewables have made huge strides over the past several decades and will keep gaining momentum in the decades to come.
Solar is often viewed as the frontrunner in the clean energy market. Solar prices have plummeted by 85% over the past ten years, making solar photovoltaics (PV) a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Moreover, the International Energy Agency (IEA) even recognized utility-scale solar as the world’s cheapest electricity source. Even despite some lingering challenges such as the rising costs of raw materials and supply chain constraints, solar energy remains a cost-efficient solution for those seeking to go green.
Alongside large-scale applications, solar systems keep gaining popularity among householders: the global residential solar capacity is expected to rise from 59 GW in 2021 to 95 GW by 2025. In the US only, around 3 million homes are already fitted with solar panels. But what makes solar systems so popular with homeowners and why solar energy became the fastest-growing of all renewables? We’ll give you just a few reasons why solar is worth investing in.
So why you should consider switching to solar?
Going solar helps tackle climate change
However big governmental support measures for solar are, climate change mitigation wouldn’t be possible without individual efforts and commitments. People around the world are looking for ways to live more sustainably: a recent survey shows that 77% of respondents want to learn more about greener lifestyles, and another study reveals that 69% of individuals do their utmost to limit their carbon footprint. If you are among them, generating solar energy at home is a good way for you to contribute to the global fight against climate change.
Fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) have been the prime source of energy for more than 150 years, and these days they still account for about 80% of the world's energy production. When fossil fuels are burned, greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are released into the atmosphere rising global temperatures and thus leading to climate change.
Generating solar power, on the other hand, can drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) calculated that solar panels produce lifetime CO2 emissions of only 40g per kilowatt-hour, while coal power plants are responsible for over 1,000 g of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. That is why the carbon footprint of your home solar energy system will be roughly 25 times less than that of coal powered generation.
Solar system cuts your energy bill
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), national electricity costs have been steadily going up for the past 25 years, increasing by around 1.8% annually. By all estimates, residential energy prices will continue to rise in the coming years.
In this context saving on your energy bills is becoming increasingly relevant, and solar power can offer you exactly that. Naturally, setting up solar at home will need considerable investment, but solar installation will pay off in 6 to 10 years, after which your solar modules will start paying for themselves and save you money.
If a solar system fully covers your electricity usage, you will be able to save around $1,500 a year on your electric bills, or $37,500 over the 25-year period of the solar system lifespan.
In addition to this, solar owners on time of use (ToU) billing will be able to reduce their energy bills even further if they choose to pair their home solar panels with solar battery storage. TOU rate plans imply that your bill depends on the time electricity is being consumed. The consumption is usually the highest during peak hours between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m, and the energy usage at this time is the most expensive. But if your home solar system includes storage, you will be able to save solar power within a battery and use it then electricity cost is the highest, thus lowering your utility bill.
Solar installation increases home value
Not only does a solar system help you save on your electricity bill, but also increases the overall value of a home and makes it more alluring to potential buyers.
Homes with a standard solar system rise in value by $15,000 on average. Plus, many states offer solar property tax exemption that gives a solar owner the right to exclude the added value of a solar installation from the property taxes. Therefore, even when the value of a home increases after installing solar panels, property taxes don’t.
Solar systems require minimal maintenance
If you are worried that a home solar system will need a lot of upkeep, you can take a sigh of relief: solar modules actually require very little maintenance. Properly installed high-quality solar hardware will run smoothly for decades, and most of the dirt will be washed off your solar modules by occasional rain. However, it is still recommended to clean your solar panels manually couple times a year, trim the trees around them and schedule an annual inspection with a solar professional.
Solar energy has come a long way from an unaffordable and low-efficient technology to a viable solution for home power generation, and residential solar uptake is speeding up.
Installing a solar system at home offers a diverse range of benefits, both financial and environmental. Firstly, solar modules can help you lower your reliance on fossil fuels and shrink your carbon footprint. Secondly, a solar installation can save you money by cutting your electricity bills and increasing your property’s value. And with all this, a home solar system is unlikely to cause you any inconvenience, because it requires very little maintenance.