As green lifestyles increasingly become integrated with mainstream culture, solar panel arrays are becoming a common sight in neighborhoods across the nation. These arrays are more than oddly shaped lawn and roof ornaments, though; they offer distinct advantages to homeowners who are willing to make the (relatively significant) investment to install them. Read on to find out four major reasons why this energy source will continue to be a part of the American landscape for years to come.
1. Solar energy helps check rising energy costs
Needless to say, the sun isn’t going anywhere. It offers an inexhaustible supply of energy for homeowners who possess the right tools to harness its awesome power. This allows homeowners to hedge their bets against pricey fluctuations in energy costs that tend to happen seasonally, if not monthly.
With enough solar panels, in fact, you can virtually eliminate your electricity bill entirely. Some savvy homeowners generate so much energy, they even end up selling energy back to the grid for a profit.
2. It increases your home’s resale value
If nothing else, solar energy will remain a part of the home-owning ecosystem simply because solar panel arrays raise your home value. According to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), adding solar panels to your home can enhance its selling price by approximately 3.5 percent.
Not only does a solar energy system eventually pay for itself over time, but it also can potentially be a source of revenue (particularly considering you’ll potentially be able to resell the energy). Combine all of those opportunities for capitalization, and it’s easy to see why solar energy is more than a passing trend.
3. It reduces dependence on fossil fuels
Many Americans suffer from the misapprehension that their electric power is derived from hydro-electric power plants and nuclear reactors (both of which are ostensibly “clean” sources of energy). Although this is true to a very small extent, coal power generates a jaw-dropping 44% of U.S. electricity, making it the largest air polluter in the country. Solar power offers a distinct and feasible alternative to that paradigm.
This is important not only for reducing one’s carbon footprint, but it’s also a consideration when the conversation turns to achieving energy independence. Even though petroleum-generated electricity constitutes a scant 1 percent of the country’s total electrical power, solar energy is nonetheless a solid alternative for replacing it entirely and reducing dependence on foreign fuel.
4. It’s subsidized by many local and state governments
Due in no small part to the reasons that we’ve already mentioned, solar power is often subsidized by state and local governments. Many of these governmental entities offer tax breaks to incentivize energy efficiency. For example, Virginia allows its cities, counties and towns to offer property tax exemptions to residents using solar energy equipment.
Many other U.S. states — Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, and more — have similar programs in place. Naturally, these tax breaks mean that adoption rates for solar energy will only grow in the coming years. As advances in technology continue to drive the price downward, there’s no doubt that solar energy is here to stay.
Your experiences and thoughts?
Without a doubt, then, solar power will continue to grow as a source of energy for American consumers. Have you installed a solar array in your home? What have your experiences been? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.