The U.S. solar market grew 76% in 2012. Never before has solar power been this available to American households. What are the reasons why so many homeowners choose to go solar these days? Without further ado, here`s Energy Informative`s top 10 benefits of going solar:
1. Save Thousands of Dollars
According to One Block Off the Grid, adding solar panels to your home can bring in monthly savings of well above $100 in many states. Extend this to two decades, less than the length of a typical solar panel warranty, and this translates to over $30,000. In Hawaii, residents save on average $64,000 the first 20 years!
Are you wondering how much you can save by going solar? Click here to find out.
2. Start Saving from Day 1
Solar purchase power agreements (PPAs) and solar leasing has made it possible for homeowners to go solar for little or no money down.
Many homeowners choose to finance their solar panels with one of the “pay-as-you-go” financing options. This means that a third-party company – the solar provider – owns the solar system and takes care of installation, maintenance, monitoring and repairs. You simply pay the solar provider for electricity – less than you would`ve paid the utility company.
3. Low Payback Period
If you choose to pay in cash, the payback period is in many cases less than ten years. In Hawaii, it takes homeowners on average 5 years before the monthly savings (in terms of lower electricity costs) meets the total costs of the solar system.
4. Increase Your Home Value
Buying a home with solar panels translates into lower electricity costs. Solar panels will increase a home`s attractiveness on the market, similarly to homes with low property taxes, homes in school districts and homes with good Home Energy Ratings (a measurement of a energy efficiency).
A study conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concluded that homes with solar panels sell 20% faster and for 17% more money.
U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the sales price of the average home increased $17,000 with solar panels.
5. Take Advantage of Incentives
As of 2009, the $2,000 cap on the Federal Solar Tax Credit is lifted. You will get 30% of total system costs back (equipment and installation). This means you would save $7,500 on a solar system worth $25,000. Combine this with state and local rebates, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), and total costs can be cut in half. Take advantage of incentives while they last.
Data from One Block Off the Grid shows that the average solar home in New Jersey earns between $5,000 and $7,000 by selling their SREC credits every year.
To find out what state and local incentives apply to you (they can vary between ZIP codes), you should signup for free solar guidance.
6. Solar is a Secure Investment
The utility companies are notorious for their fluctuating and unreliable electricity prices. There is clearly an upward trend.
With solar panels and simple math, we can calculate how much electricity will be generated, and most importantly, at what price, for at least the next 20 years (fixed energy costs).
7. Guaranteed Performance
Solar panel manufacturers include a 20- to 25-year warranty (also known as a performance guarantee) with their solar panels. The industry standard guarantees 80% performance after 25 years.
The real lifespan of solar panels is much longer – your solar panels will likely generate a good amount of electricity 30-40 years down the line.
8. Save the Environment
We know that the majority of homeowners choose to go solar because it makes good sense from a financial point of view. That being said, the environmental benefits are also clearly worth mentioning.
The U.S. places second in the world in annual carbon dioxide emissions at 17.9%, right behind China. You can go a long way in lowering your carbon footprint by replacing utility power with clean electricity from solar panels.
9. Create Energy Independence
The U.S. relied on net imports for about 40% of the petroleum (crude oil and petroleum products) that we consumed in 2012.
You can help to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy. We will inevitably run out of oil, coal and natural gas. While we continue our consumption of these increasingly expensive and dangerous energy source, our national security and economy suffers.
Solar is one step in the right direction.
10. Solar is Easy
Shopping for solar used to be a long and complicated process. There are hundreds of solar companies in the U.S. alone. It would take you weeks to find the best solar deal. Luckily things have changed.
To go solar has never before been easier. Our team of independent solar consultants will help you sort through your options. To see how much you can save, and for all other solar questions, request a free consultation. There’s no obligation.
References:  National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL),  U.S. Department of Energy Berkeley Lab,  International Energy Agency (IEA),  U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),  Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA),  Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).