Solar power is on the rise – as you might have noticed. Today, an increasing number of people are installing solar panels on their property to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy. In the United States, nearly 784,000 homes and businesses have gone solar as of June 2015, with new solar project installed every 2 minutes.
Benefits of Solar Energy
Good for Environment
Solar energy is clean, renewable and theoretically unlimited in availability. The sun can deliver more energy onto the Earth per hour than the world total energy consumption per year. Compared to classic fossil-fuel based electricity generation system, photovoltaic electricity over its lifetime produces 96 to 98% less greenhouse gases emission, consumes 86 to 89% less water, occupies or transforms over 80% less land and poses around 95% less toxicity to human beings.
Reduces your electricity bills
Electricity costs can be the most expensive utility bills for homes and businesses. With solar panel system, people can save tens of thousands of dollars by generating free electricity from the sun over the 25-30 life span of the solar power system.
Although installing rooftop solar panels involve high initial expenses, solar power is quite economical in the long run, especially in consideration of the fluctuating and unreliable electricity rates and the price drop in solar photovoltatic module in recent years.
When the electricity generated by the solar power system exceeds the amount you can immediately use, sometimes you can even make money by selling the surplus power back to the utility’s electric grid. We call this process “net metering”.
Increases your property value
Since installation of solar panels guarantees lower electricity cost, homes or commercial properties equipped with solar panel systems are popular on the market and may receive higher premium from potential buyers.
A recent U.S. study comparing sales of 22,000 homes in 8 states, found that the homes with solar panels sold approximately 20% faster than homes without solar systems. If you are into numbers and calculations, it means that a standard 5 kW solar system can translate to $20,000 extra value when you want to sell the property. It’s not bad money, huh?
Helps business stay competitive
By reducing the operational costs, solar power system can help businesses realize the economic benefits and gain a competitive advantage within the marketplace.
Plus, investment in solar energy can serve as a great marketing tool and significantly boost brand value and awareness. As consumers and communities are increasingly recognizing and rewarding businesses with commitment to social and environmental sustainability, “green” credentials can influence consumer purchasing behavior, create goodwill, loyalty and improved business financial performance.
7 Steps of Going Solar
Before Getting Solar Energy…
While solar energy is worth considering for families and businesses, it is not a slam dunk for everyone. Installing solar photovoltaic electric system is a major long-term investment, so it is necessary for you to analyze all direct and indirect costs and likely savings or payback before making the decision.
Luckily, a number of online ROI (Return On Investment) calculators are ready to help you estimate the costs and benefits of going solar, check them out here:
The Future of Solar Panels
In the coming years, traditional silicon-based solar cells may be replaced by cheaper, more efficient perovskites counterparts.
Olga Malinkiewicz, vice president of Saule Technologies, created an inkjet printing manufacturing process that produces thin, flexible sheets of perovskite that could revolutionize the energy industry. The technology allows perovskites solar cells to be applied to various surfaces, including plastics, fabrics, and glasses, and significantly reduce the production costs. Hopefully, the invention can be commercialized in near future so everyone can enjoy cheap and clean energy from the sun without worrying about the costs.
Thinking about making your first solar purchase now? Here is your complete guide on designing, installing and maintaining a solar electric systems for home and business.
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