In 1931, Thomas Edison singled out solar energy as a hugely promising source of power, remarking, “I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
Now well into the twenty-first century, with fossil fuels in rapid depletion, some still aren’t sure if it’s time to invest in solar. Here are seven reasons there’s no time like the present to give solar energy its due.
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1. Solar is more affordable and easier to adopt than you think
Gone are the days when installing solar panels on your home or property was a fringe option reserved for the wealthy environmentalist. While there is still a significant initial cost associated with installing solar panels, the long-term savings make it a very worthwhile investment.
Federal solar energy credits of between 22 and 30 percent of the upfront cost also make solar a more attainable and attractive option for a wide range of households. Many solar energy companies will help you easily estimate the cost of setting up a solar energy system in your area.
2. Solar reduces your dependence on fossil fuels
There’s no way around it: fossil fuels are going to run out. And while we haven’t yet fully exhausted our stores of coal, oil, and natural gas, our dependence on them is doing grave damage to our planet.
The sun, on the other hand, is an unlimited resource that can take the place of unsustainable energy sources. Why not take advantage of it? As an added bonus, in the event of a power outage, you’ll be golden!
3. Solar helps you reduce your carbon footprint
Burning fossil fuels releases harmful methane and carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases that contribute overwhelmingly to climate change. While corporations bear a large responsibility for global warming, our daily habits as individuals also play a significant role.
We all create a certain amount of carbon emissions through the transportation we use and the food and energy we consume. By choosing solar to fuel your home, you instantly cut a substantial percentage of your personal carbon emissions.
4. Solar can increase the value of your home
The real estate market is seeing positive trends related to solar energy as well. Recent studies show that a solar energy system can boost your home’s market value by as much as 4.1 percent. So regardless of how long you plan to stay in your home, you’re likely to reap a financial reward from your solar energy system when you sell it.
5. Solar can be tailored to different budgets and lifestyles
Some people assume that solar energy is suited only to those who want to go completely off the grid. In fact, solar power is an incredibly adaptable solution that can be scaled to suit many levels of usage.
Some homeowners choose to go completely solar, enjoying an entirely sun-powered household with battery energy storage. However, plenty of others opt to install a smaller number of solar panels and connect them to the power grid.
The mechanism is very similar to that of a hybrid car: if the solar panels run out of reserves, the system can then tap into the grid. Even better, if your solar power exceeds your usage, you can often sell power back to your energy utility through a process called net metering. In this case, you can share the solar wealth with your community!
6. You could become a solar influencer
While individual contributions to sustainable energy are extremely valuable, global change requires buy-in from as many households as possible. When people in your social and familial network recognize that you—someone like them, with similar socioeconomic status and values—have chosen to make the commitment to going solar, they are more likely to consider it as a possibility for themselves. Your example may have a huge ripple effect when those in your network see your solar energy system in action.
7. Solar pays you back
Solar power costs you nothing other than the initial investment and routine panel maintenance. In contrast, the money you spend on energy from fossil fuels essentially evaporates as you use it. When your home is powered by oil or natural gas, you won’t recoup the money you spend powering appliances such as your furnace or water heater, for instance.
When you buy and install solar panels, on the other hand, you are making an investment that will reap true dividends. After the initial cost, the power your solar energy system generates costs you nothing. Over time, then, it defrays the initial cost of the installation—more than you can say for any nonrenewable energy source.
Now that you’ve learned the many benefits of choosing solar, consider finding out what options for solar energy systems are available in your area. After all, according to Edison, the solar revolution is long overdue.