Since 2005, solar energy has helped the US shrink its CO2 emissions by 760 million metric tons each year. That’s an impressive decrease of 8%, but not as huge as Denmark’s, which has since reduced its footprint by over 30%.
Granted, the US is now home to over two million solar panel installations. However, many consumers are still on the fence about going solar. It does come with considerable upfront costs, after all.
If you’re one of these folks who haven’t gone solar yet, you may be wondering if now’s a good time. You may still even be questioning whether investing in the sun’s power is worth it.
Ready to find out the answers to all these burning questions? Then let’s jump right into it!
Is Solar Energy Worth It?
The simple answer is yes, solar power is definitely worth it. The fact alone that it lowers CO2 emissions already makes it extremely valuable.
Solar energy itself doesn’t produce any other type of greenhouse gas, aside from CO2. Nor does it generate pollutants that can mix with the air or the water.
The conversion of solar energy into usable power, however, does produce carbon emissions. Most of these come from the manufacturing processes of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Still, their overall carbon footprint is about 80% lower than fossil fuels.
What’s Carbon Dioxide Got to Do With All of These?
Carbon dioxide, as a form of greenhouse gas, helps the atmosphere trap heat. At normal levels, CO2 allows us to keep warm, especially during the winter season. Humans, however, have produced too much of this gas since around the 1850s.
Most of the extra CO2 that’s in the atmosphere is a result of burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, in turn, is the primary source of energy used to power up structures all over the world. They’re also the leading source of energy that lets people drive cars and use machinery.
All that excess carbon dioxide, however, has since then contributed to global warming. Global warming, in turn, has made the Earth’s temperature rise by almost twice than it was five decades ago. Because of this increase, icebergs melt, water levels rise, and more floods occur.
Moreover, high concentrations of carbon dioxide can cause respiratory maladies. It’s a form of asphyxiant, after all, so it can make a person run out of oxygen. At the very least, this can lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Solar energy, as mentioned above, produces minimal amounts of greenhouse gases. Its negligible emissions make it among the cleanest, most sustainable energy sources. If everyone goes solar, the Earth is more likely to recover from the effects of global warming.
Going Solar Means Harnessing the Sun’s Renewable Energy
Scientists estimate that fossil fuels will run out within the next 50 to 100 years. The nearer we reach that deadline, the more expensive these energy sources will get. Everyone would have to wait hundreds of thousands of years before we can get new “stocks” of these fuels.
By contrast, solar energy is renewable, limitless, and technically free. It’s readily abundant, and there are even some types of PV panels that work in the rain! Most high-quality solar modules can also capture solar power even during cloudy days.
Solar Power Is Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels
That’s right! The prices of solar energy have continuously shrunk over the years. So much so that they’re now cheaper than most other depletable energy sources.
Solar panels themselves have also become more affordable.
Today’s average solar panel cost is over 100 times cheaper than it was in 1976. Not because manufacturers use lower-quality materials, but because technology has improved. It’s also because of lower soft costs, seeing as there are now more potential solar consumers.
Tax Incentives Make Solar Panel Installation Even More Worth It
The Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, has been around since 2006. Its original deadline was the following year, in 2007. Thankfully, several extensions occurred, with the final “due date” being 2021.
This 2020, however, the ITC’s rate has gone down to 26% from the previous year’s 30%. That’s still a huge reduction, which is why you should consider working with a solar company ASAP. Otherwise, you’ll only qualify for a 22% credit if you put off the installation to next year.
Residential installations made after December 31, 2021, will no longer qualify for credits.
Cost Recoupment Starts Right Away
You can start using your solar panels as soon as you have them installed. At this point, you’ll begin regaining what you’ve paid for them. If your system is enough to supply all your energy needs, then you’ll have no electricity bill to worry about.
Let’s say your usual electricity bill is $120 a month. If you go completely solar, you get to keep all that money. In a year, you’ve had recouped $1,440 of your initial installation expenses.
So, if you paid $15,000 for your whole-home solar PV system, it’ll take you about ten years to recoup all your costs. That seems like a long time, but keep in mind that today’s solar modules now lasts for up to 25 years. This means that they can give you up to 15 more years’ worth of savings.
Come Off the Fence and Get Your Solar Panels Now
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons that make going solar truly worth it. In fact, its environmental benefits alone should already be enough. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that solar energy can help you save tons of money in the long run.
So, don’t wait for the tax incentives to drop further or run out altogether! Speak with a licensed solar installation company now so you can still qualify for that 26% ICT.
Looking for more ways to make your home safer, healthier, and more energy-efficient? Then please feel free to check out the rest of This Home Made Life’s posts!