Solar energy is becoming a popular alternative to traditional energy sources, but many people still don’t go solar and often don’t understand why. With a better understanding of why and how solar energy works and how it can help them, more people are likely to make the switch. This article looks at some of the reasons why many people choose not to go solar, the factors that you should consider if you want to go solar, the monetary benefits of doing so, the type of solar options available and the environmental and other benefits that come with solar energy.
Introduction: What is Solar Energy and Why Don’t More People Go Solar?
Solar energy is one of the most reliable renewable energy sources available today. It is generated by capturing the sun’s energy, either directly using photovoltaic cells or indirectly using solar thermal collectors. Solar energy is a clean energy source and can be used to power any home, business or institution.
Although more and more people are investing in solar energy, many are still hesitant for a variety of reasons. Often people are simply unaware of the financial, environmental and other benefits of solar energy. And don’t understand the factors that can impact whether solar energy is a good investment for them.
Reasons Why People Don’t Go Solar
There are several reasons why many people don’t go solar.
Lack of Unshaded Roof Space
The first reason is that they simply don’t have enough unshaded roof space. To generate enough power to offset their electricity bills, solar panels need to be placed as close to direct sunlight as possible. Shaded or partially shaded roofs are simply not enough to generate the same power needed. This can often be an issue even with south-facing roofs, as trees or neighboring buildings can block the panels from direct sunlight.
The second reason is related to cost. Although there are ways to make solar energy more affordable, the initial cost for setting up solar panels for one’s home can still be quite hefty. This can be a deterrent for many people, especially those on a tight budget.
Uncertainty of long-term Investment
Finally, the uncertainty of long-term investment is also a reason why many don’t go solar. Solar energy is becoming more reliable, but is still somewhat of a new technology. This can make people hesitant to invest as they might not know what the future holds for solar energy.
Factors That Impact Whether Solar is a Good Investment for a Homeowner
If you are considering investing in solar energy for your home, there are several factors that can influence whether it’s a good investment for you or not.
The first factor is your location. Solar energy works more efficiently in certain parts of the world where the sun’s energy is more abundant. In general, the closer you live to the equator, the more efficient solar power will be.
The second factor is building considerations. Even if you live in an area with abundant sun, your building may be affected by shading or might need to be retrofitted or renovated in order to be able to mount and manage the solar panel installation. This can increase the cost of the project.
The third factor to consider is the utility rate in your area. If you live in an area that charges higher than average electricity rates, the cost savings on your electric bill could be higher, making solar energy a more attractive investment.
Potential Monetary Benefits of Going Solar
Assuming that you do have enough unshaded roof space, building considerations are sufficient, and living in an area with higher than average utility rates, there are several powerful monetary benefits of going solar.
Utility Bill Savings
The primary benefit is of course, a reduction in your utility bills. Solar energy is self-sustainable. Excess electricity generated by your solar panels can actually be sold back to the utility company and put on your account as store credits that you can use to lower your monthly bills.
Performance-based incentives are also available in many states and can help make going solar more financially feasible. These incentive programs reimburse homeowners a certain amount or percentage of the total cost of the solar system. The amount of these incentives can vary, but they can help you make your solar project more cost-effective.
Solar Tax Credits
Solar tax credits are also available in many states. These are credits that are issued by the government for each watt of solar energy generated by a homeowner. The exact credit amount and other details vary by state, but they can also be a great way to reduce the cost of your solar energy system.
Overview of Different Solar Energy Options
When choosing to go solar, there are several solar energy options available, including types of solar panels, solar power purchase agreements, and solar leases.
Types of Solar Panels
The first option is to purchase and install your own solar panels. There are a variety of panels available, ranging from traditional crystal silicon panels to newer thin-film solar cells. The type of panel used will depend on the size and budget of your project as well as the desired level of efficiency.
Solar Power Purchase Agreement
A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is an agreement between a homeowner and a solar panel supplier in which the supplier installs and maintains the solar panel system, while the homeowner purchases the electricity at a rate lower than the local utility rate. This is a good option for those who don’t have the upfront capital to invest in a system.
Finally, you have the option of leasing solar panels. This is essentially a long-term rental agreement in which the homeowner pays a fixed monthly rate for the solar energy generated by the leased panels. This can be a great option for those looking for a low-cost solar energy solution.
Environmental and Other Benefits of Going Solar
Apart from the monetary benefits, there are also several environmental and other benefits that come with going solar.
Renewable and Clean Energy
Solar energy is renewable, meaning that it will never run out as long as the sun continues to shine. It’s also clean energy, meaning it doesn’t emit toxic pollutants, unlike some traditional energy sources.
Solar energy also results in zero emissions when generating electricity. This means that it will not contribute to climate change or air pollution.
Increases Home Value
Finally, studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems installed tend to have higher resale value. This means that in addition to saving money on your monthly electricity bill, you can recoup some of the cost of the initial investment when you sell your home.
Conclusion: Re-emphasize Why Going Solar Is a Smart Choice
Solar energy is quickly becoming one of the most popular alternatives to traditional energy sources and for good reason. It offers many financial, environmental and other benefits that make it a viable option for many homeowners. Although it may be expensive upfront, solar energy can pay for itself over time and be one of the best investments that you can make.
For those with the unshaded roof space, enough building considerations and utility rates high enough to make solar energy a viable financial investment, it is definitely worth considering. With numerous options for financing and incentives available, going solar can be a great way to save money and help the environment.