So what are the benefits of solar energy?
Well, besides making the smug, yuppie couple next door absolutely green with envy, there are a number of benefits of solar energy systems. The benefits can be divided into two categories, the financial benefits, and the environmental benefits. Alternatively, the benefits to you, and the benefits to the earth.
The Financial Benefits of Solar Energy
- The Big Picture: On a macro level, solar power provides the U.S. economy with a renewable, effectively infinite source of energy for the future. And in a time of dwindling fossil fuel supplies, solar energy could power our country for eons to come. Plus, the solar industry employs 174,000 workers, a 20% increase since 2014.
- It’s Never Been Cheaper: The price of solar photo-voltaic panels has plummeted this decade. Since 2009, the average price dropped more than 80% in the U.S.
- Save Cash Every Month: Although some federal tax incentives for residential solar panels have passed, many states still offer financial tax breaks for homeowners interested in the benefits of solar energy. Plus, lawmakers all over the country are pressuring utility companies to offer better rates and rebates to customers who produce their own solar power. A residential solar system can save you money on both your taxes and monthly electrical bill.
The Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy
- Limits Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Most electricity used in your home is produced by coal plants, so producing solar power helps reduce emissions and lower your environmental footprint. Plus, residential solar systems can save the equivalent amount of fuel it would take to drive 400,000 miles in your average gas guzzler.
- Decrease Oil Dependency: The more homes, cities, states, and countries produce solar energy from the sun, the less our economy and industries rely on finite fossil fuels. Drilling projects, oil spills, and fracking all have effects on our environment, but solar power produces clean, green energy right from the sunshine.
- It’s Contagious! Study after study shows that the biggest driver of new solar installations is peer influence. When one house in a neighborhood installs solar panels, more soon follow. If you want to reduce our dependence on coal and oil, then help kickstart the solar trend right from your home.
Although we know how important it is for middle class families to save money on their electrical bills, the benefits of solar energy go much deeper. If mankind is truly to act as the stewards of the earth, then that means making a commitment to its health. And a new study from MIT recently reported that existing solar technology could meet all the world’s energy needs. So far, solar accounts for half of all new power generated. Let’s do better…