Home owners around the country are taking the plunge and installing solar power or solar lights. Thus it’s so surprise solar installations are on the rise. There are several reasons to add solar to your home, which we will talk about in this article, but there is a barrier to entry. Investing in solar energy or lighting is not necessarily inexpensive, but it does pay for itself down the road. With that in mind, here is a little information about solar and some reasons you might want to make the switch to solar.
How Does Solar Work?
Before we talk about the reasons to switch to solar, let’s lay down the base for how solar energy works. A standard solar panel consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, and wiring that allows a current to flow from the silicon cells. When light hits a silicon cell, it causes the electrons to become excited, which creates a flow of electric current. This is known as the photovoltaic effect. There are even special fuses inside solar panels to best facilitate the process.
Going Solar Is Going Green
Unlike conventional power sources, solar power produces no harmful emissions to damage the environment. Solar is clean, renewable, and uses the most natural resource possible: the sun. The sun shines everyday and solar simply takes advantage of the free energy.
Traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels, produce 68% of the electricity the country currently consumes. The emissions this consumption creates are harmful and should be avoided. These emissions include:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- Particulate matter (PM)
- Mercury and other heavy metals
Return on Investment
Home improvements are generally a good way to raise the value of your house and solar is no exception. However, not many home improvements will raise the value of your home and cut down on your monthly bills like solar does.
The investment you make in solar will add its exact value, or more, to your property if you sell your house in the future. A study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found buyers were willing to pay $15,000 more for a home with an average sized solar panel. This $15,000 is likely more than it cost to install the solar panel in the first place. In addition, the money you saved on your monthly electric bill will add up.
You may be worried that adding solar panels to your house will increase your property taxes, but this is likely not going to happen. 38 states have exemptions preventing solar panel systems from being considered in the valuation of property for tax purposes.
Solar Can Make You Money
In some states, the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires energy companies to acquire a portion of their electricity from solar generators. Most energy companies have not decided to make their own solar farms and instead buy it from customers. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) are created for every megawatt-hour of solar electricity created. This means if your solar system at your home is generating more electricity than you use, you can sell the excess to an energy company. Every state’s program is different, but your solar panels can eliminate your monthly electric bill and earn you money by selling extra power.
If you can’t make the jump to solar panels to power your house, there are other options such as solar lighting. Solar lights are lights that capture their own solar energy through small solar panels. They can often be placed wherever you want, since they are not tied to a traditional power grid. This is especially handy for outdoor lights, since you won’t have to run wiring to power them.
One of the most common types of solar lights are those attached to ground stakes. These lights have a small solar panel on top to collect sunlight with the light bulb underneath. They are commonly placed along garden paths to illuminate the way when it is dark out.
Solar energy is on the rise and for good reason. Solar power is not only good for the planet, but it is good for your wallet in the long run. You will see a return on your investment in solar because your monthly bills will be lower and your property value will increase. There are also smaller solar options, like solar lights, that add eco-friendly decoration to your home.