If you live in a residential neighborhood, go outside for a moment and take a look from one end of your street to the other. You'll probably find that at least several of your neighbors' homes will have solar panels on their roofs. You might even have them yourself. Five years ago, this probably wouldn't have been the case. In the past few years, the prices for solar panels have gone down tremendously, which was often the knock against them. You might have been able to save in the long run, but many homeowners argued that the initial investment was too much.
This has changed as the technology has improved. Solar panel companies have consulted with polymer experts to create solar panel alternatives to glass that are easier to roll out and install and provide additional protection from potentially harmful elements like wind and hail. The U.S Department of Energy has invested in a number of projects to improve PV technologies and increase efficiency to make solar power a more sustainable option. Just this week, it announced that it would fund an additional 16 projects for $11 million. The Federal Government has also provided households and businesses with subsidies to encourage solar energy adoption.
With all of this in mind, are you still on the fence about getting solar panels? It is still a major investment and the technology is still new and not easy understood, but there are a number of benefits you could experience if you do decide to go solar. Here are four that come to mind right away:
You Will Start Saving from Day One: There are a number of programs out there that allow you to finance your solar panels or lease them, so you don't have to worry about initial installation costs or ongoing maintenance. These pay-as-you-go solar programs can be an easy way to start taking advantage of solar energy savings without having to put down a major financial investment.
You Will Increase the Value of Your Home: It's still a buyer's market in real estate, so you'll need amenities that will make your home stand out. Given the public's interest in sustainability and lowering energy costs, solar panels can be an attractive feature that ultimately will increase the value of your home.
You Will Have Fixed Energy Costs: Unlike other utilities where costs can fluctuate, you will know how much energy you will be able to generate and what the price of that energy will be. You can even sell your SREC credits for additional long-term savings.
You Will Be Lowering Your Carbon Footprint: Did you know that the average residential solar system offsets about 100,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide in 20 years – the equivalent of driving a car for 100,000 miles? Although the financial incentives are certainly nice, lowering your carbon footprint may be the ultimate benefit from installing solar panels in your home.