The benefits of residential solar energy

Fri, 05/24/2024 - 1:00pm

    Solar energy panels have gained visibility in neighborhoods across the country. Where it once was a rarity to see solar panels on the roofs of homes, today a stroll or drive around a given community is bound to reveal a number of homeowners have made the transition to solar power. You may be wondering if the investment is worth it.

    Solar panels harvest energy from the sun through the use of photovoltaic cells. These semiconductor materials absorb photons from the sun, and the photons release electrons from the atoms of the semiconductor material. According to Forbes, the flow of these electrons within the cell creates an electric current directed to circuits. Solar panels can be placed anywhere there is abundant sunlight, such as in open fields. In residential areas, they’re most often placed on roofs to get the most sun exposure.

    Although having solar panels on the roof may affect the aesthetic of a home, many people find the benefits far outweigh such issues. Consider these perks to going solar.

    • Save money: One of the draws of solar power is the ability to save money on your monthly utility bill. Electricity costs seemingly rise year after year. The Solar Energy Industries Association¨ says the cost of solar has decreased by more than 70 percent in the past decade compared to the cost of electricity, which has risen about five percent. Over the course of a solar panel life span, which is typically between 25 and 30 years, it’s possible to save $25,500 to $33,000 on electricity.

    • More affordable: As noted, the cost of installing solar panels continues to drop. Investopedia says up-front cost of a residential solar power system is between $3,500 and $16,000, depending on the size of the system. says the United States has extended the federal residential solar tax credit, and you can save a 30 percent tax credit on the cost of solar systems through January 1, 2033. Options abound for financing to make solar more affordable.

    • Increased home value: According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homeowners can increase the value of their homes by $20 for every $1 in savings on electrical bills from solar energy. Homes with solar panels sell 4% higher than those that don’t have them.

    • Get paid back: Solar incentives in some areas may enable homeowners to turn profits in addition to generating electric bill savings. Solar renewable energy credits compensate you for the electricity that the solar panel system generates.

    • Avoid disruptions in power: Strong storms or even accidents that affect power lines can knock out traditional electricity for hours. Battery storage combined with solar energy can be beneficial during a disruption in power, and eliminate the need to purchase a backup generator.

    • Protect the planet: Burning of fossil fuels to generate power contributes to carbon emissions. Switching to solar can reduce carbon emissions and help prevent air and water contamination.

    Solar energy panels are becoming more visible in residential neighborhoods thanks in large parts to the many benefits such panels provide.