Bringing Solar Energy Home

Solar energy systems are becoming more and more popular among homes in the Imperial Valley, the weather is ideal to harvest sunlight and the potential savings are hard to ignore, if you are considering the advantages of this eco-friendly energy source or curious to learn more about it, here is a brief summary of solar energy!

Solar Energy and the Environment

Solar energy comes from using the sun as fuel to create heat or electricity, and it is considered environmentally friendly because the sun is a natural energy source that does not require the burning of fossil fuels and the associated air emissions. It is a source of renewable energy since the sun does not deplete any natural resources and will never run out.

Advantages of Solar Energy

The benefits of generating your own energy means you will be saving money on electric bills, you will increase the value of your home, and you will decrease your carbon footprint. Depending on the system you install, you can save an average of 50% of your electric bill or even eliminate it all together. On average, a home can increase in value by up to $17,000, an average of $5.50 per watt and can sell 15% faster than homes without a solar energy system. Solar energy also helps us protect the earth by reducing our reliance on foreign and nonrenewable energy sources. Each home can help conserve more than 16,000 gallons of water per year and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to global warming, causing glaciers to melt, shorelines to erode and animals to be endangered.  Solar energy provides energy reliability, energy security and energy independence from large monopolized companies, all while creating two or three times more jobs than money invested in coal or natural gas.

Disadvantages of a Solar System

The biggest disadvantage of a solar system is that the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day. Solar panels stop producing energy when the sun goes down or is heavily shaded, in those instances we use batteries where we can store electricity produced for later use or we rely on a second energy source. Another growing concern is fire fighter safety, in recent years fire fighters have struggled with the risk of roofs collapsing, inability to gain footing on slippery surfaces and even potential electrical shock if the system is not properly disconnected.  Other concerns include roof maintenance, which can add to costs if repairs need to be made, and overall appearance of a home.

Financing a Solar System

While cost of installing solar energy systems is high, there are considerable local and state government subsidies and tax credits that offset the costs including the USDA REAP Grant, the Green Retrofit Grant, the Federal Grant Program and the Residential Renewable Energy Credit. Third-party-owned solar has also given homeowners the option to lease, with solar leasing the solar provider pays for, and is the rightful owner of the solar system. They take care of the installation, maintenance, monitoring and repairs, and in return, they receive all the financial incentives, including the federal 30% tax credit. With a solar lease, you pay little or no money down, and simply pay the solar provider a pre-determined monthly amount, this is typically significantly lower than the price of electricity from your utility company. It is recommended that homeowners that can afford to pay a solar in cash or have access to a well-structured loan, to avoid third-party ownership. Solar loans or home equity loans are becoming more accessible with lower interest rates, shorter terms and interests that may be tax deductible.

Being a Solar Energy Advocate

Today we are able to use solar energy to power homes, businesses, cars and more with this clean, renewable form of energy. In the future, solar energy is likely to become our primary source of all energy, providing everyone with affordable energy and a cleaner environment. Being that our local weather supports this form of harvesting energy, everyone is encouraged to participate and reap the benefits of solar energy as we move towards a cleaner, better future.