5 Convincing Reasons to Go Solar
By Derek Smith
If you are reading this you probably have already decided to look into getting a solar panel set up. Perhaps you haven’t ‘pulled the trigger’ as it were; because you are not quite convinced it’s worth it. My hope is that the following information will help you make the right decision and get that home solar power system up and running. Here are the 5 top reasons you should go solar.
#5. It’s good for the planet
I know, many of you cannot believe that this reason is not number one; but let’s face it, for most people being good to the environment is cool but it’s not the most important thing for them. Whether for political reasons or pure economics, getting a solar energy installation solely for the purpose of ‘saving the planet’ is not going to be the weightiest matter for most Americans. However, it is infinitely worthwhile and it is still a very important factor that should be considered. Every home with a solar system is reducing the usage of fossil fuels to some degree. In the aggregate when the number of these homes reaches into the many tens of thousands it will have a major positive impact in the long run; and that’s cool. It’s already happening, so why not be a part of it?
#4. It’s easier than you might think
Looking at those sophisticated photovoltaic solar panels and wondering ‘how in the world does that confounded contraption work!’ can actually be a bit of a stumbling block for some. The good news is there are solar power experts who know exactly what they are doing. Based on your particular situation, home size, power needs, sun exposure, terrain, and number of other factors, solar panel companies can fit you with the right system and get it up and running in no time. If you try to do it yourself, yeah… it might be quite the chore. But with the growth of the solar industry in the past 10 years and the number of qualified solar companies available, hiring a pro should be a no brainer.
#3 Expert analyses are Free!
Reading blogs and articles like this one is great. Researching every aspect of residential solar systems is beneficial to a point. But that’s not where you should make your decision. Call a local solar contractor and have them come out and assess your options. The best companies will walk you through everything you need to know including the financing, the financial benefits, what you get for your money, what you can expect in the long run and more. According to Vanguard Solar Energy, a New York based solar installation company, the best assessments are done by expert engineers as opposed to salesmen. With that kind of assessment, you can’t go wrong.
#2 You can actually earn money
What? Yes. How? Well it’s quite simple. If you own your system (not leasing it) you are still connected to electrical grid and the power your panels generate feeds the electrical system in your home to power your lights, water heater, computers, and whatever. When your batteries are full your solar panels don’t just quit. They actually feedback the extra power to the grid and your electricity meter will run backwards. You will earn credits on your bill for generating the power which the power company then sells/ provides to other customers. Essentially they are buying your extra power. When this happens you are not only saving money, you are actually earning money. If you ‘sell’ enough energy back to the power company, it can possibly over take your monthly liability and they will send you a check. You would need a pretty big system to have that happen regularly, but you get the idea.
#1 You clearly save money in the short-run and long-run
The number one reason is obvious. For everybody, even the die-hard tree-huggers (no offense), saving money is a good thing. If you are doing something positive for the environment while saving money, well that’s even better. With your own home solar system, you start saving immediately during the installation process with tax incentives provided by your state and the federal government. Once installed, you will immediately start saving on your electric bills. As time goes on, you can earn credits and earn some money from the power company as well. The combination of using your own generated power and earning credits will, in the long run, pay for itself in savings, and continue to provide savings and earnings for as long as your system remains operational.
Some final thoughts
There are plenty of reasons to go solar and few reasons not to. Keep in mind, the reasons stated above work for owned solar systems, and not so much for leased systems. Leased systems may be more affordable upfront, but you will not reap the savings and rewards in the long run that you do with an owned system. The out-of-pocked costs for an owned system are not nearly as expensive as they were just 5 years ago, so it’s worth getting free assessment and a quote and find out the facts for yourself.
Derek Smith is a freelance writer and blogger from upstate New York.