Research has shown that most Americans are in favor of expanding the use of solar power for residential and commercial properties to address both financial and environmental issues. Utility companies have increased their use of solar panels, as it appears solar will play a significant role in the future of electricity production. Though some disagree about the subject of climate change, most agree the benefits of solar energy are undeniable, and it’s the perfect industry for any rising small business. From global energy independence to lower monthly utility bills, here are just five reasons why solar energy continues to grow in popularity.
1. Energy Independence
The world energy market experiences unpredictable price fluctuations that impact the entire economy, affecting both individuals and businesses. Developing energy sources independent of these outside influences is one way to protect the country’s economy from this type of instability, and solar energy ensures there will always be a reliable source of electricity. Solar power is also a way for the country to move away from dependence on foreign oil.
Because utilities represent a significant line item on most companies’ income statements, eliminating these cost fluctuations improves businesses' ability to make financial decisions based on a reasonably predictable budget. For businesses, even a temporary power outage can cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue, so being able to survive off the grid is extremely valuable. At an individual level, residential solar panel installation reduces homeowners’ dependence on public utilities for their electricity so they are not impacted by local power outages.
2. Cost Savings
The cost of installing solar panels for home use continues to decrease as time goes on. As well, tax incentives for residential installations will still be in place until the end of 2021, which explains the significant increase in homeowners’ interest in solar energy in recent years. The same is true for businesses. Solar installations reduce monthly utility bills for both residential and commercial properties. Between utility savings and tax credits, a new solar energy system can pay for itself in just a few years. Technological advances promise to bring the cost down even further in the future.
Solar is a free and renewable energy resource. Fossil fuels, including coal, crude oil and natural gas, take millions of years to renew, while there is a never-ending supply of solar energy. Even when it’s cloudy, solar panels still generate power because they collect light, not heat. As a result, solar energy is a viable option for nearly every climate. As long as the sun remains in the sky, solar energy will be a reliable and renewable resource that does not emit carbon or CO2 when being transformed into electricity, so doesn’t damage the environment.
4. Cleaner Environment
Wind, solar and geothermal power are examples of renewable, zero-emissions sources of energy that do not destroy the environment. Fossil fuels are considered to be the most significant contributors to climate change as a result of carbon pollution. It stands to reason that continued use of fossil fuels as a primary energy source will not cause the environment to improve over time. When considering the worldwide effort to provide future generations with a clean and livable environment, converting to renewable energy, including solar, can be a significant part of the solution.
5. Increased Property Value
Besides reducing monthly power bills, solar panel installations have been shown to increase property values, and as an added benefit, they do so without raising property taxes. Some environmentally conscious buyers have even been known to pay a premium for a property with solar panels already installed. While it can be challenging to develop a consistent estimate of the value increase, studies have shown that buildings with solar energy systems are being sold for more than comparable properties in the same area. As another incentive to promote the use of solar power, there are loan programs available to help finance the equipment and installation of solar panels, making it even easier to purchase a system.
Solar power continues to grow in popularity as technology brings the price down and people become more energy and environmentally conscious. Energy independence, at both the local and global level, has become a big concern. Some consumers prefer not to rely solely on the electric grid, and as a nation, there is a desire to eliminate dependence on foreign oil or any nonrenewable fossil fuels. Clean energy sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal, can help ensure that future generations inherit a safe and livable environment.
Solar installations were once considered a fad that was so expensive, only corporations and the wealthy could afford them. Now solar power is affordable for many individuals and businesses. It continues to grow in popularity because it is a safe, renewable, clean source of energy that saves money and just might bring the country one step closer to energy independence.