All 50 US states now have some level of solar capacity. In fact, more than 40% of all new electric capacity that the US added in 2020 came from solar.
That implies that no matter where you are in the US, you can reap the benefits of solar panels.
However, if you're still on the fence about going solar, then be sure to keep reading. This guide lists all the good things you can expect from a solar investment.
1. Small Carbon Footprint
Generating solar power itself doesn't result in carbon emissions. Instead, it's the manufacturing and recycling of solar panels that do. Still, the life-cycle carbon footprint of solar panels is far lower than that of fossil fuels.
For instance, gas-fired power plants have a 400 grams per kilowatt-hour (g/kWh) emission rate. Coal-fired plants have a bit less but still generates 200 g/kWh of emissions. By contrast, solar panels only average 25 to 32 g/kWh.
2. Fewer Emissions, Less Environmental Impact
Carbon emissions are some of the chief culprits behind the ever-warming planet. The more of these greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, the warmer the earth becomes. This translates to more extreme climate events, such as droughts, hurricanes, and flooding.
Since commercial and home solar panels emit fewer GHGs, they're better for the planet.
3. Enjoy Renewable Energy for Decades
The average solar panel lifespan is 25 years, but some can remain efficient for three decades or more. In this case, lifespan refers to the panels' age at which they can still produce about 80% of their rated output. In short, it's the manufacturer-guaranteed portion of the solar panels' actual life.
Now, please note that PV panels can still generate energy even after their rated lifespan. They would do so at a lower rate, but their production rate won't just go down to zero.
How low depends on the exact types of solar panels, but studies found they degrade by a median of 0.5% per year. However, even if you buy panels with a 0.8% degradation rate, you can expect them to be 80% efficient by their 25th year.
4. Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
The federal ITC is a dollar-per-dollar tax credit that an eligible US federal taxpayer can get. So, if you're one of the over 160 million folks who pay taxes, you may qualify for the ITC. You want to take advantage of this as it helps ease some of the costs of buying solar panels.
The current applicable ITC for commercial and residential solar panels is 26%. However, this only applies to systems installed on or before December 31, 2022.
If you miss the deadline and install your panels on or before December 31, 2023, you can still get a 22% credit.
5. State-Issued Solar Tax Incentives
Be sure to check your state laws and policies, as you may be eligible for tax incentives other than the federal ITC. For example, the folks at Blue Raven Solar say that Indiana offers state tax incentives. These include The Hoosier State's property tax exemption and sales tax exemption.
Another example is Idaho, which offers a personal income tax deduction. In The Gem State, residential taxpayers can get a 40% income tax deduction for the cost of their system. They also get to enjoy a 20% tax deduction for the next three years.
6. Long-Term Utility Savings
Regardless of how long your solar panels last, they're sure to save you money for a decade or more. That's because it's typical for panels to have a payback period of about ten years or even less. So, if your panels have a rated lifespan of at least 25 years, they can save you money for at least 15 years.
Start Enjoying the Many Benefits of Solar Panels
There you have it, your guide on the environmental and financial benefits of solar panels. So, as early as today, start ringing up solar installation companies for quotes. The sooner you do, the sooner you can harness the sun's clean and renewable energy.
Ready for more tips to improve your home or even health? Then please feel free to have a look at our other recent educational posts!