23 Reasons to Choose Solar PowerNov 09, 2020
Solar power and the related technologies have proven efficiencies. Using solar power also has tremendous environmental benefits. You will often see a return on your investment in a short period of time.
This informational article will explain some of the tremendous benefits of renewable energy. In particular I will discuss the 23 reasons to choose solar power.
Perhaps I will even convince you to take the next step and go solar.
DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT SOLAR POWER?
-Covering only 4% of the world’s desert areas with photovoltaic could supply enough electricity for the entire planet.
-Solar power currently supplies less than 0.02% of the world’s energy demands.
-A photovoltaic array, placed in a sunny area, measuring 87 miles on each side, could supply all the electricity needs of the United States.
-Fossil fuels currently supply 70% of the electricity needs for the U.S.
-Property value increases with the addition of solar energy. Typically, the increase in property value covers 50% to 75% of the cost of the solar electric system.
-The most abundant source of energy available on planet Earth is the sun. Why not take advantage of this free resource?
23 Reasons to Choose Solar Power
1) Solar energy is available anywhere.
Solar is one of the most versatile forms of renewable energy. Anywhere you have adequate sun exposure, solar power can be installed. Even if what you are trying to power is fully shaded, you can still have electricity. Your solar array just needs adequate sun light hours. Also, technology exists today that can turn roofing and windows into photovoltaic sources.
If you live remotely and the grid is unavailable, solar power may be your only choice for electricity.
2. Environmentally friendly.
The burning of fossils fuels provides about 70% of the electricity needs of the United States. In 2015, according to Forbes magazine, the world set a new all time record high of fossil fuel consumption. Consequently, global carbon dioxide emissions also set a new all-time high. The combustion of these fuels produces emissions including:
-Carbon Dioxide (C02) – a green house gas that contributes to global warming.
-Carbon Monoxide (C0)- in high concentrations can be lethal.
-Sulfur Dioxide (S02)-causes acid rain.
-Nitrogen Oxides (N0x) – can irritate and damage lungs tissue.
-Particulate Matter: causes hazy conditions in urban areas. It can also contribute to bronchitis and asthma.
-Mercury and other heavy metals: these are harmful to both humans and other animal life.
Compare that to emission free solar technology and the choice becomes obvious.
When there is a huge solar energy spill, it’s just called a “nice day”.
3) Solar has a fixed cost.
Consumers have no choice but to pay whatever price the utility provider demands. This price of course can change without notice depending on the market value. This is also something the consumer cannot control. However, the cost of solar remains stable. Even if you lease your solar electric system, your monthly payment remains stable. It simply replaces your normal utility bill. Of course, if you pay for your system outright, from that point on your electricity bill is $0.
4) One step closer to independence.
When you make the decision to go solar, you make the choice to invest in yourself. You are no longer making monthly payments to your energy provider. Nor are you subject to their fees and demands. You are able to take control of your utility costs. This makes you one step closer to independence. Increased personal independence gives you more freedom to make other choices about how you want to live your life.
5) Solar is a solid financial investment.
If you have ever owned a home, you know that the investment made in improvements does not necessarily produce a dollor-for-dollar return. This is not true with solar. The Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in California conducted a study that outlines what people were willing to pay for homes with renewable energy. Home buyers were willing to pay $15,000 more for a home with even an average size solar array. This is a return on investment in addition to your monthly savings on utility bills. With tax credits and other incentives, the solar array pays for itself in a short period of time.
Additionally, 38 states now have property tax exemptions that exclude the added value of the solar array from being considered in the property valuation for taxation purposes.
6) Renewable energy is the future.
It is obvious that fossil fuels are not renewable, at least not in the life span of our civilization. Our world is inevitably approaching the brink of peak energy production. Consequently we have to start planning ahead and turning to renewable energy sources. The best time to start is 1-2 generations BEFORE this becomes critical.
This is the concept of our world reaching a point of maximum energy production. The question is how much longer will oil and gas be available in sufficient quantities to support our significant demands? The United States reached maximum oil production in 1971 and that production has since declined. For the remainder of the globe, predictions are that conventional oil and natural gas production will peak somewhere between 2010 and 2040.
Read the full article by Cornell University here:
7) Cost savings.
While the cost of utilities continues to go up, the cost of solar continues to go down. In fact, the cost of solar has dropped dramatically over the last decade. This cost continues to decline thanks to improvements in technology. Once your array is paid for, you are no longer paying for electricity.
Furthermore, solar is often a far more cost effective installation than standard electricity. This is especially true if you want to install lighting in an area where none presently existed. For example, a garden, gazebo, shed, or workshop. You could install a single solar panel, an inexpensive charge controller, a battery, and lights that run directly off of DC power. This could easily be accomplished with an off the shelf, plug-and-play system for only a couple of hundred dollars. Installation would be a no-brainer. On the other hand, paying an electrician for installation of standard electricity would far exceed the entire cost of a simple solar install.
8) Renewable energy and unlimited resources
Solar energy is not a consumable resource that is depleted, used up, and has to be purchased again. When the sun is shining you have electricity. Even on a cloudy day, there is often enough solar radiation (insolation) to still produce electricity. The heat and light from the sun is a significant and inexhaustible resource that is free.
9) Energy savings
Solar electric systems are designed with maximum energy efficiency as the end point. This is especially true if you life off the grid. Consequently, lower powered lights, such as DC/CFL bulbs are used, as well as lower powered electronics.
While installing my solar electric system, I replaced all of the standard light bulbs with LEDs. This cost me $168. When comparing the total energy usage of both types of lights, I realized that by switching to LEDs, I had cut my light bulb energy consumption by 80%.
After my system was up and running, I also installed a refrigerator and freezer that run directly off of DC power. Both of these appliances, running 24 hours/day, use less electricity than a 100 watt light bulb.
10) Lower voltage
Solar electric systems are most often 12 volt or 24 volt DC. This is a voltage range that is much safer to install and utilize. With standard household electricity, the transmission lines that deliver power to your residence have to operate at extremely high voltage. This voltage level over comes the resistant and voltage loss involved with delivering power over long distances. Transformers are then used to step down the voltage to standard household current, which is still far more dangerous than solar electric current.
11) Solar can actually make you money.
Some states have a Renewable Portfolio Standard. This requires utility providers to obtain a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources. Utility providers found it was easier to obtain that energy from consumer owned solar electric systems as opposed to investing in their own systems. This has resulted in the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) market. Consequently, if your system is consistently generating more power than you are consuming, you have the opportunity to sell that excess power to the provider at a premium.
Even in states where this is not applicable, often there are net-metering agreements. This means if you generate more energy than you consume, the utility provider is required to purchase that excess energy from you. Although it is often purchased at a reduced rate.
What is Net Metering?
Net metering programs adopted in many states offer incentives for customers to install renewable energy systems. In essence, the utility provider is required to buy excess energy produced. Essentially, a customer’s utility meter can run forward and backward during the same billing period. The customer is only required to pay for the “net amount” used.
12) Solar electric systems are durable.
Solar electric systems have no moving parts, which greatly reduces the likelihood of failure. The solar wafers themselves are not durable. However, they are encased behind glass that is rigorously tested for heat, cold, wind, rain, snow loads, and physical damage. Often these panels are more durable than the roof of your house. Even if something does happen, most panels are backed by a 25 to 30 year warranty.
13) Battery back up
Solar electric systems can easily be designed with a battery bank that stores excess energy to be used when the sun is not shining. The most common practice is to have a battery bank large enough to give you continuous power for two to three days without having to recharge. This is referred to as “autonomy”. Consequently, if the grid goes down you still have power for several days.
Since I am completely off the grid and subject to snow storms that can last for several days, I designed my system with 4 days autonomy.
14) Long-term returns
Properly installed and maintained, a solar power system will consistently produce electricity for many years to come.
15) Ease of installation
Generally speaking, solar electric systems are easy to install. Before I installed my off-grid system, I took an extensive class in design and installation. When I returned home, I worked directly with a solar supplier to assist me with design. During installation, I consulted with my instructor, who is a Master Electrician with years of experience in the solar industry. Consequently, I was able to complete the installation myself. By doing so, I saved myself a considerable amount of money. The point being, it is possible to do much of the work yourself if you are so motivated.
If not, the solar company of your choice will be happy to complete the design and installation for you. They will take care of all the paperwork and necessary permits.
16) Renewable energy creates jobs and helps boost the local economy.
The solar industry is growing rapidly and that growth is expected to continue. According to The Solar Foundation, in 2015 the solar industry added jobs at a rate of nearly 12 times faster than the overall U.S. economy.
17) Demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
Sustainability and green energy are the way of the future. If you own a business, communities and consumers are increasingly recognizing organizations that choose to operate responsibly.
18) Low space requirement
You can go as big or small as you like, depending on how much energy you want to produce. Solar panels do not always have to go on the roof. They just need to be installed in a sunny area.
19) Diverse purposes.
Solar energy can be used for electricity, heating water, running a swimming pool, operating a well pump, as well as many, many other things.
20) Solar Power is dependable and reliable.
Unlike early systems, modern solar technology provides consistent, dependable, reliable energy.
21) Tax incentives/grants
Federal and State governments offer certain tax benefits for home owners purchasing renewable energy systems. Solar power is one of the most common choices. These programs are designed to help cover the up-front cost and to encourage the development of clean energy systems. There is a lot of variation from state to state and your local solar company should be able to sort that out. I have known several people where such incentives paid for over 75% of the up front cost of their system.
22) Solar power can make your home off-grid ready.
As a person that has lived most of the last 20 years off the grid, I now find this lifestyle easy and comfortable. I wonder sometimes why more people do not make this choice. However, what I have found is that more people are comfortable with the concept of “off-grid ready” as opposed to the pure off-grid lifestyle. Solar power makes this choice easy.
With even a small, relatively inexpensive solar array and battery backup, it is possible to be off-grid ready. This array could run specific, dedicated circuits in your home even when the grid goes down. A good example would be limiting those dedicated circuits to some basic lighting, refrigeration, and specific portions of your heating and cooling system. This would make your home operational with the basic necessities if there is an interruption in grid power.
23) Security and peace of mind
As long as someone else controls the majority of your resources, they essentially control your life. Having some control over your own resources brings about a certain amount of security and peace of mind. This is because no one is making your choices for you. This gives you the freedom and independence to make other choices about your life and how you live it.
Using solar power enables you to take at least one step toward greater personal freedom and security.
In my opinion, renewable energy is the way of the future. It is the obvious choice for preserving our planet. Additionally, having some control over your own resources increases your personal independence, saves a considerable amount of money, and is a great financial investment. Whether you want to live off grid or on, it is hard to argue with the tremendous benefits of solar power.
For further information on renewable energy, I have listed additional resources below.
Additional Posts of Interest
Go off grid and live well,
Resources for Solar Power and Other Renewable Energies
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Effciency and Renewable Energywww.eere.energy.gov
Solar Electric Power Association: www.solarelectricpower.org
American Solar Energy Society: http://www.ases.org
U.S. Department of Energy: www.energy.gov
American Wind Energy Association: http://www.awea.org
National Renewable Energy Laboratory: http://www.nreal.gov
Interstate Renewable Energy Council:http://www.irecusa.org
Energy Information Administration: http://www.eia.dor.gov
DSIRE, Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency:http://www.dsireusa.org
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