If you are considering going solar, there has never been a better time, go solar today. In fact, considering the increasingly negative consequences of the alternatives to investing in clean, sustainable solar energy, time is becoming of the essence.
Most people are already aware of the potential for saving money on your monthly utility bills. However, there are some benefits that people may still not be aware of. A study revealed that the installation of a solar energy system increases property values by an average of $15,000. That amount is in addition to the monthly savings on your energy bills. For every megawatt hour of solar electricity created by your system that you don’t consume, many states offer SREC’s or Solar Energy Renewable Certificates. Those certificates enable you to sell that energy back to your local energy company for a profit.
There are a few relatively new incentives as well. For example, in 38 states, adding solar panels to your home is one of the few home improvements that won’t result in increasing your property taxes. In 29 states, solar panels and other equipment used to install a solar system, is exempt from sales tax.
Further, in many states, solar access laws have been enacted to prohibit homeowner’s associations from preventing or restricting the installation of solar panels. Solar easements can be granted to ensure that solar access on your property isn’t obstructed. The solar panels themselves are thoroughly tested to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions.
Fracking has caused an increase in natural disasters such as earthquakes. It’s a good idea for individuals and communities to have an emergency back-up plan. The best back-up plan is one that isn’t dependent on the existing energy grid. Solar energy makes it possible to generate power independently during emergencies for vital communication and food preservation.
Solar power packs, portable panels, and generators make it possible to charge cell phones, power appliances, and provide light for nighttime visibility. Solar water pump kits can pump water to supply your house, gardens, and animals during a power outage.
You don’t have to live somewhere with perpetual sunshine to benefit from a solar energy system. Solar power kits don’t just capture energy—they also store it. Energy collected during sunny weather is converted into electricity and stored for use on cloudy days, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “saving for a rainy day.”
Rising Energy Costs
While the price of energy varies from state to state, prices continue to rise each year, while wages remain stagnant. That means that instead of being able to save, many people are falling further behind with each increase in their utility bills. According to the U.S. Energy Administration Information agency, this winter will be no exception.
The cost of natural gas is predicted to rise by 12% this year compared to last year for the nearly half of all U.S. residents who rely on it as their primary heat source. Those whose primary heat source is electricity can expect an 8% increase this winter. (That percentage increases to 12% in the event of a colder winter.) Propane prices are expected to increase by 11%. Heating oil prices are due to rise by a whopping 17%.
One of the biggest problems with unsustainable fuel sources like oil and gas is that as supplies are depleted, prices rise. All too often, when scarcity becomes a factor, consumers are at risk of becoming victims of price gouging. While the hydraulic fracturing process, commonly known as fracking, has made it possible to extract more oil and gas, it carries a very high social and environmental price tag indeed.
Environmental Health Incentives
The process of extracting hidden reserves of oil and gas to prolong its use and prevent prices from rising even more quickly than they already are is expensive. A study at Duke University estimated that 250 billion gallons of potential clean drinking water were used for fracking between 2005 and 2014.
Those 250 billion gallons were transformed into 210 billion gallons of wastewater. The study also documented high levels of radioactivity at a site where oil and gas wastewater was discharged, as well as radium levels 200 times greater than samples collected upstream from the site.
Another study found that an average of 16% of fracked oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, chemicals, and fracking fluids into the surrounding environment. Those chemicals affect air quality as well as water quality.
Many geological experts believe that injecting vast amounts of water into the earth can also cause earthquakes. In areas where there are pre-existing fault lines, even a minor earthquake can be transformed into an earthquake of potentially devastating magnitude.
Health care costs are rising even faster than energy costs in the U.S. Using fossil fuels contributes to a rise in cancer and other life-threatening illnesses that require expensive medical care. Destructive industries often justify their practices on the grounds that they create jobs. Installing solar panels on a roof is a much healthier job than mining coal, both for workers and for our planet.
There are a lot of good reasons to go solar, but perhaps the most compelling reason to go solar today is help ensure that there’s a tomorrow.