August 2018 Newlsetter
Why go solar – Top 10 benefits of solar energy
There are many reasons why homeowners go solar, but improving the environment and cutting energy costs are the most common. Many people are aware that solar is a great home efficiency upgrade and are eager to reduce their carbon footprint while also improving property value.
Whether your motivations for going solar are economic, environmental, or personal, this sizable list of solar power beenfits will have something for everyone. Here are the top ten reasons why solar energy is good for your home and more popular than ever in the United States.
#1 Drastically reduce or even eliminate your electric bills
Whether you’re a homeowner, business, or nonprofit, electricity costs can make up a large portion of your monthly expenses. With a solar panel system, you’ll generate free power for your system’s entire 25+ year lifecycle. Even if you don’t produce 100 percent of the energy you consume, solar will reduce your utility bills and you’ll still save a lot of money.
#2 Earn a great return on your investment
Solar panels aren’t an expense – they’re one of the best ways to invest, with returns rivaling those of more traditional investments like stocks and bonds. Thanks to substantial electricity bill savings, the average American homeowner pays off their solar panel system in seven to eight years and sees an ROI of 20 percent or more.
#3 Protect against rising energy costs
One of the most clear cut benefits of solar panels is the ability to hedge utility prices. In the past ten years, residential electricity prices have gone up by an average of three percent annually. By investing in a solar energy system now, you can fix your electricity rate and protect against unpredictable increases in electricity costs. If you’re a business or homeowner with fluctuating cash flow, going solar also helps you better forecast and manage your expenses.
#4 Increase your property value
Multiple studies have found that homes equipped with solar energy systems have higher property values and sell more quickly than non-solar homes. Appraisers are increasingly taking solar installations into consideration as they value homes at the time of a sale, and as homebuyers become more educated about solar, demand for properties equipped with solar panel systems will continue to grow.
#5 Boost U.S. energy independence
The sun is a near-infinite source of energy and a key component of achieving energy independence in the United States. By increasing our capacity to generate electricity from the sun, we can also insulate our country from price fluctuations in global energy markets.
#6 Create jobs and help your local economy
According to The Solar Foundation, the solar industry added jobs at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall U.S. economy in 2015, representing 1.2 percent of all jobs in the country. This growth is expected to continue. Because solar-related jobs tend to be higher paying and cannot be outsourced, they are a significant contributor to the U.S. economy.
#7 Protect the environment
Solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Buildings are responsible for 38 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., and going solar can significantly decrease that number. A typical residential solar panel system will eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year—the equivalent of planting over 100 trees annually.
#8 Demonstrate your commitment to sustainability
Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are important components of an organization’s culture and values. They also produce bottom line results. Increasingly, consumers and communities are recognizing and rewarding businesses that choose to operate responsibly. Businesses are finding that “green” credentials are a powerful driver of consumer purchasing decisions, creating goodwill and improving business results.
#9 Increase employee morale
Just like consumers, employees have a demonstrated appreciation for their employers’ commitment to operating responsibility. Employees share in the success and contributions of their organizations. Companies that care about their community and environment tend to have lower turnover rates, more engaged employees, and higher levels of morale.
#10 Stay competitive
Companies quickly are realizing the social and economic benefits of adopting solar power. As early adopters pull ahead of the competition, many companies are exploring solar power as a way to keep up.
July 2018 Newsletter
Exciting News FOR solar!
The US has added more solar power than any other type of electricity in 2018 so far — more evidence of an energy revolution
- The US added more solar power than any other type of electricity in the first quarter of 2018.
- Solar accounts for 55% of all US electricity added so far in 2018.
- The number is evidence of a broader global shift: Investment in renewable energy for electricity is overtaking fossil fuels.
The US added more solar power than any other type of electricity in the first quarter of 2018.
According to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a nonprofit group, the US solar market added 2.5 gigawatts of new capacity in the first three months of 2018, up 13% from the first quarter of 2017.
That accounts for 55% of all US electricity added in the first quarter of 2018, including fossil fuels and other forms of renewable energy.
"This data shows that solar has become a common-sense option for much of the US and is too strong to be set back for long," SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement.
The SEIA report notes that the bulk of the new solar capacity added comes from utility-scale projects, which are large installations that feed power into the grid. Non-residential solar, a category used when companies like AT&T and Nestle switch their electricity source to solar power, was the second largest area of growth, according to the SEIA.
This growth comes despite the 30% tariffs the Trump administration levied on imported solar panels earlier this year. The tariffs went into effect at the beginning of February, a change that some in the solar industry previously told Business Insider would lead to a reduced demand for solar power.
After the tariffs went into effect, developers killed some $2.5 billion of solar installation projects, according toReuters. Some US senators recently introduced a bipartisan bill to repeal the tariffs, saying they "jeopardize tens of thousands of workers" who are employed installing and maintaining solar installations in the US.
In 2017, before the tariffs were implemented, it cost around $50 to produce one megawatt-hour of electricity from solar power, according to an analysis from the investment bank Lazard. Coal, by comparison, cost about $102 per megawatt-hour to produce, the report calculated.
Rising US solar investment mirrors a larger global shift. In 2017, solar energy attracted $160.8 billion in investment, according to data from the United Nations Environment Program, outpacing nuclear and fossil fuels. China was by far the largest investor last year, sinking $126 billion alone into the renewable energy sector, according to a UN report.
Solar in 2017 was also the fastest growing electricity source globally, with 98 gigawatts added in 2017.