According to a study conducted by researchers with the MIT Energy Initiative the benefits of solar power outweigh the cost.
It’s a fact: solar energy is worth the investment.
The study found that by the seventh year of ownership, solar panels “buy themselves back.” This report is one of many recent studies that, for the first time, have uncovered actionable, monetized data about the benefits of solar panels.
Here are 10 reasons to get over the upfront costs and invest in solar energy.
Invest In Solar Energy for the Economy
There are dozens of economic benefits to solar energy use.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA) the growth of the solar industry has the potential to increase global gross domestic product (GDP). One report by the IREA found that that solar power has the potential to generate up to $1.3 trillion for the American economy.
From an employment standpoint, the renewable energy sector provides more jobs than the fossil fuels industry. Solar power alone employs nearly four times as many Americans than the coal industry does.
In addition to more job opportunities, consumers can directly benefit from lower electric bills, tax credits, and increased home values. Homeowners with personal solar panels can relieve themselves of electric bills indefinitely.
Communities with solar panels help reduce the prices of electricity in a given region, due to the “bid” system the electricity market operates by. Solar power also offers reduced and more stable pricing than fossil fuels does.
Solar power also creates more opportunities for struggling farmers and landowners who can independently sell electricity generated from personal solar panels.
Increased disposable income and property values translate to cities and towns with more opportunities and improved quality of life.
Solar Power Is Better for Your Health
4.2 million unnecessary deaths are linked to air pollution.
Most of the power grid runs off of energy produced by burning coal. But when coal burns, chemical reactions produce toxic airborne pollutants like mercury, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, arsenic, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals is directly linked to asthma, cancer, heart failure, lung diseases, and neurological problems.
But solar power offers a solution that doesn’t poison the air. The amount of improvement solar power has on a location depends on its current energy source and air pollution. For example, widespread solar panel use has a higher impact on high-density urban cities or manufacturing regions.
One study conducted by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that if America generated 80% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2050 it would reduce the electricity sector’s emissions by 81%.
Solar Is More Reliable
Extreme weather caused by climate change is expected to continue to cause mass power outages and blackouts across the country at increased frequencies.
Studies by Climate Central and the National Climate Assessment found that blackouts caused by climate change have increased and that, in contrast, climate change will cause an increase in energy demands. The current fossil fuel-based electricity grid isn’t built to handle the changing world. This only adds to the increasing unreliability of the aging energy system in America.
This is all a recipe for disaster.
But, solar panels create the opportunity for energy independence. Communities and residencies that rely on small solar-powered grids won’t be as affected when regional disasters happen. This creates a more reliable system. This also decreases America’s dependence on international energy and resource.
Solar Panel Care Is Easy
Solar panels won’t start to age noticeably for about 25 years after they have installed. Studies have shown that after the 25-year mark, solar panels start to operate at about 80% efficiency.
But there are many factors that contribute to the lifespan of a solar panel. These include the type of solar panel (for example, photovoltaic vs. crystalline panels), the frequency and bandwidth they have used. The manufacturer and the conductive materials they use in their products will also impact a solar panel’s life expectancy.
Like all things, one of the biggest influences for how long a solar panel will last is how it has consistently cared for. Solar panels do not require complicated or expensive maintenance. Solar panel cleaning is paramount to preservation.
When solar panels have dirty or blocked from the sun by sagging tree limbs they have to work harder. This creates resistance and can cause the technological components of the panel to fail. If it doesn’t fail, it definitely won’t be working at full capacity and the added stress will knock years of its life.
But keeping solar panels clean is as simple as running a hose over them a few times every year in moderate climates. If solar panels are located in a hard-to-reach area professional cleaners are available for about the same price as a top-tier car wash. But, from installation to maintenance, the steps for how to go solar in Denver, for example, will be different from how to go solar in Orlando.
Solar Energy Reduces Environmental Impact
Even though being better for the environment might seem “solar panels 101,” new research about how solar panels benefit the environment and to what degree are consistently published.
One of the biggest criticisms of pro-fossil fuel organizations against solar panels is that the operation on installing and managing panels still causes harm to the environment. This topic has hotly debated and different studies defending both sides of the argument seem to pop-up every few months.
Although the solar power system isn’t completely carbon neutral (yet). It still causes less harm to the environment than fossil fuel operations like natural gas and coal. As mention by studies cited earlier in this article. Solar power has proven to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
Are Solar Panels a Good Investment?
When someone decides to invest in solar energy they are gaining more than personal benefit. Independence, innovation, and progress are at the core of the American spirit. Investing in solar panels casts a vote towards a fearless future open to change.
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