There are a wide variety of tactics and strategies for reducing our energy costs, including buying energy-efficient appliances, being vigilant about our actual energy use (such as killing vampire loads), installing more insulation and better weatherproofing, and so on, but because none of those actually produce any energy, they’re limited to strictly energy conservation.
Home solar systems, however, can not only offset our fossil-fuel-based energy consumption, but can also become a source of clean renewable energy, which can power homes and businesses long after the initial cost of the solar array has paid for itself. Home solar systems offer distinct advantages over other energy-related home improvement projects, and along with generating clean electricity, could also increase home and property values, while providing a dependable and affordable source of energy over the long term.
The financial return on buying home solar systems, depending on where you live, can be over $20,000 in savings (average 20-year savings), which is quite a bit of money, considering the current state of the economy and the rising energy rates. Leasing a home solar system, which doesn’t have nearly the overall financial impact that buying one does, can also make a lot of sense, as it allows homeowners to have the home solar system installed with only a small amount of money put down on it (or even $0 down!), and to begin putting money back in your pocket (from the savings on electricity bills) immediately.
The environmental advantages of home solar systems are many, but the most obvious are the decreased reliance on fossil fuels, the increase in clean renewable energy entering the grid, and the reduced energy-related pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Installing a home solar system can also have a beneficial effect on our all-too-precious water resources, because it’s much less water-intensive to produce energy from the sun than with other common power sources (solar PV was found to use 21 times less water than nuclear power (per kWh of electricity produced), and about 16 times less water than coal-fired electricity).
Two other big benefits of home solar systems are somewhat indirect, but no less potent for it. One of those solar benefits is the matching of electricity production with electrical demand, which can help reduce the cost of electricity on the market for everyone, while also increasing the resilience of the grid by diversifying the sources of electricity. Another solar benefit from installing more home solar systems is the boosting of the local economy by creating jobs, and studies have shown that money invested in solar power can create up to three times the number of jobs than the same amount of money invested in coal or natural gas, so it’s got a great return rate when compared to other energy investments.
While installing more home solar systems won’t completely solve our energy addictions (considering how much energy we waste every day), but when coupled with home energy conservation efforts and perhaps the implementation of some smart home technology, solar power can serve to take a big bite out of not just our energy bills, but can also help us to reduce our environmental footprint while boosting the economy.