The grid won’t control how much you pay for electricity anymore, instead they’ll end up paying you. Your solar power helps strengthen the grid by self generating solar energy.
Your environmental-saving solar system will end up paying for itself. Power companies have buyback programs that will credit you for the excess energy you’ve produced. In addition, having solar panels appreciates the value of your home and even gives you special tax advantages, including a 30% Federal Tax Credit.
The calamity of the 2003 Northeast Blackout forced the United States to address our solar energy deficit. The national crisis determined solar power as a necessity and most importantly as a demand for safety and national security. As a nation we began to focus on solar initiatives by implementing new policies, increasing funding and research, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative – The Future of Solar Energy. Policy makers have responded to the solar demand by offering tax benefits.
One of the biggest incentives for installing solar panels in your home is to take advantage of the 30% tax credit currently offered until 2019. The 30% Federal Tax Credit offered means that 30% of the cost of the solar system can be taken off your tax liability. The 30% credit amount is only in effect until December 31, 2019. The federal tax credit will then be reduced to:
• 26% in 2020
• 22% in 2021
• 10% after 2021
Homeowners with a yearly income and qualified credit score are eligible for the tax credit.
Using solar energy prevents millions of pounds of fossil fuels from being burned and releasing toxic chemicals into the air we breath. So why aren’t we using more of it? Because we are naturally hesitant to change and most of the time full of excuses. We’ve been underestimating the benefits of solar for decades. However, the lack of solar electricity generated has proven to be a serious problem for the planet and its entire population.
Solar electricity is produced by using photovoltaic cells to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Convential electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Using a carbon-free energy source stops pollution and eliminates greenhouse gas emissions.
At the end of 2016 in Houston the average price per watt was $3.22 without applying the 30% Federal Tax Credit. The total cost breakdown for a complete solar panel energy system is shown below.
The total cost of a solar energy system depends on the size your system needs to be in order to power your entire home or building. Your historical energy consumption can be used to estimate the approximate size your solar energy system needs to able to produce for your home. However, the attributes of your home’s roof will determine if the size your solar panel system needs to be is even viable and capable of producing energy efficiently. Your solar panels energy system feasibility are dependent on your roof characteristics, i.e. its size, facing direction and amount of shade it receives. That means that sadly not every home is optimized for solar panels.
Remember that purchasing solar panels are only beneficial if its placed for optimal sun exposure to provide you with enough savings. Do not puchase a solar energy system that is not designed to completely maximize solar efficiency with a system specifically for your amount of energy consumption. The severity of purchasing an inefficient solar system would be like buying a brand new electric car that is supposed to get about 80 MPG, but instead runs like an old truck that gets you only 12 MPG. Be aware of the sales scams that sell solar panels, but offer a poorly inefficient solar energy system. Unfortunately not every home can actually benefit from switching to solar.