Solar energy is a clean, renewable alternative to fossil fuel. The clear majority of homes in the U.S. are dependent on fossil fuel for energy. Burning fossil fuel produces greenhouse gasses, particularly carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gas emissions lead to rising temperatures and global climate change.
Global warming is already causing extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, and ecosystem changes. These are facts that are provided with clear evidence by NASA, the EPA and other various governmental agencies.
Going solar means, you will lessen the demand for fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease your carbon footprint. Just one home switching to solar energy has a measurable effect on the environment.
An average home in the northeastern region of the U.S. 7,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. If you switch to solar power, you will decrease the amount of carbon emitted equaling the amount produced by burning 5,300 pounds of coal or planting 160 trees every year!
The Health Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy minimizes pollutants in our air. Energy, Economic, and Environmental Benefits of the Solar America Initiative is a report offered by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The report states that with extensive use of solar energy, we would experience a great reduction in nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter emissions. These pollutants are a cause of major health issues like chronic bronchitis, respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Bringing Solar Power to your Home
Understanding your options for bringing solar energy to your home and evaluating which method is best for you, is the first step. About half of the US states allow for solar panel leasing. Leasing your solar panels means that you don’t need to put any money down and that you only have a monthly payment – which should be less than what you save on electricity.
You could also purchase the solar equipment (either outright or through a loan) which will allow you to recoup 100% of your cost within 8-14 years. It may take a while, but once you get there, the cost savings will be huge.
As an added incentive, the US federal government has created the ITC, or the Solar Investment Tax Credit. This tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the income taxes that a person claiming the credit would otherwise pay the federal government. The ITC is based on the amount of investment in solar property. The residential tax credit is equal to 30 percent of the basis that is invested in eligible property which have commence construction through 2019. The ITC then steps down to 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021. After 2021, the residential credit will drop to zero. This means that you only have a few more years before you would have to pay for 100% of the solar panels you would install.