According to the SEIA, solar installations have increased by an average of 50% annually for the last 10 years, while the cost of solar installations has dropped by 70% over the same time period. Commercial and residential solar has never been more popular or affordable, and more and more Arizona homeowners are considering converting to solar energy.
That’s why now is a good time to review some of the basics when it comes to solar power. What exactly is the difference between solar power and the power you use in your home right now? Is solar energy renewable? Let’s take a closer look at some of the basics.
What Is Renewable Energy?
Energy resources can be divided into categories: finite and renewable.
Many finite energy resources are known as fossil fuels. These include coal, petroleum, and natural gas, and they are categorized as finite because they cannot be replenished at the same rate that humans are consuming them. Fossil fuels take hundreds of thousands of years to create, and in addition to the fact that we’re using them at unsustainable rates, they are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Renewable energy, on the other hand, refers to energy sources that can be replenished at the rate of human consumption.
The True Power of the Sun
Solar energy is a great example of this. According to this 2015 study, global annual energy consumption reached 18.3 terrawatts in 2014 and is rapidly growing.
The solar energy available to us from the sun is an estimated 23,000 TW per year, or 1,250 times more than what we need to meet our current yearly rate of consumption. We’ll be able to continue drawing on that renewable energy for as long as the sun is around—roughly 2.5 billion years.
For comparison, there is only an estimated 900 TW of finite coal reserves (in total, not per year) left on Earth.
What Are the Benefits of Renewable Energy Solar Panels?
Now that we’ve established the major differences between solar and fossil fuels, let’s take a look at the renewable energy and solar panel benefits that come with upgrading your home to solar energy.
As we have already covered, solar is a clean, renewable energy source that reduces your home’s carbon emissions and contributions to global warming.
Converting your home to a solar energy system can drastically reduce or even completely eliminate your monthly electric bill, and with a lifespan of roughly 25 years, you’ll see savings for decades to come.
According to a new Zillow analysis, homes with solar panels installed sold for an average of 4.1% more than those without—close to $10,000 for a median-valued home.
Less reliance on the electrical grid
The frequency of both unplanned and scheduled power outages are rising, as witnessed by the recent widespread outages in California. Solar panel systems, especially when paired with battery backup, can ensure that your home always has power.
Decreasing upfront costs, plus tax rebates and incentives
The cost to install solar is a fraction of what it was a decade ago, and improvements in solar technology will make converting your home to solar energy more affordable moving forward. There are also a number of Arizona solar credits and rebates, like the Arizona Solar Tax Credit in 2019, to help offset the upfront cost of switching to solar power.
Take Advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit This Year
One of the most important credits available is the federal residential renewable energy tax credit, also known as the Federal Solar Tax Credit. Under this incentive, homeowners are eligible to deduct 30% of their solar installation costs from their federal income taxes due, and can even roll over the balance an additional year if the credit exceeds the federal taxes owed.
However, if you’re interested in taking advantage of the full 30% rebate, you’ll have to act in 2019 because the window is act is rapidly shrinking. Starting in 2020, the maximum deduction will drop to 26%, then to 22% in 2021, before being completely eliminated for residential solar systems in 2022.
If you’re asking “How do solar tax credits work?” or “What solar tax credits can I qualify for?”, reach out to Energy Solution Providers—our solar experts will help you take advantage of local and federal tax credits, as well as any other financial incentives available to help reduce your solar system cost.
Power your home with renewable energy. Call 520-868-0700 or contact us today for a free quote.