Installing solar is the perfect solution for homeowners who want a reliable investment that saves money year after year, but it’s about more than just keeping cash in your pocket. Let’s take a look at four great reasons to go solar!
Installing solar is a great financial investment
If you don’t save money in the long run, then solar doesn’t really make sense for you. Thankfully, prices for solar panels, inverters, and labor have dropped so drastically in the last decade that almost any homeowner can save by going solar.
Studies found that installing an average-sized solar installation in the San Francisco area can save homeowners just over $41,000 over the estimated 25-year lifespan of the system. That’s a yearly rate return of 11%. In comparison, legendary investor Warren Buffett says to expect a 6% to 7% return on stock investments. That’s pretty good for an asset that just sits on your roof!
That might sound unbelievable, but it’s not. It’s no secret that solar makes sense in California. Homeowners in the state are leaders in the solar industry, and with good reason. California has the two most important factors for solar to be a sound financial investment: high utility rates and sunshine all year round. It’s the perfect mix for going solar! According to the National Renewable Energy Lab, California homeowners and businesses have installed over 620,000 solar installations – 7x more than Arizona, the next runner-up.
Solar increases your property value
A solar installation is a valuable asset to any homeowner – after all, who doesn’t like saving money and seeing returns on your investment?
Beyond the financial savings you’ll see from avoiding your utility company’s high prices and inflations, installing solar on your roof can add serious value to your home as well.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab studied how installing solar affected 22,000 home prices across eight states. The researchers found that solar adds an average of $4 per watt in value to home prices, that means installing an average-sized 5kW solar system would add about $20,000 to the value of your home!
There is, however, one very important caveat to these savings: they only apply to solar installations owned directly by the homeowner. In other words, solar leases add no additional value to a home. Back in 2013, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab studied this very thing and found that, while solar leases don’t negatively affect home values, they don’t add any value either. This makes sense as the homeowner hasn’t invested any of their own money into the installation and it’s not a permanent addition to the home.
Solar decreases your carbon footprint
Not only does installing solar help your wallet, but its clean, renewable energy helps the environment as well. An average 5 kW solar installation in the Bay Area will generate about 7,700 kWh of clean energy every year, offsetting about 8,500 pounds of CO2 – the equivalent of planting around 50 trees!
Electricity generation is the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. While California is one of the most energy progressive states in the US – pledging 100% clean energy by 2045 – emissions and environmental issues from electricity generation are still an issue.
California has done an incredible job of cleaning up its electricity generation, with coal at just 4% of all electricity and renewable energy about 30%, but natural gas still accounts for over a third of all electricity. Electricity generation through natural gas in California still accounted for 97.7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 – about half a pound per kWh of electricity produced
Over its entire life, an average-sized solar installation will produce about 234,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy, avoiding about 117,000 pounds of CO2 emissions and help combat climate change!
Solar helps boost US energy independence
Solar energy’s benefits all stem from one simple fact: solar energy’s fuel is clean, widely available, and absolutely free.
Coal and natural gas power plants, which produce 66% of all electricity in the US, need a constant supply of finite, expensive fuel to keep working – not to mention the environmental impact and their contribution in accelerating climate change.
Solar energy, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It’s freely-available throughout the world, can’t be hoarded, capped, embargoed, bought, or sold. No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have a solar panel, you can create clean energy. The more renewable energy the US has, the more resilient and independent our energy sources will be.
By installing solar, you’re also helping strengthen your local economy. In 2018, the solar industry employed 242,000 people in the US (compare to 53,000 people in the coal industry), with California accounting for 30% – by far the most of any state. Over half of those employed are residential and commercial installers – your neighbors, friends, and family living in your community. By going solar, you’re not only helping a growing clean energy source, but also the people around you.