You may not think your electricity bill is particularly high now, but just wait. As climate change advances, cost of traditional energy sources will skyrocket–a jump that residents will feel on their utility bills.
That’s why homeowners are choosing to install solar panels in never-before-seen numbers–despite rumblings from power providers, many of whom have fought hard to discourage residents from dipping their toes into clean energy.
Smart homeowners, who work hard to educate themselves on their electricity consumption and costs, know there’s got to be more to the story than what the power companies say. Here are some common misconceptions about residential solar power that you may hear from your electricity provider:
Solar Panels Don’t Work During the Rain, on Cloudy Days, or in the Winter
This is absolutely FALSE. Your solar panels can still absorb the sun’s UV rays during rain and light snowfall, and they might even absorb them more effectively as the rain and snow works to clean your panels.
If snowfall is heavy, completely covering your panels, you will need to use a roof rake to clear them off, but you’ll have the added benefit of the bright white snow on your roof and the ground reflecting the sun’s rays at an even higher level–perhaps making your system even more efficient. Additionally, even in cloud cover, your system’s capacity is only diminished by 5-10 percent.
If you live in a state with net metering, you’ll have more than enough credits from sunny days to compensate for days when your system isn’t able to perform at 100 percent because of inclement weather.
Solar Panels are Expensive to Install
NOT TRUE. Solar has never been more affordable! In the past year, the cost of solar in the U.S. has dropped 73%, thanks to an expanding solar market creating economies of scale, federal and state rebates, and a variety of financing options including solar leasing that significantly reduce the cost of your initial investment, and decreasing the amount of years before the cost of your system has been paid for by your energy savings (typically 3-6 years).
Incentives to install solar vary by state, but ALL residential homeowners are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit if you install solar by December 31, 2019. Even better, if your credit exceeds your tax liability for the year you install your system, you can carry it over to the next tax year! A solar power system can also save you 50% on your monthly electric bills, and may even help you earn money if you live in a state with net metering and other generous buy-back programs, offering a dazzling array of incentives.
So Many Benefits to Going Solar
This all sounds great, right? Solar power can reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. Well, not if you’re the electric company. While some utilities are offering incentives for customers to adopt solar, this is typically only because they are located in a state with a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires a certain amount of the state’s energy to be produced from renewable resources or else the utility companies can face big fines.
Currently only 29 states and the District of Columbia have a RPS, which means there are still 21 states in which the utility companies have absolutely no reason to be supportive of customers who want to convert to a solar power system. In fact, it’s directly against their financial interest. So in addition to lobbying hard to government officials to protect their industry, they may also be inclined to make adopting solar seem very difficult and expensive.
Instead of socking money away or eating by candlelight to prepare for the inevitable increase in your monthly utilities, consider that there is a better way. Investing in a solar power system allows you to enjoy all of your electronics using sustainable, free, clean energy from the sun, and give you some leverage over power companies who may or may not have your best interests–or those of the Earth–in mind.
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