13 May 10 Ways to Save with Solar Energy
1. Save on Utilities
It’s no secret that installing solar panels can help you save on your monthly electric bills by producing your own energy. In fact, this is probably the most common reason people are interested in solar panels in the first place.
On average, you can save around $50 a month on your electric bill and even more in the summer months. How much you will save is variable; it depends on the season, your location, the kind of panels you choose, the placement and tilt of your panels, and your energy consumption. However, central Texas residents can anticipate higher savings than national averages due to our location’s sunny disposition. Over the 25-year lifespan of the panels, even the low-end estimate translates to tens of thousands in savings.
2. Meter Credits (Net Metering)
Texas offers more ways to save with solar (but not all states). Solar panels sometimes produce more energy than a household consumes. When this happens, your energy company may compensate you for the excess energy or, more commonly, give credits on your next bill. Meter credits will only occur if your panels are on-grid and connected to your municipal electric grid.
3. Tax Credits
Both federal and local governments offer tax credits for solar panel installation. Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar deductions from your income tax balance; the Federal Investment Tax Credit (FITC) is 22% for 2021 installation. Now is the time to invest in solar panels because there is no tax credit for 2022.
Additionally, your state, local government, or energy company may offer additional tax credits or incentives for solar panels. If you live in Austin, Texas, for example, you can receive a $2,500 rebate from Austin Energy. Texas also offers a property tax exemption for homes with solar panels to ensure homeowners aren’t paying extra taxes on the value added by the solar panels.
If you are a CoServ member, you may also be entitled to a rebate through the CoServ Solar Rebate Program.
4. Increase the Value of Your Home
Not only does solar panel installation help you save on your electric bill and taxes, but it also increases the value of your home. Most research suggests that a home increases by $5,911 per kilowatt installed on the roof. That means for a 6.62-kW system (standard system size that matches the average energy consumption of a household), you will be adding almost $36,000 of value to your home. And, depending on the area you live in, this number could be even higher.
5. Quick ROI for Commercial Installations
Businesses can save with solar too. Commercial properties can install large systems that produce enough energy to be self-sufficient and quickly see returns on the initial investment. You’ll notice that solar panels can pay for themselves almost instantly.
But solar panels can also communicate your values as a business and entice potential consumers who share those values. Demonstrating your eco-consciousness is a huge selling point for specific target markets and can be a deciding factor for consumers. Additionally, you can build deeper connections with your existing consumer base and cultivate their trust with a bold commitment to helping the environment.
6. Save on Your Roof
While you may need to upgrade your roof prior to installation, the panels can help protect your roof from damaging exposure and extend your roof’s life after installation.
What’s more, in the peak energy-producing months of the spring and summer, the panels reduce the amount of sunshine bearing down on your home’s roof. This will help keep your home cooler in the summer because, instead of the home absorbing the heat, the panels turn the sun’s radiation into useable energy. So, solar panels can really help you save on energy costs in the hot and sunny months.
7. Save Energy for a Rainy Day
Your solar system can help you power your home even when the panels aren’t producing energy. An on-grid solar system will always have access to power, even if it’s not your own. However, by adding a wall battery to your home, such as the LG Chem RESU, your home can store excess energy. That means even at night or on a rainy day, when your panels can’t power your home, you can still have access to the power previously created by your solar system.
It is important to note that on-grid solar systems do not produce power during an outage, even if it is sunny, because they are turned off to protect electrical workers. But with a home wall battery, you can still power your home with your stored solar energy during an outage.
8. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
You can, of course, help save the earth by going solar. Switching to solar energy can help reduce your carbon footprint, or personal carbon dioxide emissions, by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. A home with solar panels can save around 4.7 metric tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere, roughly the same amount of emissions as a personal vehicle.
9. Air Quality
Hand-in-hand with reducing your carbon footprint is improving your local air quality. Clean, renewable energy reduces pollutants in your air and saves your lungs!
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that widespread adoption of solar leads to fewer cases of chronic bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. The decrease in diseases is due to fewer air pollutants, like nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and various particulate matter, being released by burning fossil fuels.
10. Save/Conserve Water
This may seem less intuitive, but solar panels can go a long way in saving water. Traditional power plants and nuclear energy require massive amounts of water for internal cooling. Fracking, a technique used to obtain natural gas from the earth, also uses massive amounts of water. Between 2005 and 2015, fracking used 250 billion gallons of water for extractions. The resulting wastewater, which approached 210 billion gallons, was injected back into the water table and polluted aquafers.
Solar energy does not use water to cool itself during energy generation. This is particularly important if you live somewhere prone to droughts or heat waves when water needs to be conserved.
If you have more questions about the ways to save with solar, visit our solar panel FAQ for more information.