In the US there are roughly 4 million homes that have solar installed and as time goes on, many countries are adopting more sustainable forms of energy – one of which is solar. Many countries have seen the value of using solar to generate clean energy and are planning on increasing residential adoption rates within the next few years to assist in the goal to reduce our carbon footprint. Solar has such a strong potential that forecasters estimate that over the next 5 years, we’ll install more solar worldwide than has been installed all time. With millions of homes going solar, the big question is – should you too?
Here are four reasons why you should:
There are several financial benefits of going solar. Here are a few highlights.
Solar generates emission free energy from the sun. Typically, the energy that solar generates offsets a fuel like coal or natural gas that produces CO2 emissions and other pollutants. Using solar as your primary source of electricity is one of the biggest ways to reduce your environmental footprint. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy quantified the environmental and health benefits solar could provide to show the benefits of achieving SunShot which is an initiative launched in 2011 with the goal of making solar cost-competitive with conventional sources of electricity² (see Figure 1).
Not only can solar save you money, but it also reduces the impact that future utility price increases may have on your monthly utility bill. For example, over the last 10 years, electricity rates have increased by 14% ($0.15/kWh each year) across the nation and even increased by 51% in Massachusetts ($0.74/kWh each year)³. These electricity rates will most likely continue to increase and fluctuate making budgeting for the future difficult for some people. In some cases, customers are going completely off grid, but more commonly solar (and storage) enables them to be less reliant on their electrical utility and less impacted by future energy rate increases. Furthermore, you can take ownership of your own electricity allowing you to have more freedom by not being monitored by utility companies.
Aside from financial and privacy reasons, energy independence is vital in case of power outages. Losing electricity during a power outage can be a stressful time especially if you are not prepared for it. From January 2021 to September 2021, there were 183 cases of power outages in the U.S. which affected more than 15 million people⁴. The most frequent causes for these outages were from severe weather and the need to reduce the use of electricity to maintain electrical structures that are responsible for transferring electricity. During these situations, relying solely on the grid for power becomes unreliable since it happens suddenly and potentially for long periods of time. The longest duration these power outages lasted was over 7 days⁵. According to the USDA, a freezer will only hold food at safe temperatures for approximately 48 hours⁶. If one of the homes that was powerless for 7 days had young children, providing milk or other nutritional food would require going outside during severe weather such as hurricanes or blizzards. Fortunately, when a home solar system is paired with battery storage, it can continue to provide your home with electricity, even when the grid is down.
In case of a blackout, an automatic transfer switch will register that your home is no longer receiving electricity through the grid and switch flows allowing the solar battery to become your home’s source of electricity. You can also select certain devices in your home to remain powered, such as the refrigerator or heater, to maximize the duration of the stored electricity. For more information, visit Energy.gov.
The rate at which solar energy has improved is truly exponential. The modules, inverters, MLPE (Module Level Power Electronics), racking – all the components we touched on in our first blog series – have continued to be improved as solar has grown. For all the technologists out there, solar gives you the ability to own cutting edge power generation equipment on your own home. Furthermore, monitoring systems and software are so good now that you can see down to the minute what is happening on each module.
Overall, going solar has lots of benefits. You can cut down costs of your electricity bill all while helping save the environment and the people around you from pollutants. Additionally, you can have peace of mind knowing that your family will be safe and secure during extreme weather conditions and maintain your normal activities when there is a power outage. There’s also the bonus of having advanced technology added to your home increasing your home’s value. These are the common reasons to go solar, but every home or residential project may differ when it comes to your priorities or needs.
If you aren’t sure if going solar is the right switch for you, leave us a comment or ask us questions on our Community page or follow us on social media to be notified when a new blog comes out. We’ll post more information and guides to help you make the decision.