Change may seem daunting at first. From wood to coal to natural gas to oil to electricity and even nuclear power, our energy sources have rapidly evolved over the last few centuries. Finally, with the advent of solar power, we can now harness energy directly from sunlight – just like plants! But, is this fledgling technology worth investing in? Well, just as with each new wave of technology, early adopters typically benefit the most. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of investing in the future with solar energy.
The Benefits of Personal Panels
Installing solar panels in your home may seem like an expensive and difficult task. However, thanks to the wide assortment of benefits provided by owning your own personal solar panels, many homeowners consider this a wise investment for long-term energy efficiency. By acquiring your own panels, you can offset energy costs, reduce environmental impacts of your energy usage, and so much more.
- Reduce Energy Consumption – According to the S. Green Building Council, sunny locations will receive on average about five hours of sunlight per day while cloudy areas will generally receive about two hours of sunlight instead. However, even when the weather is cloudy, solar panels will still be able to collect energy from indirect, diffused light. This results in around ten or twenty percent of the power harnessed by comparatively sunny days. But, no matter where you live, you will likely be able to benefit substantially from some kind of solar arrangement.
- Earn Tax Credits and Deductions – Thanks to government energy reduction incentives, you could substantially reduce the amount you pay in taxes by installing solar panels. When you file your federal income taxes, you may be eligible to receive income tax credits worth approximately 30% of the total solar panel system costs – in other words, getting a $30,000 set of solar panels will earn you a $10,000 discount. Combined with state and local rebates such as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), you can reduce the upfront costs of your panels by a substantial amount.
- Saving Starts Now – Annual energy costs often reach the thousands, but with your own personal set of solar panels, you’ll be able to begin saving from day one. If you’re concerned about the upfront costs, you should know that many installers will offer a no-cost installation. They will front all of the money for the panels and the installation while charging for electricity at a reduced rate. In other words, they are leasing your roof space and giving you an electricity discount as compensation. Furthermore, solar panels significantly improve the value of your home equity – buyers will recognize the effort and resources that went into investment and installation of your existing panels.
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – According to Solar World USA, the average American household generates 7.4 tons of carbon dioxide each year through traditional means of electricity production. However, by switching to solar energy for the bulk (if not all) of your electricity needs, you can reduce your carbon footprint drastically with only one small change.
Trading Solar Stocks
Of course, investing in solar energy involves more than simply using the panels for your own home. For those eager to join this developing industry while it’s still young, the stock market is an attractive alternative. After all, making a profit is all about timing – and the solar industry has already begun planting its seeds. Now that solar panels have been in mass production for a little while, they’re beginning to lose their momentum. Solar stocks soared in the past, but in the last year, they’ve dipped a little lower than expected. Still, solar energy production is expected to grow enormously over the next few years. Overall, it’s still a good time to buy – just because you’d be getting in the market a little late doesn’t mean you can’t make tremendous gains. As of July 2017, attractive companies such as First Solar, Inc., SunPower Corporation, and Vivint Solar, Inc. are all doing well for themselves and represent potential clean energy powerhouses of the future.
Of course, when considering any investment, it is important to understand that there are many complex factors in play – no financial decision should be approached lightly. When contemplating an investment in the solar industry, or in any industry or individual company for that matter, we recommend acting with caution and speaking with a financial advisor.