5 reasons why it’s a perfect time to switch to solar energy

Thinking about going solar? You’re among good company. According to a recent Gallop Poll, solar is the number one energy choice for Americans. And now it’s easier than ever to make this energy-saving switch in your home. Here are just a few of the great reasons on why now is the perfect time to invest in solar energy:

1. A bounty of (cheap) market options. Thanks to an increasing number of developers and manufacturers entering the market, there is a now a wealth of solar energy options for home buyers. Which has led to some amazingly low prices. The average cost of a solar panel has dropped from 1977’s $76.67/watt to today’s $0.613/watt. This translates to affordable panel prices for most every homeowner.

Homeowners who are wary of jumping in full throttle can opt to lease a solar power system from their local solar provider for a low monthly fee. However, should you choose to purchase the system outright, you’ll enjoy a mix of federal tax credits and utility rebates that’ll offset the initial cost even more.

2. Reliable energy for low prices. In a recent NPR interview on solar energy, financial correspondent Jacob Goldstein insightfully remarked, “If solar power really takes hold it will be because of people like John. People who are doing it not to save the world, but just to save a few bucks.”

Only, you’ll be saving more than just a few bucks by switching to solar energy. Over a 20-year period, the average utility savings for an American homeowner is between $20,000 and $30,000. With the rising cost of traditional fuel sources like coal and oil, those savings may even be higher. Plus, investing in your own power system means that you’re no longer at the mercy of energy companies and uncertain killowatt-hour fluctuations.

3. Earn money on your investment. Today’s solar energy systems are so incredibly efficient at producing power that even a simple system is capable of generating more energy than the average home requires. Savvy homeowners who’re early adopters can actually sell this excess energy to local utility companies.

4. Boost your property value. A solar energy system is a low profile upgrade that gives homes high value. In a recent study conducted by California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, researches discovered that buyers were willing to pay premiums of $15,000 for homes with an average-size solar system, compared to homes without.

Other experts report homeowners can expect to regain a cool 97 percent of their investment costs. Compare that to the unremarkable 60 percent expected payback for a luxury kitchen remodel and you can easily see that going solar now gives the homeowner a distinct edge in the real estate market.

5. Reap the eco-benefits. Like Goldstein said, many homeowners find money to be the main talking point in the discussion of going solar or not, but for others the switch to solar energy is a switch for a more eco-friendly future. Climate change is here and the leading cause is human activity, with electricity being a primary culprit of harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

Solar energy systems installed in the United States are already helping to cut 16.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. Investing in solar energy is among one of the best, arguably the best, most tangible way for homeowners to take an immediate part in mitigating carbon emissions. Plus, solar energy systems not only don’t have any air pollution emissions, they also don’t require water to operate, thus they don’t pollute water resources or strain limited supplies through competition with agriculture and other important water needs.