What are the benefits of solar energy?

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There are several benefits to switch to solar energy besides the satisfaction of going green. In addition to being clean and non-polluting, solar energy is also becoming an affordable option.

Sunrun, a leading solar service provider, found in a recent survey that 97% of Americans overestimate the cost of going solar due to a widespread myth that solar is expensive. Solar energy has been rapidly increasing within the residential market due to new solar installation programs. Sunrun conceptualized a third-party-owned solar model that allows homeowners to install solar with no money up front. Other programs like community based group-purchasing models are also growing popular.

In conjunction with low installation costs, solar energy has short-term and long-term benefits. Short-term benefits include property tax exemption and a federal tax credit. Long-term benefits include increasing your home value and cutting the cost of your electricity bill. Here are the specifics:

Property Tax Exemption

After installing a solar system, contact your local tax assessor in order to file an exemption claim.  Each state may follow a different timeline of action, be sure not to miss the application date.

Federal Tax Credit

Installing a solar energy system will give you a 30 percent tax credit. Existing solar energy systems that were installed on or after, January 1, 2006 and new installations qualify for the federal tax credit. There is also no maximum credit for systems installed after 2008. In addition to solar systems, geothermal heat pumps and small residential wind turbines are eligible to receive the tax credit. For more information about receiving a federal tax credit visit, dsireusa.org

Increasing Your Home Value

Installing a solar energy system will add to your home's net worth. Solar rates are constant whereas standard electricity rates fluctuate. When your solar energy system is paid off, the electricity that it generates is completely free.

Lowering Your Electric Bill

According to Sunrun, savings are different for every homeowner. Actual savings will likely vary based on your particular roof, geographic location, utility district and electricity usage. It is important to understand the annual electric usage of your home before installing a solar system. Ask your solar provider how much energy your system could produce on an annual basis.

Depending on how much sun your home is exposed to, it is possible to produce more energy than you use. Many state electric companies are required to invest in renewable energy. Some do so by trading renewable energy credits. This means that, if you are the owner of your system and it produces more energy in one year than you use, you can sell that energy back to the grid for a profit!

Pictured is a home with solar panels provided by Sunrun