Nine Benefits of Solar Energy

Many people understand that going solar helps conserve energy and reduces carbon emissions. But solar energy does so much more than that. It saves consumers money, creates jobs, reduces the dependence on foreign oil, and so much more.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of going solar and why you should make the switch.

What are the Benefits of Solar Energy?

It’s a Renewable Energy Source

The term ‘fossil fuels’ gets thrown around a lot. But what are fossil fuels?

Common fossil fuel examples include petroleum, coal, and natural gas. They are so-called because they are created from the fossilized remains of animals and plants that lived millions of years ago. The raw materials take millions of years to produce, and once they are gone, there is no way to replace them.

A current Woldometers survey revealed that there are only 1.65 trillion barrels of oil left in the world. This may sound like a lot, but about 95 million barrels of oil are used each day across the globe. At the rate we are going, we will run out of oil by the 2060s. 

The sun is a renewable energy source. Unlike fossil fuels, it is produced immediately, and it is always available. It is a natural resource and does not cause pollution.

Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Carbon Footprint

Greenhouse gas refers to gasses that are released into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Common greenhouse gasses include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and fluorinated gasses.

A carbon footprint refers to greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the atmosphere due to human activity. It is expressed in units of its carbon dioxide equivalent, hence the term carbon footprint.

Several activities contribute to carbon footprint, but one of the most notable is the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels disperse unhealthy emissions into the air that cause climate change and endanger plants and wildlife. Solar energy reduces the reliance on fossil fuels and promotes a healthier environment.

Saves Money

Going solar can yield long-term savings on your energy bill. According to Forbes, the average household could see savings of up to $1500 a year on electricity by going solar. Local solar installers will be able to provide custom numbers after designing your system. Savings will vary depending on certain factors including the following:

  • How much energy you use: Families that don’t use a lot of energy won’t save as much by going solar.

  • Location: The number of sun hours hitting solar panels vary by geography. Sunnier locations produce more energy, while less sunny locations produce less energy from the same number of solar panels.

  • Installation needs: The cost of solar varies depending on installation needs. Different roof types, home styles, or local regulations impact total cost.

  • Installation prices: In areas with more solar companies competing prices will be forced down. In areas with less solar adoption costs can be higher due to economies of scale. The best idea is to get multiple quotes to ensure pricing is competitive.

Consumers can increase their savings by cashing in on tax benefits. For example, the federal solar tax credit allows you to recoup 30% of your solar installation costs. Certain states also offer state credits.

Net metering allows consumers to sell surplus electric generated by their solar panels back to their utility company. Essentially, your electric meter spins backwards, in some cases quite literally! Some states even allow you to sell Renewable Energy Certificates to the utility for cash, providing another income stream. The best way to understand all incentives available to you is by connecting with a local solar installer to discuss your project!

Good for Business

Homeowners aren’t the only ones that can take advantage of solar energy. Businesses can also go solar, take control of their energy bills, and increase profitability.

Businesses that go solar have another advantage. They appeal to environmental consumers. Customers may be happy to see the business doing its part to “save the environment”, giving companies a competitive advantage over a non-eco-friendly competitor.

Eco-friendly companies will attract environmentally minded employees, a strong demographic of highly sought-after younger employees. Employees who feel personally aligned with an employer's values often show their gratitude through increased loyalty and productivity. Reduced employee turnover and improved company culture are hallmarks of every great business, not to mention it saves companies time and money.

Creates Jobs

The solar industry is growing in leaps and bounds. A U.S. Solar Market Insight report shows a 35% year-over-year increase. The incredible growth is expected to continue as the world gets closer to reaching its solar energy goals.

The market expansion will help create more jobs for workers. A 2023 Solar Jobs Censor survey shows solar firms expect a 9% growth in employment. This would bring the number of solar workers up to 287,632.

The industry is currently facing issues with solar deployment due to trade policy barriers. Activities are being initiated to remove barriers and increase deployment. If deployment expectations are met, it could further increase job growth.

A solar job is fulfilling as well as fruitful. The industry offers various positions allowing workers to choose one best suited to their career goals. Popular options include:

  • Manufacturing technician; $49,340 per year

  • Solar technician: $51,099 per year

  • Engineering technician: $56,340 per year

  • Solar fleet manager: $65,927 per year

  • Solar PV installer: $68,217 per year

  • Solar site supervisor: $70,724 per year

  • Solar sales representative: $71,000 per year

  • Quality insurance engineer: $81,260 per year

  • Materials scientist: $91,777 per year

  • Environmental lawyer: $95,104 per year

  • Software engineer: $114,344 per year

Reduces Dependence on Foreign Oil

In 2022, the United States imported about 8.33 million barrels per day (b/d) of petroleum from 80 countries. Any international incident can affect the price of oil. We have recently seen how wars, pipeline blowouts, and missile testing inflated the price of gas. We can only wait to see what’s next.

Rising prices have a domino effect. They increase the cost of getting the goods to market. That, in turn, causes the price of just about everything else to rise, from eggs to moisturizing cream.

Experts have suggested solutions to decrease the reliance on foreign oil. They have suggested replacing imported oil with alternative domestic fuel sources such as ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas, electricity, or something else entirely. Solar energy could be the solution.

EV Cars Reduce Emissions and Gas Expenses

EV cars are a direct answer to the foreign oil dilemma. They reduce the reliance on foreign oil. People who rely on solar power instead of electricity can save money at the pump.

It also reduces the number of cars on the road that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Like home solar installation, the money you save buying an EV will vary depending on several factors including:

  • The cost of the vehicle: Luxury EVs have higher price points, but some are willing to sacrifice economic benefits for comfort 🙂

  • The price of gas: The higher the gas prices, the more you will save!

  • How often you use your car: Every mile driven can save you money, so more miles can mean more savings!

  • Long-Term vs. Short-Term Ownership: The longer you own your vehicle, the more you will save!

Most EV owners see a savings of $800 to $1000 a year in gas expenses.

EV owners may also incur expenses in the form of depreciation, maintenance, and repairs. However, manufacturer and dealer incentives can counter some of those costs. Furthermore, EVs tend to have fewer maintenance and repair costs than combustion engines making them a money-saving option. 

The industry is predicted to see unprecedented growth in the coming years. According to an S & P Global Mobility report, EV vehicles will account for one in four new cars sold in 2030. Top auto manufacturers are expected to account for more than 70% of global EV production by 2030 as compared to 10% in 2022.

Promotes Environmental Justice

Pollution exists around the world, but studies show there are much higher levels in minority communities. The Associated Press found that 79% more blacks are likely to live in areas where pollution causes a health risk as compared to whites. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People found that 68% of African Americans live near coal-fueled power plants.

Environmental injustice also plagues Hispanic communities. The Clean Air Task Force found that Hispanics are 51% more likely to live in areas with unhealthy ozone levels as compared to non-Hispanic whites.

The imbalance may continue as many people in low-income neighborhoods are unable to afford solar. However, many states are offering free and low-cost solar installation to underserved communities to promote environmental justice. And the more solar that’s installed, the cleaner the air will be in general!

Benefits Wildlife

Solar energy reduces the reliance on fossil fuels that can contaminate water and soil and make the earth uninhabitable for certain species. 

Research has shown that solar farms support plant and flower growth. They provide a beneficial environment for birds and animals that feed on them.

Solar panels shade areas to make them more habitable for wildlife. Farmers have found double use for their pastures, producing electricity from solar while providing shade to cattle. They can also serve as protection against predators.

Solar panels can be installed over degraded farmland, providing shade to help the soil recover. After solar panels are removed, they leave behind healthy soil.

Panel installation also protects marine life. When installed over bodies of water, they regulate temperatures, reduce evaporation, conserve water, and protect habitats.

Summing It Up

Solar panels provide benefits on so many levels. They slow down climate change, support animal and plant life, save money, create jobs, and reduce environmental injustice. There is every reason to go solar.

How will you incorporate solar into your everyday life? 

"I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that." - Thomas Edison

"I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that." - Thomas Edison