Why is solar the best energy solution? Many people ask this question, and there are many answers that showcase the benefits of solar energy for businesses. They range from energy independence and energy backup to the potential to earn income. There are even aspects that allow your commercial solar array to benefit the surrounding community. Keep reading as we go through the many benefits of solar and help to answer the question, “why is solar energy the best energy solution.”
Solar Energy: What is it?
Solar at its purest is sunlight. When you build a solar panel to capture the photons within the sunlight, there is an opportunity to create an electrical current. The process is complex but works with a loss and replacement action that focuses on electrons. As the solar cells heat up from the sun, a chemical reaction occurs that causes particles within the PV cell to move. As that happens, electrons are lost and gained, and electricity begins to flow.
When sunlight is absorbed by the PV cell, it heats an enzyme within the cell. As that process occurs, some electrons are lost, and the cell replaces them with electrons from within the enzyme. That process produces an electrical field that allows energy – electricity – to flood across the enzyme and into a usable form that the PV cell harvests.
That process of collecting sunlight through PV cells makes for a long list of benefits that include cleaner energy, sustainable energy, cheaper energy, and energy production that can save time and even make money. Here’s a closer look at all of these.
Benefits of Solar Energy
We mentioned that there were many benefits associated with solar energy. The easiest is that solar energy can power your home or business. Why is that a benefit? In California, we are aware of local power companies’ summer, fall, and winter power shuts offs as they try to stop their equipment from starting wildfires. These fires have burned entire towns and vast stretches of habitat, commercial and agriculture acreage, and crops and caused the deaths of many people. Solar energy solutions for your home or business mean that during a Public Safety Power Shutoff, your business can remain unaffected. So, another benefit of going solar is that you have greater energy independence than a business that relies solely on the public utility power grid.
If you are concerned about the size of your carbon footprint, then consider solar energy. It is sustainable energy – so long as the sun keeps shining – and it removes or decreases the amount of energy your home or business uses from the utility grid. Electricity from the utility grid comes from many sources. However, a very large source of electricity from the grid is created by burning fossil fuels. That process creates greenhouse gasses which are harmful to the environment and the ozone layer. When you go solar, the amount of energy you use that is made using fossil fuels declines.
A solar energy system is sustainable, environmentally friendly, and a Renewable energy source.
How Solar Saves
- Money: There is the initial cost of purchasing a solar array and its installation. Once you go solar, the solar array begins to repay those costs. A solar system that is maintained can last twenty years or longer. Each month that you do not have to pay an electrical bill means you save money. The average length of time for a solar array to pay for itself ranges from six to 10 years. The actual time depends on how large the system is and how much of the energy it produces you use. It is safe to say that most people get an additional 10 years out of the system once it has repaid its cost and installed it. For businesses, a solar energy array is a boon. It helps to drive down the cost of doing business, making your business more competitive for consumers looking for green businesses, prices, and other factors that influence the decision to buy. Solar energy also makes it easier to create a comfortable shopping experience for guests and an ideal working environment for employees.
- Energy: When you install and use a solar array to produce your energy, you save the amount of energy that you would usually use from the local electrical grid. It means there is less demand for the utility grid, so less energy is produced. That also translates into less fossil fuel consumption by the United States grid and cleaner air for everyone. One solar array will not make much of a difference, but nationally there are 1.47 million solar panels in use in the United States as of 2018 – that’s a big difference, and each year that number grows.
- Solar Credits – Another way that solar saves money or creates revenue is when your solar array is set up to send excess energy into the local grid. That process also means that the local grid needs less energy. That is one way that an individual solar array can provide energy for the surrounding community. When you add in the number of local solar grids, you come up with a lot of localized energy production that is also great for the environment and the community
- Time: One method that solar energy helps save time is that you no longer need to worry about doing certain energy-consuming jobs or tasks. You can perform them any time of the day or night without having to avoid peak energy periods because the energy from your solar array is not metered like energy from the utility grid. With solar battery storage systems, you can utilize the energy from the solar array any time of the day or night. Even in a public power failure, your home will still have energy, and life will go on undisturbed.
- Energy Independence – We’ve discussed a little about the reality of energy availability in the western part of the U.S. With seasonal wildfire threats so high and the constant shutdown of power supply in windy or hot weather, the reliability of the national power grid becomes unstable. Adding solar energy to your business is a game-changer. We know that standard necessities may not be available during an emergency power shutdown. For example, you might not be able to purchase gas for your vehicle because there is no energy to power the gas pumps, or you may not be able to purchase groceries at the store because there is no power to run the checkout registers. You may not be able to take a hot shower because there is no power at home. Even cooking can be a challenge as there are no microwaves or toaster ovens, and if your range is powered by electricity, it too will not function.
Solar Adds Extra Income & Opportunity
- Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit – There are a few ways to make going solar earn you hard cash. First is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, which can save upwards of 26% of the cost of a solar array in California. When you install a new solar array on your home, you can receive a chunk of the tax credit. For 2022 in California, it is up to 26%. That is just over one-quarter of the cost of a solar array and can mean thousands of dollars in tax credits. Several studies have shown that solar arrays add value to your property value. That’s a good thing when it is time to move. Also, most solar warranties are transferable so that buyers can purchase your property in confidence.
- No Property Tax – There is no property tax increase for California because you’ve gone solar. The state has made adding solar panel systems an exemption for raising property taxes on your property.
- Solar Financing: When you need to pay for a solar array but cannot finance it on your own, a program through the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) will finance your solar array as a loan that you pay through an addition to your property tax payment. The program works by giving money to install a solar array, and you repay that loan over 20 years as an add-on amount to your annual property tax bill.
- Net Energy Metering (NEM)- is a way for homes and businesses with solar to receive credit for the extra energy they send to the local grid. In California, the NEM program is mandatory, and it is another way that going solar adds value to your home and property.
Each year the legislation that involves solar credits and tax savings changes. So be sure to check up on all the ways that solar energy can save you money and earn you solar credits.