You have probably heard that solar energy is renewable and even cost-effective in the long run. Although maybe someone else told you that solar panels are too expensive and unreliable. But what’s fact and what’s fiction?
First, let’s start with some statistics and market insights:
- Photovoltaic (PV) solar systems have become 64% more affordable for U.S. homeowners since 2010.
- In 2021, solar energy accounted for 46% of all new electricity capacity in the U.S. (This was the third year in a row that solar energy accounted for the largest portion of new energy capacity.)
- Texas ranked as the second state with the most solar energy capacity in 2020, with California ranking first.
What’s causing these positive trends for solar energy? Discover the benefits of solar energy with Gexa.
Solar Energy 101
Solar energy is created when PV cells absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. For more in-depth information about solar technology, read our guides: Learn About Solar Energy and How Solar Panels Work.
Financial and Economic Benefits of Solar Energy
The solar energy advantages don’t end with the environment---this technology can also have a beneficial impact on economics and personal finances. Keep reading to learn about the potential monetary benefits of making the switch to solar energy.
Switching to solar energy could lower your monthly energy costs, depending on a variety of factors including your energy consumption, the size of your solar energy system, the hours of direct sunlight your home receives, and angle of your roof.
A home battery and net metering plan could help increase your solar efficiency, allowing you to store energy or earn credits for later use.
Increased Home Value
Most homebuyers see solar panels as upgrades worthy of an increase in price, similar to a newly renovated kitchen. If you install solar panels, you could see a boost in your home’s resale value. According to Zillow, solar panel installations increase a home’s value by around $5,900 for each kilowatt of panels installed.
As a Texas resident, you won’t have to pay property taxes on the increased value due to solar electricity, thanks to a statewide property tax exemption. Learn more about the solar property tax exemption and other Texas solar incentives.
Solar Tax Credits
Eligible homeowners can qualify for the federal solar tax credit to offset as much as 30% of the cost of installing a PV system. There is a 30% tax credit for systems installed between 2022 and 2032, a 26% credit for systems installed in 2033, and a 22% tax credit for systems installed in 2034. For more details, read our guide to solar tax credits.
Thanks largely to PV module efficiencies, solar energy is now more affordable than ever. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Senior Financial Analyst David Feldman, “A decade ago, the module alone cost around $2.50 per watt, and now an entire utility-scale PV system costs around $1 per watt.”
Jobs and Employment
There are more than 250,000 workers in the solar industry who work in fields such as manufacturing, project development, installation, trade, and distribution.
From 2010 to 2020, solar jobs increased by 167%.
Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy
Harnessing renewable solar power for your home could reduce your environmental impact and improve your energy independence. Here’s how.
Renewable and Sustainable
Scientists expect the sun to continue shining brightly and releasing energy for another five billion years. Solar energy is pure and clean, producing no greenhouse gas emissions. Compare this renewable energy to finite fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, which emit greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment and fluctuate in price and availability.
Solar energy also reduces water usage. Nuclear energy and hydropower rely on significant amounts of water to generate electricity. Sometimes a dam is built to control water for the purpose of generating electricity, which can be detrimental to the surrounding ecosystem. Solar panels generate energy without using water or impacting the local environment.
Cleaner, Healthier Air
One of the core benefits of solar energy to the environment is the fact that it combats air pollution. Solar energy reduces pollutants like nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and particulate matter. Cleaner air means healthier respiratory systems for not just humanity, but all life on earth.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Solar Energy?
It can’t all be good news, right? Well, there are certainly solar energy pros and cons, and it’s only fair to consider all aspects of any topic, especially before you make a significant investment for your home.
Here are some common complaints about solar energy:
- Even though solar energy systems are becoming more affordable and there are incentives to offset the expenses, there is a high upfront cost to installing them. However, financing options are available to cover that initial cost.
- Cloud cover and lack of sunlight can lead to unreliability, but fortunately Texas has an above average number of sunny days. In addition, solar batteries and net metering plans easily resolve this potential issue.
- If you’re planning to move, it is usually impractical to take your solar panels with you, but you might be able to recoup some of the expenses by reselling your home for a higher value.
What Are the Negative Environmental Effects of Solar Energy?
While the generation of solar energy produces no pollutants, the manufacturing process of PV technology does result in some air pollution. However, the environmental impact is minimal when compared with mining and burning fossil fuels.
When you compare the pros and cons of solar energy, it’s clear that the benefits outweigh any drawbacks.
Learn more about our solar energy plans, and join us in building a cleaner, more reliable future for Texas.