Some years ago, installation of solar power in homes was rare if not unheard of in some neighborhoods. Thanks to the tax incentives in the solar energy sector, and the increasing consciousness on environmental friendly home practices, it is not uncommon to find homeowners installing solar power in the contemporary real estate landscape. In this light, it is worth exploring the motivation behind the installation of solar power during constriction of new homes as well as during remodeling and renovation of old homes.
There are various reasons why solar power is gaining popularity among the US homes. To start with, homeowners have realized that the use of solar power can save the cost of electricity. The only expensive thing in solar energy is the upfront cost of installation of the solar panel. In fact, some homeowners have reported a payback period of less than five years (that is comparing the upfront cost of solar panel versus the amount saved on the energy bill).
Second, using solar energy carries a higher degree of contribution to environmental conservation. A sufficient body of literature has shown that the use of solar power can decrease the carbon footprint of a household. The New York Times notes that solar energy production of greenhouse gases is 92 % to 98 % of the conventional electricity production.
Third, installation of solar energy has a great bearing in increasing the value of a home. The real estate industry is becoming very competitive. Consequently, securing a buyer can be an uphill task. Home market consumers want some form of “value addition” in a home. Realtors have noted that the installation of solar energy sets the house apart and increases the probability of having a successful sale of a home. The US Department of Energy has observed that homes that have solar energy installation sell twice as quickly as homes without solar energy.
Fourth, with high quality equipment and when rightly installed, solar energy can cushion a home from blackouts. It should be noted that areas with high demand for electricity may experience power disruption and blackouts. Similarly, natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, records high cases of grid failure. In such a time, solar energy has proven to be a reliable source of power.
Fifth, patriotism involves making decisions that contribute to the overall development of a country. For example, it is not without reason that some Americans would shun buying cheaper foreign goods in favor of more expensive local goods. Similarly, by purchasing solar energy products and technology, one is supporting the America economy and local green jobs. Even during the dark times of the 2008 economic crisis where many Americans lost their jobs, the demand for local market jobs in the market became more solid rather than decreasing.
Lastly, one can invest in solar energy because of its favorable tax policy. In the year 2008, the federal government enacted the Solar Investment Tax Credit. This was a part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The tax incentive started as a small and short term program but received bigger tax benefits and time extension to 2016. It should be noted that rational decision making in investment directs investors to areas with higher tax incentives.
The Solar Energy Industries Association is encouraging more homeowners to join the current wave of installation of solar energy in their homes. It is the joy and satisfaction of many people to feel that they are part of the noble global efforts in conserving the environment and combating climate change. There is all the likelihood that the use of solar energy is going to gain more momentum among homeowners in the United States.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.