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Why You Should Go Solar

There are really two main reasons for going the solar energy route - making the word a better place by moving away from fossil fuels is the first and cutting down on soaring energy bills is the second.

The US is currently an energy importer and it is only through the exploration of alternative forms of power that this energy dependence can be alleviated.

What is Solar Power?

Electricity is generated from solar photovoltaic panels which are made from tempered glass, generally installed on residential roofs can withstand adverse weather conditions. These panels convert the sun's light into electricity which is used to power your home.

The excess electricity generated is then delivered back to the grid (in some cases you can also have a local onsite battery backup) and you receive a credit for this excess. When you require more electricity than you are generating you purchase it from the grid as normal, however, the amount that you purchase is significantly less and in most cases the credits you have received offset this cost.

Benefits of Solar

● The greatest tangible benefit is probably the reduction (if not elimination) of your electricity bill. Solar panel systems generally have a lifespan of 25-35 years and during this timeframe, you will constantly be generating electricity that is free!

● Improving the environment is generally the second benefit that people realize. While perhaps not as tangible as the reduction in your own electricity costs the corollary is obvious between a reduced dependence on fossil fuel and reduced pollution.

Grants and Rebates

Solar panel systems generally pay for themselves in the return on investment (ROI) that homeowners see with respect to their energy bill. However, there are several grants available to individuals that install solar power systems as detailed below.

● The first is a 30 % Investment Tax Credit offered directly by the US government on the price the solar system that you install. This credit was initially implemented in 2006 and was expected to end in 2016, however it has since been extended to 2022. The credit applies to the total cost of the system (it cannot be leased or rented but must be purchased) and can be applied to the taxes owed to the IRS so it is better than a deduction.

● REAP Grants are operated by the Department of Agriculture and help farmers obtain and install renewable energy systems. Grants of up to $20,000 are available through this program.

● Green Retrofit Grants are operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and they work with homeowners in areas where the average income of the resident is low to install and provide the maintenancefor alternative energy sources.

● 1603 Program is run by the Department of the Treasury and reimburses some of the costs of installing a solar system.

While solar systems can quite expensive to install, there are quite a few significant grants available to help partially or even fully offset this expense. In addition and over the longer term, they tend to pay for themselves, so the real question you need to ask is not should you get solar ... it is why haven't I got it already!

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