By Tim Smith

Sustainable, renewable, green energy is all the rage, and rightly so. Not only are renewable energy sources like solar better for our battered environment, but the appeal of ridding yourself of expensive electricity and gas bills is undeniable. Our bright, brilliant sun is a great alternative to being tethered to the power grid. Solar energy doesn’t cause further damage to Mother Earth like so many other alternative power solutions and installing solar energy for your home entails a relatively discrete system that can either significantly reduce your reliance on standard electricity or maybe even cover all your energy needs. With this in mind, here are some of the short-term and long-term benefits of using solar energy in your home.

Short-Term Benefits of Solar Power

One of the greatest and most immediate benefits to using solar power is not having to worry about running out. Solar energy is renewable, so every day with at least moderate sunlight your solar energy system is storing energy for future use. Especially for those who are used to having to refill fuel tanks for heat, going solar means no longer having to monitor your fuel levels or spend hundreds of dollars several times per year on fuel costs. It also means reducing your carbon footprint that much more since you’re not regularly burning fossil fuel for heat.

Another short-term benefit relates to the cost-saving benefits. Although some states’ incentives allow homeowners to go solar for as little as $10,000, the majority of homeowners in the US will pay between $15,000 and $20,000 to convert to solar power. However, there are also leasing options available, which aim to match your current energy expenses so that your payments are either equal to or less than your current electric bill. The government also offers various tax rebates and incentives that could make the cost of your system and its installation significantly less. Once your system is up and running, your electric bill will either disappear entirely or be greatly reduced.

Long-Term Benefits of Solar Power

If your solar energy system can provide more energy than what you need to power your own home, you could actually receive a check rather than a bill from your local utility company drawing the excess energy from your solar panels. When a utility company negotiates with you to pay you for the extra energy you’re producing, it’s called net metering. Over time, this could add up to be a significant amount of money and would allow your solar power system to pay for itself eventually.

Speaking of money, estimates suggest that solar panels can save you $20,000 or more by either reducing or eliminating your power and fuel expenses. However, these figures vary by region and have been estimated as high as $65,000 in Hawaii. Additionally, providing your own energy protects you from energy inflation over time. You won’t see an already-high electric bill continue to grow and grow because when you power your home with solar energy, you’re independent with your reliable, secure solar panels.

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