The solar industry has come a long way since it began in the 1970s. The way Americans are creating and harnessing solar energy is changing rapidly. In fact, the use of solar energy has grown nearly 20 percent per year over the past 15 years.
According to Rex James, solar expert at Green Energy Options, solar is a no-brainer. “We’re always going to need electricity. It can do anything from heating your house to running your car,” says James, who has been in the solar industry since 1977. “Having the ability to generate your own power gives you a world of comfort and independence.”
Still, some preconceived notions about solar energy exist to this day. Here are four things you probably didn’t know about solar energy:
1. It’s affordable
One of the biggest obstacles people have in their minds about solar energy is that it’s a costly, and complicated. While this may have been true forty years ago, solar energy today is easy, affordable and pays for itself. “People of all income levels can go solar on their homes,” says James. “It’s comparable to doing something for your home, like a kitchen makeover, except you’re owning a power supply that will be saving you money for a guaranteed 25 years.”
Solar energy panels at Green Energy Options are covered with a 25-year warranty, but often they can last for 35 years or more. If you’re not sure you can pay for the full cost of the system up front, there are specialty loans with favorable interest rates just for solar and renewables. In most circumstances, you can even finance the solar for an equal amount that you are saving. That way, instead of renting the electricity from a utility company for the rest of your life, your savings are paying off your investment within 10 years or less. Finally, having accessible solar energy on your home increases the value of the home, especially in New Hampshire.
2. It’s accessible
Demand for solar energy is at an all-time high. Solar power installations in homes across the U.S. have increased 23 times over the past eight years, from 1.2 gigawatts in 2008 to 49.3 gigawatts in 2017. That’s enough to power 9.5 million American homes. This shows that the demand for solar is increasing, and so is its accessibility.
The most common way to install solar is on the roof of your home. However, for those who can’t install solar on their roofs because of the direction or type of the roof or trees, systems can also be installed on racks in the yard or field.
If neither of these are possible because you’re renting or don’t have enough yard space, you can also purchase a share of a community solar project. “With a community solar project, you can buy a share of a project that's built somewhere in the community, and you get the same tax credits as if you put it on your house,” says James. The electricity that flows from the project credits your bill as if it was from your roof. This makes it accessible by providing opportunities to anyone that would like a slice of clean energy.
3. It’s maintenance-free
Solar energy systems are as reliable as the wiring system in your house. They’re built from the same durable materials that can be found in science labs, highway signs and ocean buoys. Green Energy Options warrants their workmanship and registers the 25 year production guarantee for their customers.
You can monitor your equipment at the touch of a button. By your computer or through a smartphone app, you can observe how your system is performing. The app also automatically sends an alert to the company in the rare instance that your equipment needed servicing, minimizing down time. This is a type of hardware that you can install and rely on for years to come.
4. It benefits your community and environment, too
According to Energy.gov, Solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy resource on earth. Every second of the day, 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously, providing over 10,000 times the world's total energy use. By tapping into that wealth of energy, solar panel systems can reduce the pollution that comes from other forms of energy generation.
According to James, this cleaner energy is positive for the whole community. “You’re contributing to a cleaner environment, supporting a new technology workforce, and improving the reliability of the local power grid. That's something Solar owners feel pride in.” he said.
Green Energy Options holds regular workshops for people to learn more about the company and benefits from solar energy. These presentations help inform consumersabout the best that solar has to offer their community. The next solar power workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30 pm, and will focus on topics such as how solar works, its financial benefits, project design and sizing, and more. Visit Green Energy Options today in downtown Keene at 37 Roxbury Street in the old Aubuchon Hardware building, or online at GeoSolarStore.com/solar.php