Solar energy is produced through the collection and conversion of the sun’s light. Homeowners can harness the sun’s rays to generate electricity to power their homes, resulting in decreased energy consumption and solar energy savings.
Solar energy production is on the rise around the U.S. In its February 2018 Short Term Energy Outlook report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that solar electricity generation will increase from an estimated average of 209,000 megawatt hours (MWh) per day in 2017 to 240,000 MWh/day in 2018 and 287,000 in MWh/day. What this means is that more people are turning to renewable solar energy to power their homes and businesses.
This is particularly good news when you consider that U.S. residential electricity rates have been rising by 4% on average over the past 10 years. The EIA reports that residential prices for electricity increased from an average of 12.55 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh) to 12.90 cents per KWh in 2017. The prices are expected to continue to increase to 13.62 cents per KWh by 2019.
While this might not sound like a lot, it quickly adds up. The average U.S. electricity bill in 2016 was 897 KWh per month or 10,766 KWh per year. At $0.13 per KWh, that will total nearly $1,400 per year! If your own consumption surpasses the average each month, that’s even more money out of your pocket. Imagine the solar savings you could achieve with the help of a solar energy system for your home.
Making the decision to switch to solar is a huge step toward enjoying significant energy savings. When you purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system, you are investing in future energy savings and to make yourself less dependent on electrical companies. In New Jersey, solar energy users save an average of 30% on their electric bill each month.
You can choose to buy or lease a solar system, depending on your financial needs and goals. However, we’d be remiss to not mention that buying a system outright provides you with the most cost-effective solar energy savings. Purchasing a solar energy system allows you to take advantage of benefits that are not available to homeowners who lease their systems.
Buying a Solar Energy System for Your Home, Provides Access to a Renewable Energy Source– Tom Cleary The “Green Energy Guru”
You can enjoy substantial savings by tapping into an essentially infinite renewable solar energy. As long as the sun continues shining, you’ll have access to clean electricity that you can use to power your home or business. This means that you can use solar energy to clean, cook, cool and heat your home. Furthermore, for solar homeowners who also own or lease electric or hybrid vehicles, you also can use the solar energy to help charge your car as well.
– Tom Cleary The “Green Energy Guru”
Solar Power Systems Decreases Your Dependence on the Power Grid.
Decreasing your dependence on conventional energy sources like coal, oil, and nuclear energy makes a difference that can be felt in your wallet. After all, why pay a power company to generate all of your electricity when you can produce some or all of it yourself?
An added benefit is that you’re able to contribute to decreasing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and other energy resources.
Solar Energy Offsets Electricity Costs with Net Metering.– Tom Cleary The “Green Energy Guru”
Many states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, offer net metering to their solar customers. The basic concept of net metering is that every KWh of energy your system produces is accounted for and is credited to your account. These credits roll over from month to month until the annual anniversary of when your system was first brought online, after which time your utility company will buy them if your system has generated more than you have used.
This means that the credits you earn during high production months can help to supplement energy consumption during low-production months.
Installing A Solar Power System On Your Home Offers Tax Savings and Other Initial Incentives.Tom Cleary The “Green Energy Guru”
In addition to saving money on your power bill, homeowners who choose to buy a PV solar system can enjoy several additional financial benefits. Solar savings can be found through:
- A 30% federal tax credit: For PV solar energy systems that are bought and installed before the end of 2019, you can receive a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) on your purchase.
- State incentives: These rebates, tax credits, and other incentives vary by state. Speak with a Solar expert at EMT Renewables to find out what benefits are available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
- Sales tax exemption: The purchase of a solar energy system for your home will not incur additional taxes.
- Property tax exemption: Although having a solar system installed on your home is known to raise home values, the added value of the system will be excluded from your residential property taxes.
To learn more about how you can make the sun work for you and enjoy cost-effective solar savings, be sure to contact us via the help form below or give us a call at 866.368.7657!
Solar energy is an incredible investment for people around the world. Many homeowners across the United States, including those in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are making the decision to go solar. By doing so, they are able to embrace not only the environmental benefits of going green, but they also can take advantage of the financial incentives that accompany this change as well.
We want to put your solar knowledge to the test. Our EMT Renewables energy experts have put together a list of six solar energy facts that you may not know.
1. Solar Energy Dates Back to the 1830’s
The basic concept of photovoltaic solar energy and the “photovoltaic effect,” as we understand and use it today, was discovered by French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in 1839. What Becquerel realized is that certain materials are able to collect and convert solar radiation (sunlight) into electricity. This is the basis for the photovoltaic (PV) solar “cells” that are integral components of modern solar panels.
Modern solar systems consist of a series of connected solar panels. Each panel consists of dozens of linked solar cells, which convert the sun’s rays into direct current (DC) energy. Using inverters, solar energy users are able to convert that DC power into alternating current (AC) electricity for use in their homes.
2. Solar is One of the Most Abundant Energy Resources
Solar is the world’s most abundant energy
resource, and “173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth
continuously,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Let’s help put this into a bit of perspective for you. Electricity, which is
measured in terms of the amount of power that is being used at any given moment, is identified by watts, kilowatts (KW), megawatts (MW), gigawatts (GW), and terawatts (TW). A kilowatt hour (KWh), which is commonly how residential solar energy is measured, is the amount of electricity that is used during the span of an hour. Your electric bill measures your energy usage in kilowatt hours, which 1 KWh is equal to 1,000 watts of electricity for an hour. So, in this case, that means that 1 KW of electricity could power sixty six 15-watt light bulbs for that 60-minute span of time. A megawatt, on the other hand, is even larger, with 1 MW = 1,000 KW (or 1,000,000 W) — or 66,667 of those light bulbs. A gigawatt goes beyond that, with 1 GW measuring 1,000 MW (or 1 billion watts) — or 66.7 million of those 15-watt light bulbs. Now, keep in mind that a terawatt dwarfs a gigawatt, with 1 TW equalling 1,000 GW. That’s equal to 1 trillion watts of electricity per 1 terawatt (or 66.7 billion of those 15-watt light bulbs). Considering that there are 173,000 TW of solar energy connecting with our planet at any given time…
That’s a whole lot of light bulbs.
Because the sun has an estimated
lifetime expectancy of 4-5 billion years, it makes solar power a
viable, long-term energy solution for helping meet the world’s electricity
needs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),
10% of the U.S.’s total energy consumption stemmed from renewable energy
sources in 2016. But, aside from solar, what forms of energy are considered
renewable? These sources of energy also include:
- Geothermal (which uses steam from how water to produce electricity);
- Hydropower (which uses the energy of moving water to create electricity and includes dams and pumps)
- Biomass (wood, solid waste, landfill/biogas, ethanol, biodiesel).
There is a bright future ahead for solar energy users. Solar electricity generation is anticipated to increase from an estimated average of 209,000 megawatt hours (MWh) per day to 287,000 MWh per day in 2019, according to the EIA.
3. Kamuthi is the World’s Largest Solar Production Facility
The world’s largest solar power project is located in Kamuthi, which is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. With the capacity to generate enough power to serve 750,000 people  , this immense display of renewable energy consists of 2.5 million solar panels that are spread over roughly 3.9 miles of land.
China is home to the world’s largest floating solar power plant. This watery wonderland of photovoltaic electricity is on the surface of a lake that is 4-10 meters deep and located above an area of land where coal used to be mined.
4. China Is the World’s Top-Producing Solar Energy Country
China, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States are among the world’s leaders for total solar power capacity, and their investments in renewable energy continue to increase each year. Germany, which receives about half of the sunlight as many U.S. cities, has been among the world’s leading solar energy technology installers for years. According to Business Insider, the country had the capacity to produce 38,250 megawatts of electricity per year as of 2016. China is leading the way when it comes to investments in photovoltaic technology, bioenergy, and hydropower. According to
the International Energy Agency (IEA), “Today, China represents half of global solar PV demand, while Chinese companies account for around 60% of total annual solar cell manufacturing capacity globally.”
5. Space Exploration Vessels Use Solar
The use of solar energy has been an important component of space programs for more than 70 years. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the potential for solar energy production for spacecraft use was recognized by Dr. Hans Ziegler in the 1950s. Regarded as “the father of spacecraft solar power,” Ziegler determined that it was a viable source of energy for use in space after examining solar cells that were developed by Bell Laboratories. The first spacecraft to use solar panels was the Vanguard 1 satellite in 1958.
Since then, solar energy has been captured and used to provide power for the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, and a variety of spacecrafts.
6. Solar Energy is a Reliable Resource in Emergency Situations
Solar energy has been a reliable source way
for people to create power in emergency and temporary situations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar energy generator sets are a great way to provide power in crisis situations. A newsletter from the department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states:
“They are virtually silent, safe to operate, environmentally benign, and seldom (if ever) a fire hazard. They are also extremely rugged, having been designed to withstand the impact of hailstones up to an inch in diameter.”
The Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and other emergency responders have used solar energy to aid in disaster relief efforts after major storms like Hurricane Andrew (1992) and Hurricane Georges (1998). We hope that some of these solar energy facts
have been informative. Do you have any interesting solar facts to share? Feel free to share your favorite solar facts in the comments section. To learn about how EMT Renewables can help you join in on the world’s renewable energy future, contact our solar energy experts today for a free consultation.