The costs and benefits of solar energy are coming increasingly into the spotlight for many people in today’s climate where the potential dangers and pitfalls inherent in fossil fuel energy are thrust more and more into the limelight, thanks to such recent events as the West Virginia coal mine disaster and the ongoing disaster that is the Gulf Coast oil spill. Not only were these disasters deadly in human terms, but they were also environmental and ecological disasters, particularly the oil spill.
Unfortunately, the costs and benefits of solar energy remain a mystery to most people, so let’s lift the lid off this mystery and see what we, as consumers, can gain from it and answer the question that concerns us all, i.e. What’s in it for me?
<b>Costs Of Solar Energy</b>
This is probably the biggest concern for most people when considering investing in solar energy, even if the benefits are overwhelming, so let’s take a closer look at this most pressing of issues, especially when the economic climate is adverse, as it is currently.
There’s actually probably never been a better time than now to invest in solar energy because rebates and tax incentives are available at both the State and Federal government level in the U.S., as well as in more and more other countries. It’s actually possible to reduce the cost of a new solar electric system by up to 30 percent after all the rebates and tax incentives have been taken into account. The chances are these incentives and rebates will be around for some time to come, but that’s far from certain, so the best advice you could get is to take advantage of these while they are still around.
The manufacturing costs of solar energy equipment are decreasing at a rapid rate, resulting in lower costs to the consumer. For example, thin film, or amorphous, solar panels are now being manufactured at a cost of less than $1 per watt, and we’re really only at the beginning of the downward curve of costs, since the solar technology industry is still in its infancy.
<b>Benefits Of Solar Energy</b>
Solar energy offers many benefits, both on a personal and environmental level. If, like the majority of us, you get your electricity from your local utility company, you may dread when that time of the month comes around when your utility bill is about to arrive in your mailbox because of the untold horrors it contains! Another month, another big spike in electrical costs, and so the vicious cycle goes on. Sadly, these cost increases are inevitable thanks to the increasing scarcity and cost of the fossil fuels that are used to generate the electricity supplied by the utility.
Fossil fuels continue to wreak havoc on the environment and are mainly responsible for the global warming we’re currently experiencing, since fossil fuels are burned to supply traditional forms of electricity. Electricity produced via solar energy neither uses fuel nor emits carbon waste and is completely clean and renewable, and, unlike fossil fuels, is in no danger of running out.
One of the major benefits of using electricity produced from solar energy is that it is free electricity that, if you’re connected to your utility, can reduce and potentially eliminate the electricity bill from your utility, saving you possibly thousands of dollars per year and repaying your investment in a solar electric system in a relatively short time.
The costs of solar energy are relatively small when compared with the benefits, and, the sooner we appreciate the long-term benefits of solar, the sooner we’ll escape the environmental tailspin we’re currently in and the sooner we’ll take control of our own financial and societal destiny.