Solar energy is abundant, widely available, clean, green and sustainable. Poll after poll shows that solar energy is wildly popular. According to Renewable Energy World website, 80% to 95% of Americans think we should install more solar power and think that the government should help support solar power.
Rooftop solar for homes and small or medium size businesses is also referred to as Distributed Energy Resource (DER). Distributed means that it does not come from a central source like a power plant. It is electricity generated onsite and used onsite, with excess going out to support the grid and be used in your neighborhood. Because it is generated where it is used, it is very efficient with no transmission line loss.
Check out our webinar An Introduction to Solar (April 2020) presented by Solar Washington Board member Jay Larson, available on Solar Washington's YouTube page.
- Solar is clean. Using the sun’s heat or light does not involve burning fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere contributing to climate change.
- Solar is inexhaustible and renewable. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s energy can be converted to heat or electricity.
- When combined with a storage system, energy generated during daylight hours can be used at night.
- Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are long lasting. Most panels are warrantied for 25 or 30 years but will continue to produce power for many more years after that. The life cycle energy – that is, the energy that goes into resource extraction, manufacturing the solar cell, manufacturing the solar panel, delivering it to the job site and installing it are more than made up for the long-lasting ability of that panel to generate electricity. [Decommissioning, dismantling and recycling of panel components are topics that are just beginning to be explored because in general most solar systems have not yet reached their end-of-life.]
- When 4 kW of solar electricity replaces the same amount of fossil fuel generated electricity, the carbon emission reduction is equivalent to planting half an acre of trees, according to the Solar Oregon website.
Economic Benefits to You and Your Community
|Photo from A&R Solar
- Solar energy provides homeowners with more control over their energy use.
- Solar offsets the purchase of solar from the utility and means lower bills.
- For locations with tiered electric rates based upon KWH used per month, solar can reduce the highest cost electricity.
- The 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) make solar more affordable to home-owners.
- Businesses that pay taxes can benefit from the same tax credit plus additional tax benefits from accelerated depreciation of the cost of the system. Getting a solar system installed may be a good way to reduce tax burden for some businesses.
- Solar increases the value of a home and makes it easier to sell.
- Solar benefits are passed to subsequent owners of the home.
- When you have a solar system installed, it is a way to protect against future rising costs of electricity.
- For a business, going solar is a way to reduce a fixed cost, that is the monthly cost of electricity.
- Local Jobs: According to The Solar Foundation, there are over 2400 jobs in the solar industry in Washington. This number was rising because of the expansion of solar. Local employees spend their paychecks in the local economy.
- The federal, state and utility incentives assist home-owners in earning back their upfront cost of going solar.
- Buying a solar system can be financed with a zero-down loan so that solar is accessible to home-owners who don’t have the cash available at the outset.
- Distributed Energy helps to strengthen the local grid.
- Generating electricity locally reduces our region and nation’s reliance upon foreign fuels and the impact of geo-politics on our local energy economy.
Some Community Solar Projects in Washington: