The Benefits of Using Solar Energy for Homes and Businesses

Dec 18, 2022Going Green

Solar energy is a clean, renewable energy source that can provide significant benefits for homeowners and businesses. Here are some of the key benefits of using solar energy:


Reduced Electricity Bills

Solar panels generate electricity from the sun, which means that they can significantly reduce the amount of electricity that a home or business needs to purchase from the grid. This can lead to significant cost savings, especially in regions or sectors with high electricity prices. For example, a solar panel system that generates enough electricity to meet the needs of a typical home can save the homeowner thousands of dollars over the course of 20 years or more. Studies have even demonstrated scenarios where homeowners were able to completely offset their dependence on grid use entirely, relying solely on power generated from their solar panel arrays.

Google’s Project Sunroof is a free calculator that can help you estimate the savings you can achieve by installing a solar panel system on your rooftop. This tool is only currently available for U.S. or Puerto Rico residents, however.

Environmentally friendly

Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source, meaning it does not produce any greenhouse gases or other pollutants. This makes it an attractive option for people who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and do their part to combat climate change. The use of solar energy can help to reduce the overall demand for fossil fuels, which are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that for 1 kWh of electricity produced by solar panels, only 40g of CO2 is produced. In comparison, a coal power plant will emit around 1000g of CO2 in producing 1 kWh of electricity. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the same number for coal power plants. Natural gas power plants emit roughly 400g of CO2 per kWh, and petroleum power plants emit roughly 1100g of CO2 per kWh of electricity produced.

CO2 emissions (pounds per kWh)

Long lifespan

Solar panels have a long lifespan, typically lasting 20-25 years or more. This means that once they are installed, they can provide clean energy for decades without requiring any additional maintenance or repair. In comparison, traditional energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas are finite resources that will eventually run out, while solar energy is a renewable resource that will be available as long as the sun continues to shine. Based on data from 2016 and consumption levels at the time, the world has less than 50 years of oil left. Shifting to a power grid based largely on solar seems like the right thing to do to future-proof one’s home or business from the impending energy crisis that will affect all of us once oil supplies begin to dwindle.

Oil Reserves - 2016

Low maintenance

Solar panels are relatively low maintenance and do not require any special upkeep beyond the occasional cleaning. This makes them a convenient and hassle-free energy source. In contrast, traditional energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas require extensive infrastructure such as power plants, pipelines, and storage facilities, which can be expensive to maintain and repair. A solar panel installation doesn’t require an extensive grid system to deliver power from a centralized location to your home or business, instead, unused space on your rooftop or lawn can be fitted with solar panels to allow your home or business to generate electricity for itself. 

Increase in property value

Studies have shown that homes and businesses with solar panels can often command a higher price on the market. This is because solar panels are seen as a desirable feature and can also reduce energy costs for the new owner. In fact, some experts believe that solar panels can increase the value of a property by as much as $15,000 or more, depending on the size of the system and other factors.

A recent study by the US Department of Energy (DOE) found that the value of a home increased by $20 for every $1 it could save on annual energy bills. Based on this data, it can be surmised that a solar panel installation that saves $200 annually on energy bills would add $4000 to the value of a property. 

Recent studies have found that more people consider solar power as part of the deal when buying a new home. One such study by Japan’s Sharp Electronics Corporation found that 8 out of 10 Americans wanted property developers to offer solar-powered homes.

Grid independence

Solar panels can provide a home or business with a source of electricity that is not tied to the grid. This can be especially beneficial in areas where power outages are common or in the event of a natural disaster. With a solar panel system, homeowners and businesses can generate their own electricity, which can help to keep the lights on and keep essential systems running during a power outage.

Solar panels can provide grid independence by allowing a home or business to generate its own electricity from the sun, rather than relying on electricity from the grid. When solar panels are installed, they are connected to an inverter, which converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the type of electricity used in homes and businesses.

The AC electricity generated by the solar panels can be used to power the building’s lights, appliances, and other electrical devices. Any excess electricity that is produced by the solar panels can be sent back to the grid through a process called net metering. This allows the building to receive credits on its utility bill for the excess electricity that it generates.

By generating their own electricity, buildings with solar panels can be more independent from the grid and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. They may also be able to save money on their energy bills by using the electricity they generate rather than purchasing it from a utility. However, it’s important to note that solar panels alone may not be sufficient to provide complete grid independence, as they may not generate enough electricity to meet all of a building’s energy needs, particularly during times when the sun is not shining or when electricity demand is high. In these cases, it may be necessary to supplement solar panels with other sources of electricity, such as a backup generator or batteries.

Job creation

The solar industry has the potential to create a significant number of jobs, both in the installation and maintenance of solar panels and in the manufacturing of solar panels and related equipment. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the solar industry employed over 250,000 people in the United States in 2019.

The installation and maintenance of solar panels require a range of skilled workers, including electricians, roofers, and engineers. These jobs can be created in both urban and rural areas, making solar a potentially important source of employment in various locations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted solar photovoltaic installers to be among the top five fastest-growing jobs by 2030.

In addition, manufacturing solar panels and related equipment requires a range of workers, including engineers, technicians, and factory workers. Many of these jobs are located in factories that produce solar panels and other solar equipment, which can be found in various locations around the world. Research from the Brookings Institute found that jobs on the clean energy sector usually paid more than the national average, some 8% to 19% more.

Overall, the solar industry has the potential to create a significant number of good-paying jobs that can help to support local economies and provide opportunities for workers with a variety of skill levels.

Government incentives

There are a number of government incentives that are available to encourage the installation of solar panels. These incentives can help to reduce the upfront cost of installing solar panels and make it more affordable for individuals and businesses to switch to renewable energy.

One common incentive is the solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC). This credit allows individuals and businesses to claim a credit on their federal income taxes for a portion of the cost of installing solar panels. The amount of the credit varies depending on the size of the solar panel system and the tax filing status of the individual or business, but it is generally equal to 30% of the cost of the solar panel system.

Other incentives that may be available include:

  • State and local incentives: Many states and localities offer their own incentives for solar panel installations, such as rebates, grants, and low-interest loans.
  • Net metering: Net metering allows individuals and businesses to receive credits on their utility bills for the excess electricity that their solar panel systems generate. This can help to offset the cost of the solar panel system and make it more affordable.
  • Property tax exemptions: Some states and localities offer property tax exemptions for solar panel installations, which can help to reduce the overall cost of the solar panel system.

It’s important to note that the availability and details of these incentives can vary significantly depending on location, so it’s a good idea to check with local government agencies or utility companies to find out what incentives are available in your area.

Energy security

Solar energy is a domestic energy source, which means that it can reduce a country’s reliance on foreign sources of energy. This can improve energy security and reduce the risk of supply disruptions. Countries around the world are racing against the clock to transition to clean energy in a world where our reliance on fossil fuels has grossly disrupted the planet’s ecosystem, causing it to warm at an increasingly alarming rate, which if left unchecked would lead to a world where life as we now know it may not be sustainable. 

Some countries have been more proactive than others in achieving this goal. Among the countries that have reached near-100% renewable energy generation are:

  • Albania – 95% hydroelectric power
  • Bhutan – 100% renewable energy, hydroelectric
  • Costa Rica – 99.62% renewable energy, 78% hydroelectric
  • Iceland – 75% hydroelectric, 25% geothermal
  • Ethiopia – 90% hydroelectric, 8% wind, 2% geothermal
  • Norway – 98% renewable energy
  • Paraguay – 100% hydroelectric
  • Scotland – 97% wind power
  • Tau Island, American Samoa – 100% solar power

While it may seem that transitioning to renewable energy may not be in the best interests of certain corporations, namely energy producers which have a monopoly on the national power grid, more and more companies are making the switch to renewable energy at a rapidly increasing rate. The RE100 is a group of companies around the world committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energy before 2050. 


Overall, solar energy has the potential to provide significant benefits for homeowners and businesses. It is a clean, renewable energy source that can reduce electricity costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide energy security. Additionally, it can create jobs and increase property values. While the initial cost of installation may be high, the long-term benefits of solar energy can make it a worthwhile investment.


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