Saving Sunlight: Why Use Solar Energy?

By Tami Charbonnet

Solar energy will never run out, doesn’t produce harmful greenhouse gases and is environmentally friendly.  It is also sustainable, renewable and clean.  Use of solar energy as a main source of power doubles every year.  In China, India, Germany and states like California and Utah, solar energy is encouraged and sometimes even required.

How does it work?
Solar energy uses stored energy from sunlight and converts it to electricity for unlimited backup power.  Products like water heaters, pool heating systems, attic fans and outdoor lighting systems are available due to the brilliant engineering behind modern usage of solar energy.

Is it worth it?
Solar panels on rooftops of homes and buildings are expensive in the short term and may even be an eyesore for some, but the long-term economical and environmental benefits are well worth the investment.  Because of its complicated engineering, solar products are more expensive to install and to produce.  However, using solar energy will save money after a period of time.  Eventually, you will have no electricity bill and may even receive tax credit.

How to get started:

  • Start conservatively.  Try purchasing a few solar garden lights and enjoy the glow you receive at dusk from saving energy from sunlight throughout the day.
  • Research the possibility of a tax credit in your state by going to the website for the department of revenue and taxation in your state.
  • If you are purchasing a home for remodel, consider including the cost of adding solar panels into your remodel budget. It is well worth it in the long run.
  • If you plan to refinance in the future, consider adding the cost to your new loan.

Pros and Cons

Pros:  Solar energy is environmentally friendly, sustainable and clean and produces NO harmful greenhouse gases.  Some states offer as much as a 30 percent tax credit, which makes the cost more appealing.

Cons:  It is expensive in the short term.  According to researchers, it has low energy density compared to other energy sources.  It is useless in low-light conditions, and is unreliable as a power source in cloud cover.



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