Before the adjective “green” was used to describe the modern environmentalist movement, the color had a more monetary association. Hey, green may be the color of nature, but it’s also the color of money, and for your average person, the later plays a more significant day-to-day role than the former. But that doesn’t mean that the two are mutually exclusive! Take solar power, for example. It’s a clean, renewable, and—for all intents and purposes—inexhaustible energy source that can also just happen to save you loads of cash. In essence, solar power can help you go green, no matter which definition you happen to find more important. Here’s how:
In 2009, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released a Residential Energy Consumption Survey. In it, they identified that the average United States homeowner ends up spending approximately $2,000 on home energy costs. Of course, those figures were gathered half a decade ago, so you can bet that the cost has only gone up since then. The point is, there’s probably a few things that come to mind when you consider what you could do with an extra $2,000 every year. The reason energy costs so much is that it’s difficult and expensive to generate. 44% of U.S. electricity comes from -burning plants (which also happen to be the biggest cause of air pollution in the country), with the other 36% divided between wind power, geothermal power, hydroelectric power, etc. All of these methods require resources, maintenance, and scores of employees to be able to function, and the person who gets to pay for it all is you. But, by switching over to home mounted-solar paneling, you effectively eliminate (or at least substantially reduce) your dependence on the city grid. Of course, the panels themselves are still somewhat expensive to purchase, which is why many individuals are taking a different approach. Vivint, Solarcity, and other major solar companies are now offering rentable solar panels. These companies are leasing solar power to customers for a fraction of what it would cost to get energy from the city.
Believe it or not, the government is just as interested in preserving the planet as anyone (you could say that they have a vested interest in it). As such, they’re currently willing to offer monetary incentives to help motivate the American population into using clean energy sources. These incentives often take the form of tax credits, which allow a recipient to reduce the total amount of taxes that need to be paid. Tax credits may be offered by both the federal government, as well as state government, and can make a big difference to your bank account once April 15th rolls around. So, if you decide to throw your hat in with solar power, you might be able to keep a bit more of your hard-earned cash come tax season.
Anything that you do to your home will affect its overall worth, and solar panels are no exception. However, the question is this: Is the increased value enough to offset the initial installation costs? Well, it’s impossible to say for sure, given that much of it depends on what potential home buyers are willing to pay, but the outlook is pretty good. A report by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that (especially in more liberal states), homeowners can recuperate up to 97% of their initial solar investment costs, and that doesn’t account for the other associated energy savings that come with solar power. This means that whether you want to sell your home or live in it for the rest of your life, you’ll be well rewarded if you’re willing to invest in solar power.
So, whether you’re more interested in keeping the planet green, or in lining your wallet with green, solar power is the way to go. Of course, you may have to spend a bit of green upfront, but just consider it an investment in the future—both for your bank account and for your planet.