How do we love solar? Let us count the ways. Though we can’t even count all the things we love about solar, for Valentine’s Day, we take a look at just 10 of our favorite things about generating power from the sun.
When it comes to solar, what’s not to love? So this Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d stop to appreciate 10 of the things we love the most about getting our power from the sun.
1. Solar saves money
By now we’ve all heard a lot about the plummeting costs of solar. While conventional power prices keep going up, solar is 99% cheaper than it was in 1977 — with 30% of that drop in just the past two years.
Thanks to new financing options, more middle-class people are going solar now. As further proof of solar’s cost-effectiveness, businesses like Ikea, Google, Apple, Costco, Walmart, and many others are installing arrays faster than we can write about them.
2. Solar increases home values
Though a number of factors affect the extent to which solar can increase home values, a recent study did find a substantial premium for homes with solar. For California homes with solar systems that had been purchased by the homeowner, researchers estimated that each 1kW increase in size equates to a $5,911 higher premium.
As more of these studies come out and real estate agents and appraisers become more familiar with solar, the value of solar on a home will be better understood.
3. Solar creates jobs
Just last year, over 23,000 solar jobs were created in the U.S., bringing total solar industry employment to 142,698 Americans.
Solar jobs grew 19.9% since September 2012, 10 times faster than the national average rate of 1.9% in the same period.
That doesn’t even include indirect jobs that support the industry — like those in the facility supply chain, including manufacturing, value-added services, and transportation.
4. Solar helps the environment
It’s not all about money! Solar is also good for the environment. While all manufacturing has some environmental effects, once a solar system is in place it generates very clean energy. Don’t let solar savings eclipse this fact — it remains a big benefit of solar.
A solar PV array that generates 4,800 kWh a year prevents about 5,760 pounds of CO2 pollution from entering the atmosphere each year.
5. Solar saves water
Similarly, while some water is used to produce the panels, once they’re in place, PV panels don’t use water to generate energy — unlike fossil fuels. That’s a big deal in drought-prone areas. Global climate change is bringing us more frequent and severe droughts, so water will be a big issue before we know it. Yet another thing to love about solar!
6. Solar brings energy independence
Generating our own power right here in America reduces our dependence on foreign energy sources. And for individuals, it also provides choice in where we get our power. That’s why there’s a Green Tea Coalition in Georgia and and a Republican-led group in Arizona fighting for solar rights.
7. Solar promotes national security
It’s no accident that the the Department of Defense has become a major adopter of solar power.
In addition to helping secure energy independence, solar can make our grid more secure. The U.S. power grid is vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Even one attack on a substation or transformer can leave thousands of people without power. Generating power in a less centralized way, with solar panels on rooftops, can help protect the grid against attacks — yet another way solar helps protect our nation.
8. Solar is abundant
The sun is our most abundant resource, shining enough rays on the United States every day to more than power us for 10 years. If countries like Germany can make great use of this resource, imagine what we can do in the United States, where we have a lot more sun. The sky’s the limit!
9. Solar lasts forever
Well, maybe not forever, but a lot longer than your diamond ring. All signs point to the sun shining for another 5 billion years. That gives us plenty of time to keep generating power from its rays.
10. Solar is simple
Solar is a simple, reliable technology that’s been around for years. It works so well that the basic technology hasn’t changed much in that time. And because solar systems have few moving parts, they require very little maintenance.
Not to mention — but we will mention it — generating power from solar is much more direct and simple than getting it from fossil fuels.
Now, that’s something we can all love!