4Rs Tips for 04.30.2023 – To Solar or Not To Solar… That Is The Question
As a writer, I couldn’t resist the Shakespearean quip. It’s a big question these days that many homeowners have… is installing solar panels the right thing to do?
Oh, and it is not only for those who own a home. Renters can work with property owners to go solar. Check out the resources below.
As part of the effort to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move toward a more sustainable existence on the planet, it’s an important question to ask.
There’s a lot of information and opinions, but the bottom line is…
We should switch to using solar energy wherever we can.
In order to maintain a habitable planet, we must change from a dependency on fossil fuels. That requires a transition to renewable energy. The most common of these are hydro, wind, and solar. Of these, solar is the easiest for most homeowners.
Solar Energy is One of Our Greatest Renewable Resources
If you shop around you can often find programs that will install solar at little or no upfront costs, depending on where you live. In the US, certain states have incentives and rebates in addition to federal ones.
Here are a few things you need to decide:
- Do you want to buy or rent solar panels?
- Usually, buying is the better deal because it increases the value of your home. But renting is an option.
- How will you store the energy you collect?
- Having battery storage is like having a generator for when there are power outages.
- Will you sell your excess back to your local power company?
Check out the resources below to help you decide what’s right for you.
There are multiple ways to go solar. The most cost-effective is usually to buy the panels, which may cost money upfront, but save you a ton in energy costs and tax rebates in the future.
- In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act includes programs to help you save 30% when you install solar. Here’s a short video: Inflation Reduction Act increases home energy tax credits.
- In the end, they talk about the credits, like for solar.
- This link to the IRS info page on home energy credits explains how to take advantage of the credits when you go solar or do other improvements to lower your energy use.
- In the UK, you can save hundreds of dollars when you install solar panels with the GreenMatch program.
There are companies that rent you the equipment, so you don’t have to worry about repairs and maintenance. However, the company owning the panels tends to reap the most benefits and the technology has come a long way making ownership easier.
Don’t take the plunge until you do your research.
- This article from CNET details how to shop for a solar panel provider and find financing and rebates.
- The article helps answer burning questions like, should you rent or buy solar panels.
- It also gives great tips on alternative ways to use solar energy.
- Find out the pros and cons of going solar and where it can be most beneficial in this article from the U.S. News, Should I Add Solar Power to My Home?
- Another resource is the Solar Learning Center from Solar.com. This article on How to Choose the Best Solar Panels in 2023 is full of good information.
- In the US, the Solar Energy Technologies Office has a resource to help you shop for the right solar solution to meet your needs.
- The link contains a list of common questions you may have as you start your research, so it’s a great first step.
- This page from Energy Sage can help you decide if installing solar is right for you.
- They provide a cost calculator that gives estimates based on your zip code.
You may have noticed more and more businesses are installing solar panels. That’s because it’s not only the responsible thing to do but it’s also cost-effective. They recognize huge savings and satisfy shareholder and customer demands for doing business sustainably.
Why It’s Important
Burning fossil fuels for energy is the biggest cause of carbon in our atmosphere, which is one of the major contributors to the warming of the planet.
Though the fossil fuel industry has spent billions of dollars to convince us that our carbon footprint is our fault, nothing could be further from the truth. They also spend billions to stop legislation that will help us move away from using gas, oil, and coal. It’s not how we drive our cars that will make a difference, but the choices we make in how and what we buy, like energy.
“While to many the climate debate may seem remote from daily life, the small decisions that we all can make—how much water we use, the products we buy, how we vote—are personal and possible. And they become easier the more we are aware of the consequences.” EcoWatch
We as individuals have a lot of power, especially when we all start taking action. Learn and share resources so we can all become better stewards of the planet.
Knowledge is Power!
These actions may be easy for you, or they may be hard, but I hope you will consider taking at least one of them.
- This Plastics Footprint Calculator gives you a way to see how you compare to the average plastics user in your country.
- It helps you be aware of how this dangerous petroleum-based product shows up in your life.
- Know who your government representatives are and get online to find out what they support. Call your reps or send them emails to let them know you are against continuing our reliance on fossil fuels. After all, they work for you!
- Get the Climate Action Now app which makes it easier to call or send emails to the right person. I take action daily with the app, it takes about 5 – 10 minutes a day. TRY IT!
- Check into the Inflation Reduction Act and find out how US residents can take advantage of incentives to make their homes more energy efficient. From heat pumps to solar panels, there are rebates available to help you reduce your energy use and impact on the climate.
- The Earth Day Action Toolkit is not just for Earth Day, it’s for you to use every day.
- Pages 10-17 of the Toolkit lists great ideas for people and organizations.
With Much Gratitude
That’s it for this issue. I hope you found it helpful.
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We’ve got this!
All my best,