Renewable energy is one of the hottest topics of conversation today, and that's because it impacts every one of us. Between environmental concerns, the cost of energy, and a large number of people employed in the energy industry, these issues touch each of our lives. The most well-known type of renewable energy is solar energy, and yet relatively few people are using it. It all comes down to learning about your energy options, and that's as true here in Arkansas as it is nationwide. If you're thinking about installing solar panels in Arkansas, here are the advantages you should keep in mind:
Benefits of Solar Panels in Arkansas
Solar energy holds many benefits for residential homes, and now is the perfect time to jump in. Here's why:
Arguably the biggest myth about solar energy is that the panels are impractically expensive. As with any new technology, this was true back in the earlier days of solar energy. But as solar panels in Arkansas have become more popular, the price has dropped significantly. In fact, the prices in Arkansas specifically have decreased by 55% in the past five years according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Like any product, there's no guarantee that solar panels will stay at their existing price, so it's wise to buy them while the price is low.
Real Estate Value Increase
Unless you're in an area with a particularly thriving real estate market, it takes work and consistent upgrades to keep your home's value high. One great way to do that is with solar panels. It's well-known that solar panels are an investment in lower energy bills for years to come, and homebuyers know that. They also know that you've already done the expensive part of the process (installing the panels) and that solar panels often last 20 years or more. What better way to make your home attractive than to give it a built-in investment toward lower energy costs?
There's no doubt that solar energy is more practical for some areas than it is for others. For instance, people in Alaska may not get enough daily sunlight (especially in winter) for solar panels to be a worthwhile investment. Solar panels in Arkansas, however, get plenty of sunlight. According to the NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center, we get over 4.8 peak sun-hours per day, which is in the respectable average range. The idea of solar energy makes some homeowners nervous because they worry that if they don't get enough sunlight, they'll lose power. But with modern solar energy, each home is still on the standard energy grid, so your power company will supply any additional energy you need. Still, that won't often be an issue with the amount of sunlight we have available.
Supporting and Growing Local Jobs
There's been a growing movement throughout the nation to support our local businesses, and Arkansas is no exception. When you install and use solar panels in Arkansas, you'll support local jobs for professionals and technicians who sell, install, and maintain these panels. As you help the industry to grow, you'll even help create new jobs throughout your community.
Rising Energy Rates
The largest (and most obvious) advantage of solar panels is reduced dependence on more expensive forms of energy. Unfortunately for residents who don't use solar panels, the US Energy Information Administration found that energy rates increased over 2% in just one year. That isn't due to an increase in energy usage; it's the cost per kilowatt hour. While Arkansas didn't have the worst increase in the country, it's certainly not a trend that you want to stay on board for throughout the storm. There's no indication that energy costs will go back down, so now is a good time to start looking for alternatives.
Did you know every state has their own system in place for how solar energy users relate to the central power grid? In Arkansas, we have a system called net metering which can bring great financial benefits to solar users. If you have solar panels in Arkansas, any extra energy you accumulate and don't use can go into the central power grid. But here's the beautiful part - the power company will then pay you for that energy. In other words, solar users in Arkansas don't just have the potential for $0 energy bills - they can actually collect money instead.
Federal Tax Credit
Like any other investment, solar energy requires an initial investment which you can make up for (and then some) later in energy savings and net metering profits. But thanks to a federal incentive program, that initial cost is dramatically lower than it looks. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit is a program that gives homeowners who install solar panels a tax credit (even better than a tax deduction) for 26% of the cost of the system. It's essentially a 26% rebate in your pocket. However, you should know that a new budget passed in February 2018 that will gradually decrease this rebate over the next four years. To get the full 26% credit, your system needs to be in service before the end of 2020.
Financing is Available
As we mentioned earlier, the initial cost is usually the biggest hurdle for homeowners. But did you know you don't have to save up that lump sum all at once? There are many ways to finance your solar panels in Arkansas. Solar loans, for instance, are a popular option. Just as their name suggests, they're loans that let you pay for your solar system over time so it's better balanced with the savings you're getting along the way. It just takes a bit of homework to find out what options you have available.
The Next Step Toward Installing Solar Panels in Arkansas
Now that you're armed with knowledge, it's time to get more in-depth information. Your solar panel options and financial choices will depend on your specific location (along with a number of other factors).To take the next step, contact a solar energy expert in your area to find out if solar panels are an option for your home.
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