5 Facts About Solar Energy You Probably Didn’t Know
Harnessing clean energy from the sun is the hottest topic of the decade. As we speak, this sustainable source of power is lowering our carbon footprint by reducing dangerous greenhouse gases. People around the world are demanding clean energy to save our planet.
1. The New York Times Predicted a Solar Future
Did you know that the first operational solar panel was built by Bell Laboratories in New Jersey roughly 1950? At the time, The New York Times wrote that the silicon solar cell “may mark the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams–the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.”1
The New York Times predicted a solar future. And they were right. For the next 50 years the United States would make solar technology accessible and affordable for utilities and consumers around the world. Although other countries are beginning to pull ahead… it started here with us. Americans are demanding solar and with the support of solar companies and our state and federal governments, we can get back to being #1 in solar.2
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2. Power from the Sun is not Political
Here’s another fact: Both Democrats and Republicans support the use of alternative energies. Residential rooftop solar is extremely popular, but utility solar is growing, too. One of the world’s largest solar farms is in California, but there are dozens and dozens of solar plants cropping up in red and blue communities all over our country.3
For example, a big clean-energy star that is making the news is Ale Ross, Mayor of Georgetown, Texas. Mayor Ross has made it his city’s mission to be powered entirely by renewable energy. This Republican loves green power and understands that it’s good for his residents. Less pollution and lower energy costs is something that every politician can get behind.4
3. Solar Saves Our Planet, Lives & Money
There has been a rapid rise in the consumption of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. This resulted in a rise in dangerous CO2 emissions that has led to planet warming and the “greenhouse effect.”5
The research is in: converting to sustainable energies to run our planet can reverse the greenhouse effect and make our planet a safer place to live. We’re doing this now. Solar power was recently claimed by the International Energy Agency to be the fastest growing source of renewable energy in the world, and that solar technology “shone brightest.”6
Additional research indicates that the health and environmental benefits of wind and solar energy amount to $88 billion.7 And a U.S. Department of Energy study shows reductions in pollution from clean energy prevented 7,000 lost lives in the United States from 2007-2015.8 Solar power is saving lives.
4. The Price of Sunlight is Zero
The sun is not sending us a bill to charge our houses with its power. The price of sunlight is zero.
Coal and natural gas are not free, and they are expensive and volatile. You never know when these dirty fossil fuels - which are not sustainable - are going up in price or going down (utility prices have systematically gone up over the past decade). There is no fuel cost with sunlight. This means that our state and local governments can better calculate the cost of producing electricity with solar. And they can do this in advance to determine energy needs as the sun is a consistent, stable source of power. It shines everyday and it’s free.9
For rooftop solar? You, too, will know how much it’s going to cost for the life of your rooftop solar system. A residential solar system provides energy at the same utility rate every year for 20 years (at the minimum). That’s the same bill for two decades. Positive, great news for a change.
5. Solar Creates Jobs and Incentives
Our government is paying attention to the demand for solar energy from both residential homeowners and businesses. And our Energy Department supports a lot of research and development to expand our nation’s solar market. The news just keeps getting better.10
There is also a federal tax credit for solar rooftop homeowners who want to buy. Currently, the residential federal solar tax credit gives you a dollar-for-dollar reduction against your federal income tax equal to 26% of the final cost of solar energy systems you install on your home. This benefit exists through December 31, 2022. In 2023 the residential tax credit will step down step down to 22%. In 2024, the tax credit for residential solar ends.
Today, this means thousands of dollars in savings. If your system costs $19,000, you’ll save $5,700 in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your income taxes that you would otherwise pay the IRS. That’s thousands of dollars of greater news.11
Many states continue to offer incentives and rebates at the local level. Make sure you look into all opportunities. Your solar advisor should be able to help.
Jobs? The solar workforce increased by 168% in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.12 Compared to 50,000 jobs in the coal industry in 2016, there were 260,000 solar-industry jobs. (Smithsonian, April 2018).
A Brighter Future for Everybody
There’s no question that there is a brighter future with smart, clean energy for everyone on this planet. Sustainable power pulled from the sun benefits all walks of life, all demographics, all nations… all people. And Sunrun is doing what it can to help, one rooftop at a time. Get a complimentary solar quote. Let’s talk solar.
- This Month in Physics History April 25, 1954: Bell Labs Demonstrates the First Practical Silicon Solar Cell
- A Moment of Reckoning for a Soaring Solar Industry
- Big solar is heading for boom times in the US
- Is a Texas Town the Future of Renewable Energy?
- CO2 and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Country Profiles
- Time to shine: Solar power is fastest-growing source of new energy
- New journal article in Nature Energy estimates $88 billion in historical health and environmental benefits of wind and solar energy
- Solar energy would guarantee a brighter future for the Sunshine State | Opinion
- Big solar is heading for boom times in the US
- Solar | Department of Energy
- The History and Future of the Solar ITC
- The U.S. solar industry employs more than 231,000 workers as of 2020, according to the 11th annual National Solar Jobs Census
Language used when referencing every component of a grid-tied system.
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