As the effects of climate change continue to be felt around the world, the decisions we make regarding our energy use have never been more urgent. As many are aware, fossil fuel energy is a major threat to our planet’s well-being. When fossil fuels are burned, they release dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, trapping heat into our atmosphere and ultimately leading to climate change.
Though most households in America still use fossil fuels, many homeowners have looked towards clean and renewable alternatives like solar to power their homes. Along with its environmental benefits, many residents have found that solar systems save them money as well. With utility bills rising, there’s never been a better time to go solar.
The federal government and state offer residents a selection of incentives for solar installations. The state of Massachusetts provides a 15% tax credit of up to $1,000 as well as the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program which promotes cost-effective solar development in the state. Most recently, the federal government passed the Inflation Reduction Act which increases their solar credit from 26% to 30%.
Not only is solar a smart way to save money, but it can also help you make money at the same time with net metering. Net metering is a program that allows grid-tied solar customers to sell their excess electricity to utility companies. For New England residents, solar systems may overproduce energy in the summer months when the sun is directly overhead. With net metering, solar customers can sell their energy for credits that can be used later. For instance, if you overproduce in the summer and sell your energy for credits, you may use those credits to cover your electricity bills during the winter months when there are fewer hours of sunshine.
Gain Energy Independence
With solar, customers are given the opportunity to either stay on-grid or go off-grid, which refers to the electrical grid that many residents get their home’s power from. Getting your electricity from a power grid may seem like a valuable option, but electrical grids can be highly unpredictable, costing you both money and energy. But by having a solar system for your home, you and your household have the opportunity to gain energy independence from the grid.
Off-Grid vs. On-Grid
With a solar system, residents are given the option to go “off-grid” or stay “on-grid”. Being off the grid means that you have completely cut ties with a major utility source like National Grid or Eversource. In this case, you are in charge of your own energy and will no longer receive unpredictable electric bills. While going off the grid can be a great option, there are benefits that go along with staying on the grid.
When you stay on the grid, you can produce clean energy for your home while staying connected to the larger grid in the case of an emergency. When you are on the grid with a solar system, your home will still use its solar energy, though in the case of under-production, your home will use power from the grid.
Helping The Environment
Not only will going solar lower your electricity bills but it will also put your home on the right track for decarbonization. As the reality of the climate crisis continues to affect our environment, residents all over the world must take the critical steps to replace their fossil-fuel energy with cleaner renewable sources like solar. The recent spike in utility rates is a reminder that many homeowners are still dependent on the same fossil fuels that are impacting our world. As you evaluate your utility bill, take the time to evaluate what your energy use is costing you both in terms of money but also our climate’s future.