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Using Solar Power to Save the Environment — and Money

Posted on June 3, 2023

Using Solar Power to Save the Environment — and Money

Homeowners today have a vast array of life-changing technologies at their fingertips. From smart-home upgrades to energy-efficient changes, there are many ways to upgrade your home to save money and the environment. If you’re interested in how solar power can benefit you, read on to learn more. 

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What is solar power?

Solar power refers to using panels that capture particles of light (or photons) to generate energy. These photons break electrons free from their atoms, knocking them apart, and generate what we know of as the flow of electricity. This electricity can be used to power your home and other devices. 

Solar power can be harnessed and converted to usable energy using photovoltaics or solar thermal collectors. Solar energy only accounts for a small amount of overall global energy use. However, the falling cost of installing solar panels means that more people can take advantage of solar energy. Using solar power helps the environment and can save you money, as it is a clean, renewable energy resource

How does using solar power help the environment?

Solar energy creates clean, renewable power from the sun and benefits the environment. Alternatives to fossil fuels reduce carbon footprint, reducing greenhouse gases around the globe. 

Generating electricity with solar power instead of fossil fuels can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2). Greenhouse gases, which are produced when fossil fuels are burned, lead to rising global temperatures and climate change. Climate change already contributes to serious environmental and public health issues. These include extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and ecosystem changes.

By using solar power in your home, you can reduce the demand for fossil fuels and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Even just one home installing a solar energy system can have a measurable effect on the environment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average home with solar panels uses 8,288 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. Switching from fossil fuels to solar power has the same emissions reduction effect as planting 150 trees each year.

How can you use solar power at home?

Using solar power for all your home energy needs may feel like a futuristic stretch. However, we are closer than you may think! Can a home solar system really power your entire house? Yes! But, it does depend on a few variables. Mostly, these variables are used to determine the power output levels and the number of solar panels that your home requires to meet your energy goals.

Every home is different, and each home will require a unique amount of solar panels. At Bristlewood, we offer exceptional service, personalized to achieve your vision. Installing your solar panels in the perfect spot can make a big difference with energy output. That’s why each system we design is unique to the home. We go to great lengths to ensure maximum benefits from every panel we install.

What is the Tesla Powerwall?

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Tesla Powerwall is a compact home battery. It uniquely reduces your reliance on the grid by storing solar energy for use when the sun isn’t shining. You can add additional Powerwall units to your home to further lower your carbon footprint. This allows you to increase your solar capacity and prepare your home for power outages.

The main reason solar batteries like the Tesla Powerwall have grown in popularity is energy independence. With Powerwall, your system will detect outages and automatically recharge with sunlight to keep appliances running for days. For those seeking peace of mind in case of outages, blackouts, and natural disasters, the Powerwall is a necessary investment. 

The Tesla Powerwall comes with the ability to hold 13.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. This gives it one of the highest usable capacity ratings of residential solar batteries on the market. That’s enough energy to cover about half of the average U.S. home’s daily energy usage.

Federal tax credits for using solar power

As long as you own your solar energy system, you are eligible for the solar investment tax credit. If you don’t have enough tax liability to claim the entire credit in one year, you can roll the remaining credits into future years. You can do this for as long as the tax credit is in effect, which is currently through 2022. However, remember that if you sign a lease or PPA with a solar installer, you are not the owner of the system. Therefore you will not be able to claim the tax credit. You claim the investment tax credit for solar when you file your yearly federal tax return.

The Powerwall is eligible for the 26% federal solar tax credit as well as several other state incentives. Installing a Powerwall and a solar system also makes you eligible for net metering programs in states that offer this. This allows you to sell back unused energy to your utility company. And when you have a home solar battery, you’ll have the option of storing that extra energy for future use. This is particularly useful during peak energy use times when prices are higher.

Bottom line on using solar power

What this all means is that using solar power can dramatically reduce your electricity bill and help the environment. With such great benefits, and existing tax credits set to expire at the end of 2022, there is no better time to purchase solar panels for your home.