Is going solar good for sustainability?
1. Combined efforts by the government and private sector to overcome the high initial cost of solar panels
It is true that fighting climate change will take combined efforts of government, private sector and individuals like you and me. I have worked on a few projects concerning mitigating climate change, and I have come to a conclusion that innovations to reduce the effects of climate change will require huge amounts of finance by the private sector with technical assistance from the government. Finances alone without innovation in policy and technology will be a waste of time and this calls for a multi-stakeholder approach where businesses work together with government and financiers to solve this sustainability challenge or climate change.
When it comes to solar innovations or going solar, this approach will work well because the government creates an enabling environment to attract the private sector and individuals like you and me to innovate and cause a market transformation that will ensure wider adoption of solar PV technologies or clean tech. For example, the private sector has developed solar PV technologies through innovation and the government facilitates their wider adoption by making it easy to adopt through online solar tools such as the solar panel cost calculator that help individuals and businesses in going solar with reduced customer acquisition cost.
So far this approach of creating solar energy markets is working because the government is providing tax credits that cause the private sector to innovate by researching on how to develop innovative products as well as innovative business models for engaging the end-user. For example, to obtain solar panels such models like the solar PPA and solar leasing help the the end-user to acquire solar panels without any requirement in putting any money down.
Such financing models are developed with the idea that a third-party investor will invest their money into buying the equipment. Then the investor will charge the end-user a monthly fee that is slightly lower than their current energy bill. This way, the third-party investor bears all the risks, but enjoys an attractive rate of return when a customer agrees in going solar.
However, it takes the government to provide the 30% federal tax credits and other additional state tax credits to reduce the high initial costs of solar panels. Also, the investors or private sector are encouraged to put their money down because they know it will cost them half the actual cost (i.e. when they have a high tax appetite) and thus are able to claim the full 30% tax credit while enjoying a good rate of return.
A solar panel cost calculator can show you the actual cost of a typical solar panel based on your current energy bill and how government tax credits help to reduce this cost by almost half; thus making solar panels affordable to a third-party investor. With solar ppa and solar leasing, the end-user or the customer may not be required to put any money down and hence can enjoy the benefits of adopting a clean technology while reducing by between 25% to 30% of their total energy cost.
EnergySage provides a great platform to get started to determine how much you can save with solar energy with or without any money down if you are interested in going solar.
3. Is going solar good for sustainability?
In my personal opinion, going solar in the long-term is good for sustainability because of the cumulative effect it has in reducing your carbon footprint. Platforms like the EnergySage and Pick My Solar are a great place to start to show you the carbon footprint potential in terms of how much carbon can be reduced by going solar has in the long-term. For instance, the EnergySage provides a good comparison point to use when thinking about carbon emissions and what a typical vehicle emits 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. EnergySage makes this comparison using the national system size of a PV system in American households which is 6 kW (6,000 watts). Such a solar PV system can help you reduce about 6.3 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Hence, we can say going solar is good for sustainability i.e. going solar with the right solar panels comes with the “benefit of taking a car off the road” as noted by the EnergySage.
When it comes to sustainability, it will take homeowners and businesses to adopt the right solar panels or adopt the right concepts for going green to move towards sustainability.
One way of going green is through going solar or adoption of sustainable technologies such as solar panels. It is the combined effect of adopting sustainable technologies that would have a meaningful effect in reducing one’s carbon footprint. The total cumulative carbon footprint reduced in the long-term will be worthwhile because any good solar panel will last for over 20 years and hence depending on the number of people or businesses that adopt, it will have a tremendous effect.
Also, clean technology such as solar panels is one solution for helping us to move towards sustainability or fighting climate change and therefore the govenment and private sector can work together to make it happen.
If you are interested in going solar today, you can get started by using this solar panel cost calculator to help you determine your solar potential, solar savings and your solar panel cost. EnergySage or Pick My solar are good online solar marketplaces that we recommend since they help to reduce the customer acquisition cost of going solar.