We love prepping because so often the steps you take to prepare for the worst can also make you more self-sufficient (and potentially save money) in the best of times… and a little extra self-sufficiency is always a good thing.
One way to immediately increase your self-sufficiency is to reduce your reliance on the power grid. Just think about how dependent you are on the grid working. Almost everyone is. And, if the grid ever goes down for an extended period – even a week or two – it can become a personal nightmare.
Solar panels are an excellent option for decreasing your reliance on the power grid. But, are solar panels actually a smart investment?
Good or Bad Policy – It Doesn’t Matter
HUGE Tax Benefits Are in the Offing for Solar Investments
Look, we know that when many right-thinking Americans hear the term “solar energy,” they immediately think of “taxpayer boondoggle.” Like them, we’re not one to buy into “green” products just because they’re green.
There has to be some actual merit involved. Something that has been proven, both scientifically and economically. But we was interested in solar long before it became the darling of the environmental movement. And, under certain circumstances, solar is proven. After all, the sun comes up pretty much every day.
We’ve found a lot of reasons to seriously consider solar power for your home:
It’s fairly easy to install.
Once it’s in, you don’t have to mess with it much.
It draws its power from an abundant resource that the government can’t regulate.
It doesn’t require refueling of any kind.
In states with buy-back programs, you can get paid for the excess power your solar cells generate that you don’t use to power your home.
It greatly increases your self-sufficiency, while providing a hedge against rising energy costs.
While few climates are ideal, most areas of the United States get enough sun to make solar power worthwhile.
… and the Drawbacks… for Taxpayers Anyway
No solution is a perfect solution. Solar power does have its drawbacks
Solar cells have a significant up front price tag, but federal renewable energy investment tax credits (30%) help you recoup that upfront cost. Some states offer tax credits too. Assuming electricity prices don’t rise, it could still take 8-10 years to recover your investment.
If you rely exclusively on solar cells, it’s likely you’ll face time without power due to the weather unless you also install a battery back-up system.
Some people don’t like the look of solar panels (while others think they are cool!).
Whether or not installing solar power in your home makes sense depends on a few factors. Let’s take a look…
How to Determine If Solar Makes Sense for You
A lot of people think they don’t live in the right climate to take advantage of solar power. But, the truth is most climates in the U.S. are suitable for solar power. Even if you live in an area that has regular cloud cover and plenty of rainy days, installing solar panels may help you to cut your power bill and increase your levels of self-sufficiency.
In the United States, you can expect 4 to 8 kilowatt-hours (kWh) worth of solar energy to strike a square meter during the course of the average day. With solar panels, you can take advantage of that energy and harness it to power your home.
Today, the most commonly used solar panels work at about 15 percent efficiency. That’s one reason why they aren’t practical as a large-scale replacement for the power grid. However, even at that low efficiency rate, solar cells can provide a practical power solution for residential homes because the energy source itself is free.
For most people, buying enough solar panels fully to replace their home’s daytime energy would carry a prohibitive up-front cost. Fortunately, you can purchase the number of solar panels that fits your budget now and add more later. Even a few solar panels can help to reduce your monthly power bill and help you power your basic systems in the event of a power outage.
Federal and State Tax Incentives
Should Be Fully Explored
Now, we have no love for government programs, and Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency are no exception. As we mentioned above, you can access a 30% tax credit on the solar system for the tax year it is installed.
And don’t forget about state and local tax incentives. Check out this website
for more information about what is available in your state.
The fact is, all levels of government have placed such large tax burdens on our nation as a whole that all you need to do is put your conscience on hold for a moment and reclaim some of your money back through one of their hackneyed programs. It is perfectly legal. And frankly, we consider it your civic duty to minimize the money you pay to government to the smallest amount legally allowable.
We really wish we could believe that abstaining from participating in such programs would make a difference and get us back on the right track, but it just won’t. So, protect your financial future and your family’s security in the best way you can. If that means getting a tax credit so you can have a reliable backup power system, so be it.
Long-Lasting, No-Fuss System
for Back Up Power
Solar power has a long shelf life. Your solar panels will work reliably for up to 30 years as long as you clean them two or three times a year. You may have to replace your inverter after 15 years or so, but that’s really all the maintenance you should expect.
When it comes to reliable, long-term, no-fuss power systems, it’s hard to beat solar power. In the long run, your solar panels will pay for themselves by reducing or even completely offsetting your monthly power bill.
And if we ever experience a long-term power grid interruption, your solar panels will be the best investment you ever made.