Harnessing power from the sun is a tale as old as time. Literally. History shows that humans first used the sun as a source of thermal energy as early as the 7th century B.C. After harnessing that power into a usable source of energy thanks to advancements in the 19th and 20th centuries, today’s modern solutions make solar more accessible than ever before. Where solar power was previously out of financial reach, today’s homeowners see it as a valuable asset.
But what are the true benefits of adopting solar power, and how do they differ when utilities, local municipalities, and governments are constantly changing the rules? We’ve got the answers.
Solar benefits are universal
Regardless of your location, utility company, and type of home or business, the overall benefits of solar remain the same. While individual savings, utility programs, and other incentives may differ, solar remains a reliable source of energy that positively impacts daily life.
Reduce Energy Bills
Switching to solar can help you reduce your energy bills. When you’re generating your own energy with solar, that’s less power you’re buying from the utility. The less power you buy, the more money you save.
It’s important to keep in mind that the exact amount of savings will vary. A few factors to consider include: system size, energy consumption, location, utility policies, seasonal weather patterns, and more.
But keep in mind that solar power systems are highly customized to you. No matter what your energy goals are, solar can help you get there.
Gain Energy Independence
Solar allows home and business owners to find energy independence from their utility company. Generating your own energy at home means you’re relying less on the power company and becoming self-sufficient in the process.
Find Peace of Mind
Installing a solar plus storage system provides peace of mind during a power outage. With battery storage, you and your family can rest easy knowing your home or business essentials will remain operational even during a storm. Just ask the folks in south Florida during Hurricane Ian in 2022.
Plus, batteries let you store excess energy for use during peak consumption times allowing you to further offset your energy bill.
Be Energy Efficient
As the cost of living continues to rise, finding ways to make your home or business more energy efficient is essential. Whether that’s something simple like installing LED lights, or making a big update to your HVAC system, every change helps.
With solar, the more energy efficient your home or business, the smaller your solar power system will need to be. Plus, generating energy right at home with solar ensures you’re using as much of the energy you produce as possible. When energy generated by power plants is transported across transmission lines, some energy is lost in that process. With solar, you’re generating that energy right on the rooftop and maximizing your usage.
Contribute to a Resilient Grid
As the U.S. ramps up adoption of clean energy, this diversified energy portfolio contributes to a more resilient grid. Adding solar to your home means you’re taking stress off local power plants and your local grid.
For example, a New England coal-powered peaker plant was recently decommissioned because of the increase in solar energy adoption. Plus, Texas avoided blackouts during this year’s summer heatwave because solar power picked up the slack. When you add solar, you’re directly contributing to a more stable, resilient, and diversified grid.
Insulate Against Rising Energy Costs
Adding solar can compound energy bill savings by insulating you from rising energy costs. The cost of energy is relatively unpredictable, but one thing is always certain: utility rates rise every year. Adding solar allows you to lock in the cost of energy at today’s price, keeping your energy bills stable for years to come.
Let’s talk about net metering
If you’ve done any research about installing solar, you may have heard about a billing mechanism called net metering.
Net metering is a billing program put in place by utilities that compensates solar owners for the excess energy they send back to the grid. Most solar power systems generate more energy than a home or business can use in each day. That excess is sent back to the grid, and you as a solar owner are compensated by the power company.
Net metering was initially created to incentivize installing solar and since its inception, the program has helped grow the solar industry into what it is today. Depending on the utility, solar owners are compensated at the retail rate for the energy they send back to the grid which contributes to additional solar savings and widespread adoption.
What if I don’t have net metering?
Don’t worry, solar is still a great option.
In areas without net metering programs, all the great benefits of solar apply. You can still reduce energy bills, find energy independence, contribute to a resilient grid, and more. The only thing that changes is your system type and offset.
Grid Tied Systems
Technically, all solar power systems are still grid tied. After all, solar panels don’t work at night and sometimes you must draw some power from the utility company. It’s a common misconception that solar power systems alone will work at night or during an outage. Unfortunately, when the power goes out, so does your solar power system. When the sun goes down, your production will cease. However, grid-tied systems are still a fantastic way to reap all the benefits of solar power.
If you live in an area without a net metering program, we will install a system that’s built for 70% offset. That means you’ll be covering about 70% of your energy needs with solar. If your system is built any larger, your excess energy will subsidize the power company while you receive nothing in return for that excess. Remember that solar power systems often generate more energy than a home can use. A system designed with 70% offset is the sweet spot that allows you to take advantage of solar power without generating unnecessary excess.
Battery Storage Systems
When you want to maximize the use of your solar power system, installing battery storage is the way to go. While still grid tied, battery storage allows you to store excess energy rather than sending back onto the grid.
Adding battery storage also means you can utilize your solar energy system at night or during a power outage. By storing energy in your battery for use at a later time, you can draw from it at night when the sun isn’t shining, offset energy usage during peak times of the day, or keep your essentials running during an outage.
If you live in an area without net metering, battery storage is a great option both practically and economically. In this scenario, we can build a system that offsets 100% of your energy needs. No need to worry about excess production when it can be stored for later use!
Install with an expert
At SunFarm Energy, we take great pride in our knowledge of the solar industry and we’ve advised hundreds of clients across the Gulf Coast on system size, type, offset, and more. With over a decade of experience installing solar, our team of Energy Consultants is well equipped to advise you on which system is best for your situation.
Utility rules and policies are constantly changing. Our expert team can help you navigate these complicated questions. We work with utility companies across our service territory and consistently stay up to date on how utilities are managing solar energy customers.
Our solar power systems are highly customized and tailored to your energy goals and needs. Our customers consistently return to expand their systems, make upgrades, or add battery storage. Plus, our dedicated service department is always standing by to help troubleshoot maintenance problems.
We’re here to help you find the right solution, and provide expert knowledge along the way. Get started on your next project today.