For centuries humans have used the sun as a source of energy. When people talk about solar energy, it reminds me of my childhood growing up in a small remote village. We had no access to electricity. Most of our energy source was paraffin, wood, and charcoal. However; the sun was very resourceful, water was poured in metal containers and set them in the open field to absorb radiation from the sun. We used the hot water for laundry and bathing. Additionally, we used the sun to accomplish simple household tasks such as drying laundry, lighting, heating, cooking, pasteurizing or drying food to preserving it. With advanced technologies, utilities use sophisticated ways to tap solar energy and convert it to electricity. According to Environmental Protection Agency, solar is energy derived from the sun’s radiation. Solar energy is the most reliable and an effective source of energy because of government subsidies, low maintenance costs, and its health benefits.
Government subsidies are offered to encourage homeowners to switch to renewable solar energy and lower their energy usage. State and federal government offer incentives such as investment tax credits, state tax credits and property tax exclusions to owners of solar installations. The federal government allows a deduction of 30% of the solar power system costs off federal taxes through an investment tax credit (ITC). Sometimes, the value of solar panel system is excluded in the property taxes assessments, which means even though the value of the property has increased by the addition of the solar power system, the property tax bill remains the same. Also available are subsidized solar loans offered by the state, NGOs or utility companies to finance the purchase of the solar panel system at reduced interest rates. In addition, installation owners through net metering credits can sell excess power back to the utility company if they have the grid. These financial supports help to further reduce the initial installation costs of system, making it affordable to many homeowners.
Solar panels require low cost of maintenance after installation. However; to keep the panels working effectively, basic annual maintenance and cleaning are needed. There are no repairs and replacements necessary because the solar system does not come with any moving parts. The panels stand up well against destruction. SolarWorld USA, a reputable solar panel manufacturer offers 20-year product warranty, and a 25-year performance guarantee covering defects that affect functional capability during this warranty period. Belur, a contributor of solar power world article, talks about the smart PV inverters that can automatically detect and repair faults therefore eliminating the need for onsite maintenance crew. This increases efficiency lowering the operations and maintenance costs.
Producing electricity from solar energy rather than coal brings significant health benefits. Once solar panels are constructed and delivered to the work site, they produce no harmful gases whatsoever and do not require any fossil fuel to operate. The air and water pollution discharged by coal plants are harmful to human health. These emissions are associated with causing illnesses such as asthma, neurological damage, and cancer. Unlike coal, solar energy plants do not require water to operate. They do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs.
Solar energy is the most efficient and clean source of energy that will benefit to our community in the long run. With government financial support and minimal operating costs, homeowners and solar system renters will afford to install the solar energy. Electricity utility bills will be reduced significantly. Also, solar being a clean source energy will create a safer environment for the future generations.
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