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Top Reasons to Switch to Solar in 2011

2011 Solar PanelThe New Year is always a time for reflections and resolutions. This year is no exception, so why not resolve to save yourself some money, help the environment, and support your community? You can kill three birds with one stone by switching to solar. There’s no better time than now.

Read on for the top reasons to switch to solar in 2011…

There’s Still Time…

In December 2010 the President extended federal renewable energy tax credits. For business owners, the tax grant (30%) has been extended one more year- that means 2011 is your last chance to take advantage of this incredible benefit. For homeowners, Renewable Energy Credits have been extended through 2016. The earlier you switch to solar, the longer you’ll receive this financial incentive. Depending on where you live, other state and local incentive programs are also available and can be combined with the federal programs to maximize your savings and investment.

Put the Power Back in Your Hands

According to the Institute for Energy Research, “The outlook for U.S. crude oil production for 2011 is not very positive”. Due in part to the moratorium on offshore drilling, and the subsequent new rules put into effect by the US Department of Interior, 2011 is expected to bring a decline in offshore oil production. As a result, the US will find itself even more dependent on foreign sources of oil. By switching to solar power, you can help reduce our country’s reliance on foreign energy, and put the power back in your hands!

Support Job Growth

In this economic climate, it always feels good to save yourself some money, but it’s also important to support the economy of your local community. Believe it or not, by switching to solar, you can make a big impact on job growth in your area. Advanced Performance Solar, and similar companies, partner with installation crews across the region, which employ a great number of green collar workers themselves. As the number of solar installations increases, so does the need for installation crews and the required tools and inventory, thus spurning a chain effect. The solar industry has an exceptionally high job growth rate: the number of people employed by the solar industry doubled from approximately 50,000 in 2009 to 100,000 in 2010. With one local job created for every six homes that go solar, you can help fuel that growth!

Your Traditional Electricity Rates Are About to Go Up- Way Up!

Utility Caps are expiring!  As of January 1st, the state of Pennsylvania’s electricity rate caps will end. Under the 1997 Electricity Generation Choice and Competition Act, electricity rates were capped at 1996 levels. As of the first of the year, the rate caps will expire. If you’re a Pennsylvania homeowner, this means you could see your electricity bill increase as much as 20-50%. By switching to Solar now, you can freeze your electricity rate in order to avoid future rate-hikes.

Score High… & Raise your Home Value!

Thinking about putting your house on the market? Then you better think about installing a Solar System. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a solar home will sell twice as fast as a home without panels. Think about it: a solar system significantly reduces the cost of ownership by lowering electric bills, and a home with controlled power costs is a positive selling point for most homeowners. Another selling point: a high Home Energy Score. This coming summer, the government will introduce nationwide the Home Energy Score program, rating the energy efficiency of homes on a scale of 1 to 10.  As the program becomes widespread, Home Energy Scores will no doubt become an important factor in determining the value and salability of your home.

[a version of this article appears on ask.NJBA.org, a service provided by the members of the New Jersey Builders Association]

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