Summer is ending, but it’s always good to prepare for next year! There’s nothing greater than cranking up the air conditioner when it gets hot and sweaty outside. And there’s nothing worse than the sky-high electricity bill that follows. ACs seem to suck up dollars as efficiently as they cool the air.
That is, if you get your electricity off the grid. If, on the other hand, your house is generating its own power with a photovoltaic (PV) solar system, your energy costs can go down sharply.
But hold that thought for a minute.
Today, nearly 90 percent of U.S. homes employ air conditioners of some sort. Our ACs burn through about 6% of the electricity produced in the United States, costing homeowners about $29 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. All that cool air also pumps about 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year. To give some perspective, a typical car generates about 4.6 metric tons per year.
All that carbon helps provoke climate change, which is gradually warming the planet. Earth’s 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, and 9 of the 10 have occurred since 2005. That means our beloved ACs – when they’re connected to conventional electric systems – are part of a vicious cycle that promotes climate change. Global temperatures rise, ACs get used more often, even more carbon dioxide streams into the atmosphere, global temperatures rise, and the cycle continues.
So switching to solar power can help you directly in two ways: It lowers the threat of climate change and it can lower your electric bill in the process.
How much will your solar panels save per year on electricity? Anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 on average over the typical 25-year lifespan of a solar system. Your energy savings will be greatest with a high-efficiency installation like SunPower’s Equinox home solar system. Keep in mind these projections are estimates: home solar savings vary from home to home and region to region. But PV solar can save homeowners a lot of money in several ways. It can:
Protect against electric rate hikes. A typical American family spent about $1,450 on electricity alone in 2020, and national electricity costs rise at a rate of about 2.2% per year. PV solar lets you slash your electric bill or wipe it out entirely. At the same time, you lock in lower electricity prices from a clean energy source for decades. Homeowners may also be able to save money through net metering. Blast that AC all you want!
Increase your home value. By reducing or eliminating your electric bill, adding a PV solar system is almost always a good real estate investment. It could help increase home values by up to 4.1 percent.
Take advantage of the federal tax credit. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the solar investment tax credit (ITC), allows home and business owners to deduct 26 percent on their solar installation costs from their federal taxes for the rest of 2020. The credit is set to scale down to 22 percent in 2021. In 2022, the ITC will phase out completely for residential installations and drop to 10 percent for commercial ones. If your tax bill isn’t big enough in one year to accommodate the credit, it can be rolled over to the next year for as long as the credit is available.
Save your AC unit from wear and tear. Solar panels actually shade your house by absorbing much of the sunlight hitting the roof. That can cool the roof as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Your AC could last longer since it won’t have to work as hard each day.
With solar, you can set your AC on deep freeze without worrying about either the environment or your next electric bill. And with SunPower as your solar provider, you can get the most comprehensive system warranty in the industry for your solar system. Find out how much SunPower can save you on installing PV solar in your home.