Climate change discussions continue to spur interests in renewable energy sources, as they are seen as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Residents and businesses view renewables like solar power as a chance to be more environmentally friendly. But a major misconception is that solar energy is all about going green instead of saving green.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 people, around 36 percent of respondents believe they would use solar energy out of concern for the environment, Solar Power Portal reported. Saving money on their energy bills was not a factor for them. A spokesperson from the solar comparison website that led the survey said if more people knew of the many benefits of solar, including the high return on investment from solar panels and that the technology will cut reliance on fossil fuels as well as reduce electricity costs, then perhaps more people would install the systems.
The survey also found that the higher a household's income was, the more likely the homeowners were willing to install solar panels regardless of the financial benefits. While the findings show people supporting solar, it also showed that more may be attracted to investing in photovoltaics if they knew solar installations would positively impact their wallets as it does the environment.
Many Report Savings from Solar Homeowners, businesses, schools, local governments and many more have turned to solar energy for a variety of reasons in recent years. But all of them have benefited from the lowered electricity costs as a result of the PV installations.
Solar installations were also viewed as projects only for the top 99 percent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. However, with the number of rebates, state and federal incentives, as well as affordable power purchase agreement with local utilities, more lower and middle income residents are adopting solar. One homeowner in Oakland, California told the news source that his solar installation has slashed his electricity bill, and he now is making money from the power company for the excess energy he generates from his system.
"Its was just one of those decisions where there were only advantages and no obvious disadvantages," the homeowner told the source.
In California, schools are among the biggest energy users in the state, spending about $132 per student every year on electricity. The Business Journal reported the nation's largest school system spends a total amount of $700 million on electricity annually. However, more recently, schools are turning to solar power to reduce these high energy costs. For example, it's expected the systems installed at schools operated by the Golden Valley Unified School District will save the district $250,000 by 2017 and possibly as much as $9 million over the course of its 25-year lifespan.