Solar as a Renewable Energy Source


Powering your home with solar energy gives you the benefit of harnessing a widely available renewable energy source while providing the satisfaction of knowing you are not releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This makes solar power among the best energy sources for helping the environment.

By utilizing solar energy, you help the environment by decreasing reliance on nonrenewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels. There are also solar renewable energy credits to take advantage of from the government, adding a financial incentive.

Why Solar Energy Is the Best Renewable Energy Option

Renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydropower, are all naturally replenishing and virtually inexhaustible. However, solar energy is often the most effective choice for homeowners to utilize nationwide because nearly all places get at least some sunlight whereas some locales don’t have reliable access to wind or water for generating power.

If you have a solar system that produces an excess amount of energy, it’s sent to the grid for the electric company to purchase from you, unless you own a solar battery where that extra charge can be stored for nighttime or emergency use. By selling your unused solar energy to the electric company, you are able to offset some of your incurred electric charges during evening use.

How Does Solar Energy Affect the Environment?

Is solar a green energy and is it the best energy source for the environment? Harnessing solar energy to power your home means you are not releasing pollutants or carbon emissions into the environment as you would with a nonrenewable energy source. When you use solar energy, you have made a positive environmental impact by eliminating reliance on fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas.

There is some pollution and carbon dioxide expelled during the making and transporting of new solar systems and panels. A solar photovoltaic (PV) system, however, doesn’t need to be in operation for very long, relative to it being in service for 25-plus years, making it easy to recover the energy used. Estimates indicate energy payback for rooftop PV systems take up to four years for current-generation multi crystalline-silicon modules, three years for contemporary thin-film modules, two years for next-generation multi-crystalline modules and a year for the forthcoming generation of thin-film modules.

Solar is also the best energy source for helping the environment because most materials used in the manufacture of PV systems are recyclable. For example, silicon solar modules, which are commonly found in rooftop solar systems, are made with large amounts of glass, plastic and aluminum, which are all easy to recycle in mass quantities. The environmental impact from dismantling a solar system is quite small compared to the emissions from fossil fuel energy sources. 

What States Have Solar Renewable Energy Credits

All states currently have financial incentives for installing solar systems, given the federal government is offering a solar renewable energy credit of 26% through the end of 2022. The credit, which is known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), is set to decrease to 22% at the start of 2023. The ITC will expire at the end of 2023 unless legislation is passed to extend the credit.

The solar renewable energy credit can be claimed when filing your federal tax return. To qualify, your solar system must have been approved and in operation during the tax year you are filing for. There is no maximum dollar amount that can be claimed.

Some states also offer some kind of solar renewable energy credit, in addition to the ITC furnished by the federal government.

Get Solar—the Best Renewable Energy for the Environment

Enjoy a near-unlimited supply of solar energy, the best renewable energy source for the environment. Get a free quote from Sungevity, whose experts are ready to help you unlock all the benefits of solar energy.