Fossil fuels, as we all know, are not infinite. They are going to run out eventually. But it may actually surprise you to learn that fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal are projected to be fully depleted within just a few decades.
According to the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere, we are on course to run out of oil reserves in 2052 (based on the current rate of consumption). Gas is projected to be gone by 2062, followed later by coal which will run out in 2090.
Clearly, our reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable (to say nothing about environmentally damaging). That's why there is so much attention today on green energy. Green energy will be the focus of this blog post, in particular solar energy which is a highly recommended energy resource for homeowners in Des Moines, Iowa, and across the country.
Here, we will take a closer look at popular green energy resources and highlight the many benefits of switching to solar energy. We'll also highlight the average cost of solar panels for homeowners, the potential savings, and any available solar incentives in Iowa. Let's get started.
What Is Green Energy?
Green energy, also known as renewable energy, is energy that is collected from renewable resources. These resources are naturally replenished (on a human timescale) and include wind, sunlight, geothermal heat, and the movement of water. Put simply, green energy is clean, renewable, and abundant, which is in stark contrast to the fossil fuels mentioned above.
Solar energy comes, as we all know, from the sun. Through photovoltaic and thermosolar technology, it is used for electricity as well as heating and cooling. Because the sun isn't always shining in any one place, it is known as an intermittent energy source.
Wind power has the wind as its source and generates electricity through wind turbines. Hydroelectric energy uses water and hydroelectric plants to generate electricity. Using surface geothermal systems and heat pumps, we are able to use geothermal energy for electricity, heating, and cooling.
In the case of solar energy, we can be confident that it will be available to us for around another 10 billion or so years. So while it is not exactly an "infinite" energy resource, we can count on it for far longer than we will be able to count on oil!
The Benefits of Going Solar in Des Moines
Now that we have a handle on some of the different types of green energy, let's look closer at the one that is most practical for homeowners in the United States. Installing a solar panel system on a rooftop is easy and affordable, and promises huge savings on energy bills over the course of several decades. Below are some of the undoubted benefits of going solar in Des Moines.
Save on Electric Bills
For most homeowners, the main benefit of installing solar panels on their property is the financial savings that are possible. For several decades, a solar panel system can significantly reduce a household's monthly energy bills.
To give an example of this, let's focus on Polk County. Households with an average utility bill of $128 are recommended to install a 6.2 kW system. The net profit over the first 25 years is estimated at between $30,887 and $37,750, with a payback period on the upfront cost of between 4.9 and 5.9 years (below, we will highlight the average costs of solar panels).
It is worth noting that solar panels, depending on the type of panels and the level of maintenance, can continue generating electricity for upwards of 40 to 50 years. Over time, the degradation of solar panels will reduce their efficiency, though they do have a lifespan much longer than the typically-cited 25 years.
Another good way to look at solar savings is to consider the levelized cost of solar energy per kWh. This refers to the cost of the solar system divided by the number of kWh produced by the system over its lifetime.
In Iowa, the levelized cost of solar energy is 5¢ /kWh. If you don't get solar panels, the forecasted average Iowa electric rate over the next 25 years is 21 ¢ /kWh.
Increase Property Value
Installing solar panels is regarded as a home improvement project and helps to increase property value. In fact, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, solar panels can boost property value by around $15,000 (for an average-sized home). It's worth keeping this premium in mind if you have medium- or long-term plans to sell your home.
It's also worth highlighting that Iowa households with solar panels are exempt from all associated property taxes for five full assessment years, given the increase in property value associated with solar panel installation.
Protect the Environment
The majority of electricity used in the United States today comes from burning fossil fuels. As we have highlighted above, this is not sustainable. What's more, burning fossil fuels is highly damaging due to greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the United Nations, climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is having a major impact on national economies and people's lives.
In contrast to fossil fuels, solar energy has a host of key environmental benefits. These include:
- Reduce air pollution
- Reduce water usage
- Reduce dependence on fossil fuels
- Fight climate change
- Support green jobs
On that last point, more than 255,000 people are currently employed in the solar industry in the United States today. If you and your family are concerned about your collective carbon footprint, switching to this green energy is a positive step you can take.
Power New Technologies
In this blog post about green energy, it's worth highlighting electric vehicles, a relatively new technology that can be powered using solar energy. As with the solar industry, the electric vehicle industry is booming, with many car manufacturers now selling electric-powered vehicles.
However, electric vehicles are only as clean as their power supply. For example, the beneficial environmental potential of electric vehicles will be lost if the electricity used is derived from burning fossil fuels.
Solar panels and electric vehicles pair together excellently. It is also more affordable to charge an electric vehicle using solar energy at home compared to using grid electricity or public charging stations.
How Much Does Solar Installation Cost?
In Iowa, the average cost of solar panels is between $10,637 and $13,001. Specifically within Polk County, the average cost of a solar panel system is between $10,140 and $12,394 (after applying the 30% funeral tax credit).
There are a number of different factors that determine the upfront cost of installing a residential solar panel system. These include:
- The size of your property
- Your property's location
- Your property's current energy usage
- Choice of solar panel manufacturer/installer
Our expert team at Skyline Solar will help you to determine the most suitable solar system size for your property based on the above factors.
Are Solar Incentives Available in Des Moines?
Yes! There is good news for homeowners in Iowa, who can take advantage of both a federal and statewide tax credit to save on the upfront cost of solar panel installation.
In August 2022, Congress once again extended its Investment Tax Credit. This extension raised the tax credit back up to 30% (it had been 26%) for installations until 2032. This tax credit will decrease to 26% in 2033 and to 22% in 2034 before finally expiring (unless renewed again, of course).
The Iowa state tax credit is tied to the Investment Tax Credit. Basically, a personal tax credit equal to 50% of the Investment Tax Credit is available (up to a maximum of $5,000). When both of these tax incentives are combined, homeowners in Des Moines are able to greatly reduce the upfront cost of solar panels.
If you are interested in solar panels but somewhat wary of the upfront cost, these tax incentives will prove very helpful in making the switch to solar energy.
Discover the Benefits of Green Energy for Your Household
There are an average of 204 sunny days in Des Moines, Iowa, every year (close to the national average of 205 days). This makes the city well-suited to harnessing the awesome power of the sun.
If you are interested in learning more about the process of solar panel installation in Des Moines, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with our team at Skyline Solar. We are committed to helping our customers realize the benefits of this green energy resource and maximize their energy savings.
Click here to schedule your solar panel installation consultation with Skyline Solar today. We look forward to speaking with you.