By Kelsey Alexander
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
Renewable energy is a steadily growing industry as the world moves towards green power. In 2017, the power sector of renewable energy grew by 9% in generating capacity, and 55% of that came from new solar energy.1 Solar employment has grown by 168% since 2010 as the number of jobs throughout the country has grown from 93,000 to 250,000.2 In 2016, the United States reached 1 million solar installations which has grown substantially from 100,000 installations in 2010.Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, however, still rose by 1.4%1, and so it is important to see how we can implement solar energy into our lives.Solar energy is a great investment for both commercial and residential properties. Not only is it clean and renewable, but it also provides a return on the investment. Without utility bills, solar panels end up paying for themselves and protect the owner from rising prices since electric rates are set to resume their historic rate of increase. It is imperative to start looking into solar now before the tax credits start to phase out.
- Now, taxpayers can deduct 30% of installation costs from their federal taxes until 2020
- 26% in 2020
- 22% in 2022
- 10% from 2022 onward
After 2021, residential owners will not be able to deduct any of the instillation costs. Anyone who owns their own solar energy system is eligible for the tax credit, and the credits can “roll over” into future years as long as the tax credit is in effect.3 Solar panels also add value to a business or home and require little operating or maintenance costs.
Atlanta leaders want the city to be powered solely by clean energy by 2025, where the electricity that powers the city will come from energy efficient sources and renewable energy4, and so the Solarize Atlanta campaign began. Solarize campaigns encourage communities to make their residences and businesses greener while simultaneously saving money. It is a community based solar photovoltaic bulk purchasing program, so as more people buy solar, they are able to save more money. The program was first established in Oregon in 2009, but now there are currently 250 programs across the country. With the Solarize programs, installing solar panels has a lower cost, a more competitive bid, and bulk purchasing.
With the Solarize Atlanta program, building owners will be able to earn 54% of their money back within the first year, and a 100% return of investment in about five years. Solar energy provides long term energy with zero emissions, and Hannah Solar, which is Solarize Atlanta’s commercial contractor provides reliable, low maintenance solar panels. Since the tax credit will begin diminishing soon, it is important to look into solar energy now, especially with utility rates on the rise. Building owners will get the tax credit if the materials are purchased and the panels are being put on the building by the end of 2019. There is no worry with a warranty, either, because the panels do not touch the roof. There is a rubber strip that separates the panel from the roof, so the warranty will not be voided.
Solar energy is a clean, versatile, and renewable form of energy that continues to grow steadily. Solarize Atlanta is working to help residential and commercial building owners go green and get access to solar energy before the tax deductibles begin shrinking. As long as clean energy keeps growing, we have a sunny future ahead of us.
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