By now, many of us have read, or heard about, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) damning report on the state of the environment. On April 4, 2022- UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ made a public appeal to environmental leaders and the global community at-large, to hold leaders accountable for our climate issue. In his brief video, Guterres called for the swift implementation of renewable energy, in order to mitigate the rapidly accruing damages of greenhouse gas emissions, that stem from energy production.
The report came out a week after we installed our own residential solar panels. This is a huge win for our family as we push towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Over the past few years, I have come into an awareness that my desired minimalist, handcrafted lifestyle not only had a name, but a whole community — sustainable living — -and it’s very diverse in terms of ideas.
I often find that there are many people that have heard concepts surrounding renewable energy, zero waste living, and living off-grid but it seems out of reach or overly complex. However, it doesn’t have to be. One of the main ideologies of sustainable living involves everyone doing their part and giving space for our world will begin to recover organically.
What is renewable energy?
It’s good for the environment, good for you and cost-effective over time.
The Biden-Harris administration has set a goal of creating a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. While some still feel that this is an ambitious goal, everyday citizens can make the decision to get the balls of change rolling, and solar energy is a great start.
Residential solar energy is a way to reduce skyrocketing big energy costs and can quickly advance your sustainable goals and help improve our environment. Homeguide.com, residential panels can run from $10,000-$27,000 after the tax incentive. For many people, especially from low-income and marginalized communities solar panels will be a challenge for them to obtain. Even for middle class families, the expense can be too high. Thankfully, non-profits like Solstice Initiatives ,and the Black woman-owned WeSolar, are providing equity with community solar energy — no rooftop needed.
If you do have a roof and you are excited to get started, here are 5 things to consider:
The Tax Credit. Time is ticking on the residential solar federal tax credit. The federal tax credit expires in 2024, unless Congress renews it. Currently, there is a 26% tax credit for homeowners. That decreases to 22% by 2023. According to Energy.gov, here’s how the costs are calculated:
For example, if your solar PV system was installed before December 31, 2022, cost $18,000, and your utility gave you a one-time rebate of $1,000 for installing the system, your tax credit would be calculated as follows:
0.26 *($18,000 — $1,000) = $4,420
If you are a homeowner and those savings matter to you, it’s time to get focused on making it happen.
Choosing the right company. Choose a company that doesn’t overcharge you upfront and essentially take away what you would be getting back in rebates. It’s always good to do your research and price compare. I would recommend no less than 3–6 months in order to do a deep dive into prices on the install, monitoring, and rebates. You can start here or if you are handy, go DIY.
Size matters. Bigger panels equals bigger savings. Which means more cost for you. You can expect to recoup the total cost 15–20 years down the line. But you will see the benefits in savings long before that. Also keep in mind, this is a season of legacy building. What you set up today is what you are leaving your family to improve upon and pass down for generations.
Understand your needs. Are you looking to cut costs on electricity or also have a battery back up? Tesla’s Powerall is an example of the battery backup system that gives you that near total independence you crave, but you will also need to buy their panels. You can’t purchase the Powerall as a standalone item.
Know the laws of your state because they vary. Solar panels may simply be a start for you. Maybe you want to DIY-it and go totally off-grid in the city. I would advise you to take a look at Primal Survivor. They’ve created an interactive map documenting off-grid laws in almost every state. Which is something to consider and also helpful in learning to manage your expectations with your solar setup.
I also hope that my fully transparent, lifelong pursuit of a sustainable life, will help ground some of the big ideas surrounding the environment and you can see where you fit inside the fight. This way of living ensures a good quality of life for all. In doing so, true change will emerge one family at a time.
Be sure to send me a message, or clap this story, if you found it helpful.