The sun has fueled life on earth for millions of years, and today’s world is no different. Solar technologies are shaping how we harness the sun’s power and produce electricity and helping more people discover the benefits of solar energy in their everyday lives. Here in the Great Lakes State, we’re doing our part to help Michigan residents use the sun to help them achieve greater energy independence and reliability for their families. And true to form, Michiganders are getting all the benefits they can out of this hot commodity.

By converting the sun’s energy into electricity, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems offer a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels like crude oil, coal and natural gas — all while reducing greenhouse gases (GHG). In the long term, power generated from your own solar power system not only decreases the amount of energy you purchase from your electric utility, but helps you save on your monthly electricity bill.

This popular renewable energy source is becoming increasingly affordable. Through 2019, eligible Michigan residents — those who own their own solar energy system and have income tax liability — can take advantage of a 30 percent federal tax credit on their gross solar system cost.

If you haven’t already considered going solar in your home or business, we’re here to shed light on the reasons you should.

Advantages of solar energy

Solar is effective, even on cloudy days.

While snowbirds may flock to Florida for sunshine, Michigan actually has an average of 51 percent sun and 71 clear days annually. And while our winter months tend to be cloudier, there’s a silver lining: solar power systems can reliably produce electricity even on cloudy and overcast days. Whether it’s on a parcel of land or rooftop, wherever you have a large surface area clear of trees, solar energy is possible. Even through a gray winter, Michigan Saves customers Chris and Marla Drury are producing, on average, 80 percent of their own energy.

Solar saves you energy and money.

If you tend to have high electric bills or live in an area with high energy rates, solar can help you save energy and money. Yoopers especially know what we’re talking about — the Upper Peninsula has some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. Depending on how much energy your system produces and how much you consume, solar can dramatically reduce, if not offset, your electricity use — which means lower electric bills. Because solar panels help you control energy costs, your bills become more predictable to help you and your family plan ahead.

Solar’s impact on the environment is minimal.

Unlike more traditional energy systems that burn fossil fuels, the electricity generated by solar does not produce GHG and results in very few air pollutants. That means that by using solar, you can help reduce GHG emissions — particularly carbon dioxide, which is linked to rising global temperatures and deteriorating air quality.

Reduced carbon emissions?

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Decreased dependence on fossil fuels?

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Go solar, get a tax break.

Through the end of 2019, there’s a great incentive for solar PV: the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This federal tax credit allows taxpayers to claim 30 percent of the cost of installing solar energy systems with no cap on how much the system costs. Thanks to its popularity and impact on the growth of renewable energy generation in the U.S., Congress has extended the deadline multiple times, making the solar ITC available to homeowners in some fashion through 2021. However, since the credit amount will be lowered over the next few years, you’ll want to act this year to receive the largest tax break of 30 percent.

EnergySage offers a helpful guide to walk you through how to claim the solar ITC using Form 5695. Solar is more affordable than ever, and by taking advantage of this tax credit, you can start saving money on your system from day one.

Solar offers greater energy independence.

If self-sufficiency and resiliency are important to you, solar can offer you just that. While you may not have control over your electricity or gas company’s prices, with a well-built solar PV system, you can generate your own power and even contribute to the electric grid by exporting excess energy. In doing so, you can move toward a future of greater energy independence.

Solar improves your home’s value.

Turns out, homes with solar energy systems have higher property values and tend to sell more quickly than non-solar houses. A 2015 study revealed that homebuyers will pay more for homes with solar panels, with these houses selling for 3.74 percent more than comparable properties without solar. So, even if you don’t live in your house long enough to see a full return on your solar investment, rest assured that homebuyers are willing to pay more than enough to cover the initial cost.

Want to take energy generation into your own hands? Go solar with Michigan Saves.

Whether in your home or business, our financing makes going solar simple and affordable. Use our handy contractor locator tool and simply check the box for “Solar Photovoltaic Installation” to find Michigan Saves authorized solar installers in your area. Or you can reach us at 517-484-6474 or info@michigansaves.org. We’re here to help you spend your energy on what matters.