By Kate Williams, MarketWatch.com
We're living in an age of incredible technological innovation, paving the way for impressive changes in our society and how we live. There are a lot of benefits that come along with those improvements, but there's also a glaring problem with all these new technologies and the increased urbanization of our lifestyles:
How do we power all of it?
Thus far, the answer to that question has been fossil fuels, which put off a lot of pollution and cause many problems, including environmental disasters in the event of an issue with the extraction process.
The good news is that we have alternatives: wind, solar, geothermal, and other green power sources. The bad news is that we’ve generally been slow to adopt those technologies.
Fortunately, New York City has begun to lead the way in changing that reality, with solar power being a major priority for the city's future.
Further, there have been many advances made in the technology behind solar panels, including making them more efficient and functional in non-traditional shapes, which means that it's more accessible than ever to NYC residents. For instance, you don't necessarily need a south-facing roof these days, so you can get the combination that makes the most sense with your home. Here are some of the other advantages.
Advantages in Urban Centers
Solar power can benefit anyone who makes the switch, but it can be particularly advantageous in urban centers like New York.
New York City has a fair number of commitments to get more of its energy from solar power in the near future, but there are also considerable personal benefits to getting solar panels for your home.
The biggest advantage of going solar is that it can greatly reduce, or even completely eliminate, your electrical bill. If you're interested in which companies offer the best options, this ranking of the top 10 solar companies should help.
Increase Resale Value
Solar power immediately increases the resale value of your home, regardless of home type.
Therefore, like other home improvements, solar can not only improve your quality of life immediately, it can also be a good investment in your future.
Having your own energy system might not be something you think of as improving independence, but it absolutely can be.
Not only will you have the added financial freedom from not having to pay as much in electrical bills, but knowing that you have a backup to the city's grid can provide peace of mind.
NYC Is Going "Green"
One of the city's goals for the next decade or so is moving away from fossil fuel energy and toward solar and other renewable sources of power that are sufficient to meet the needs of the growing population and our growing reliance on technology in day-to-day life.
New York City Leadership is invested in getting the City to be carbon neutral by no later than 2050, which means finding new ways to power our lives is going to be a critical part of rising to the challenge and eliminating excess carbon emissions
One of the biggest advantages of using solar in New York City is the positive contribution it would make to helping solve the city's air pollution issues, making it a significantly healthier place to live.
Just imagine how different the City could look and feel if pollution were less of a problem and people were enjoying more economical and energy independence as a result of widespread solar power.
Making Solar More Affordable
NYC is already an expensive enough place to live. Going solar shouldn’t have to be a huge economic burden to residents or developers either one.
The good news is that there are a lot of tools available to help make solar power more affordable. There are huge social and societal benefits to investing in green energy, and thankfully it’s no longer up to individuals to finance that switch entirely on their own.
Federal And State Tax Benefits
The laws surrounding solar, and how many discounts are available can change rapidly, but generally there are several options to help reduce your overall cost. Solar equipment usually pays for itself within 5-10 years of installation, but even with that in mind, there are a few different ways to make solar power a bit more affordable when you first install.
For example, the New York State Tax Benefit covers 25% of the cost to install solar, up to the first $5,000. That’s enough to put a significant dent in the cost of even the most expensive systems, and remember that you can often install what you need right away and then upgrade with batteries and other additional equipment later on as needed.
You can also look into other state and local benefits, as well as federal tax and other benefits.