What makes solar energy green is the system’s renewable source of energy. The sun isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And let’s be honest. When it does burn out, electricity will be the least of our worries.
When you use a photovoltaic solar power system to harvest energy from the sun’s rays, you are creating emission-free electricity. This is especially helpful in the Utah valley, where air quality and inversion negatively impact the average citizen’s day-to-day experience.
Because emissions are trapped between our two majestic mountain fronts, air quality is a major health concern. For Utahans, reducing your carbon footprint makes for clean air and an even cleaner conscience. Thankfully, there are many renewable solutions available. One of the most popular solutions for homeowners is the installation of home solar panels.
Going Solar In Utah: See The Whole Picture
Most people who want solar installed on their homes are happy to see the savings. Many more should be concerned about how environmentally friendly their solar panel manufacturer is.
Unfortunately, the fabrication of solar panels is not always a clean process yet. The current manufacturing process sometimes requires the use of caustic materials and emission of greenhouse gases. Production also creates toxic waste. Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory did a study on emissions from solar panel production. This study found that a panel from China has twice the carbon footprint than one from Europe.
If it was cheap, everyone would do it, but recycling panels hasn’t proven to be profitable and probably won’t be until the early 2030s. The treatment for the toxic waste is also an expensive process.
China is home to many manufacturers that are sacrificing safety and health so they can produce a panel at a competitive price. Unless people that buy this equipment start caring about how their panel was made, this could easily get out of hand.
Thankfully there are manufacturers that care about taking the proper steps to make module production as clean as possible. Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition provides solar scorecards for participating manufacturers, and Utah is on its way to making incentives on this front, especially since more panels will be manufactured domestically in result of the 201 Trade Case.
These scores provide information about how well the company is doing at taking care of and reducing toxic waste. The average score for the 2016-2017 scorecard was 36.
Not every manufacturer participates and most don’t participate every year .The manufacturer that you want to look into may not be on this survey.
Go Solar Group uses Axitec as their Panel Manufacturer & In 2015, their score was 55 (Last Participation Date)
If being good to our planet is important to you, doing some research on manufacturers with a high or average scorecard will give you peace of mind. Knowing the whole picture gives you the information you need to make the best decision.
Utah Solar News: Solar Development and Tax Credit Extension
Looking into what makes solar green coincides with what makes solar affordable. Right now the major contributor to solar affordability is the federal and state tax credits. Together these cover a little over 30 percent of your total system cost.
Utah Solar Development
The Newest development on the Federal tax credit is John Knotwell’s proposal to amend Utah’s Energy Resource Procurement Act. He is proposing that Rocky Mountain Power be allowed to use the 30% federal tax credit to develop new solar panel projects.
With Rocky Mountain’s recent actions against the solar industry still fresh in-mind, caution should be applied. Utah Clean Energy is working to make sure that this bill still allows for competition within the solar industry.
State of Utah Tax Credit Changes
As a result of the net metering settlement agreement, a tax credit extension is being proposed. The proposal asks that the state tax credit freeze at $1,600 until 2020, and then phase out by 2024.
This legislation, HB 261, is still awaiting assignment to a committee. If you are thinking about getting solar down the road, you will want to stay posted on the results of this proposal. If this legislation doesn’t go through, then this tax credit will phase out by 2020.
Utah Solar Projects: When to Start Yours
Getting solar is a case by case scenario. Over time, solar has become a sound financial decision for many, but it is still not the best option for everyone.
You will have to decide if you and your home are a good fit for solar. There are many factors that go into this decision. The best way to know if you are a good candidate for solar is to talk to a solar representative about your home and see if you qualify for the program.
If you qualify for the solar program, they can get you set up with an appointment to go over your free solar quote. We recommend looking into several solar companies so you can get set up through a company that best fits your needs.