Some benefits of using solar energy in a residential home are decreased energy bills, passive income generation, a reliable source of energy, locked-in energy costs and increased property value. Other benefits to society are a decreased carbon footprint, a cleaner environment, green jobs creation and a reduction of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.
A homeowner with solar panels may be able to save enough on his energy bill to pay for the price of installation. For example, as of 2015, Hawaiian residents typically recover the total cost of the system in five years and save $64,000 over the first 20 years of use. In addition, the Federal Solar Tax Credit refunds 30 percent of the cost of equipment and installation to the homeowner. State and local rebate programs may be available as well.
If a homeowner wants no up-front costs, that person may opt for a solar purchase power agreement and solar leasing. Under this arrangement, a third-party company owns the solar system and pays for installation, maintenance and repairs and reaps any profit from the panel, including tax incentives.
Certain states, such as California and New Jersey, offer renewable energy incentives. In these programs, the local utility company pays the homeowner for the energy his solar panels produce, either through credits or cash payments, creating a source of passive income.