More and more homeowners and small businesses are “going green” and installing solar hardware on their property, thanks to falling costs and technological advances. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost of generating solar energy has decreased by over 70% since 2010. While there’s no doubt that using solar energy can help you save money on your utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint, many homeowners are finding that they can actually make money with their solar panels. 

An Overview of Solar Energy 

Solar energy works by harnessing light from the sun and converting it to electricity. Flat solar panels are mounted on a roof or laid out in an open space to create photovoltaic (PV) energy. Another form of solar energy called thermal solar employs an array of mirrors to focus sunlight on a point that converts water to steam, which triggers the movement of a turbine. For most home and business applications, photovoltaic energy is the most common and practical choice. 

How to Profit from Your Solar Panels 

One easy way to make money from your solar panels is through grants and tax subsidies. These incentives are given out as a way of encouraging more people to adopt the use of solar panels. However, the best way to profit from your solar hardware is through a system called net metering. This system allows residential and business customers with a solar energy setup to feed excess electricity back into the grid. If you have solar panels installed on your roof, you may generate more electricity than you actually need during daylight hours. With net metering, that excess electricity would be exported back to the grid, and you’d receive a credit for electricity you consume at other times when your home or business’s power use exceeds the output of your solar panels. Over time, these credits can add up to serious savings: According to EnergySage, the average homeowner can expect to save tens of thousands of dollars on their electricity costs over the lifespan of their solar hardware. Most states have net metering rules in place; however, it’s best to find out your state’s specific policies before moving forward with a solar energy installation. 

As solar hardware becomes more affordable and efficient, solar power has emerged as a viable alternative energy source for homes and small businesses. Not only can solar panels help reduce your utility expenses, but they can also be a source of profit. That’s a win-win situation for both you and the environment.