Why Go Solar: 8 Important Benefits of Solar Energy
There are several reasons why property (residential building, commercial building, and industrial building) owners in Pakistan are choosing solar. The most common factors include improving the environment and reducing utility (electricity & gas) bills. Many building owners are conscious of the fact that by upgrading to solar, their buildings or homes will be more efficient and environment-friendly while also improving their property (real estate) value.
To understand why any Pakistani need to go for solar power, we have prepared a detailed list of benefits that will motivate everyone (include you). Here are the top eight reasons and benefits of solar energy being the best option for your building.
1. Saves Money by Reducing or Eliminating Utility Bills
If you’re a homeowner or a commercial property owner, utility (electricity and gas) bills take up a huge chunk out of your monthly income/ savings. Let’s assume your monthly average electricity bill is Pakistani Rupees Fifteen Thousand (PKR 15,000/-). Adding that up to twelve (12) months becomes PKR One Lac and Eighty Thousand (PKR 180,000/-) and further adding that up (without considering inflation) to twenty (20) years amounts to PKR Thirty-Six Lac (PKR 3,600,000/-).
To summarize you are paying your utility companies PKR 180,000/- each year and in Twenty years you will be paying them PKR 3,600,000/-.
Adding a customized solar energy system to your property can drastically reduce or even eliminate your utility bills. According to research, even if you aren’t completely dependent on solar energy, you can save as least PKR Five Thousand to Ten Thousand (PKR 5,000/- to PKR 10,000/-) monthly. Calculate that over a year and that corresponds to PKR Sixty Thousand to One Lac Twenty Thousand (PKR 60,000/- to PKR 120,000/-).
Note that an average lifecycle of a solar energy system is Twenty to Twenty Five (20 – 25) years. Even if you aren’t 100 percent (100%) on solar, you can still save money by lowering the units you consume through your local utility.
Reducing high monthly expenses sounds logical and makes perfect sense. What if, the utility service in your area is down? Doesn’t it make sense to be independent financially and commercially?
2. Relief from Unpredictable Utility Inflation and Load Shedding
Let us ask you a hypothetical question; is the cost of a Toyota Corolla the same it was Twenty years ago? Common-sense says it’s not. Why is that? This is mainly due to inflation. Don’t worry you have no direct control over inflation; It’s the government that makes the policies and drives the economy.
Taking this example, just imagine what would your utility bill be, say Five (5) years from now? The current market trends indicate they would definitely be much higher. Over the last ten (10) years, residential electricity prices have risen up at an average of 3 percent (3%) annually. The utility companies are known for their fluctuating and unreliable prices.
Keeping this in view, if you invest in a solar energy system now, it would first pay off your utility bills plus it would also keep you secure from unpredictable and additional expense you incur in the next twenty years.
With solar, it makes perfect sense to be less dependent or completely independent of your utility service provider. It also provides relief to your utility companies by removing blockages and bottleneck in their distribution network.
B. Load Shedding
Pakistan faces supply-demand parity, lack of rural electrification due to a low transmission and distribution network and grid proximity. Seventy percent (70%) of Pakistan is rural and overall grid connectivity stands at forty-two percent (42%) to date.
There are several reasons for the high cost each Pakistani has to bear some including inadequate development infrastructure, shortage of investment, lack of essential resources and security, etc. In short, most Pakistanis including you are going through load shedding.
If you’re a homeowner with a fluctuating income stream, going solar also helps you better forecast and manage your expenses.
3. Little or No Maintenance Costs
General maintenance of a solar energy system has never been easier. You don’t need to be an expert in rinsing the solar panels with water two (2) or three (3) times a year. It’s a piece of cake.
With more technical matters, you are always covered by a warranty. Warranty is also one of the most important factors when you choose a solar panel. Most solar power manufacturers guarantee their product life ranging between 20 to 25 years.
The only thing you need to be careful about is the warranty clauses of the manufacturer. That helps you determine what’s covered and what isn’t. Choosing a well-known and reputed company will be important for you as they will honor your warranty.
4. Increases Your Property Value
According to research carried out by the U.S Department of Energy, homeowners who have installed solar energy systems on their houses can sell their property at a higher price compared to those without one.
Given one example, suppose you own a house in F-7, Islamabad with an installed solar energy system (plug and play) and want to give it on rent. Your prospective renters would pay you more because it ensures their convenience by not paying high utility bills.
Seeing the current market trends, buyers are keenly taking more interest in properties with solar installations and as homebuyers become more educated about solar, demand for properties equipped with solar energy systems will continue to rise.
5. Gives Excellent Return on Investment (ROI)
Modern advancements in the solar energy sector have drastically reduced equipment (solar panels, inverters, batteries, etc.) costs. Think of your home solar energy system as an investment which unlike stocks and prize bonds guarantees returns on a monthly basis.
Depending on your location, an average homeowner can off their investment in their solar energy system in about six to eight years.
There are a few factors that will impact your ROI. Depending on these factors, you can calculate your return on investment by dividing your yearly financial benefits by your initial expense on your solar energy system.
6. Take Benefit of Government and Private Incentives
The government of Pakistan had created the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) for the sole purpose of facilitating the public.
As of 2015, the government of Pakistan guarantees, subject to certain conditions, a 16 percent $-indexed return. With cost benefits also given to the import of solar energy equipment.
There is also a provision of Net Metering, which works on the principle of selling your solar electricity generation back to the utility company. Any power you generate and don’t use flows back into the gird, and you receive a credit from your utility company for that power.
If you’re on a vacation for a week, your solar energy system will be supplying all your electricity to the grid. That way when you come back you’ll be at ease that you’ve saved money.
7. Promotes Pakistan’s Economy
A. Making Pakistan Energy Independent
Our planet captures more than billions of photons (tiny packets of energy) from the sun (natural nuclear reactor) every day. One recent study found that Sixty Four Thousand (64,000 km²) square kilometers or Twenty Five Thousand (25,000 mi²) square miles of solar panels (an area roughly half the size of Thar Desert in Sindh), would generate sufficient electricity to power the whole planet.
In this century, our economies are more tightly connected than they ever were before. We depend on others to fulfill our economic requirements. Although to be globally connected is a good thing, the downside here is the fluctuating and unstable market prices.
About a hundred (100) days ago, oil prices were different than they are right now. We all buy oil from countries to satisfy our thermal energy needs. Why is that? Wouldn’t it be better to be energy independent?
When we expand our capacity to generate electricity through solar, we also protect ourselves from those price fluctuations and ensure a sustainable source of energy for the future.
Even Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, recognizes the economic and political benefits of energy independence and has announced goals to build solar energy power plants, thereby increasing their capacity to 41 gigawatts (GW) by 2032.
B. Creates Employment and Boosts Local Economy
The solar energy industry is a national industry that provides high-quality employment opportunities across the country. Based on the ‘Demand-Supply’ principle, If more people (buyers) go for solar, more people (sellers) will be providing this service. This way more people will work to sustain them.
There is good news for the economy and the environment as the solar energy sector is rising and is becoming one of the key sources of energy in Pakistan.
8. Protects the Environment
In recent news, U.N’s Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres says climate change poses a “global risk” and that ‘We’re losing the race’.
Pakistan’s contribution to global emissions is less than 1% while it is among the most vulnerable countries facing the threat of climate change. According to the German Watch Global Climate Risk Index (2018), Pakistan is at the seventh position with a death toll of 523.1 lives per year – ie loss of 10,462 lives in 20 years – and economic losses worth $3.8 billion.