The US is Going Solar, Which is Good News for You


As of April 22, 2024, the Biden-Harris Administration announced 60 selectees that will receive $7 billion in grant awards through the “Solar for All” grant competition to deliver residential solar projects to over 900,000 households nationwide. This isn’t the first time that the United States has funneled millions of dollars into solar power, and it certainly won’t be the last.  

But the question you’re probably asking yourself is, “What the heck does this all have to do with me?” The answer could be “a lot.” 



Table of Contents

  1. What is Solar Power
  2. How the Switch to Solar Affects Consumers
  3. How Solar Affects Electricians
  4. Advantages of Solar Energy
  5. Disadvantages of Solar Energy
  6. How Sustainable is Solar Energy
  7. More Government Funding for Solar Energy
  8. Is Solar Worth it?

What is Solar Power? 

You probably see solar power in action more than you think. As of 2023, there are over 4.8 million solar installations worldwide just in residential homes. This doesn't include the massive solar farms that sit in our country’s deserts. You also likely have neighbors who use cute little solar path lights or firefly lights, which operate in the same capacity but on a much smaller scale.  

Solar energy is electrical or thermal energy harvested from sunlight.  Solar panels contain photovoltaic (PV) cells made up of semiconductor materials (such as silicon) to absorb elemental particles (called photons) from the sun. When absorbed by the panel, the photons release electrons from the atoms of the semiconductor material and the flow of these electrons within the cell generates an electric current we can direct to our circuits.  

Solar panels can be placed anywhere with an abundance of sunlight, such as open fields or rooftops. The more light the panels are exposed to, the more potential there is for electricity production. 


The sun’s constant barrage of energy in the form of photons can be collected, transformed, and used to power our world. By using solar power on such a grand scale, the United States is looking to cut greenhouse gas and carbon emissions to be carbon neutral by 2035. 

There have been countless articles addressing how solar power benefits America on a macro scale, but what does this massive leap toward solar energy mean for you 

How the Switch to Solar Affects Consumers 

Sure, you and I both know that green and reusable energy is great for the environment and in the long run will benefit the entire planet. And while that’s an amazing and admirable goal, what will it cost you as an individual?  

There is a combination of Federal and State solar programs that are making it possible to get solar installed on your home at no upfront cost while also reducing monthly electricity bills. The benefits have been funded statewide since the late 2010s to incentivize homeowners to switch to solar. This funding is still relevant in a lot of major cities that get a lot of sun. For example, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) just launched $8.5 million in funding for the Community Solar Energy Sovereignty Grant Program. This money is part of a larger strategy to equitably grow the clean energy workforce in Illinois. 

“Solar for All” has been used as a bit of a catch-all term for a couple of different types of programs that support the switch to solar energy for low- to middle-income households. No-cost and low-cost community solar are key parts of Solar for All since homeowners and renters alike can access solar energy through the expansion of solar farms. 

How Solar Affects Electricians 

With such a strong demand for renewable energy, what does going green mean for electricians? How have the efforts to ramp up sustainability impacted the electrical trade? In a greener economy, electricians have found that they can work with alternative energies to positively impact not only the electrical trade, but also people who use electricity and energy in their daily lives.  

The addition of multiple renewable energy sources has also introduced new jobs to the market for electrical workers that hadn’t existed prior. As an example, the infrastructure and installation of energy-saving devices and appliances is not an easy feat and should always be carried out by a professional. This need opens up many opportunities for electricians to step into new fields with a high demand. 

In addition to their more well-known work, electricians have also been called upon to install and maintain solar panels. Any person considering installing a solar energy system for their home will need a licensed electrician to do so. 

As with any component connected to the electrical grid, electricians will have a set of regulations to follow when it comes to installing solar. Installation will require an adherence to building codes, safe workplace practices, and any renewable energy regulations specific to the area, so electricians should be keeping an eye out for any updates in these codes and standards.  


Advantages of Solar Energy 

Renewable Energy Source 

Fossil fuel remains a resource in decline that, when burned to create energy, releases harmful byproducts into our atmosphere. Solar power has the potential to help us minimize our use of fossil fuels and the impact we have on the environment. 

Reduces Electric Bill 

Solar energy can help most consumers power their homes as an alternative or supplement to purchasing electricity from a grid. With power prices on the rise, consumers stand to save a considerable amount on monthly power bills by switching to solar. 

Energy Independence 

A home reliant entirely on solar power features the capacity to function entirely off-grid, especially when supplemented with a solar battery system to maintain power during non-daylight hours. These battery systems can also turn solar systems into emergency backups during power outages. 

Solar Panels Increase Home Values 

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, every dollar a solar panel saves you on your electrical bills increases the value of your home by $20. Also, homes with solar panels sell for four percent higher than those without them. If a home has solar panels, its owners will be saving money in the long run. 

Long-Term Savings 

The start-up costs for a solar system represent a significant expense, but the costs are usually mitigated by savings on the electric bill. Consumers can often break even on the investment—usually within six to 10 years—and then start reaping the benefits well before the system needs replacement or considerable maintenance. 

Diverse Uses 

Solar energy is extremely versatile and can provide power not only to our homes and appliances but also to places where channeling power from a grid is impractical or impossible, such as remote, off-grid regions, satellites and boats. 


Disadvantages of Solar Energy 

Sunlight Dependent 

A system reliant on solar energy cannot produce power without sunlight. This can pose a problem for consumers in areas with less-than-ideal levels of sun exposure or poor weather. Using solar batteries to store excess energy can help mitigate this issue, and even under constant clouds, the best solar panels will remain cost and energy-and efficient enough to be worth the installation. 

Installation Can Be Difficult 

Although most of the components in installing solar panels are relatively simple, if you’re not a fan of being on a roof or not comfortable working with electricity, solar panel installation can be complicated. For instance, tying the panel wiring into the home can be complex for the average DIYer and should be left to the professionals. 

Space Constraints 

Solar panels and the associated wiring take up space. Depending on the number of solar panels needed, finding enough space with adequate exposure can be difficult, especially in less-spacious residential areas. 

Solar Energy Storage Is Expensive 

Since solar batteries store the excess energy generated by your solar panels, they are essential to your solar panel system. However, they can be costly depending on the type and size of the battery. For instance, a single lead-acid battery can cost between $200 and $800, while a residential lithium-ion solar system can cost $7,000 to $14,000. 


Difficulty With Relocation 

Uninstalling a solar system and moving it can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, so the semi-permanence of the structures means panels are not often something you’ll take with you from house to house. They’re often best considered an investment in the structure or property they’re added to. 

How Sustainable Is Solar Energy? 

Solar energy certainly remains more sustainable than fossil fuels, which are limited in supply and release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when burned. The limiting factor in the sustainability of solar energy overall primarily comes from a scarcity in the raw materials required to produce solar technology, the greenhouse gasses emitted during manufacturing, and the impact of panel disposal on the environment. 

The use of solar power in lieu of grid power, however, offsets the emissions and carbon footprint of production within four years of use. Additionally, solar panels are ultimately recyclable, as they’re made from glass, metal and silicon. At present, we lack adequate infrastructure to collect and facilitate the recycling process on a large scale. 

More Government Funding for Solar Energy 

Solar funding and laws surrounding solar energy differ state by state. However, the federal money that goes into green energy is consistent. The Inflation Reduction Act, which created EPA’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is already making positive impacts on the lives of everyday Americans by creating good-paying jobs, strengthening our energy security, tackling climate change, and improving services that the IRS provides to taxpayers.  

Solar is also currently the cheapest form of electricity—and one of the best ways to lower energy costs for American families. The announcement of EPA’s Solar for All awards will mean that low-income communities, and not just well-off communities, will feel the cost-saving benefits of solar thanks to this investment. 

“Residential solar electricity leads to reduced monthly utility bills, reduced levels of air pollution in neighborhoods, and ultimately healthier communities, but too often low-income and disadvantaged communities have been left out. Today’s announcement will invest billions to ensure that affordable housing across the U.S. can access solar and increase energy efficiency and climate resilience,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman. “HUD is honored to have played a key role in today’s monumental announcement, which will provide meaningful household savings to households in low-income and disadvantaged communities, reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, and deliver electricity during grid outages for low-income households.”  


Sunlight is powering millions of homes across the nation, and we're working hard to ensure Americans everywhere can benefit from this affordable clean energy resource. 

The United States can and must lead the world in transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuels. The Solar for All program will not only combat the existential threat of climate change by making solar energy available to working class families, but it will also substantially lower the electric bills of Americans and create thousands of good-paying jobs. This is a win for the environment, a win for consumers, and a win for the economy. 

Is Solar Worth It 

Typically, yes, solar energy is worth the cost. But determining if it’s right for you depends on many variables including your location, tax rebates and incentives, net metering availability, your financial means, your living situation, and space constraints. For you as a consumer, the government funding to switch to solar should have little to no negative impact o9n your daily life. If anything, one of the biggest changes to your day-to-day life will be the savings on your energy bill. Other than the addition of panels to your roof, there won’t be any further intrusion to your home.  

Investing in solar power can come at a substantial upfront cost, but there’s never been a better time to do it. Not only has residential solar technology significantly improved in recent years, but thanks to increased demand, it’s also come down in price. So, is solar power sustainable? 

The short answer? 

It is more than what we’re currently doing. 

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