Google Helps Promote Solar Energy

Did you know the sun emits enough energy every hour to satisfy the entire world’s energy needs for a whole year?

Solar energy is just one form of renewable energy that’s growing in popularity. Thanks to gains in efficiency, falling prices and various tax incentives, solar energy use has grown about 20 percent a year for the past 15 years.

The most recognizable form of solar energy is solar panels attached to the roofs of home and offices. They work by allowing particles of light to knock electrons free from atoms. This process then generates electricity to power a home or office.

Solar panels offer many benefits to the environment and to consumers. Yet they typically require a significant upfront investment that doesn’t pay off for up to 12 years. (While prices fell by almost 30 percent between 2009 and 2013, the average price for a five-kilowatt system is stands at $23,000 before any tax credits or other incentives.) This price tag can deter many would-be consumers from purchasing solar panels.

There is a bright side, though. (Pun intended.) Google, the world’s most popular search engine, announced earlier this year that it was investing $300 million in a fund to help finance residential solar projects.

And the company’s solar efforts don’t stop there. In August, Google announced it will use its satellite technology and some of the latest artificial intelligence to create Project Sunroof. This online service estimates how much you’d save if your roof had solar panels. Project Sunroof is only available in three areas right now: the San Francisco Bay Area; Fresno, California; and the greater Boston area.

No Project Sunroof in your area? To get an estimate of how much you could save with solar panels, talk to a qualified solar panel installer. It may take a while to recoup the initial costs, but someday your wallet—and the environment—will thank you.

Installing solar panels on your roof? If so, make sure to tell your insurance agent. Like other home improvement projects, solar panels can up the value of your home. By talking to an insurance agent, you’ll make sure you have enough coverage in the event something unfortunate occurs.

Solar panels can also sustain damage from hail, lightning and more. So you’ll want to also make sure they have the right coverage. To get a quote on homeowners insurance, talk to an Erie Insurance Agent in your community.


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