Climate change is a global problem caused by our use of fossil fuels, such as oil. One solution is to shift to the use of 100% renewable energy. In 2016, over 85% of the electricity generated in the United States still came from nonrenewable sources. Damage from climate change will worsen the longer we continue to use these energy sources and the more expensive it will be to mitigate. Most of the earths remaining fossil fuels, like oil need to stay in the ground. We are already seeing the consequences of climate change.
While individuals can buy renewable energy credits (RECs) from a for-profit utility or energy provider with the promise that they will add more renewable energy to the grid, they will end up giving money incessantly to the same corporations that are still supporting fossil fuels and get none of the profits from the investment. Previously, individuals could install solar panels on their home to generate 100% their electricity. The solar panels would pay for themselves by eliminating their home’s energy bill, after which they would start making a profit from the free electricity. In addition, a 30% federal tax credit plus many other state and local incentives and credits decrease the cost. They would also make money by selling excess electricity to the utility. However, the panels are not permanent, as they have to be removed when replacing the roof underneath and not everyone likes the aesthetics of traditional solar panels. Instead, individuals can now install a solar roof (see Tesla Solar Roof) that, from the ground is indistinguishable from a conventional roof, but also generates solar power and has a lifetime warranty for the roof tiles. Combined with battery storage (see Tesla Powerwall) individuals will no longer be reliant on the grid and its nonrenewable energy. The solar roof will last over twice as long as a traditional roof, generate free power and appreciate over time, increasing the value of the home.
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