Thinking about going solar? You’re not alone. Home solar installations have soared over the last decade, due in part to Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC) and a drop in installation costs (which have fallen more than 60 percent over the last decade). But even with residential installations on the rise, there’s still a lot you may not know about solar technology. Here are 9 surprising facts.

1. Solar panels can earn you money 
Although the specifics vary by jurisdiction and utility company, many states allow homeowners to sell back the solar energy they generate, but don’t use. More than 40 states currently have policies in place for this practice, known as “net metering,” or getting paid for sending excess energy back into the power grid. On top of that, the federal government and many states offer tax rebate and incentive programs for solar installations.

2. Solar panels can improve your future air quality 
Over its lifetime (usually 25-30 years), a basic residential rooftop installation can reduce CO2 air pollution by an estimated 100 tons.

3. Solar panels can be aesthetically pleasing 
Contrary to popular belief, solar panels don’t have to be the bulky, one-size-fits-all units of yore. Increasingly, modern solar panel installations are low-profile (some modern offerings even sit perfectly flush with your roof), with very little visible hardware or venting work.

4. Solar panels make no noise 
If you have fixed solar panels on your roof with no moving parts, you can bank on virtually soundless energy production.

5. Solar panels are super low maintenance
While there are a few things you can do to ensure your solar panels are well maintained over the course of their lifespan (like keeping them clear of debris and leaves), most residential solar systems require almost no maintenance after their initial installation.

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6. Solar panels continue to work on cloudy days 
Although sunny days yield higher production, solar panels still pull energy from diffused light on cloudy days.

7. Solar panels are more efficient in cooler climates 
There’s a popular misconception that you need to live somewhere hot to make solar a worthwhile venture. Not true! In fact, many solar systems run more efficiently in cooler climates (cold but sunny climates are the best operating conditions for panel production).

8. Solar panels can increase the value of your home
Some recent studies have concluded that an average-sized solar panel installation can increase the value of your home by as much as $15,000 to $20,000.

9. Solar panels last for a long time (but not forever) 
While most solar panels are warrantied for 25 years, they’ll typically last about 30. Over time, a panel’s energy output wanes — current estimates calculate a falling off of efficiency by about 0.8 percent per year. Using that same calculation, an installation of solar panels could operate at about 82.5 percent capacity after 25 years.

Adding solar to your dwelling is both an earth- and wallet-friendly investment. Once you make the commitment, make sure your homeowners insurance has you covered. Get a free quote today.

Smart technology | Smart home

about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.