Solar panels are a great way to not just offset the energy costs for your home, but also reduce the environmental impact of your home and provide as well as host of other benefits, such as supporting local businesses and contributing to energy independence.

If you are considering installing solar panels on your home then consider these benefits:

1. Reduce or eliminate energy bills.

On warm sunny days, you can typically generate a lot more energy than you can consume, which can then be traded with the utility. On hot summer days, when you are likely to run the air conditioning, or on cloudy days, you can draw from the grid.

Even if you live somewhere cloudy, such locations typically receive more than two hours of sunlight per day, whereas sunny locations tend to receive an average of 5.5 hours of sunlight per day.

Although sunny days will produce more solar energy, solar panels will continue to draw energy even when the weather is cloudy. Indirect, or diffused, sunlight will still help to power your home.  Keep in mind that cloudy days can still usually produce around 10 to 20 percent of the power generated on sunny days. So if you live somewhere that isn’t super sunny or if you have a few cloudy days in a row, don’t worry your solar panels are still generating power.

2. Earn tax credits and rebates.

Did you know that you can receive money from your solar panels? Well just to start off, you can get 30 percent of total system costs back from equipment and installation as a federal income tax credit when you file your taxes. This means you would save $7,500 on a solar system worth $25,000.

Combine this with state and local rebates and Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), and total costs can be cut in half. The SRECs are generated throughout the year, and you can sell them to utility companies, which generates a very impressive return on the initial investment.

Many installers also offer a no-cost installation, where they front all of the money for the panels and installation and charge for electricity at a reduced rate. They are basically “leasing” your roof space and giving you a discount on the electricity in return. This is a good option for homeowners who do not want to make the initial investment or would prefer a no-money-down option. The installer collects all the proceeds from the SRECs in this case.

No matter where you live, you most likely have some amazing tax credits for solar. Take advantage of them while you still can.