If you’re considering investing in solar panels, it’s important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of going solar. Solar is a revolutionary energy solution for property owners, but like any energy decision, choosing to go solar has various advantages and disadvantages you should keep in mind.
Advantages of solar panels:
1. Solar Can Reduce or Eliminate Your Electric Bills
Using solar energy instead of traditional energy sources can result in financial savings. Over a 20-year period, you could save anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on your state, home size, and electricity usage.
Additionally, the cost of electricity has risen by about five percent, and that trend in rising electric costs is expected to continue. Going solar can help you gain control in the face of these rising costs.
2. Solar Improves the Value of Your Home
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says that a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value and that buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of approximately $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array.
And even if you’re planning on moving in the near future, you’ll earn back your solar panel investment and then some when you sell your home.
3. Solar Reduces Carbon Emissions
Solar energy is able to generate power without giving off any dangerous emissions. While there is some carbon footprint from producing solar panel infrastructure, the energy produced from solar panels is clean and free of pollutants, and it emits no greenhouse gases.
By installing solar panels, you can reduce your carbon footprint by more than 3,000 pounds annually.
4. Solar Electricity Can be Sold Back to the Grid
Depending on where you live, you could be eligible for net metering. Net metering is an electric billing tool that uses the electric grid to store excess energy produced by your solar panel system. Under net metering, energy your solar panels produce and you don’t use is credited back to you. This means that you could potentially receive a credit toward your bill for unused energy and essentially sell solar energy back to the electric grid.
5. Energy Independence
Having solar panels allows homeowners to create their own energy, thereby giving them energy independence. Essentially this means a solar home isn’t as dependent on the traditional electric grid. This allows you to take power into your own hands and control where your home is getting its energy from.
On a larger scale, the United States making the switch to solar and other renewable energies would allow the country to achieve energy independence.
Disadvantages of Solar Panels:
1. High Initial Cost
Initial costs for the equipment, panels, and installation could be more than $20,000 before federal tax credits are applied. If you have direct current devices operating from alternating current sources, they’ll need a transformer. The large upfront cost is one of the biggest drawbacks of solar panel systems. The actual cost of a solar system will vary by state, and by the incentives that you qualify for.
2. Not ideal if You Are Moving Soon
Solar is a great financial investment, but it can take some time to reach the break-even point. The average solar panel payback period in the U.S. is around seven and a half years. However, if you plan to buy your system with a cash purchase or loan, this disadvantage of solar energy can be easily avoided.
3. Weather Dependence
The most important element for solar panels is the sun. If you live in an area prone to cloudy days for an extended period, this will negatively impact how the system runs. Your system will likely be less productive in the winter months than summer months.
4. Solar panels Don’t Work for Every Type of Roof
Certain roofing materials used in older or historical homes, such as slate or cedar tiles, can be difficult for solar installers to work with, throwing up a roadblock for solar power.
If your home doesn’t qualify for a rooftop solar installation, you still have options of ground-mounted solar panels or buying a share in a community solar garden can get you around this disadvantage of solar energy.
5. You Can’t Take Solar With You
One of the disadvantages of investing in solar panels on your home is that it can be expensive to move them, should you decide to move. Also, finding someone to remove and reinstall your solar panels can be costly.
Many of the advantages and disadvantages of investing in solar panels that are listed above seem to present a tradeoff. Solar panel technology is constantly improving, which means it’s not perfect yet. You’ll get a return on your investment, but it can take a long time.
Solar energy provides you with the opportunity to generate, store and save money, all while using an energy source you know is good for the planet. The energy produced from solar is, clean and renewable, and will continuously reduce the carbon footprint for years to come.