f you are thinking about installing solar panels, it is easy to become overwhelmed with information on the positives and downsides of this purchase. Here we will offer you a comprehensive guide about pros cons of solar energy. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Let’s dive into it.
Solar energy pros
The following aspects can be considered as major pros of this energy type, though it is necessary to add that the list is not exhaustive.
Solar PV is environmentally friendly
Solar panels obviously have strong environmental benefits. By using solar panels, you help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, therefore mitigating your environmental impact. Thus, solar panels offer a great way to tap into clean energy.
Endless source to fulfill our needs
What is especially important is that this energy source is not only carbon-free but also renewable – it is one of the most obvious pros of going solar. It will never run out in contrast with fossil fuels like coal, oil, or natural gas. Solar power is a limitless energy source as long as the sun exists.
Solar panels lower your electricity bills
One of the major pros of solar is that it can help you save on your electricity bill. First, it reduces the amount of power you need to buy from the grid. When solar panels produce electricity and are connected to your electrical wiring, the house can use this energy instead of the one provided by the utility company. Second, you may get compensated through net metering credits for producing surplus electricity. In many states, adding solar panels to your home can result in electricity bill savings of about $1,000 per year!
Long lifespan of solar modules
A solar energy system normally has a long 25-35 year lifespan, which is one of the most important solar energy pros. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s are still functioning at the expected capacity. What is more, solar equipment requires very low maintenance, particularly because there are no moving parts. By going solar, you can cut your electricity expenses for decades to come. Solar panels are quite durable and can withstand even severe weather conditions.
Pros and cons of solar panels, Pros of solar panels: Renewable energy, reduced electricity bills, low maintenance. Cons: High initial cost, dependence on sunlight, space requirements.
Going solar leads to energy independence
Installing photovoltaic panels is often a good way for you to increase your energy independence, meaning you will be less impacted by rising power prices and the performance of your public energy provider. It can be stated that this is one of the most significant pros of solar. On a larger scale, the American switch to solar power would allow the country to achieve energy independence.
Suitable for remote areas without connection to the grid
It may seem unbelievable for big city dwellers, but according to one research which was conducted fifteen years ago, 180,000 houses in the United States were at that time off-grid. While many of these householders refused to be connected to the grid on principle, for example, due to their environmental concerns, many of them simply had no choice but to switch to renewables. Solar energy can drastically enhance the quality of life for thousands of people who live in the dark, especially in isolated rural areas.
Solar is now more affordable than ever
One of the pros of solar energy today is that the price of a solar energy system has dropped significantly. Since 2015, the cost has declined by approximately 22%, and prices continue to fall. If you decide to install a solar energy system before the end of 2032, you could be eligible for the 30% federal tax credit. In addition to this, there is a range of different solar incentives offered locally.
A solar power system can increase your home value
Last but not least, one of the less obvious solar energy pros is that installing solar panels usually increases home value. According to the results of several studies, home buyers are willing to pay extra for homes with solar equipment. A solar array generally adds around $20,000 of value to your property.
What are the cons of going solar?
We have spoken long enough on pros. Now let’s check the disadvantages.
Manufacturing of solar modules has an environmental impact
Counterintuitively, one of the cons for solar energy is its negative influence on the environment. Solar panels are not fully emission-free, their production is associated with some harmful pollutants, like sulfur hexafluoride. However, the impact of carbon dioxide on the climate is much bigger than that of sulfur hexafluoride, thus, solar systems are definitively better for the environment than coal or natural gas.
The upfront cost of solar is high
Speaking about the main solar panels cons, the first thing that comes to mind is the high price of solar power equipment. In general, the average cost of a solar energy system in the United States is around $13,000, and for some householders, it may exceed $20,000. Of course, not everyone has the financial opportunity to make such a large investment.
Solar panels don’t work at night, so you need a battery to store energy
Solar modules cannot produce energy at night, as photovoltaic cells must collect sunlight to create electricity. Nevertheless, if you have a battery backup system, your panels will charge the batteries during the day, and you will be able to use the stored energy to power your home throughout the night. Such batteries will be another significant investment, as their cost typically ranges between $8,500 to $10,000, but they certainly bring a lot of value to your solar energy system.
The performance is location-dependent
One of the apparent cons of solar energy is that its performance depends on the amount of sunshine in your area. While solar panels still work on cloudy days, they are most efficient when absorbing direct sunlight. So, if you live in an area that is pretty cloudy, or if your roof is shadowed by trees or neighboring homes, you may not get the full benefits of solar and it will take longer for your PV installation to pay for itself.
Solar arrays require space
One more con to be taken into account: homeowners sometimes don’t know that not all roofs can fit a solar array large enough to meet their electricity needs. For example, a 9 kW solar array includes about 25 solar panels and can require nearly 530 square feet of your roof, aside from the space taken up by obstructions like chimneys or satellite dishes. However, the size of a solar array you need is usually in proportionate to the size of your house and, respectively, your roof.
Solar modules installation might be unworthy if a homeowner is about to move
Finally, the major cons of solar energy include the fact that you can move to another house before your solar energy system investment gets paid off. The average solar panel payback period in the United States is around seven and a half years. But, as you have already learned from this article, solar can improve your property value and increase your profit when you have to move and sell your home.
Key takeaways: pros of solar energy tend to outweigh the cons
Despite several drawbacks of going solar, the above-mentioned pros for solar energy can actually level them all out:
- Though solar panels are not ideal for the environment, by their very nature, they are far better than coal or gas technologies for power generation, and this is one of their main pros on a large scale.
- One can not ignore the fact that solar equipment has always been an expensive purchase, especially paired with backup battery storage. But it can pay off by lowering your electricity bills and functioning with little maintenance throughout many years. Additionally, solar power systems are nowadays cheaper than ever, being supported by lots of government incentives.
- Solar arrays may not be a perfect fit for each location and house. The good news is that solar power is available almost everywhere and solar modules can be used by practically everyone to achieve partial or, ideally, full independence from the grid.
- Solar equipment may seem to be a waste of money in case you move to another house. In the meantime, it can increase your home value while selling your property.
To sum it up, you should consider all pros cons of solar energy before acquiring solar equipment for your home –solar modules are not a silver bullet solution for every single household. It is always best to think twice before making a big purchase. Still, the pros to solar energy are enormous, as by going solar, you have a chance to contribute to your personal future and the future of the next generations.