What Are the Pros and Cons of Solar Panels?

pros and cons of solar panels
Photo by Bill Mead

If you wish to have solar panels installed in your house, you must know the pros and cons of solar panels. Solar investment can be an important financial choice.

Installing a solar panel system in your home is expensive. For at least the next 20 years, you will have to put up with it. 

We’ll discuss the pros and cons of solar panels and what each means for your budget and carbon footprint. If you want to reduce your long-term energy costs, you should install solar panels. 

Despite potentially significant up-front expenditures, the cost-benefit analysis is straightforward: Your property will benefit financially and environmentally from installing solar panels.

Your electricity costs will go down if you use solar energy, and you’ll receive tax benefits. Solar panels are also an excellent investment because they raise the value of your house and are not subject to property taxes.  

When choosing solar, there are lots of variables to consider. How each pro and cons of solar panels influence your choice will depend on your financial and energy goals. 

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels (PROS)

1. Protection From Rising Power Prices

The majority of homeowners are aware that electricity costs are rising. The price of electricity has steadily increased over the previous ten years, with an average yearly increase of about $0.4.

The price of electricity will keep rising in the future, which means your electric bill will also keep growing. 

Thus, concerns about growing electric prices are now history! If you install solar, rising prices can be advantageous. 

Consider an electricity rate of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour from your utility as an example. As a result, you would receive 10 cents from your utility under net metering for each extra kWh of electricity your solar panels generate and deliver to the grid. 

Your power to the grid would also be worth 13 cents if your utility increased its pricing to 13 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity. Therefore, each time your utility company raises its prices, net metering saves you more money! 

2. Reduce Electric Bills

Next on our list of the pros and cons of solar panels is the reduction of electric bills. The ability to lower or do away with electricity bills is the primary benefit of solar panels for people trying to save money. Many solar salespeople will begin their pitch with this as well. 

The primary purpose of solar panels is to produce power. The grid then receives the electricity again. Your utility will deduct the difference between the electricity you supplied to the system and the electricity you consumed. 

In months when you created more electricity than you consumed, depending on how much you contributed to the grid, you might not have an electric bill.

Net metering is the name of this invoicing method. You can also receive bill credits for the extra energy you create if you live in a region that offers net metering. 

For instance, suppose you produce 200 kWh of energy in September but only need 100 kWh. The extra 100 kWh of power would be applied as a bill credit to your October payment. 

There are a lot of restrictions on this. Therefore, learning about your state’s net metering regulations is crucial. 

3. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Power may be produced from solar energy without emitting any harmful gases. Although the production and distribution of solar panel infrastructure leave a small carbon footprint, the electricity generated by solar panels is clean, pollutant-free, and emits no greenhouse emissions.

Every year, the typical American home emits 14,920 pounds of carbon dioxide. Adding solar panels can cut your annual carbon footprint by more than 3,000 pounds. 

The primary motivation for many people to invest in solar energy is to lessen their carbon impact. Although they do not emit carbon dioxide when they generate power, solar panels have a small carbon impact. 

4. Solar is Cheaper

The cost of solar has decreased even as the power price has increased. Utilizing solar incentives can make installing solar even more affordable.

For instance, you might be qualified for the 30% federal tax credit if you install a solar system by the end of 2032. 

Deducted from your income taxes, this tax credit equals 30% of the entire solar system cost. Numerous localities also provide various solar incentives and federal tax credits. 

5. Energy Independence

Energy independence is also one of the pros and cons of solar panels. Unlike coal and natural gas, the sun is a limitless source of electricity, and solar panels can be erected almost everywhere.

Any obstruction that prevents the boards from receiving direct sunlight will lower their electrical energy output, dependent on sunshine exposure.

You can lessen your reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels by using solar panels, which will result in a more consistent and predictable energy cost, particularly during periods of high energy demand. 

Having control of your power system would be great if you’ve ever experienced days- or weeks-long power outages. 

Whatever your motivation, you may use solar panels to build your own autonomous, clean energy system if you have the necessary tools.

If you want to achieve this, talk to your solar installer to ensure you have everything you need to power your house in a grid-wide power outage. 

6. Financial Support From the Government

Federal and state tax advantages are available for installing solar panels on your home or business. Taxpayers may be able to deduct 30% of installation costs, with state-specific benefits.

In some cases, installing solar panels on a home could not require out-of-pocket expenses. Researching this can take some time, but it is doable. 

7. Longevity and Little Maintenance

Most systems endure 20 years or longer. Solar panels and other equipment need little upkeep at that period. Your chosen company can assist you in determining the precise maintenance requirements.

Because dirt and dust can dramatically lower the output, several companies offer self-cleaning devices for their panels.

Additionally, as solar energy technology is constantly developing, solar panels of the same size from a year ago are now even more effective. 

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels (CONS)

1. Not Applicable to All Roof Types or Dwellings

The sun is the most crucial component of solar panels. The system will perform worse if you spend a prolonged period in a location with frequent gloomy days.

However, some shelters may suit them better. Solar panels need a lot of sunlight each day to function correctly. 

Winter months are less productive for your system than summer months. Solar panels won’t function for you if your home’s roof is in the shade due to its design or other factors like trees or other structures blocking sunlight.

You should also take your current environment into account. Maine receives less sunlight than states like Arizona and Texas do. 

2. High Initial Cost

The high initial cost is also one of the pros and cons of solar panels. Although a lower electric bill is a benefit, the equipment, discussions, and installation may cost more than $20,000.

A transformer is required if you have direct-current devices powered by alternating-current sources. However, because these converters are only partially efficient, using an AC source results in higher operating costs than a DC solar panel. 

According to your eligibility for incentives and the state where you live, a solar system’s actual cost will vary. 

Fortunately, there are ways to finance solar energy. You can often be approved for a zero-down solar loan, allowing you to buy a solar system and save money on your electricity bill. 

3. Difficult Installation

Solar panel installation is a complex operation. On average, installation takes a day or two, but it’s more complicated than snapping your fingers. 

Your panels will most likely need to be installed by a solar installation or contractor. Additionally, you must clear a few hurdles to obtain a city or local permits and link your system to the power grid. 

Remember that your solar installer frequently provides a warranty for your solar panels. You can be left without any guarantee to keep your solar panels operating if your solar installer closes their doors for whatever reason. 

4. Solar Panels Require Space

One of the pros and cons of solar panels is that solar panels require space. Space is needed for solar panels to provide energy needs.

A roof usually always has ample room for installations in homes. However, there may be a space issue with extensive grid-scale solar facilities. 

This is a result of the lower power density of solar panels. Compared to fossil fuels, solar panels have a low power density. 

This means that more solar panels are required to offer the same quantity of energy as a coal-fired power station. 

5. Financial Liability

You take a significant financial risk if you decide to finance or lease your solar panels. Your credit score may suffer if you skip payments or pay them after the due date. The problematic terms and circumstances in your financing arrangement should also be avoided.

The loan will then be structured so that, after a certain amount of time, you must make additional payments to pay off the remaining sum without incurring penalties. In conclusion, thoroughly read your agreement and ask questions. 

6. Inability to Move With You

Last on our list of the pros and cons of solar panels is the inability to move around. A solar energy system is next to impossible to move once it has been put on a residential or commercial building.

Though it’s not usually recommended, it is possible to transfer PV solar panels if you move into a new home. Remove the system from your roof to refit it to your new home, which would seriously harm your boards and roof.

If you leave your solar panel system to the subsequent owners, they should be able to recoup most of the cost because the solar installation raises the home’s value. Although it can take a while, you’ll eventually see a return on your investment.

The carbon footprint of energy generated by solar panels is minimal and only occurs once. A solar power system will continue to lower the carbon footprint for many years. 

Going solar has many benefits, but you must balance the pros and cons of solar panels to fit your particular goals and system. 

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