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Solar Energy Pros and Cons

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Solar energy has become a popular energy source in recent years, and it’s important for homeowners to understand solar energy’s pros and cons. Solar is renewable, cost-effective, and has minimal detrimental effects on the environment. As interest in solar energy continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for buyers to understand the pros and cons of solar energy, so we’ve pulled together the biggest factors homeowners should consider.

What are the main pros and cons of going solar?

Solar Pros

  • Significant financial savings
  • Affordability
  • Availability
  • Solar energy is green
  • Solar power is free!
  • Easy installation and maintenance

Solar Cons

  • Upfront cost
  • Panels don’t always receive sunlight

Solar Pro: Significant Financial Savings

When considering the pros and cons of solar energy, the financial savings are one of the biggest pros. Many buyers who purchase solar panels will experience significant savings. Electricity bills are a large part of many monthly budgets, so it never hurts to explore your options for cutting down on utility costs. Your total savings from solar will depend on several different factors, such as your location and the financing option that you choose. Although these potential savings vary from buyer to buyer, many homeowners could see savings of $20,000 or more over a twenty year period, but to learn more about how much you would save, see our page on solar savings.

Solar Pro: Affordability

Solar, once expensive, has become extremely affordable in recent years.  By the year 2017, more than half of states could have solar technology that is as cheap as electricity straight from the grid. Since 2007, the cost of installing an average-sized rooftop solar system has nearly halved. Prices vary greatly depending on individual factors, but as an example, in mnay states, the cost of a five kilowatt solar system on your roof clocks in at less than $20,000 once government incentives are factored in.  Solar has become an affordable energy solution for the average homeowner, with increased solar installer competition, more efficient and less expensive panels, and more financing options driving the cost of solar down extremely fast. In addition, federal, state and local tax credits and rebates make purchasing or leasing a system extremely affordable. The savings from tax credits and rebates are a significant consideration when evaluating solar energy pros and cons.

Solar Pro: Availability

One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is that it’s available across the US. Everywhere gets some degree of sunlight, and even lower sun states like Washington and Minnesota see enough sun to make the investment into solar panels worthwhile. The amount of sun different areas in the US receive can be found on the following map, though it is important to remember that the amount of sun that a region receives is only part of what you should consider when assessing the pros and cons of solar energy for your home. Homeowners who go solar in New York and Colorado for example, save significantly more than homeowners in Florida and Texas would, due to power prices in their areas, as well as state incentives.

Solar Pro: Solar Energy is Green

When considering solar power pros and cons, one of the biggest pros of solar is that it is almost entirely green. The state of the environment is a big issue nowadays. Traditional energy is heavily polluting and has been the major contributor to climate change. Luckily there are sources of clean energy all around us, and solar is one of them. Solar energy produces no nasty byproducts that are released into the atmosphere – the panels merely sit there, soak up the sunlight, and convert it into energy that you can use to power your home. As more people turn to solar energy, we can begin to phase out non-renewable resources such as coal and natural gas to generate power. Solar is helping drive the transition to a clean energy future that will sustain us for many generations to come. Learn more about solar’s environmental impact.

Solar Pro: Solar Energy is Free

One of the biggest benefits of solar energy is that, aside from the initial cost of the solar panels and installation, is that it’s an entirely free energy source. It’s also virtually unlimited, and there won’t be a point anytime in the near future when we’ll run out of it.

Solar Pro: Easy Installation and Maintenance

Solar installation has become an extremely quick, simple process. While installations used to take several days, a skilled installation team can put in a full solar panel system in an afternoon.

Maintaining solar panels is a trivial activity – they usually need no work at all. Rain should be sufficient to clean them, and if you’re in an extremely dry climate, an occasional hosing down will keep your panels clean and producing electricity at a highly efficient level. If you live in an area which receives snow during the winter, the panels will be mounted by your installer at an angle which allows for snow to slide off of them without any effort on your part.

So what are the downsides to home solar?

Although are a lot of pros to going solar, there are also some downsides, and it’s good to know the disadvantages to properly assess if solar is appropriate for your home.

Solar Con: Upfront Cost

Probably solar’s biggest disadvantage is the high cost of an upfront purchase of solar panels – most systems are between $10,000-$25,000 after federal incentives. However, there are plenty of loan and lease options  available which allow you to go solar for zero down. In the same way that you don’t have to pay for your house all at once, you can also take out a loan on your solar panels, or even lease them from certain companies. Although prices have been plunging, if you decide to purchase panels with cash, you’re still looking at the roughly the cost of an economy sedan.

Solar Con: Panels Don’t Always Receive Sunlight

Another obvious disadvantage of solar energy is that they are susceptible to shading issues – the system will not function efficiently if trees or buildings shade your panels. The impact on your power production can be quite significant, and it’s important to consider the amount of sunlight that your home receives on a daily basis as you consider the pros and cons of solar panels.

You should have a firm grasp on the pros and cons of home solar panels before you buy or lease panels. As you can see, the advantages include significant savings on your power bill, low prices that have made solar more affordable than ever, wide availability, and obviously, environmental benefits and no longer relying on polluting fossil fuels.  As with anything, there are some downsides as well, such as high upfront costs if you decide to purchase your panels with cash, and potential shading issues which can heavily reduce panel performance. By really understanding the pros and cons of solar energy, you will be in the best possible place to evaluate if solar panels are right for your home.

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Your average monthly electric bill
$0
$500
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Solar doesn’t have to be confusing

Check out our Guide to Home Solar, everything you need to know about solar, in one place.

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