Solar energy has become extremely popular and affordable over the past decade. The benefits of solar power for most homeowners now exceed the disadvantages, meaning there’s never been a better time to go solar!
There are a number of things to consider and understand when making the decision to install solar panels on your home. We understand this is an important choice for you and your home, and that you want to understand your options before you jump in. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of advantages and disadvantages of solar energy to help you make the best choice possible for your home.
Eliminated or Reduced Utility Bills
With the rising cost of energy in the US over the past decade, solar energy offers a permanent, wallet-friendly solution. Most homeowners who install solar panels are able to completely (or almost completely) eliminate their electricity bills! One of the great advantages of solar energy systems is that they’re sized to offset your current energy consumption. After your system is installed, your dependence on the utility company will be significantly reduced.
Receive Money for Excess Power
Net metering allows you to receive credits for any surplus energy that your system produces. Policy details may vary, but most utilities allow you to roll over credits from month to month. If you still have credits left at the end of the year, you can typically choose to continue rolling over your credits or request a check for the value of your credits.
This makes net metering an excellent way to increase the cost savings of solar panels.
Financing Options for Every Budget
There are several different financing options to help reduce the initial cost for homeowners going solar, many of which weren’t available a few years ago. The main advantage here for homeowners is that there is a financing option to fit every budget.
These options include:
An added bonus is that some of these options require no upfront costs!
Availability of Incentives and Rebates
Some of the biggest advantages of getting solar right now are the available incentives and rebates available to homeowners. These were created to help jump-start residential solar power.
Currently, the biggest solar rebate available across the U.S. is a 30% tax credit known as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
Each state and utility has unique solar incentives and rebates. For more information on incentives and rebates in your area, please visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency (DSIRE), and find your home on our state and utility pages.
The speed of installation has dramatically increased over the last decade with the development of easy-to-install solar panels, efficient tools and more experienced solar panel installers. Installations used to stretch from a few days to a couple of weeks, but an average rooftop or ground mount solar panel system can be installed in just a few hours today!
Most residential solar installations are mounted on the roof, so they don’t have any moving parts. This makes them very low maintenance, along with the fact that they are manufactured to last for decades. If you live in an area with snow, the panels should be installed at an angle that will allow any accumulated snow to slide off. You do not need to wash your panels since the rain will wash off any accumulated dust or particles.
Solar panels allow you to produce clean, renewable energy without producing any greenhouse gasses or air pollution emissions. An average sized solar panel system can help reduce over 18,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year. This is equivalent to burning 8,888 pounds of coal a year! This advantage that comes with making the switch to solar power is allowing us significantly reduce our reliance on polluting, fossil fuels. This in turn is helping the preserve our environment and precious natural resources for years to come.
Solar Energy is Unlimited and Available Everywhere
The sun provides an abundant amount of energy every day to power residential solar panel systems. The amount of solar energy your home can generate depends on your region, whether you install polycrystalline vs monocrystalline panels and a number of other factors. However, most homes in the U.S. can benefit significantly from a solar installation. In addition, we don’t need to worry about this renewable resource running out anytime soon. The sun will continue to shine every day!
In the past, if you wanted to purchase your panels outright, they could be expensive. Thanks to incentives and rebates the prices are significantly lower now, however you still may end up paying between $10,000 to $30,000. These estimates would be after any rebates and incentives, and depend largely on your location, the equipment and installer.
Luckily, there are a variety of financing options for homeowners, such as solar loans or leases. In fact, the overall cost of solar systems is no longer a significant factor for most homeowners, because there are so many other financial options available. These loan and leasing programs now allow many homeowners to get solar for zero money down, and have reasonable monthly payments.
Solar Power is Produced During the Day
Since the sun only shines during the day, your panels won’t be producing energy at night. The vast majority of residential solar systems are tied to the utility grid – a requirement for some incentive and rebate programs. In addition, this allows you to access energy from the grid at night when your panels aren’t producing energy.
Storage of Power
When you have a grid-tied system, there is no battery storage of the energy produced by your panels. While it may seem strange to invest in solar if you can only use it during the day, your utility is actually crediting you for the energy your panels produce that you don’t use. So when you’re out of the house all day or don’t have all the lights on because it’s sunny out, your panels are working and producing power. This allows you to reap the benefits of free power from your utility at night, so there’s no need to store the electricity in bulky battery units.
Interested in getting exact prices for the cost solar for your home? Get competitive solar quotes from qualified, trusted installers in your area. To see an estimate for how much you could expect to save and how much a solar system would cost, try our solar calculator.