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Explanation of the pros and downsides of solar energy

21 Jan 2023, 05:33 GMT+10

Considering installing a solar panel system, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of going solar is crucial. Solar is a revolutionary energy solution for all property owners, but like with any energy decision, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of going solar. This post will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels.

Top solar energy advantages and disadvantages
Whether your primary motivation is increasing your home's value, decreasing your carbon footprint, or combatting growing electricity bills, solar energy is an enticing alternative. In addition to increasing energy independence, a solar photovoltaic system typically pays for itself through electricity bill savings. Incentives such as the federal tax credit help to decrease the initial outlay and boost the return on investment.

On the other side, the primary disadvantages of solar energy are that it does not work for every roof, it is not ideal if you are going to move, the upfront cost can be high, the savings can be minimal if your electricity costs are low, and it can be not easy to find a local installer.

The benefits of solar power
There are numerous advantages to installing a solar energy system in a home or company. Here is a summary of the most significant benefits of solar energy to consider:

  • Solar decreases (and occasionally eliminates) monthly electricity costs.
  • Solar panels increase your home's value.
  • Using solar energy minimizes carbon emissions.
  • A solar installation safeguards against escalating energy prices.
  • You can profit from your solar investment.
  • Solar is a diverse source of energy.
  • Frequently, solar energy can be "sold" back to the grid.
  • Solar is a low-maintenance source of electricity.

1. Solar decreases (and occasionally eliminates) monthly electricity costs.
When you install solar panels in your home, you create your electricity, become less dependent on your electric provider, and, as a result, cut your monthly electricity cost. Solar panel systems typically have a 25- to 35-year lifespan, so you can reduce your electricity expenses for decades by adopting solar. In addition, the price of solar energy has reduced by more than 70 percent over the previous decade, whereas the price of electricity has increased by approximately five percent. This tendency is anticipated to continue, and a solar energy system can assist you in gaining control over these rising expenditures.

2. Solar panels increase your home's value
Millions of U.S. people are interested in solar panels for their homes but do not comprehend how this would affect their homes. Recent studies indicate that installing a solar system can add roughly four percent to the value of your home. Therefore, even if you plan to move in the near future, you could recoup your investment in solar panels and more when you sell your home. Solar installation is a worthwhile investment for most homeowners, regardless of how long they've lived in their residences.

3. Using solar energy minimizes carbon emissions
Solar is a sustainable source of clean energy that can reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, reducing your environmental impact. Unlike traditional fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, solar energy does not immediately discharge climate-altering pollutants (such as carbon dioxide) into the environment and water. Even when compared to nuclear energy, solar energy has a lower environmental impact.

4. A solar installation safeguards against escalating energy prices
If you don't lease your system, installing solar panels on your home locks in your energy expenses for the next 25+ years. If you took out a loan to cover the initial cost of the solar panels, you would be generating your electricity for free once the loan has been repaid. The federal solar tax credit also offers a 30% tax credit for newly installed solar power systems, which helps minimize your initial investment.

5. You can profit from your solar investment.
Due to various solar incentives in certain areas, solar panels can generate a profit in addition to bill savings that cover the system's cost. Credits for solar renewable energy (SRECs) pay you for the electricity generated by your solar panel installation. If you reside in a state where this incentive is available, you can anticipate immediate and long-term profits on your solar investment.

6. Solar is a diverse source of energy.
In contrast to other forms of alternative energy, like wind, which require big open areas with frequent wind changes and large water supplies for hydroelectric power, solar energy may be utilized in practically any location. Although output is reduced on gloomy days and in locations with less consistent sun exposure, solar panels are always a wise investment.

7. Frequently, solar energy can be "sold" back to the grid.
Depending on your location, you may qualify for net metering. Net metering is a billing mechanism that utilizes the electric grid to "store" excess energy generated by a solar panel system. As you send this energy to the grid, your utility company will reward you with bill credits - effectively; you will be able to sell excess solar energy generated by your solar panels in exchange for lower utility costs.

8. Solar is a low-maintenance source of electricity
If you select a qualified installer through QuestGreens, the entire installation process will be managed by competent experts. Once built, solar panels require less upkeep compared to other kinds of energy production. With no moving parts, your panels may only need to be cleaned occasionally after a snowfall or severe weather.

Disadvantages of solar energy
When considering the installation of solar panels, it is important to consider the following disadvantages of solar energy:

  • Solar is not suitable for all roof types.
  • Solar is not good if you're planning a relocation.
  • Minimal costs for electricity = low savings
  • Initial expenses can be significant.
  • Solar panels don't work at night
  • Solar panels sometimes contain hazardous metals
  • Finding the appropriate installer can be difficult

1. Solar is not suitable for all roof types. 

Installing rooftop solar panels involves attaching a mounting system (also known as "racking") to the roof. Certain roofing materials used on older or historically significant homes, such as slate or cedar tiles, might be challenging for solar technicians to deal with, posing an obstacle for solar energy. Furthermore, many homes and apartment buildings include skylights or rooftop modifications, such as roof decks, making solar installation difficult or expensive. Fortunately, this obstacle should not prevent the widespread use of solar power in the United States in the long run. You can still go solar by installing ground-mounted solar panels or subscribing to a local community solar farm if your home does not qualify for a rooftop solar installation.

2. Solar is not good if you're planning a relocation.
Solar is a terrific financial investment, but it might take a while to break even: the typical solar panel payback period in the United States is between eight and nine years. For a young homeowner who may relocate within the next few years, installing solar panels on their roof may seem like an unwarranted expenditure. However, as previously stated, solar can raise your home's resale value and return when you decide to sell. Depending on the company, a solar panel system warranty is often transferable, so new homeowners can use the guarantee that came with the panels you installed. So long as you plan to acquire your system with cash or a loan, you may avoid this solar energy disadvantage.

3. Minimal costs for electricity = low savings.
The ultimate advantage of solar energy is that it reduces your reliance on utility-supplied electricity, saving you money each month. However, this presupposes that the homeowner has substantial utility expenditures. For a house in a state like Louisiana, where the cost of power is typically 25 percent below the national average, installing a solar panel system is not nearly as enticing as it is for a homeowner in Hawaii, where the cost of electricity is more than double the national average.

4. Initial expenses can be significant.
An ongoing national discussion about how much homeowners must spend out of pocket for solar. The overall out-of-pocket cost of a solar panel system is contingent upon tax credits, rebates, and the financing plan selected. Even if you can easily obtain a number for the typical cost of solar in your area or a customized estimate for your home, the upfront cost of solar is substantial if you do not qualify for a zero-down solar loan. In this situation, solar energy's downside is obvious: not everyone has the cash to invest in this size with a single payment. However, various solar financings options, such as state-backed loan programs, leases, and power purchase agreements, can help you escape this solar scam.

5. Solar panels don't work at night
To absorb energy from the sun, solar panels require light. Solar panels require light to receive energy from the sun, which means they are ineffective at night. By combining your solar energy system with energy storage, however, you may utilize the excess energy created by your solar panels during the day and store it in your solar batteries even when there is no sunlight. If you reside in a state that employs net metering, your extra energy will be sold back to the grid in exchange for credits on your electric bill.

6. Solar panels sometimes contain hazardous metals
Silicon is used to construct monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. Depending on the brand and model, they may also contain dangerous heavy metals like lead and cadmium. This implies that the EPA considers most outdated solar panels hazardous trash that must be disposed of correctly. It is crucial to note that the use of these materials is decreasing as solar panel technology advances.

7. Finding the appropriate installer can be difficult
Unfortunately, many homeowners identify home solar with aggressive door-to-door sales representatives who pressure people to accept a 20-year solar contract before explaining the scope of the offer or the company's reputation. Solar is one of the world's fastest-growing businesses, and many companies are employing aggressive sales strategies to capture their portion of the industry. Consequently, purchasing solar can be stressful and perplexing for many individuals. EnergySage Marketplace is a 100 % online comparison-shopping tool that enables you to compare solar prices from leading pre-screened providers in your area.

Is solar energy an investment worth making?
Solar energy is worth it for most homeowners with qualified properties, despite the high initial costs: in most cases, the benefits of solar energy will outweigh the disadvantages. Solar is a sustainable energy source that is becoming more inexpensive, allowing you to minimize greenhouse gas emissions while saving substantial money on your power bills.

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