The Pros & Cons of Solar Energy

Solar energy has been a trend that’s picked up some steam. If you’re looking to start utilizing solar energy for your home, there’s a plethora of information available to you. We’re going to break down some of the most important pros and cons of solar energy.

Pros of solar energyCons of solar energy
Reduce your electric billHigh upfront costs
Insurance against rising costsSolar energy is an intermittent energy source 
Solar is cheaper than everSolar panel manufacturing has some environmental impact
See a return on your investmentSolar panels require space 
Environmentally friendlyYou can’t take solar with you 
Energy independence

The pros of solar energy

1. Reduce your electric bills 

One of the biggest advantages to installing solar panels is the substantial savings you’ll have on your electric bill. In many states, utilizing solar panels can save you well over $1,000 a year. 

Many states will require utility companies to offer net metering. Net metering, also referred to as net energy metering (NEM), comes in handy when your solar energy system produces more electricity than your home requires. With net metering structures in place, utility companies are required to purchase this excess electricity. 

2. Insurance against rising costs

It’s no secret amongst homeowners that electricity prices are steadily rising. Over the last 10 years, the price of electricity has averaged an increase of about $0.20 per year. 

One of the major benefits of solar energy is that you’re actually protected from these increases. With solar panels, you don’t have to buy power from your utility, so your energy costs will stay the same while everyone else continues to experience the steady rise of electricity.

3. Solar is cheaper than ever

We know that electricity prices are on a steady increase, but the cost of solar has actually continued to fall at the same time. Over the past decade, the cost of solar has fallen over 70%. With these low rates, solar is becoming more accessible to homeowners than ever before. 

Solar incentives can assist in making solar installation even cheaper. If you install a solar system before the end of 2022, you could be eligible for a 26% federal tax credit that would be applied to your income taxes. Make sure to check for any additional local solar incentives.

4. See a return on your investment

One great (and continuous) benefit of using solar energy is that you actually get to see a return on your investment. Because of the net metering structures in place that we mentioned earlier, solar energy ends up becoming a source of income. Net metering allows you to sell the excess power produced by your solar system.

Depending on what state you’re in, you may have access to some other performance-based incentives. Solar Renewable Energy Credits, or SRECs, could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year. All of these forms of savings end up going towards the cost of your system. For areas that allow for all of these incentives, it could take as little as four years to pay back the price of your entire solar system.

5. Environmentally friendly

Solar systems are a form of renewable energy, which are great for the environment. Not only do solar panels not produce any greenhouse gas emissions, but you’re not actually depleting any energy sources by utilizing the sun. Producing electricity with solar panels is producing only clean energy.

6. Energy independence

Having your own solar system means you no longer have to remain dependent on the traditional electric grid. The boost in solar energy usage across the United States is allowing for the country to work towards achieving energy independence, which would be an excellent boost for the economy and would result in less reliance on other countries for resources like gas, oil, or coal. 

The cons of solar energy

1. High upfront costs

We know that solar energy looks expensive upfront. This has definitely been one of the biggest drawbacks to switching to solar. 

Even with the cost of solar varying by state, there are a multitude of solar financing options available and various incentives you could qualify for. In some cases, you could even qualify for a zero-down loan. 

2.  Solar energy is an intermittent energy source 

Solar energy is considered to be an intermittent source of energy because the sun isn’t constantly available and predictable. Even though this may be true, the emergence of cost-effective battery solutions has allowed for homeowners to store power and utilize it when solar systems aren’t producing energy. There is now a multitude of energy storage options available, but one of the most popular residential energy storage solutions is the Tesla Powerwall

With all of these options and advances, it looks like intermittency may not be a con of solar energy for much longer.

3. Solar panel manufacturing has some environmental impact

While the power produced by solar energy is clean energy, there are certain solar panels that contain harmful pollutants. That being said, the environmental impact from certain solar panels is minimal compared to the damage produced by other energy sources.

4. Solar panels require space 

For some homeowners, space can be a cause for concern. Most of the time, roofs for residential installations will have enough space but large grid-scale solar installations can lead to some complications.

5. You can’t take solar with you 

What happens if you decide to move? Well, you can try to find someone to move and reinstall your solar system, but it might cost you. Additionally, the net metering structures in place exist within the confines of your property. 

While these drawbacks are true, your solar system has actually increased the value of your property. If you’re planning to move close to the time of installation, you can also choose to buy your panels outright.

So, do the pros outweigh the cons of solar energy?

We think so. The cost of solar is continuously decreasing while the price of electricity continues to rise, there are an ample amount of incentives and structures in place that can minimize the overall cost, and you end up saving a substantial amount of money over the lifetime of your solar system. 

If you have more questions about adding solar energy to your home connect with us today to learn more!